Reuters Money

Online privacy leaks worsen; “Do not track” gains steam

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People use computers at an Internet cafe in Changzhi, north China's Shanxi province June 20, 2007. REUTERS/StringerAre you being tracked right now? If you thought you were just browsing aimlessly, doing a little shopping or checking sports scores without identifying yourself, you could be mistaken about your level of privacy.

A new study from a Stanford University researcher has found that a lot of  the little bits and pieces of supposedly anonymous data being deposited by your web browser are actually being gathered and reassembled by dozens of companies and sold. And stopping that from happening takes more than a little bit of effort, helped by a growing movement for “do not track” legislation.

More companies know more about you than previously thought and stopping them from secretly building profiles of you is a lot harder than just pressing a button, researcher Jonathan Mayer says.

He adds:

“Click the local Home Depot ad and your email address gets handed to a dozen companies monitoring you. Your web browsing, past, present, and future, is now associated with your identity… Keep tabs on your favorite teams with Bleacher Report and you pass your full name to a dozen again. This isn’t a 1984-esque scaremongering hypothetical. This is what’s happening today.”

Want to put your kid on road to Millionaire Row by 21? Here’s how

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While some youngsters long to become rock stars or Hollywood heavyweights, others now gravitate towards another stripe of pop-cultural celebrity: the whiz kid who becomes a millionaire before age 21.

That’s not hard to fathom now, given the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and other tech hotshots. But for Susan Beacham — founder of Money Savvy Generation — steady strokes and ingrained habits set kids on the course to riches. And Beacham should know: She practices what she preaches with her two teenage daughters, Allison, 19, and Amanda, 17.

Back-to-school is about backpacks, lunchboxes and money skills

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The following is a guest piece by Dan Greenshields, CFA, and President of ING DIRECT Investing, a subsidiary of ING Bank, fsb. The opinions expressed are his own.

Parents everywhere are preparing to send their kids back to school. It’s time for new backpacks, lunchboxes, pens, pencils, clothes and electronics.

Even financial gurus make money mistakes

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Christie's employees pose for a photograph with a Lehman Brothers sign at Christie's in central London September 24, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Winning I bought Lehman Brothers.

There, I said it. My dark secret, finally out in the open. Watching financial stocks drop like stones in the fall of 2008, I figured it was a classic case of investor panic. After Lehman went from over $90 to under $10, I almost felt bad at getting such a bargain. After all, it couldn’t go to zero, right?

And then it did. My modest investment was wiped out, and I couldn’t even stand to look at the Wall Street Journal for a long time afterwards. My point is that even personal-finance journalists, doling out our sage advice, can make bone-headed financial decisions. Really big ones.

Parents want to help their kids, but when does it stop?

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A weak job market for college and high-school graduates is continuing to drive young adults back into the households and onto the payrolls of their parents, a variety of surveys have confirmed.

Almost 60 percent of parents with non-student children between the ages of 18 and 39 have been helping their kids, according to a survey being released today by the National Endowment of Financial Education. A study released last month by Monster.com found that more than half of all recent grads are living with their parents. And as much as 85 percent of the Class of 2011 expect to move back home, at least for a while, according to a study by market research firm Twentysomething Inc.

Note to Fed: Show us the numbers

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Now that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s historic press conference can be viewed on the home page of the Fed’s website, I decided to watch it again to see what the conflicting opinions were about.

After again finding it interesting and informative, even if it produced no significant news, I toured this rich website and happened to notice, under the News & Events tab, a statement on financial literacy which Bernanke had submitted at a Senate hearing last month.

Women hand over the reins on retirement: survey

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You’ve heard the statistics: More women than ever are involved in household finances, with a quarter of them in control. Working women have surpassed men in attainment of higher education — the first time in history.  And yet, women still pass the buck when it comes to their own retirement security, according to a new survey from ING Direct USA and Dailyworth.com.

    Among those surveyed, nearly 40 percent of married women will leave their retirement planning up to their spouse or significant other Nearly 30 percent say they have no idea what their main source of retirement income will be

More than 1,000 Americans over the age of 18 participated in the phone survey — the majority of women had some form of higher education (63 percent) owned their own home (74 percent) and considered themselves the head of the household (52 percent).

When teaching kids about money, it’s not math — it’s values

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Beth Kobliner is a personal finance commentator and journalist, and the author of the New York Times bestseller GET A FINANCIAL LIFE®: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties. She was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, a bipartisan committee charged with tackling the problem of financial illiteracy in our country. The opinions expressed here are her own.

Beth Kobliner is pictured in this undated handout photo. © 2010 Sesame Workshop. “Sesame Street” and its logo are trademarks of Sesame Workshop. All rights reserved. Photo by Richard Termine. REUTERS/Handout

Kids are never too young to learn about money. (I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, blogging on this site!) But even though I’ve been saying that for a while, I never had a trusted resource to share with parents.

Social Security cuts annual statement mailings

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A woman sorts paperwork at her home in Concord, North Carolina on November 17, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Keane Here’s a chicken-or-egg question for you: is Social Security’s future really imperiled, or do Americans just think it’s falling apart because Washington keeps shooting the program in the foot?

Consider the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) decision to stop sending out the annual benefit statement we all get in the mail. The agency plans to save $30 million by suspending mailings for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends in September, and an additional $60 million next year by restricting mailings to workers 60 and older.

Can you pass a high school financial literacy test?

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A student reads in New York, October 5, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Segar  When it comes to money, are you smarter than a high school student? Now’s your chance to find out.

Students across the country are taking part in the National Financial Capability Challenge, a voluntary test running from March 7 to April 8 aimed at ramping up knowledge in basic financial matters such as spending, savings and investing.