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Before You Buy That Gift Card

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Tags: financial planning

Gift cards have become increasingly popular, especially for those of us who know the right place but not the right thing to buy. Or don't see family and friends often enough to know just the right gift to buy.

But they don't always get used and sometime fees eat away at the card value. Americans spent $88.4 billion on gift cards in 2008, but left $6.4 billion unused, according to TowerGroup, a consulting firm.

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Danger in the Mailbox

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Tags: financial planning

It's been a tough year for many of us as we watched our nest-eggs shrink and our concern for financial security grow. That kind of anxiety and search for "solutions" is just the kind of fear that some in the investment field feed on.

We're already hearing about an uptick in mailings offering "free lunch" seminars. That will grow in January as many make New Year's resolutions to get their finances in better order. Free lunch fliers and mailings will multiply. The lunch may be good, but the advice may not be.

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The Disappearing Generation Gap

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Tags: seniors

For many "holiday tradition" means fights, disagreements, arguments at the dinner table.

But, maybe things will be different this holiday.

A new study says that the "generation gap" is disappearing as the number of multi-generational families increase and values and tastes converge. The Nickelodeon study finds that new cultural attitudes, technology and the current economic climate are drawing families together.

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Plan Carefully for Retiree Health Care Costs

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Tags: Retiree health insurance

If you are approaching retirement or retired, you really want to pay attention to the trends in the cost of retiree health care.

It's not very good news for your wallet. More of the cost of health care is shifting to the individual. And the cost can make a big difference in how far your fixed income in retirement goes. A tough punch after the hit retirement savings have taken in the past year.

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Long Term Care: Why now is the time to act

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Tags: Long Term Care

November is Long-term Care Awareness month so there are lots of new surveys: how much we don't know or deny about our future need for long-term care; long-term care statistics; what long-term care costs; how long-term care gets paid for and the list goes on.

There's good reason we don't like to think about long-term care since it marks a time of less independence and decreased independence. Everything about our culture promotes youthfulness and activity. So thinking about a time when there are things you can't do for yourself - well, we naturally put it off.

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Medicare Open Enrollment Now is the Time

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Tags: Medicare open enrollment

If you've been thinking about a change in your Medicare health plan, now is the time. No more delaying.

That's because this is the only time of year when you can make changes to certain types of Medicare coverage. Miss it and you'll have your current plan for another year. That could cost you plenty if your plan rates or co-pays have increased.

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Downsizing? There Might Be a Tax Credit For You.

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Tags: home values

Hey, baby boomers and seniors, Uncle Sam has a pretty nice gift for you if you want to move. If you've lived in your home at least five consecutive years and are considering downsizing or moving to a new location, now might be the time.

The first-time home buyer tax credit has been expanded to include homeowners who have owned and lived in a home as their principal residence for at least 5 of the last 8 years. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the taxes you owe, so it's a nice incentive.

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New Way To Volunteer for Research Studies

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Tags: seniors

Everyday we read about the results of research studies that give us a new clue into a medical condition or disease or some aspect of aging or development.

Have you ever wondered how to find a research project to participate in?

Now there's a new website that matches researchers with those interested in participating in research projects. It's called ResearchMatch .

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