Ask Carrie from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 17 Apr 2021 16:48:30 -0700 Ask Carrie from Creators Syndicate bee87feede9f9231ba12260bc3f63bcc Money Myths: 10 Ways We Fool Ourselves About Managing Credit for 04/14/2021 Wed, 14 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: April Fools' Day can make for a good joke, but there are certain myths about money that, if not dispelled quickly, are no laughing matter. Misconceptions about credit and debt are right at the top of the list. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Here are 10 common beliefs about credit that can lead to financial trouble.</span> Don't fall for them! </p> <p>Myth No. 1: A Credit Score Is Only Important if You Need to Borrow Money.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 14, 2021</p> 16f44c9ae035f0a043b2b5120cb2963a What Farmers Can Teach Us About Finances for 04/07/2021 Wed, 07 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: In the fast-paced financial world we live in, with its focus on trading trends, online platforms and market movements, it's easy to get lost in the weeds and lose sight of the grounding principles of managing money that are essential to long-term success. So with spring in the air and buds on the vine, I thought it would be fun to focus on some of the financial lessons we can learn from the people who are more in touch with the land. </p> <p>If you've had any experience on a farm, you'll know what I'm talking about. For instance, my father learned the reality of the phrase "don't put all your eggs in one basket" in his first business venture: literally selling eggs when he was a young teen in Sacramento. He had a firsthand understanding of this lesson by the time he got into investing! Read on for some other words of wisdom that get to the heart of smart money management, from those who work the land &#8212; both folklore and a couple of well-known commentators. It might give you some new insights as well as a few smiles.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 07, 2021</p> 65a7cb475e43909cf12190d088b05c04 As You Build Your Financial Future, Heed the Advice of Richard Thaler for 03/31/2021 Wed, 31 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: I've been promoting the tried-and-true principles of smart money management for so many years it can be hard to come up with fresh ways to share their important message: Spend less. Save more. Diversify your portfolio as you invest for your long-term goals. As old-fashioned as this advice may sound, it remains the foundation for your future financial success. </p> <p>But if you still need convincing, I invite you to listen to the wisdom of prominent behavioral economist and Nobel laureate Richard Thaler. One of my colleagues had the opportunity to sit down with professor Thaler early this year and asked him the following question: "As individuals, what lessons can we take from 2020 as we strive to build a strong future?"<p>Updated: Thu Apr 01, 2021</p> f3fc71817e7cb2549bb873838ab394b6 New Financial Survey on Black Americans Is a Call to Action for 03/24/2021 Wed, 24 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: In the last 15 years writing "Ask Carrie" columns, I've often written about why and how investing opens the door to financial freedom. In my mind, the advice &#8212; and the opportunity &#8212; should be available to everyone. Unfortunately, for too many Black Americans, that's not the case.</p> <p>As a country, we've started to have some important conversations that are long overdue. Racial inequality and the resulting wealth gap are not only disastrous for the impacted individuals; they also weaken our communities and our economy. <p>Updated: Wed Mar 24, 2021</p> 055790768583b7500c7f5b22621e3e4d Let's Focus on Single Women for 03/17/2021 Wed, 17 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: As has happened for over a century, countries around the globe came together this month to celebrate women and promote a gender-equal world. Dubbed International Women's Day, it's a special occasion to not only acknowledge women's vast and significant contributions but also challenge ongoing inequities and plan for a future that provides women with opportunities, respect and stature equal to that of men.</p> <p>The theme for this year's celebration was #ChooseToChallenge, with a focus on our individual responsibility to call out and challenge injustices. The organizers rightly point out that "a challenged world is an alert world" and "from challenge comes change."<p>Updated: Wed Mar 17, 2021</p> 1cec4c3da2fb2f0fe8f10946b5040254 Struggling With Retirement Savings? Uncle Sam May Give You Extra Credit for 03/10/2021 Wed, 10 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: I work for a small nonprofit. I love my job but don't make a lot of money, so saving for retirement is hard. The company offers a retirement plan that I contribute to, but there's no match. How can I save more? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Readers: This is a great question &#8212; and a great time to be asking it. With the challenges of the past year still fresh and people struggling to get back to some sort of normal, saving money is on everybody's mind, whether it's for planned expenses, an emergency fund, retirement or all of the above. On the positive side, Americans on average have been saving more, with personal savings rates the highest they've been in years. However, for a lot of folks, saving &#8212; especially for retirement &#8212; is an ongoing challenge. <p>Updated: Wed Mar 10, 2021</p> 19408bc6833d47daa86da111e4716d07 Is Investing in the Stock Market Gambling? for 03/03/2021 Wed, 03 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: My boyfriend is on his phone all the time trading stocks. Sometimes, he makes a lot of money quickly, and other times, he gets upset because he loses. Overall, though, he says it's fun and that I should invest too (right now, all of my money is in savings). To me, it all feels like gambling and scares me. Am I missing something? