Our blog has moved! Find new financial tips, money management hacks and helpful personal stories on the Mission: Dollars and Cents Blog , now live on the FINRED website.

We all like to be around people like ourselves. It’s human nature. The more we have in common with others, the easier it is to communicate. The same goes for financial institutions. We want our financial institution to know what products and services we want. This is what gives rise to a type of bank called a niche bank. Niche banks focus on a specific target market and studies their needs and wants. For example, if you are retired and travel around the country in a recreational vehicle, you will probably have a different set of banking needs than the…

Life used to be really simple. I don’t remember when it was simple, but I guess it’s true, because people say it all the time. I do know that it is more complicated now than it used to be. We understand when we need a car, we either lease it or take out a loan if we can’t buy it for cash. And we know most landlords want a signed lease instead of a month-to-month rental. …

Should you run? Play dead? Make yourself look big? Get out the pepper spray? These are the options you have to decide on when facing a bear quickly and wisely. If you rely on your lizard brain, you will probably turn and run. If you researched the subject before you ventured into bear country, you could plan the best move — play dead if it is a grizzly and fight back if it is a black bear — according to the National Park Service. In any event, you’d be better off if you did some research before you came in…

I really wanted to buy it. It was new, shiny, fun and expensive. It was a “want,” but not a “need.” And I didn’t have any money on me. The salesperson said, “No problem. We have a program for that. We call it ‘Buy now — Pay later.’” Great, I thought. I want it. I can have it now. I don’t have to think about whether I really need it, and I don’t have to save for it.

My lizard brain said, “Don’t overthink this. Get it now.” My mouth was ready to say, “OK, I’ll take it. Where do…

I use my credit card for everything, because I like to fly for free. I also pay the entire balance a couple of times per month and have not paid any credit card interest in over 30 years.

However, the credit score algorithms were treating me the same as if I was carrying a balance and paying interest on it every month. In other words, my score was lower than it should be.

Your credit score is affected most by your payment history, which makes up 35% of the score. The second most influential factor in raising or lowering your…

When my wife and I got married 37 years ago, we took a week-long honeymoon which cost the better part of our savings. I know, I know. But we were young and starry-eyed. The day after we returned and started back into real life again, I was notified by phone that I had just been laid off. My wife was at work, and so I called to give her the good and bad news. Good news: I don’t have to do business travel anymore. Bad news: I have no job. It was a good thing the marriage was official. …

Most people don’t realize that when they spend money, they also activate the same area of your brain as when they feel physical pain. Subscription services and auto-billing are the leaks in your financial plan that you don’t pay attention to.

Automatic subscription payments take away the “pain of paying.” Less pain is a good thing, right? Well, not always. Pain is a signal from the body to tell the brain that something bad is happening. Can you imagine the damage to your hand if you didn’t know when you were touching a hot stove? …

My wife and I recently retired. The other day our daughter asked us what she and her husband should be doing to retire comfortably when their time comes around. We had not thought about it in a while but started giving her some strategies we used.

The first thing we told her was to make sure they contribute as much as they can afford to their IRA and 401k plans. Especially since they both have a company match. The more years they have to let their investments grow, the more comfortable their retirement will be.

She responded, “Blah, blah, blah…

I’m really a patient guy. Everybody tells me so. But sometimes my patience is tested to the brink. Last week, I was standing in line at the grocery store. I was running a little late, but no problem. There was just one person ahead of me, and the cashier was scanning her last item. Then cashier said, “That will be $23.52.”

I guess that was a surprise to the customer because only at that point did she start to search her massively huge purse. After a while, she located her CHECKBOOK. I am also a really polite guy, so I…

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