Staff Directory 10645396

Kara McGuire

Columnist | Your Money
Kara McGuire writes a Sunday column on personal finance, investing and consumer issues.
Recent content from Kara McGuire
McGuire: Sorting through the flood of credit card offers

McGuire: Sorting through the flood of credit card offers

Beware of the resurgence of credit card offers in the mail. Some may be good deals, but some can be deceptively risky.
The one thing trickier to manage than money: Time

The one thing trickier to manage than money: Time

  I’m fine with the fact that there’s only so much money. That there’s only so much time? Well, that’s another story. I’m continually struggling…
Kara McGuire: Best to get taxes done early

Kara McGuire: Best to get taxes done early

Tax time presents a telling picture of your money situation.
A wealth of options for money advice

A wealth of options for money advice

The financial planning model has been shifting in recent years as new entrants, new pricing structures and new technologies evolve to offer advice to the masses.
Kara McGuire: Seven years of money lessons

Kara McGuire: Seven years of money lessons

Parting words from the Star Tribune's personal finance columnist.
Smart savings tools for the new year

Smart savings tools for the new year

If you're like many Americans, saving more tops your resolutions list. Here's a look at some incentives to keep savers on track.
Making a plan to make a difference

Making a plan to make a difference

How to craft a thoughtful charitable giving plan.

Is your charitable giving plan upside down?

Robyn Schein of the Minneapolis Foundation says many people tend to have their charitable priorities all mixed up, supporting other people's passions through workplace fundraisers and charitable events before they fund the causes or issues they care about most. Here's a breakdown:
March 15: Rowan gets 14 months and a scolding

March 15: Rowan gets 14 months and a scolding

Judge said she hopes Hecker's ostensible wife finds respect for law while behind bars.

Debt-settlement diligence

Nonprofit foreclosure counselors can help homeowners postpone sheriff's sales and navigate the loan modification process. Nonprofit financial counselors also can meet with strapped consumers to explore debt-payoff options. Knowing that, if you're still looking at for-profit companies in those fields, or hoping to hire a lawyer specializing in debt-settlement or foreclosures, consider:
Lawyer loopholes can strangle consumers

Lawyer loopholes can strangle consumers

Laws intended to protect financially strapped consumers from greedy scammers have tightened since the recession. But there are still ways for bad actors to find ways to keep doing business.
A grizzly truth: Veteran money manager is scared of the market

A grizzly truth: Veteran money manager is scared of the market

But Steve Leuthold says it's the time to buy. He steps back from the fray and offers words of wisdom learned from a 50 year career.

Steve Leuthold

Age: 74
Hard work pays off

Hard work pays off

The McDonough family of Lindstrom found a financial program that motivated them and never looked back.

What is Financial Peace University?

Created by best-selling author and radio show host Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace University is a 13-week program offered mostly by churches to help congregation members pay off debt, create a budget, save for emergencies and build toward tithing 10 percent.
Take your money to town

Take your money to town

Why I'll do more holiday shopping at small businesses this year.
Planning will help your holiday spending

Planning will help your holiday spending

There are lots of ways to avoid running up your credit cards during the holiday season - if you plan ahead.
With debit card fees history, what's next?

With debit card fees history, what's next?

Big banks want to make up lost revenue, blaming regulatory changes. They've already got a few ideas of what they might do.
The alchemy of college price calculations

The alchemy of college price calculations

Colleges are now required to have a price calculator online. But when it come to paying for higher education, nothing is simple.

Tips for using a net price calculator

They can be hard to find. Start by looking on the financial aid or admissions pages. If your search for a "net price calculator'' comes up empty, try looking for a "financial aid estimator'' or a "college cost calculator.''
McGuire: How to protect your kids from ID theft

McGuire: How to protect your kids from ID theft

Misappropriation of a minor's Social Security number can be hard to detect through credit checks.

CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR CHILD'S IDENTITY?