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: I can't say for sure what your boyfriend is doing, but I think you're onto something important, with the recent GameStop episode being the latest and most extreme example of stock speculating gone awry. Online tools have made it very easy to trade stocks with a simple click, often at no cost. Although this is convenient, it also allows people to buy and sell stocks without carefully thinking through their decisions. And therein lies the potential problem &#8212; and the distinction I make between sound investing and wild speculating (or as you say, "gambling").<p>Updated: Wed Mar 03, 2021</p> ce2532445c8252812e670cd23d3bcda8 Rules of Engagement: How to NOT Fight With Your Fiance About Money for 02/24/2021 Wed, 24 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: My boyfriend and I just got engaged. While we agree on most things, we seem to have a lot of differences when it comes to handling money and have had several arguments about it. How can we keep this from becoming an ongoing problem? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Readers: "How to avoid fighting about money" should be a required class for every couple. No matter how close you are, money differences have a way of creeping into &#8212; and causing problems in &#8212; the best of relationships. While there's no lack of studies on money problems as a major cause of disagreement and conflict, the reasons for those problems can be as varied as the couples themselves. <p>Updated: Thu Feb 25, 2021</p> 4a6248e855aeebcc526d822470286bea Should I Take the Lump Sum Option From My Pension? for 02/17/2021 Wed, 17 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: I'm about to retire, and I have to decide between taking a lump sum or lifetime income payments for my pension. I'm leaning toward the lump sum. Is this a good idea? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Readers: My first thought is to say congratulations! A pension in any form &#8212; whether taken as a lump sum, as lifetime income (sometimes called a pension annuity) or as some combination of both, is a valuable and increasingly rare benefit. This is an important retirement decision. Take your time and weigh all the options carefully. A lump sum can seem alluring, no doubt, but consider tax implications as well as the potential benefits of spreading out payments over a longer period of time.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 17, 2021</p> f931c8e3c16bb1a9a2a84a064eaf1a0e Looking for a Way to Invest According to Your Values? for 02/10/2021 Wed, 10 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: I'm fairly new to investing and want to choose companies that support causes I care about &#8212; such as the environment. Is this a good idea? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Readers: As Kermit the Frog says, it's not easy being green. But for today's investors, it's easier than ever to invest green. That's because increased awareness and socially focused investments are giving investors the opportunity to support causes that are important to them through their portfolios. And it's not just the environment. Investors today can choose a wide variety of social issues to support &#8212; from clean technology to racial equity to gender diversity and more. And it's an idea that's gaining traction.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 10, 2021</p> b28955ba09d78095d30418e41f86226a College Ahead: How Can I Improve My Child's Chances for Financial Aid? for 02/03/2021 Wed, 03 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: My daughter is starting high school this year, and I'm worried about paying for college. I've saved some money, but as a single mom, I'm afraid I just won't be able to cover it all. Is there anything I can do to increase her chances of receiving financial aid? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: I'm glad you're asking this question now while you still have several years to plan for college. As I'm sure you know, college can be expensive, but it's also one of the best investments you can make in your daughter's future &#8212; not only in terms of education but also for her career opportunities and lifetime earnings. <p>Updated: Wed Feb 03, 2021</p> fc4bcd0b23a413920210f3871c45be1f When Does Insurance Make Sense? for 01/27/2021 Wed, 27 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: The question posed in the headline is a great one because insurance can be one of the most confusing areas of finance. Now is a very good time to be asking this question, given the extreme challenges we faced in 2020 &#8212; from the pandemic to hurricanes to wildfires.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">To me, the lesson from these horrific events is that we always need to be prepared, not just for what we might be able to predict but for the unexpected as well. </span>That's where insurance comes in &#8212; as a protection for when life deals us a blow.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 27, 2021</p> d79ff9af24844075ec3bd9f62f084440 Put 2021 on the Fast Track With a Financial Fartlek for 01/20/2021 Wed, 20 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: Want to try something different in the new year? How about fartlek training? It's a pretty funny word for a serious way runners can train for a marathon. Don't get me wrong; I'm not suggesting we all become long-distance runners. In fact, I tried running for about a year and can say it's not for me. But the concept of going the distance does resonate with my beliefs about saving and investing. </p> <p>You may have heard the analogy that investing is a marathon, not a sprint. I certainly agree. But the problem with marathons for a lot of people is that they are tiring and can seem daunting. A sprint is much more invigorating and doable by comparison. That's where fartlek training comes in. <p>Updated: Wed Jan 20, 2021</p> 6d7692950ad126f497e1161ae2ce8530 7 Quick Tricks to Set Yourself Up for Financial Success for 01/13/2021 Wed, 13 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">Dear Readers: We're now in the mid-January, and do you know what that means? For a lot of us, it means our New Year's resolutions are already a thing of the past. <span class="column--highlighted-text">It isn't that we're not committed to positive change. It's just that often we're not clear about how to achieve it. </span>Especially if resolutions are general &#8212; sure, we all want to lose weight or save more money, but it can be hard to follow through.