Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
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Oct 30, 2013

Stern Advice-How to make smart benefits choices for 2014

NEW YORK, Oct 30 (Reuters) – If you have been waiting years
for a decent raise, you will probably have to keep waiting – the
average salary increase in the United States planned for 2014
will be only 2.9 percent, according to a Towers Watson survey.
And rather than being shared equally, that raise will be aimed
disproportionately at workplace stars.

This is all the more reason not to leave money on the table
when selecting your employee benefits for 2014, something most
workers are doing right about now. But the majority of workers -
roughly 60 percent – simply let their benefit choices ride from
one year to the next, and do not bother re-evaluating whether
they should be switching to new plans for healthcare coverage or
other benefits, says Karen Frost, a vice president and
healthcare expert at Aon Hewitt.

Oct 23, 2013

Stern Advice – Time to buy pumpkins, set charity strategy

By Linda Stern

NEW YORK, Oct 23(Reuters) – If you’re waiting until
Thanksgiving kicks off the season of goodwill, stop waiting.
Halloween is a more appropriate time to plan your charitable
strategy for the rest of the year.

That may be especially true in 2013, when sizeable stock
market gains and new taxes on the wealthy are pushing some
people to increase their philanthropy and to do so in a
strategic way.

Oct 9, 2013

Till death (not retirement) do us part

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Statisticians have noted a rise in “gray divorces” lately. Spouses who stayed together through decades of sickness, health, richness, poorness, child rearing and parental health troubles are breaking up, just as they are supposed to be entering their own happy golden years.

No doubt some have unhappily “stayed together for the kids,” but something else is at play here. Spouses who have compromised for years see retirement as a last chance to do what they want.

Oct 9, 2013

Stern Advice – Till death (not retirement) do us part

NEW YORK, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Statisticians have noted a rise
in “gray divorces” lately. Spouses who stayed together through
decades of sickness, health, richness, poorness, child rearing
and parental health troubles are breaking up, just as they are
supposed to be entering their own happy golden years.

No doubt some have unhappily “stayed together for the kids,”
but something else is at play here. Spouses who have compromised
for years see retirement as a last chance to do what they want.

Oct 2, 2013

How to shop during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Every October, my book group drops its strictly literary agenda and spends a weekend shopping the outlets at the Delaware shore. We love the fall weather, but there’s another reason for the timing: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the malls sell pink cards for $1 each that get us 20 percent discounts on purchases and raise money for breast cancer research.

So, we get to save money and feel warm and fuzzy. Yet I wonder how much good we are doing. With everything from chewing gum to flashlights to bicycles branded with bright pink coloring, I want to make sure I make good choices, especially because two people whom I loved dearly have died of breast cancer in recent years.

Oct 2, 2013

Stern Advice-How to shop during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

NEW YORK, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Every October, my book group
drops its strictly literary agenda and spends a weekend shopping
the outlets at the Delaware shore. We love the fall weather, but
there’s another reason for the timing: October is National
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the malls sell pink cards for
$1 each that get us 20 percent discounts on purchases and raise
money for breast cancer research.

So, we get to save money and feel warm and fuzzy. Yet I
wonder how much good we are doing. With everything from chewing
gum to flashlights to bicycles branded with bright pink
coloring, I want to make sure I make good choices, especially
because two people whom I loved dearly have died of breast
cancer in recent years.

Sep 25, 2013

Braving the new world of Obamacare exchanges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Here comes the day the Obamacare enthusiasts have been waiting for and the haters have dreaded: The state health insurance exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act open for business on Tuesday, October 1.

Finally, Americans will start to see their health insurance options for 2014. Here’s a key number: The average cost for the average plan will be $328 a month for one person. That figure covers a wide range of policies and prices.

Sep 25, 2013

Stern Advice-Braving the new world of Obamacare exchanges

WASHINGTON, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Here comes the day the
Obamacare enthusiasts have been waiting for and the haters have
dreaded: The state health insurance exchanges mandated by the
Affordable Care Act open for business on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Finally, Americans will start to see their health insurance
options for 2014. Here’s a key number: The average cost for the
average plan will be $328 a month for one person. That figure
covers a wide range of policies and prices.

Sep 18, 2013

How to hack your 529 college savings plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans fling more than $30 million a day at 529 college savings plans, and no wonder – the plans provide some sweet tax savings, a variety of investment choices and the satisfaction that you’re doing something for the kids.

These plans, sponsored by almost every state and the District of Columbia, allow savers to accumulate money their children use for college. Contributions don’t get any federal tax breaks, though some states offer tax incentives to participants. When the money is withdrawn to pay for qualified college expenses, it is not taxed – so all the money earned within the 529 over the years is tax-free income.

Aug 28, 2013

Money milestones for every decade

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Life spans are long, and not everyone lives on a “house and kids by 30, first million by 50″ kind of schedule. Nevertheless, there are financial milestones that it helps to hit at every stage.

Here is my list, by decade. If you are late on a few, that’s no big deal. If you’re early, that’s great.

    • About Linda

      "Linda Stern is an award-winning personal finance journalist who loves to write about how the big picture affects your pocketbook. A former contributing editor at Newsweek magazine and a long-time Reuters columnist, Stern covers everything from credit cards to retirement planning to investing. As a Washington-based correspondent, she sneaks in as much tax and economic policy as her editors will allow. She tweets at www.twitter.com/LindaStern. And when she expresses opinions, they are her own and not those of her employer."
      Joined Reuters:
      October 2010
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