Here's how to contact the three credit bureaus:
McGuire: The high price of loyalty

McGuire: The high price of loyalty

Why some businesses charge longtime customers more than new ones, and what we can do about it.
Think twice before saving for college

Think twice before saving for college

Many parents need to set aside funds for retirement and other long-term needs.
Schools raise the bar for financial education

Schools raise the bar for financial education

From required courses to college credit, Minnesota districts are finding ways to teach teens about money.

Time for a retirement re-do?

You can switch your IRA to a Roth IRA and back again with this forgiving strategy.

The basics on Roth conversions and recharacterizations

A Roth conversion: When you take an IRA and convert it into a Roth, paying taxes today with the assumption that waiting to pay taxes…

Women minding the money

Nowadays, women increasingly regard themselves as their family's "chief financial officer."

Women and money

WOMEN AND MONEY • On average, women outlive men by three to four years. • Three in 10 women and two in 10 men age…
Reconsidering refinancing

Reconsidering refinancing

A down housing market can make it tougher to refinance a mortgage. Examine a way to jump the hurdles and evaluate whether refinancing makes sense.

TO REFI OR NOT TO REFI?

If you're looking into a refinance, here are five things to take into account:
The truth about saving for college

The truth about saving for college

Carol Stack thought most financial aid books weren't helpful to families. So she wrote her own.

'Crescendo of news' helps explain stock market's volatility

"I'm getting tired of this," said David Chalupnik, head of equities for Nuveen Asset Management, when I asked him to explain the latest series of erratic stock market moves.
Recession II? Investors watch, wait

Recession II? Investors watch, wait

Economists and average Minnesota citizens wonder if we're headed into the Great Recession, Part II.

3 buckets, 1 financial future

Budgets shouldn't just keep track of day-to-day spending. They should be a holistic tool that takes care of future goals too.
Young investor, sound advice

Young investor, sound advice

An essay winner from Plymouth started picking up lessons in investing early -- and is sharing the wisdom. Plymouth 18-year-old wins national contest for his essay on investing.

Winner's top five tips for investors

Here are essay winner Jack Alexander's five tips for budding investors:

Consumers on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a 1,012-person telephone poll in July about the new bureau. The findings:
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau celebrates its first birthday; consumers have much to celebrate

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau celebrates its first birthday; consumers have much to celebrate

Finally there's a sharp-toothed government watchdog for consumers, on the lookout for the types of shenanigans that contributed to the financial crisis
McGuire: More investors turning toward dividend-paying stocks

McGuire: More investors turning toward dividend-paying stocks

When interest rates get too low, eyes turn to equity income.

Stable Minnesota dividend payers

The following nine Minnesota companies have conservative payout ratios and a history of at least 25 years of consistently increasing dividends. Dividend yield is annual dividends per share as a percentage of the share price. Payout ratio is the percentage of the firm's earnings that are paid to shareholders as dividends.
Time to cool it on the coupon craze

Time to cool it on the coupon craze

Who doesn't like to save a buck. But at what cost?
Haitian insurance badly shaken

Haitian insurance badly shaken

Jaki Gardner, a career insurance regulator, took her expertise from Minnesota to Haiti to help rebuild its insurance system post-earthquake.

Coupon etiquette

Want to use coupons without being rude? Here's a compilation of coupon dos and don'ts from Kara McGuire. Send your own tips to kmcguire@startribune.com.

What's your best advice for achieving financial freedom?

I posted that question on Twitter. Here are some of the responses:
Prepaid cards go mainstream

Prepaid cards go mainstream

Prepaid cards now appeal to the mainstream, as more Americans get used to living with less, or with blemished credit.

