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Michelle Singletary


We, the anti-consumerists, are losing the battles to curtail the consumerism that drives America, especially during the holiday season. Again this year, major retailers are leaping over each other in an effort to be the first to open early on Thanksgiving Day – before you even have a chance to cut the apple pie. This trend has been building since 2011.Black Friday, the day…

Jacquelyn Atchley isn’t bitter. At least not anymore. But the 73-year-old retired Oklahoma resident certainly has the right to be angry. She lost $180,000 – all of her retirement savings – in a Ponzi scheme. A fellow Oklahoman, Brian McKye, defrauded 80 investors, many of them elderly, out of about $6 million, said Irving Faught, administrator of the Oklahoma Securities Co…

You've probably heard "to whom much is given, much is required." But when is the much you're giving too much? I received a plea from one single woman who felt guilty because she's decided to cut off her family from her bank account. . The background: The woman has been lending money to her parents and a brother. "These family members haven't lost jobs," she wrote. …

Every year I like to provide advice to college graduates.By the time I graduated, I had in place some pretty good money habits thanks to my grandmother, Big Mama. Because of her, I've made it my mission to pass on the financial wisdom she taught me.For college graduates this year, I offer an acronym to help manage your money. It's CASH.The "C" in CASH stands for cred…

My brother Ross recently died of complications from lung cancer. He was 40.Ross left a wonderful personal legacy. He was a good father, friend and coach. He was a dedicated educator who devoted his career to working with children with emotional, developmental and physical disabilities.But like many Americans, my brother failed to take care of his financial affair…

We know that most people get their health insurance coverage through their jobs or through a family member's employer.But a report just released by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute found that the percentage of the population with employment-based health benefits has been declining.Paul Fronstin, author of the report , said his research found that …

Come graduation time next month, there will be many grandparents many with student loans themselves -- sitting at the ceremonies for their grandchildren, who will leave college with their own education loans. Some in both groups will take those loans to their graves.The balance of student loans outstanding in the United States has been growing for years. Until the …

My oldest daughter just returned from touring several colleges she's interested in attending next year.My fingers are crossed that she likes one of my top favorites, North Carolina A&T in Greensboro. I'm also pulling for my alma mater, the University of Maryland, College Park, but she says it's too close to our home, about 17 miles away."You won't think it's too cl…

Surveys continue to conclude that consumers don't have the best grasp of personal finance issues.There are good intentions behind these surveys. Their purpose is to find out how to create financial literacy programs to help people understand the importance of saving and investing, the devastating results of taking on too much debt, and how to avoid becoming a vic…

For the last several years, the Internal Revenue Service has offered some relief for people having problems paying their taxes.This tax season, the IRS has specifically targeted the unemployed and small-business owners for help through its "Fresh Start" initiative. The agency is also making a change to its installment agreement program, doubling the dollar amount i…

I have never been one to take risks on my taxes, but there are some folks who boldly go where most of us would never even try to go.For the second year, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants has surveyed its members to come up with a list of the most outrageous tax deductions people fearlessly try to claim that were smacked down by their accountants…

We've become a society that shares too much of our personal information -- and all that voluntary transparency makes us vulnerable to crooks.When companies fail to protect our privacy, we are rightfully upset. Javelin Strategy & Research, in its latest report about identity theft, says about 36 million people were notified of a data breach in 2011.Having your inf…

Several weeks ago, I purchased some videos online. Then I noticed that whenever I did an Internet search about anything, an ad for that same video package and other similar workout videos kept popping up. It was spooky.The whole thing reminded me of two scenes from the Tom Cruise movie "Minority Report." In one, as Cruise is walking through a mall, various hologr…

Bank overdraft fees drive me crazy. It's just wasted money. Sure, overdraft protection is a good backup for the times you miscalculate, but sometimes the fees run into the hundreds of dollars a month and are the most burdensome on the people least able to afford them.Well, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau intends to do something about this. The bureau is …

I've taken away my 16-year-old daughter's laptop. I've confiscated her cellphone.However, I've never considered destroying these items to punish her for not doing her chores, for being disrespectful or for being ungrateful. But that's what one father did. Tommy Jordan shot his daughter's laptop -- nine times -- after he found a profanity-laced tirade she had writ…