Who Says Personal Finance Software is Dead?

With the proliferation of online money-management-software-packagemoney-management tools, many consumers assume financial desktop software is defunct and worth burying in the graveyard of outdated computer products. A number of experts, however, say desktop products are arguably more important now than ever for keeping your financial information secure.

Storing your sensitive information online can put you at risk, says Jill Duffy, a writer and software analyst at PCMag.com. Duffy says websites that don’t offer “bank-level” encryption and security features may be vulnerable to hackers. Consequently, managing your money offline can help prevent your finances and identity from being compromised. And thanks to a selection of sophisticated software, tasks like creating a budget, strengthening investing strategies and saving for retirement have never been easier – as long as you know which programs to use and how best to use them.

Click here to see four software programs that can help you take more control of your money:

Advertisements

What Happens When Money Secrets and Marriage Collide?

The Beatles may have told people all stock-footage-young-woman-gesturing-for-quiet-or-shushingthey need is love, but many couples who have experienced monetary conflicts in their marriage would disagree.

Surveys over the past decade consistently point to financial arguments as a leading cause of divorce. However, money habits lying beneath the surface of a relationship can create as much—if not more—financial friction.

According to a recent poll by CreditCards.com, the majority of women would terminate a relationship if they discovered their significant other was keeping secrets about their money habits—especially if those secrets had negative consequences for the family’s finances. In fact, the study found women see a partner’s inability to pay routine bills as off-putting as discovering they have a criminal record.

Click here to read why couples don’t always talk truthfully about their finances, and click here to watch a Google Hangout discussing the story.

Boomerang Kids vs. Parents: How to Minimize Conflict

Joe Liebeskind interned with the Young-Adult-Leaving-Home560x350New Jersey Nets (now called the Brooklyn Nets) in the summer of his junior year of college. At the end of the internship, his coordinator said a job would be waiting for him once he finished school. But the diploma he received in December 2008 wasn’t the golden ticket he thought it would be—bad timing meant the team couldn’t hire him.

After graduating from Pennsylvania State University, Joe moved back in with his parents in Hillsdale, N.J., for three-and-a-half years. However, his decision to live at home wasn’t a result of not landing a job with the basketball team. “I was always planning to move home for at least a year to try and [save] some money, as to not be living paycheck to paycheck with the cost of rent,” he says.

Many of today’s college graduates follow Joe’s path. An estimated 3 in 10 young adults have moved back in with their parents in recent years, according to a Pew Research Center survey released in March. Saving money is their chief concern, as nearly 80 percent of those currently living at home say they don’t have enough money put away to lead the kind of independent life they want.

Many of today’s graduates—known as “boomerang kids”—are turning to their parents for monetary support. They’ve returned to their childhood homes, hoping that living under their parents’ roof will enable them to find a job and save enough money to move out.However, moving back home can lead to arguments between kids and their parents and can potentially damage their relationship in the long term. Parents who prepare for these challenges before greeting their kids at the front door have a better chance of avoiding these hardships. Click here to read the article.

Why Most High Schoolers Don’t Know How to Manage Their Money

High school students are studying up 5474825330_4470fa5928_zon calculus, advanced chemistry, and world history, but most aren’t learning fundamental money lessons to help them financially navigate the real world.

Such is the case with Jessica Pollack’s son Adam, an 18-year-old who graduated in May from Los Alamitos High School in Orange County, California. Much to Jessica’s chagrin, the school doesn’t require its students to take a personal-finance class to graduate. “It’s a top-rated school, but there is no personal-finance requirement, which is just astonishing to me,” Jessica says. “There’s a technology requirement that’s statewide. As a technology teacher, I appreciate that, but these kids are exposed to computers and technology all the time. Yet when it comes to buying the computer and financing it, they’re clueless.”

Like Jessica’s son, the majority of children will graduate from high school without being taught basic money lessons, including how to create a budget or write a check. For an article for U.S. News & World Report, I explored why only 13 states require high school students to take a personal-finance class to graduate.

Wallet 101: What to Keep and What to Take Out

Wallets can be pesky business. The last thing
you want to have is a George Costanza moment—your wallet so stuffed to the brim with receipts that one big gust of wind will send its contents flying through the streets.

A poorly managed wallet is also a huge security risk. You might be carrying contents around that someone could use to easily steal your identity, if your wallet were to end up in the wrong hands. Identity theft was the No. 1 consumer complaint last year for the 12th year in a row, proving more bothersome to consumers than debt collectors, imposter scams, and shady credit-repair companies, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

To protect yourself, make sure what you’re carrying around in your wallet doesn’t pose a security risk. For an article for U.S. News & World Report, I spoke to Denisa Tova, a certified financial planner based in Denver, and Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments based in Chicago, about what’s OK to keep in your wallet and what you should remove. Click here to read what they said.