WHAT’S VERNON SMITH been doing since he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics at age 75, and why should you care?
At 97, Smith is still on the faculty of the business and law schools at Chapman University. When he’s not traveling the country delivering lectures, he usually spends 10 hours a week writing and researching.
I read about Smith in a recent article in the AARP Bulletin devoted to super-agers, defined as those over age 80 with the brain of a person 20 to 30 years younger.
MY WALLET WAS STOLEN many years ago when I was traveling on business. I had gotten onto a crowded elevator at my hotel. The last person to get on was a woman who pretended to get her heel caught in the elevator door.
The thieves were a young couple—and they were real pros. While we were focused on her, her partner proceeded to open the flap of my handbag and help himself to my wallet.
WE TRAVEL A LOT, so I try to read up on new places, new deals and what to watch out for. This year, I’ve made two new discoveries—not pleasant ones.
I admit it, I love hotel points. I know I’ve paid for those points, but seeing a “free” hotel bill makes me feel good.
Hotels started their rewards programs when I was traveling for business. I signed up right away. In fact, my rewards account number with one hotel chain starts with 000.
YOU LOVE THEM LIKE family. You want them to have the best care possible. You have insurance for yourself, your family, your home, your car and your upcoming vacation. Why not for your pet?
One of our friends recently opted for pet insurance—after multiple trips to the vet, with more than 20 medications prescribed. Intrigued by the idea of pet insurance? Here are eight choices and what they offer:
Pets Best covers everything, including medications,
OUR COMMUNITY HAS a Facebook-like online forum called Nextdoor. I tend to ignore the posts, which usually involve things like items for sale and new restaurant openings. But a recent post caught my eye—because it was from the Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds.
The article said Pennsylvania’s Attorney General had initiated a lawsuit against a realty company for deceptive practices targeting elderly, low-income and minority homeowners. The realty company was offering a “Homeowner Benefit Program” that gives homeowners anywhere from $400 to $1,000 upfront to lock into a contract.
PRESIDENT BIDEN’S State of the Union speech this month touched a nerve when he mentioned “junk fees.” Talking about hotel costs, he said, “Those fees can cost you up to $90 a night at hotels that aren’t even resorts.”
I was reminded of the first time we were hit with a resort fee. It was at a Marriott hotel in New York City. A bicycle was part of the “resort” package.
DON’T LET PREDICTIONS cloud your thinking. When my husband and I first started investing, that was the wisest advice we received. You know the sort of predictions I’m talking about: “It’ll be a bad year for the stock market, so you should pull all your money out,” or “bitcoin is going through the roof, so stock up now.”
Last year, I decided to make a note of some of the predictions I read, and put them in my followup file for the beginning of this year.
BONDS ARE IN THE NEWS again. Everyone’s talking about Series I savings bonds and Treasurys. But what about corporate bonds, both investment-grade and junk?
Nine years ago, we started following Marc Lichtenfeld’s investment service that recommends corporate bonds. When my husband suggested we try it, I asked, “Aren’t corporate bonds junk bonds?” Forgive the holiday reference, but I had visions of Michael Milken dancing in my head.
From the beginning, my husband was all in.
IT’S THE MOST wonderful time of year—for trying to figure out what gifts to give. If you’re like me, you may be wringing your hands. But some studies and a bit of psychology could help.
While searching my favorite websites for gift ideas, I came across a helpful article by psychologist Jill Suttie. She offered five suggestions.
The first is to make sure the gift is practical. I didn’t see that one coming. Practical gifts are remembered.
I DIDN’T WIN the Powerball lottery—this time.
That’s too bad because I knew exactly what I’d have done with the money. I’ll bet you did, too.
I was ready to pay for the education of all of our nieces’ children. “Go where you wanna go,” as the song says. My favorite charity would also have been on the list. Laurel House, a domestic violence agency, does tremendous work in Montgomery County, where we live in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
WHERE WOULD WE BE without the internet, social media, and our smartphones and smartwatches? Can you remember a time when you couldn’t look up the answer to a trivia question at a cocktail party? I love answering the phone on my watch. It takes me back to Dick Tracy.
There I was, going along happily in my online universe—until I got an email from McAfee’s identity theft protection service alerting me that my phone number had been found on the dark web.
WE’VE ALL HEARD of the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, which compile our all-important credit reports. But have you heard of ChexSystems?
ChexSystems generates reports on bank customers, typically using banking history from the past five years to assess the risk that customers pose to their banks. Those risks are reflected in blemishes on a consumer’s banking history, such as overdrafts and unpaid fees. In some instances, ChexSystems warns banks about potential fraud.
WHEN I WAS GROWING up, my mother thought the best way to relieve my boredom during summer vacations was to get a job. She was a valued employee at a local business and she knew the firm was hiring.
I asked if part of the job was to calculate change for customers when they made a purchase. That terrified me. My mother said she wasn’t sure, but that I’d learn to do it if it was required.
DO YOU SKIM OVER the fine print? Two recent incidents involving insurance coverage made me rethink my tendency to do just that. One incident alerted me to a major problem. The other saved me money.
Let’s start with the problem. It was time to renew our homeowner’s insurance. In looking over the policy, something didn’t look right. In the section for dwelling, which is defined in our policy as alterations and other improvements, we had $5,000 worth of coverage.
OVER THE PAST TWO years, we’ve seen everything from tornadoes to devastating fires to hurricanes, often at unusual times and in unexpected places. That got my husband and me thinking about how to prepare for what may come our way—and how we could document what we might lose.
We decided to make a home movie. Our new phones are perfect for taking videos. What better proof of what we have? You’ve probably seen the suggestion that you do this,