Preparing for prepaid cards

Curious about prepaid cards but concerned about fees?
Top leaders: Striving to have their companies reflect their values

Top leaders: Striving to have their companies reflect their values

But it takes many people devoted to a common goal, regardless of the title on their business cards, to be leaders and to make something great.
Money to-dos when saying 'I do'

Money to-dos when saying 'I do'

You've found your match. But are you a financial fit? Time to talk money.
Graduates: Welcome to the real world

Graduates: Welcome to the real world

Insurance, income, investing and loans. It's time for college graduates to get on top of their finances.
Feds redefine success at for-profit schools

Feds redefine success at for-profit schools

The U.S. Department of Education has issued new rules that require public and private colleges that offer career education to prove that they are preparing students for "gainful employment" or risk losing funding.
Tuition tips from those in the know

Tuition tips from those in the know

Who better to ask about college costs than graduates?

COLLEGE ADVICE FOR BUDDING SCHOLARS

Fidelity Investments asked college graduates to rank the importance of financial advice geared toward high school students hoping to attend college. Here's what the class of 2011 had to say:
McGuire: Cutting it on commission

McGuire: Cutting it on commission

A money course for hairstylists teaches principles that benefit commissioned employees from all sorts of fields.

Foreclosure questions?

To find out if your mortgage is a Fannie Mae loan, visit www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup or call 1-800-7FANNIE.

Dialing down the price of gas

If you have a car, you must buy gas. Here are some ways to pay less for fuel.
ATM fees (and how to avoid them)

ATM fees (and how to avoid them)

Wallet empty? You can get fee-free cash if you follow these steps.

ATM FEE SAMPLER

Here's a sampling of ATM fees from some of the largest banks and credit unions in Minnesota.

Tools to decipher the cost of college

Compare financial aid offers from various schools: apps.collegeboard.com/fincalc/compare_aid.jsp

Kara McGuire: Tips to pass the tuition test

Does your college financial aid award fall short? Don't be afraid to ask 'Is this it?'
Kara McGuire: Plan now for fewer tax-time tears

Kara McGuire: Plan now for fewer tax-time tears

Filing taxes is much easier if you don't wait to get organized.

Debit card rewards: By the numbers

Debit card issuers that offered a loyalty program in 2009, up from 53 percent in 2008.
Debit cards going on a diet

Debit cards going on a diet

Debit rewards programs are going under the knife. But customers can find rewards for doing business most everywhere they turn.

Teen employment, tough gig

Dwindling summer job opportunities make finding a position a difficult job.
How I got that job: Molly Watters

How I got that job: Molly Watters

Age: 22 Job: Merchandise planning business analyst for Target (started on June 9) Salary: $48,000 What do you do? As a merchandise planning business analyst,…
What you can do to deter ID theft

What you can do to deter ID theft

There are effective and low-cost ways to monitor your credit accounts.

IDENTITY THEFT BY THE NUMBERS

8.1 million -- The number of U.S. adult victims of identity fraud in 2010.

The number of Minnesotans who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit has been growing over the past several years. Here's a breakdown for the seven-county metro area:

The number of Minnesotans who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit has been growing over the past several years. Here's a breakdown for the seven-county metro area:

CARD Act mostly a consumer victory

Here's where we stand one year after the credit card reform went into effect.

Fair Isaac to cut 200 jobs, but it raises its forecast

Most of the layoffs take place outside of Minnesota; earnings guidance raised.

Love and money: Advice for keeping both

Expert advice on celebrating Valentine's Day in a way that pays dividends.

A December thaw as more consumers said, 'Charge it'

It's a sign that consumers are putting the thaw on spending freezes they implemented during the Great Recession.

Filing taxes? There's an app for that

TurboTax offers iPhone and Android application for 1040EZ users.

Fiduciary standard is a win

Investors should be heartened by news that a new standard for regulating financial advisers is closer to reality. However, it's not in place yet, so customers must remain vigilant and ask questions.

Bankruptcies up again in 2010 for Minnesotans

Job, mortgage woes led more residents to bankruptcy court. More Minnesotans struggling to pay the mortgage and live without a job are heading to bankruptcy court.
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