Kids and credit cards — and chainsaws

This post is from staff writer Richard Barrington. I recently did an analysis for CardRatings.com of some polling data on when parents thought was the right time to let their kids use a credit card. In thinking about this, it occurred to me that it’s a bit like asking when it’s OK to let a kid use a […]


This battle of the sexes has no winner

This post is from staff writer Richard Barrington. Information services company Experian recently released a study comparing the debt status of men and women. The angle Experian highlighted for their press release was that the study demonstrated that women are better at handling their finances then men, and indeed, the numbers bear this out to some degree. But that’s not […]


Don’t believe the bull

This post is from staff writer Richard Barrington. Have you got bull market fever yet? Its symptoms are giddiness and a blurring of reality. It happens when the stock market has had such a run of success that investors start to imagine just what kind of riches it would create if that run just kept […]


How should you choose a bank? Look in the mirror.

This post is from staff writer Richard Barrington. I was recently interviewed on the subject of online banking, and the reporter asked a very direct question: is online banking better than traditional branch-based banking? It’s a fair question given the information we were discussing. This included surveys from MoneyRates.com that show online banks consistently having higher […]


A bit of foolishness

This post is from staff writer Richard Barrington. I almost sprained my neck last week from shaking my head while reading stories about wild fluctuations in the value of the Bitcoin, an electronic currency. Bitcoins began 2013 with an exchange value of less than $20. Their value started to climb, and that climb accelerated until they […]


The battle between accountants and investment managers

This post is from staff writer Richard Barrington. I was recently invited to review an investment technique called “automated tax-loss harvesting.” It reminded me of the never-ending struggle for primacy between investment managers and accountants when it comes to portfolio management. By way of disclosure, I should note that I have never been an accountant, […]


The Elusive Goal of Financial Independence

I was having the “how much does it take” conversation with someone the other day. That’s always a tough one, but perhaps tougher than ever these days. The “how much does it take” conversation concerns how much money one needs to be financially secure. It’s always a tough call because of all the variables involved, […]


Are Savings Habits Generational?

One of the most disturbing long-term trends in personal finance is the steep decline in savings rates over the years. There is a distinct difference in how Americans save today and how they saved in past generations. This raises a couple key questions about the present and the future: Are savings habits a product of […]


The Challenge of Defining Wealth

What do you consider wealth? The other day I was a guest panelist for a regional NPR call-in show dealing with personal finance problems. One topic for discussion was the different value people put on living within their means and saving money. It was interesting hearing how far apart different people’s views are on this […]


Just How Tough is Today’s Economy?

My timing is terrible, but then, you can’t help when you’re born. I got out of college in the early 1980s, when the economy was struggling and jobs were hard to find. Things got better both for myself and the economy, and I spent much of the 1990s and early 2000s recruiting job candidates at […]