moneyandhappiness

What to Do When Credit Card Bills Devour Your Paycheck

Credit card debt is tough to avoid -- and tougher to escape. We received an email from a reader who owes $20,000 on her cards, and spends a third of her income on those payments. Credit expert John Ulzheimer offers a legitimate method for her to reduce monthly costs and get out of the red.

Out of Work Man Asks: Should I Pay Off My Mortgage?

Nicholas, 60, is a paralegal who has been jobless for more than a year, and is worried about the possibility of losing his home in rural Pennsylvania. If he depletes his savings and cashes out of a life insurance policy, he can pay off his mortgage. But is that the smartest move?

Does an Annuity Make Sense for Your Retirement Portfolio?

People nearing retirement now face a volatile stock market on the one hand and weak returns on their savings on the other. Fixed annuities offer a guaranteed stream of income, but there are downsides. Economist Brett Hammond of TIAA-CREF discusses how an annuity can fit into your portfolio, and some pitfalls to avoid.

Helping a Caregiver Climb Out of Debt

Joe did right by his mother in her declining years, but half a decade of expensive care for her has left the 53-year-old in a financially precarious position. Money and Happiness columnist Laura Rowley offers him a step-by-step plan to get out of debt and back on track for his own retirement.

Ask the Experts: How to Win at the Retirement Game

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Expert Tips for Racking Up Free Airline Miles

Now that summer is nearly over, you can start planning for next year's big vacation by racking up airline miles. We spoke with one expert who scored 250,000 miles in a 12-month period by opening just three cards. But his strategy isn't for everyone.

A 70-Year-Old Asks: Can I Afford to Retire?

Jack, 70, is still working full-time at an environmental agency for the state of Tennessee, earning $60,000 a year. He has no debt, and a good amount of savings, and an income property. What he doesn't have is a clear picture of whether he's in a good position to retire.

Psychological Keys to Boosting Your Financial Willpower

Dr. Roy Baumeister is a research psychologist who has studied the science of self-control for many years. He's also co-author of the new book "Willpower." We asked him how you can boost your willpower when facing financial temptations and decisions. Here are his secrets.

How to Get the Best Deals: Avoid Decision Fatigue

Negotiating the best price for services like cable and Internet can involve so many decisions, it's tempting to just throw up your hands and settle for the status quo. That's a phenomenon known as decision fatigue. Here's how to avoid it, and get the deal you deserve.

Advice on Juggling Higher Bills, New Business

Cassandra and her husband have seen major life changes in the past few months: A new house in the NYC suburbs, bills that suddenly exceed his salary, and a new business for her. But though her consulting firm is thriving, now she's got a different problem: how to properly take money out of it. DailyFinance drafted an expert to help.

Advice for a Compulsive Shopper

A compulsive shopper splurges on her credit cards and then hides the purchases from her spouse. She wants to stop. Dr. David Krueger, a former psychiatrist and author of the new book "The Secret Language of Money offers" some advice.

Young Real Estate Investor Seeks Best Use for Cash

Andy Buman has been financially responsible, and invested wisely in two rental properties and a home of his own in the Omaha, Neb., area. His small real estate empire is doing well, and he has saved an extra $20,000. His question for DailyFinance's Laura Rowley: Which loan should he apply it to for the best return?

How to Live Richly on Just $40,000 a Year

Danny Kofke is a special education teacher in Atlanta. Married with two young daughters, Danny recently wrote A Simple Book of Financial Wisdom: Teach Yourself (and Your Kids) How to Live Wealthy with Little Money. The title says it all. Here are his tips:

Advice for a Mom Trying to Reenter the Job Market

Kelly, 51, a mother of five who lives in the Midwest, wants to get back into the workforce after a 20-year absence -- a challenging prospect in today's weak hiring environment. But with the right focus and preparation, she can still transition from stay-at-home mom back to paid employee.

Video: One Immigrant's Path to the American Dream

The death of the American Dream has been greatly exaggerated -- just ask Sofiya Cherni. Since she arrived in North Dakota from the Ukraine 14 years ago, the 28-year-old has earned a college degree, found a good job, and bought and then paid off her first home -- by working hard, spending wisely, and keeping a sharp eye on the numbers.

Reverse Mortgage: Is It a Good Bet for You?

The reverse mortgage was invented to help seniors facing economic hardship access the equity in their homes. But these loan products are complicated, expensive and ripe for abuse, which lead a reader named Fred to ask DailyFinance's Laura Rowley for some advice. Here's what she told him:

Waiting to Inherit: Not a Sound 'Financial Plan'

An estimated two-thirds of baby boomer households will receive an inheritance at some point, with a median amount of $64,000, according to an AARP study. I recently received an email from a reader who has fallen deeply into debt in anticipation of her legacy -- and is now worried that her bailout may not be at hand:

Budgeting for Baby: Money Advice for New Parents

A pair of soon-to-be parents wrote DailyFinance's Laura Rowley looking for "a good technique for budgeting with a newborn or just budgeting period." With the cost of raising a child just to 17 estimated at more than $250,000, they're smart to be thinking about those money issues early.

Learn How to Avoid a College Credit Card Catastrophe

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How to Finance Home Repairs If You Have No Equity

Financial advice columnist Laura Rowley recently received an email from a homeowner who had negotiated a successful mortgage modification, but may end up as a short-sale candidate anyway -- because she can't finance home repairs. Her options are limited, but possible solutions do exist.

How Much Risk Should You Take in Your Portfolio?

Determining your risk tolerance before you invest is a lot like choosing a delivery plan for the birth of your child. When the contractions start, even the best-laid plans can go right out the window, because it's impossible to predict how you'll feel watching a chunk of your savings evaporate until it happens.

Easterlin Paradox a myth?

I am in shock. For years, my view of society has been shaped in large part by the Easterlin Paradox, the conclusion drawn from a study done in the...