I know fans of the holiday classic, "It's A Wonderful Life," are all bitterly disappointed that plans for a sequel have been viciously quashed. We were all hoping for an update on how the Baileys of Bedford Falls have navigated the Red Scare, … [Read More...]
My new book from Penguin/Portfolio has gotten three very good reviews in the publishing trades. And no, these weren't all written by my mother. The reviews include: Publishers Weekly: Said the book’s advice and approach is better than Suze … [Read More...]
I promised readers of my spectacularly well-reviewed book, “The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese,” that I’d post the recipes I mentioned in the book, especially … [Read More...]
Once again, Funny Money has been selected as one of the best humor columns in the country by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. For a personal finance writer, this is something like being the world's tallest midget, since I don't get a lot … [Read More...]
THE LATEST COLUMN:
Lottery bucks just a drop in the Oceans 16
Forget the Rolls-Royces, lottery winners — you’re keeping your Chevys.
The news that 16 Ocean County, N.J. county workers are splitting a third of the $448 million Powerball Jackpot conjures visions of “The Beverly Hillbillies” meets “Jersey Shore,” as the winners go on a Garden State shopping spree.
After taking the lump sum option and forking over taxes, the “Oceans 16” will each get about $3.8 million. And while it’s clearly not chump change, that $3.8 million won’t last long if you start spending like Snooki at a tanning parlor.
On the scale that defines richness, a couple of million doesn’t get you even remotely in the vicinity of “Unbelievably Rich.” You won’t even be able to check the box next to “Fabulously Rich” or even plain old “Filthy Rich.” The best you can hope for is eking your way up to “Frayed Leather Elbow Patches Rich.”
No ponies on the poop deck
“In terms of dramatically increasing your lifestyle and providing all kinds of luxuries, that will be short-lived,” warns Marilyn Capelli Dimitroff, a certified financial planner who runs Capelli Financial Services in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
“If you’re 35 or 40 years old and your life expectancy is another 50 years — MORE
THE PREVIOUS COLUMN:
I’ll pay extra for the backpack that WON’T sing
Parenting can be an assault on the senses, from the effluvia of the diaper pail to the torture of bare feet on a rug strewn with Legos. But nowhere does a parent suffer more than in the musical assault of the Childhood Industrial Complex.
When I was a child, Disney movies featured scores by Stravinsky and songs from Louis Prima and Peggy Lee. But when I had a child, I got Billy Joel singing “Why Should I Worry” from Oliver & Company — over and over. And over.
As long as I live — and no matter how hard I try — I’ll never forget that he’s got “street savoir faire” which —in a just world — would be a painfully debilitating venereal disease.
A song in my backpack
Parents today have it even worse, thanks to Dora The Explorer and her entourage, including her singing backpack. Let’s sample of “The Backpack Song,” with its scintillating lyrics: “Backpack! Backpack! Backpack! Backpack!”
It ain’t Gershwin but it’s timely. Back-to-school season is in full swing and every kid needs a backpack, plus more. The National Retail Federation estimates average spending of $634.78 per family this year. And with backpacks going for $40 or more, many families need help.
That’s where several charities come in, from — MORE