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Vet These Policies

Sonja Haggert  |  Mar 9, 2023

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,

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Lodging Complaints

Sonja Haggert  |  Feb 20, 2023

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.

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Guess Again

Sonja Haggert  |  Jan 21, 2023

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.

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Rules for Gift Giving

Sonja Haggert  |  Dec 16, 2022

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.

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A Million Dreams

Sonja Haggert  |  Nov 15, 2022

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.

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A Dark Place

Sonja Haggert  |  Sep 28, 2022

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.

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Checking on You

Sonja Haggert  |  Jul 6, 2022

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.

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Get a Job

Sonja Haggert  |  Jun 23, 2022

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.

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Details, Details

Sonja Haggert  |  May 11, 2022

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.

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Hitting Record

Sonja Haggert  |  Jan 30, 2022

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,

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Sticking Power

Sonja Haggert  |  Nov 29, 2021

MY HUSBAND’S READING material consists of financial publications and Chemical & Engineering News, a throwback to his chemistry education. The other day, I glanced over his shoulder to see an article about Spencer F. Silver.
Never heard of him? No doubt, you’ve used a Post-it Note or two. Silver invented their adhesive while a chemist at 3M.
The article told of his passing, and went into a technical explanation of the science behind the Post-it Note.

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Dollars and Sense

Sonja Haggert  |  Sep 13, 2021

OUR MONEY DECISIONS usually aren’t driven by rational thinking and financial math. That’s one of Morgan Housel’s key messages in his recent book, The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness. He uses history and personal tales to highlight a crucial insight into our relationship with money—that we often feel as though we’ll never have enough.
The book contains no formulas for success, no get-rich-quick stock tips. Housel states the premise this way: “Doing well with money has a little to do with how smart you are and a lot to do with how you behave.

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Doesn’t Apply to Me

Sonja Haggert  |  Aug 16, 2021

DURING A HEATED discussion, the chairman at my old employer grew exasperated with me. “Rules are meant for other people, not me,” he snapped.
I had no idea how prevalent that attitude was—until recently. It seems some hospitals and drug companies also feel that the rules don’t apply to them.
There have been articles in The Wall Street JournaI about a new rule that went into effect requiring hospitals to show how much they charge for procedures.

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Not Buying It

Sonja Haggert  |  Aug 5, 2021

I’VE BEEN READING UP on stock buybacks because I want to know how they’ll impact my investments. As best I can gather, there are two schools of thought: Those who love them—and those who hate them.
Those who love them point to the reduction in the number of shares, which means the value of those that remain should increase. Earnings per share (EPS) is net income divided by the number of shares, and EPS increases when shares decrease.

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Double-Edged Sword

Sonja Haggert  |  Jul 27, 2021

WE LOOK AT OUR traditional IRAs each year and decide how much we’ll convert to a Roth IRA. We’re worried our tax rate may increase down the road, either because of tax law changes or because of the extra taxable income once we start taking required minimum IRA distributions at age 72. To head off that threat or at least limit the damage, we’ve been shrinking our traditional IRAs by converting them to Roths,

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