Color of Money: Get rid of the clutter from both your real house and your financial house

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- If you are tired of the clutter in your life, it’s time to do something about it.

From now until the end of January, I’m encouraging people to clean both their real house and their financial house. It’s the 2017 #NoDebtNoMess Color of Money Challenge. I’ve made a video to explain the challenge, at

...Read more

Color of Money: It’s time to assess the mess

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- This is it. This is the year you will get your house in order. You will clear away the clutter. You will get rid of debt. Your home and your finances will get the special attention they need.

And I’ll help you along the way. This is the first week of the 21-day #NoDebtNoMess Color of Money Challenge. In a previous column, I laid...Read more

Color of Money: Declutter your debt and your dwelling in the #NoDebtNoMess Challenge

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- We are still in that time of the new year when we make promises to ourselves.

I love the opportunity for a fresh start. I think everyone does. And this year, I have a new challenge for you.

In previous years, I’ve encouraged people to do a 21-day financial fast in which they couldn’t spend money on anything that wasn’t a ...Read more

Color of Money: This year, resolve to take a closer look at your retirement account

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- A new year gives you a chance to develop new habits.

For 2017, may I recommend this resolution? I will learn more about my retirement account.

With that in mind, I asked author William A. Birdthistle to answer some reader questions left over from a recent online discussion. His book “Empire of the Fund: The Way We Save Now,” ...Read more

Color of Money: For 2017, consider the ‘Wisdom of Frugality’

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Given the number of multimillionaires tapped for Cabinet positions under President-elect Donald Trump, I wonder if frugality will soon be considered un-American.

Trump rallied to victory in November with unapologetic boasting of his wealth. He is the personification of conspicuous consumption.

But throughout history, philosophers...Read more

Color of Money: Are your financial habits in tune with your values?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- We don’t do enough thinking about our finances.

I’m not talking about financial anxieties. You think a lot about your debts. They keep you up at night. If you’re married, they might cause a lot of fights.

You’re concerned that there’s not much in your retirement account, if you even have one. Your children’s grades or...Read more

Color of Money: Ten news stories that offer financial lessons

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- There’s a reason you have a rearview mirror in your car. You have to see what’s behind you.

It’s the same thing when it comes to your money, and that’s why I’ve looked back at what I consider some of the most important money stories that can impact people’s finances.

Here’s my countdown of the top 10 financial ...Read more

Color of Money: Changing the conversation on your year-end financial checklist

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- What financial power moves do you plan before the year ends?

Need some suggestions? You’ve no doubt seen some of these real headlines or ones that are very similar:

-- 10 Money Moves to Make Before Year End

-- 7 Financial Moves to Make Before 2017

-- 10 Ways to End 2016 on a Financial High Note

-- End of Year Countdown: ...Read more

Color of Money: Don’t add to the holiday drama by gift-giving with ulterior motives

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- In this season of generosity, you want to give the perfect present, right?

Or maybe, you don’t.

Research by Deborah Cohn, a marketing professor at the New York Institute of Technology, describes what many recipients have long suspected. Some people purposefully select gifts with the aim of sending a message. And when their gift...Read more

Your Story of Santa

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- In my house, there is still a Santa.

My children know. They are 16, 18 and 21, and they’ve known since they were in grade school that Santa is a fantasy and that their presents arrive not on a sleigh but in the trunk of our car.

But because I believe in the spirit of Santa, they still indulge me when I ask them what Kris ...Read more

The True Meaning of Christmas?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- To be an evolved grinch is to understand the true meaning of Christmas.

Yet every time I hear people label someone a grinch, I suspect they don’t really comprehend the full message of the Grinch’s story. People instead focus on the character from early in the animated TV special about the mean old “Stink Stank Stunk” Mr. ...Read more

Don't Take the Pain of Being Disinherited to Your Grave

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Not leaving people money can hurt.

Several readers, pulling from their own experiences, asked that I rethink my view that parents have no obligation to leave an inheritance to non-disabled adult children. An inheritance is a gift not a right, I wrote.

The column elicited so much feedback that I thought I’d share a sample of the...Read more

Color of Money: Which gift cards will get you the biggest hugs?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- All I want to give or get for Christmas is cash. And if you’re honest, deep down, that’s what you’re thinking when someone asks you what you want.

“Please, just give me the money so I can buy what I really want -- or need,” you’d like to say. “Or pay a bill.”

But that isn’t polite or politically correct for ...Read more

Color of Money: Don’t let your parents guilt trip you into bailing them out

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- They took care of you. Now it’s your turn. But what if your parents, whom you feel obligated to care for, are bad money managers? What if their spending habits are likely to bring you down financially? Do you still spend to save them?

This is the dilemma for two readers who asked for my help during a recent online ...Read more

Should you boycott the president-elect’s corporate empire?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Boycotts have long been a way for consumers to voice their discontent.

If money walks, policies or business practices sometimes change.

But would a boycott work against President-elect Donald Trump, who has angered many people by his actions and politics and who has a vast corporate empire that could create conflicts of ...Read more

Color of Money: This holiday season, use your smartphone to spend less

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- If I can’t stop you from the spending madness that is about to take place, at least be smart about it by using your smartphone to spend less.

For years, I’ve doled out tips on safe holiday spending: Set a budget. Make a list. And cut people loose if you’re stretched financially.

But the Black Friday and Cyber Monday ...Read more

Color of Money: Learn how mutual funds work. They could be the key to the retirement you want.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Financial planners used to talk about funding your senior years by using the metaphor of a three-legged stool.

It consisted of Social Security, a pension and personal savings.

With fewer companies offering pensions these days, that retirement stool is now more like a bicycle.

And if you consider the strain on Social ...Read more

Color of Money: Trump’s election does not bode well for the CFPB

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- President-elect Donald Trump campaigned as a champion of the financially stressed middle class. To see how true he is to his word, watch how he handles the direction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The agency was created as part of Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010, which was passed in response to ...Read more

Color of Money: Some financial 'house rules' might help you and your spouse be a winning team

Business / The Color of Money /

EDITORS -- Michelle Singletary is taking a one-column vacation. Her next column will move Thursday, Nov. 10, for release Sunday, Nov. 13.

WASHINGTON -- I'm feeling like the Cubs right now.

In my win column: 25 years of wedded bliss.

And, given all the acrimony during this election season, couldn't you use a story about a man and woman in ...Read more

Color of Money: A couple of things our next president can do to help the economy

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I voted early. I'll be out of the country on Election Day, so I wanted to make sure my vote was counted. But as I made my selection, my heart was heavy.

I'm concerned about how the outcome will impact the economy. Readers have been asking me what I think about the candidates' economic plans. I have stayed silent because I didn't ...Read more

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