Six mistakes people make when giving to charity

Christmas donation, Concept of charityHere is a helpful rule of thumb for donating to charities this holiday season: Take your time.

People waste billions of dollars on inefficient, poorly run or downright fraudulent charities because they do not bother to research where their money is going.

And even donations to legitimate causes can be squandered by last-minute, impulsive or scattershot giving, said Daniel Borochoff, president and founder of nonprofit watchdog Charity Watch (

In my latest for Reuters, why you should carefully consider your holiday donations.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news


Today’s top story: How to protect your gift cards this holiday season. Also in the news: Getting the most out of your credit cards over the holidays, where to cash a check without paying high fees, and personal finance mythbusting. Why Gift Cards Aren’t As Secure As Your Credit Cards Protecting your presents. How to […]

Continue reading...

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news


Today’s top story: How being behind on your taxes could affect your travel plans. Also in the news: How to determine who you can claim as a dependent, financial steps to take when you’re on your own, and how to avoid costly credit card traps. Haven’t Paid Your Taxes? You May Need to Cancel Your […]

Continue reading...

Monday’s need-to-know money news


Today’s top story: Smart ways to use credit cards over the holidays. Also in the news: Personal finance tips people wish they’d know when they were younger, how to survive Black Friday, and steps you should take before the next financial crash. 5 Smart Ways to Use Credit Cards During the Holidays Protecting your money […]

Continue reading...

Q&A: Cashing mature savings bonds

Dear Liz: I have savings bonds that have achieved full face value. What should I do? Keep them indefinitely or cash them in to fund my Roth account or what? Am I correct that once they have matured, there’s no more money to be made off them? Answer: You are correct. Once savings bonds have […]

Continue reading...

Q&A: Social Security survivor’s benefits

Dear Liz: I am 64 and have been divorced over 22 years. My former husband passed away two years ago at the age of 62. Our marriage lasted more than 10 years and neither of us remarried. I went to the local Social Security office after he passed away, but the official there said I […]

Continue reading...

Q&A: Calculating capital gains and losses

Dear Liz: With my father’s recent passing, I received a substantial inheritance, much of it in the form of stocks and mutual funds. If I sell these assets, do I calculate the capital gains and losses based on the date I took possession of the assets? Or do I use their value on the date […]

Continue reading...

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Debunking retirement money myths. Also in the news: How to get zen about your finances, how to pick the best target date fund, amd what stock market volatility means for your student loans. 5 retirement money myths debunked Retirement mythbusting! 4 Zen Concepts That Will Improve Your Finances Self-awareness is key. 10 […]

Continue reading...

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Year-end tricks to boost your tax refund. Also in the news: Unstacking the deck for student loan borrowers, the most important mortgage documents you’ll sign, and why you shouldn’t raid your retirement savings to pay for the holidays. 5 Year-End Tricks to Boost Your Tax Refund Now’s the time to reduce your […]

Continue reading...

College scholarships aren’t free money


It is National Scholarship Month, which means high school seniors are being exhorted to scoop up free money for college. What they are often not told is that scholarships won from corporations, non-profits and other “outside” sources can reduce — dollar for dollar — the grants and cost-reducing financial aid they might get from colleges. […]

Continue reading...