Here’s a review of top personal finance stories, columns and studies from publications, websites and blogs across the country.
401(k): pros and cons of a professionally managed portfolio
Opting to have someone else manage your 401(k) investment portfolio is becoming a trend. Retirement planning can be complicated and time-consuming, so allowing an expert to make those portfolio decisions may be advantageous. On the other hand, some people like to choose their retirement investments themselves. Regardless of which way you go, the keys to a well-managed portfolio are diversification and monitoring, with adjustments made as retirement goals change over time.
Read the pros and cons discussion at Yahoo Finance.
Tips for smart shopping during the holidays
Whether it’s door-buster deals offered Black Friday (and now Thanksgiving night), screaming internet sales on Cyber Monday, or the pressure of grabbing those last-minute gifts before Christmas, there are lots of opportunities this time of year to dig deeper into debt. You can be a smarter, safer and overall more financially responsible shopper by arming yourself with some savvy shopping advice – like not getting caught up in the hype and always minding your budget.
Read the complete list of tips at the Sacramento Bee website.
Consumers at risk from “cybergangs”
Millions of online holiday shoppers make for inviting targets for cybercriminals. According to PriceGrabber, 41% of consumers, up from 37% in 2011, will be using computers, tablets, and smartphones to make their purchases this Holiday season. And cybergangs are poised to take advantage of this growth area with elaborate scams. Experts say people can protect themselves by using strong passwords, updating security software on their devices, and avoiding the use of debit cards when shopping online.
Read the full article on USA Today.
5 ways to make your money work harder for you
Whatever your personal finance situation, heeding a few valuable pieces of advice can help you increase your savings, reduce costs, and earn higher returns. First, and perhaps most importantly for many people, is to pay off credit card balances as quickly as possible. Also, following a couple of traveling and shopping tips can make a sizeable difference in keeping expenses down. These are simple things to put into practice, and doing so can mean big savings.
Read the full article at Nasdaq.
Retirement savings should only be last-resort for income
If you find yourself unemployed or are searching for sources of supplemental income, making withdrawals from 401k’s and IRA’s can be costly. There are other options to consider that may be wiser financial choices, such as using liquid cash assets, reducing your expenses, or even renting or selling your home. Fees and penalties assessed for tapping into retirement investments before a certain age make them the last resort for emergency funds.
Read more at the CNNMoney HelpDesk.
New changes mean student loan help for some
Pay As You Earn, a student loan repayment program introduced by the Obama administration last year, has been revamped to give relief to some estimated 1.5 million eligible borrowers. The Department of Education recently approved changes to allow repayment of federal student loans equal to 10% of annual discretionary income over 20 years, an improvement to the previous terms of 15% over 25 years. This means that graduates with student loans can arrange lower monthly loan payments, a beneficial option when they’re just starting out or going through difficult financial times.
Get all the details of the new program at the Chicago Tribune.
Financial gifts: not just for adults anymore
Though they probably won’t make many Santa wish-lists, financial gifts to children can pay off now and in the future. From money-themed movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” to savings bonds and shares of actual sports franchises, children can benefit from a variety of educational bonds and even donations to charity. They may not appreciate it when they’re young – but they probably will for years to come.
Read the entire article at the Kansas City Star website.