Staff Directory 6370638

Kara McGuire

Columnist | Your Money
Recent content from Kara McGuire
Open book with cloud and falling dollar sign over blue background

Two books offer insights about managing time and space

Pocketbook insights found in two recent books about improving time management and decluttering a home
College fund savings

Kara McGuire: Saving for college on the six-year plan

Paper family of three with budget items

McGuire: Reviewing a family's mixed financial record

Some of the 2014 financial goals were no sweat, but inertia wasn't kind to aspirations to review our insurance portfolio or up our game when it came to comparison shopping.

The list of scams is a mile long

Effective, low-cost ways to monitor credit accounts

piggy bank holiday christmas istockphoto

McGuire: Let the ghost of Christmas past guide your holiday budget

Budgeting for the holidays may bring out Scrooge-like tendencies, but be realistic by looking at past spending, and use rewards programs as holiday currency.
istockphoto shredded paper in waste basket

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.
Cost isn’t just about money. Time, hassle and health are considerations, too.

Birthday freebies aren't always free

Before accepting, weigh whether you really want the product and what's motivating a company to offer it.
300 dpi John Alvin color illustration of person holding umbrella of storms overhead on an otherwise sunny day; for the concept of pessimism or negativ

Life insurance: An act of love?

Fewer households own individual life insurance policies these days. And there are plenty of reasons why.
Culling your credit cards can be tricky

Culling your credit cards can be tricky

If you're paying off balances monthly, it may not matter how many you hold.
200 dpi 42p x 72p Tim Ludwig color illustration of working mother juggling child, groceries and cleaning in front of a clock. The Wichita Eagle 1999 W

The one thing trickier to manage than money: Time

give up to work

Kara McGuire: Best to get taxes done early

Tax time presents a telling picture of your money situation.
Kristin Harad, center, a financial adviser, consults with Eric and Karen Gordon about their financial future as young parents, in San Francisco, March

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, personal finance columnist for Star Tribune.

Kara McGuire: Seven years of money lessons

Parting words from the Star Tribune's personal finance columnist.

When that gift card is just what you didn't want

I receive at least one gift card each Christmas. Fortunately, the givers are savvy selectors, picking cards for stores or services that I can't wait to use.
FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2009 file photo, signs on a US Bank branch in Omaha, Neb. are shown Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009. U.S. Bancorp said Wednesday, Jan.

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.
300 dpi Tim Lee illustration of hands dropping or catching money; can be used with stories about fundraisers. Raleigh News and Observer 2010<p>

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:
Christi Rowan

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:
An Ohio man has been charged in the rape of a 10-year-old girl who had to travel to Indiana to undergo an abortion, a case that's been decried by Pres

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.
Steve Leuthold, founder and chief investment officer, The Leuthold Group

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
The McDonough family paid off $123,000 in debt and $25,000 in medical expenses in just 2.5 years. Here they are with their kids Robbie, 10, Maggie, 12

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.
Cinda Baxter, who started the 3/50 project to promote the buy-local movement talked with Doug Huemoeller, owner of Kitchen window in his store in Calh

Take your money to town

Why I'll do more holiday shopping at small businesses this year.
Roseville, Mn. Friday 11/26/10 Black Friday early shopping. These people waited in line for hours in below zero windchill to shop for bargains at the

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.
300 dpi Sharon Okada color illustration of an ATM card with the words "surcharge free" at the top cutting in half an ATM receipt that includes a trans

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.
Black Mortarboard and dollar, concept of education finance

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.''
Kara McGuire column, children ID theft, 10-23-2011

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.


Here's how to contact the three credit bureaus:
for Kara McGuire's column 10/16/2011

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.
Students learned about how education level influenced career opportunities and earning potential in an exercise that used marshmallows and toothpicks

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

Women minding the money

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

Women and money

A home for sale is posted at a reduced price in Palo Alto, Calif., Thursday, June 24, 2010. Mortgage rates fell this week to the lowest level on recor

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.


If you're looking into a refinance, here are five things to take into account:
Carol Stack

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.
Ron Schuman, a retiree in Champlin, checked on the market. "It's one of those things that if it's not within your control, what can you do?"

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.
Jack Alexander and his business teacher Candace Lee at the New York Stock Exchange.
Photo: SIFMA

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:
FILE -- Richard Cordray, the former attorney general of Ohio, in Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 22, 2010. President Barack Obama said Sunday that he would nomi

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.
In this photo taken Tuesday, June 28, 2011, Monica Knight, a dental hygienist and mother of two, shows her coupon binder at her home in Boise, Idaho.

Time to cool it on the coupon craze

Who doesn't like to save a buck. But at what cost?
Jaki Gardner, assistant commissioner of insurance at the Minnesota Department of Commerce, sat in her office in St. Paul, Minn. on Thursday, June 23,

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

Bankruptcies down 8% in the first half of the year

In Minnesota and nationwide bankruptcies have fallen against a backdrop of a more fiscally prudent consumer.

What's your best advice for achieving financial freedom?

I posted that question on Twitter. Here are some of the responses:
Getting into the prepaid card business may seem like a strange move for American Express, known for issuing credit cards to consumers with good credit

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?
Greg Page

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.
300 dpi 4 col x 8.75 in / 196x222 mm / 667x756 pixels Ana Lense Larrauri color illustration of the cost of a wedding; bride and groom prepare to kiss

Money to-dos when saying 'I do'

You've found your match. But are you a financial fit? Time to talk money.
It's time for college graduates to get on top of their finances.

Graduates: Welcome to the real world

Insurance, income, investing and loans. It's time for college graduates to get on top of their finances.
300 dpi 5 col x 11.25 in / 276x286 mm / 940x972 pixels Michelle Hazelwood color illustration of graduating seniors tossing their caps into the air. Th

Tuition tips from those in the know

Who better to ask about college costs than graduates?


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:
Stylists gathered in Tom Kuhn's Minneapolis studio to participate in the Stylist coach's program to increase their sales.

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 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 shouldn't be hard to avoid.

ATM fees (and how to avoid them)

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


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:

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?'
David Miller illustration of Uncle Sam frantically trying to finish his taxes before the deadline.

Kara McGuire: Plan now for fewer tax-time tears

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

Why a stolen e-mail address isn't a crisis

I've learned that my e-mail address has been compromised at least three times in this Epsilon mess. But I'm not losing sleep.

Debit card rewards: By the numbers

Debit card issuers that offered a loyalty program in 2009, up from 53 percent in 2008.
FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2009 file photo, a customer swipes a MasterCard debit card through a machine while checking-out at a shop in Seattle. Bankers a

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.