</span><br></p> <p>So what's the answer? First, when it comes to your finances, get specific about what you really want to accomplish. For instance, how much do you want to save each month? What bills do you want to pay off first? The second essential part of success is making a plan and then sticking with it. The following financial hacks are designed to help make it easy to stay on track. These are seven simple things you can set in motion now that can keep you going in the right direction all year long:<p>Updated: Wed Jan 13, 2021</p> 0cfdf090bceb8c48e632172b5e59a40e Are You Ready for a Financially Healthy 2021? for 01/06/2021 Wed, 06 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">Dear Readers: At the beginning of each new year, I'm filled with a sense of new direction. At the same time, <span class="column--highlighted-text">I like to look back at the previous year, evaluate what worked and make a fresh commitment to keep going on whatever path proved most successful.</span></span><br></p> <p>One of the things that was a real boost to me in 2016 was a 30-day food cleanse that left me feeling stronger and more in control of my physical health. I turned that idea of a physical cleanse into a 30-day financial cleanse with the goal of giving people a way to supercharge their financial health. The response I got was so positive that I decided this is one of those ideas that really should be repeated. <p>Updated: Wed Jan 06, 2021</p> 38b49b7ac08cdbda15ddd23eb67c8ef7 Raise Your Financial IQ in 2021 for 12/30/2020 Wed, 30 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">Dear Readers: It's that time again. And while you may have promised yourself to be smarter about your finances in 2021, we all know that New Year's resolutions are notoriously ineffective. Despite our best intentions, the vast majority of us simply don't follow through. So this year, instead of making an overwhelming list of things to do, I'm suggesting that you focus on a few concrete things you need to know. If you educate yourself about your finances, you'll be laying the foundation for success.</span><br><p>Updated: Tue Jan 05, 2021</p> 86dd89b07b1a29ea901be9851d4cbacd Give Your Family the Gift of Financial Conversation This Holiday Season for 12/23/2020 Wed, 23 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: If there's one thing many of us are reluctant to talk about, it's money. We might be comfortable sharing all sorts of personal information &#8212; about our health, our religious beliefs, even our personal relationships. But when it comes to our finances, we clam up.</p> <p>And this year, that reluctance may be stronger than ever. If you're one of the millions of Americans who have lost their job or their home and are struggling to make ends meet, money may be the last thing you want to discuss. Or if you believe that a loved one is worried about his or her finances, you might be hesitant to bring it up.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 23, 2020</p> bdaaa63072413e3b85298be108587143 Want to Create a Retirement Paycheck? Here Are Some Things to Consider for 12/16/2020 Wed, 16 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: I just retired and am trying to figure out how to maximize all of my resources &#8212; Social Security, a small pension and my investments. Given RMDs, taxes, etc., it feels overwhelming! Can you help? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: This is a great question because it's an essential issue for every retiree. After decades of receiving a regular paycheck, suddenly you're faced with having to figure out the best way to pull money from your different accounts &#8212; whether that's a 401(k), an IRA or a regular investment account. On top of that, you need to make decisions about Social Security and possibly a pension or annuity. <p>Updated: Wed Dec 16, 2020</p> 7f3c98a9cb853b47d2e503e69aa36b52 In a Year Full of Challenges, How Can We Give Back? for 12/09/2020 Wed, 09 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: As I recently wrote, this holiday season is going to be different for a lot of people in terms of celebrations and gift giving, but there's one thing I fervently hope won't get lost in our new reality: the importance of charitable giving. Charitable organizations of all types and sizes are constantly in need of support. And this year, with all the incredible challenges of 2020, the need is greater than ever.</p> <p>You hear stories from around the country about food banks struggling to keep up with demand, about people who never had to seek help before suddenly needing assistance to pay for not only food but also basics like rent and utilities. I think it's significant that the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme. <p>Updated: Wed Dec 09, 2020</p> 979abaf2ca4d16d8f0a0fbacdbaf2f8e Introducing Fractional Shares: A New Way to Get Started Investing for 12/02/2020 Wed, 02 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Carrie: I've been hearing about fractional shares as a way to invest in the stock market. Can you explain how they work? &#8212; A Reader</p> <p>Dear Reader: No question the world of investing is overrun with a gazillion tools and products, many of which are either indecipherable or irrelevant to the average investor. But every once in a while, we can welcome the arrival of a new product, such as fractional shares, that can actually make investing more accessible.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 02, 2020</p>