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Four Tips for Planning a Career Change

 
Four Tips for Planning a Career Change Changing careers can be rewarding for many reasons, but career transitions don’t always go smoothly. Your career shift may take longer than expected, or you may find yourself temporarily out of work if you need to go back to school or can’t immediately find a job. Consider these four tips to help make the financial impact of the transition easier.
 

1. Do your homework

Before you quit your current job, make sure that you clearly understand the steps involved in a career move, including the financial and personal consequences. How long will it take you to transition from one career to the next? What are the job prospects in your new field? How will changing careers affect your income and expenses in the short and long term? Will you need additional education or training? Will your new career require more or fewer hours? Will you need to move to a different city or state? Is your spouse/partner on board? Continue reading

How can I safely shop online this holiday season?

 

How can I safely shop online this holiday season?Shopping online is especially popular during the holiday season, when many people prefer to avoid the crowds and purchase gifts with a few clicks of a mouse. However, with this convenience comes the danger of having your personal and financial information stolen by computer hackers.
 
 
Before you click, you might consider the following tips for a safer online shopping experience.
 
 
Pay by credit instead of debit. Credit card payments can be withheld if there is a dispute, but debit cards are typically debited quickly. In addition, credit cards generally have better protection than debit cards against fraudulent charges. Continue reading

It’s Complicated: Money and Happiness

 

It's Complicated: Money and HappinessDoes more wealth lead to more happiness? Researchers have tackled this question for decades, and although the results have differed, one fact is certain: The relationship between money and happiness–or “well-being,” as many researchers put it–is complicated.

 

Think before you spend

In their book, Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, Professors Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton summarize their own and others’ research. What they found is that it’s not necessarily how much you make that matters to overall happiness (although that certainly contributes), but what you do with your money. They boiled down the findings to five “key principles of happy money.”
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How can I try to manage the impact of an interest rate hike?

 
How can I try to manage the impact of an interest rate hike?With higher interest rates a distinct possibility in 2015, you may want to think about whether the bond portion of your portfolio is positioned appropriately given your time horizon and risk tolerance. One factor you might consider is which types of bonds may be most vulnerable to a rate hike.

 
Some investors forget that a bond’s principal value may fluctuate with market conditions. When interest rates rise, longer-term bonds may feel a greater impact than those with shorter maturities. When interest rates are rising, bond buyers may be reluctant to tie up their money for longer periods if they anticipate higher yields in the future. The longer a bond’s term, the greater the risk that its yield may eventually be superseded by that of newer bonds.

 
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Should I be worried about a Federal Reserve interest rate hike?

 
Should I be worried about a Federal Reserve interest rate hike?After years of record-low interest rates, at some point this year the Federal Reserve is expected to begin raising its target federal funds interest rate (the rate at which banks lend to one another funds they’ve deposited at the Fed). Because bond prices typically fall when interest rates rise, any rate hike is likely to affect the value of bond investments.

 
However, higher rates aren’t all bad news. For those who have been diligent about saving and/or have kept a substantial portion of their portfolios in cash alternatives, higher rates could be a boon. For example, higher rates could mean that savings accounts and CDs are likely to do better at providing income than they have in recent years.
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