Reuters Money

Study up on these 5 ways to save on college textbooks

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College textbook publishers apparently haven’t heard there’s a recession going on.

The average college student spends $1,137 a year for textbooks and other course materials, up from $988 three years ago according to collegeboard.org.

There are some cases where students just can’t avoid buying new books, especially if the new edition comes “bundled” with a CD or online access code for supplemental materials. These are often stripped or damaged with rented or used books, and if you buy them separately you could end up paying as much or more than you would for a new book with everything intact.

The only bonus of buying new is that you can make some money selling books back after you’re done using them. My daughter, a college junior, tells me her college bookstore pays a small fraction of a book’s original cost when she brings it in for resale. Because she’s a science major, her books are updated so frequently that they often don’t take them back at all. Her experience with college bookstore stinginess when it comes to buying back books is not unusual. Get a better price by selling books yourself through web sites such as half.com, BetterWorldBooks.com orvalorebooks.com.

Pssst, wanna buy a stolen Rolex or diamond?

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Wanna deal on a diamond? Time to get a new Rolex? Sure, they might be stolen goods, but it’s all perfectly legal.

Seriously.

Say what?

Police departments nationwide recover all sorts of stuff when they arrest bad guys and there are some real gems amidst the eclectic array of goods that gather in evidence rooms. Enter PropertyRoom.com, a site that has grown exponentially over its dozen years of life.

“War for talent” has employers ramping up employee benefits: survey

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If there’s a silver lining to be had following the financial crisis that shook the global economy in 2008, it’s this: more employers are feeling increasingly responsible for the fate of their employees — and that’s translating to more comprehensive employee benefit plans, a new survey finds.

The downside? Nearly 60 percent of the employers polled say most of their employees fail to take advantage of the resources available to them.

Groupon regret: How great deals make you spend more

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Justine Rivero considers herself a bonafide personal-finance expert. She’s an adviser at the credit-tracking website Credit Karma, doling out tips on how to control spending, avoid crippling debt and keep your credit record pristine.

But even Justine Rivero is powerless against the lure of popular daily-deal site Groupon. When faced with a seemingly incredible bargain, she finds herself compelled to click that mouse again and again – against her own better judgment.

How safe are your savings?

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Let’s say a broker or banker offered you a way of reaping market gains while protecting your principal. You’d jump at it, wouldn’t you?

Thousands did and were burned to the tune of more than $113 billion in complex “structured” products since 2008, including Florida businessman Charles Replogle and his 86-year-old mother. They were told that the principal-protected notes sold by UBS Financial Services were safe. He bought the six-percent-yielding Lehman Brothers notes from UBS for his mentally disabled brother and mother.

Recession’s price tag: $2,300 a year

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The so-called “Great Recession” has taken a permanent bite out of everyone’s retirement and not just at a macro level. Today’s workers will lose an average of $2,300 a year each in retirement benefits because of the anemic wage growth which started in 2008, according to a new study written by Urban Institute analysts and released by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research. Younger workers and wealthier workers will lose even more.

The study came as Social Security and Medicare trustees reported that both of those programs would run out of money earlier than had been expected. Medicare will exhaust its funds in 2024, not 2029, and Social Security will run out of money in 2036, not 2037, the trustees said. Legislators may be prompted by those findings to shore up or revise those programs, but even if they do, that would not reverse the decline projected by Urban Institute study authors Barbara A. Butrica, Richard W. Johnson and Karen E. Smith.

4 retirement tips for twentysomethings

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By Yesha Shah

In today’s dismal job market, it’s no wonder college grads are focused on finding a job instead of socking away money for the future. Unfortunately, young people aren’t the only ones befuddled by their post-career plan: 55 percent of Americans say they don’t know how to achieve their retirement goals, an ING survey finds.

But saving early is the key to building up a nest egg. A panel of experts brought together by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management last month offers twentysomethings this advice for getting started on reaching their retirement goals:

The allure of dying broke

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With the economy still struggling, unemployment still lofty, and retirement savings lacking, more Americans than ever are terrified of the idea of dying penniless.

Financial adviser and author Stephen Pollan wants to remind you: That’s the whole idea. Not the prospect of outliving your cash; no one wants that. But the idea of using up all of your savings while you’re still here to enjoy it? That’s the mark of a well-lived life. Says Pollan, always outspoken: “You’re a jerk if you leave a single penny.”

Tax problems? The art of negotiating with the IRS

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A woman looks over tax papers in this file photo. REUTERS/Jillian KitchenerWhether it’s the NFL player who forgot to mail in his tax return or the person who exercised his stock options and triggered a huge tax bill, negotiator Jim Camp has seen a lot of people get into sticky situations with the Internal Revenue Service.

With 25 years of experience, Camp sat down with Prism Money to offer advice on how to successfully negotiate with the taxman.

How to avoid boomerang kids

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Attention blissful empty-nestersA student yawns during the "Fundamentals of Algebra" class, which is held from 11:45pm to 2:30am, at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, Massachusetts September 8, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder  : there’s a good chance your college graduates will be moving back home.

That’s the not-so-pretty picture being painted by a handful of grim reports, including Monster.com’s “2010 State of the College Workplace,” which found that a whopping 52 percent of recent grads are living with their parents, up from 40 percent in 2009.