Tuesday bits: How much risk can you stand?

Debt

Student debt now affects a staggering number of elderly Americans
The number of older Americans taking on student debt on behalf of their children and grandchildren has quadrupled in the past decade, with consumers over 60 now holding $66.7 billion in student loan debt, according to a new report by the Consumer…

Here’s the Average American’s Credit Card Debt — and How to Get Yours Under Control
According to a separate study from ValuePenguin (which found a similar average credit card debt of $5,700 per household), only 38.1% of all American households carry any credit card debt at all.

Your Money

When Credit Card Rewards Become Dangerous
As a credit card rewards expert and frequent traveler, I like to stay on top of the changes in the rewards industry. As part of the process, I belong to several online travel forums where people connect to share trip ideas and rewards strategies.

Warning: Don’t Do This When Buying a New Car
The other day I found myself on a car lot, testing driving a new-to-me car. I had mixed feelings about being there because up until a few days before, I had been driving the same old, reliable car for 12 years, and I really didn’t want to shell out money for new-ish vehicle. I wrote about my experience with that car in an article a few months back, so I won’t rehash everything here, but let’s just say that after racking up 235,000 miles on the odometer, my old car was ready for retirement.

60% of Americans Aren’t Prepared for an Unexpected Expense – Are You?
According to a recent Bankrate survey, almost six in 10 American adults couldn’t cover an unexpected expense in the $500-$1,000 range without borrowing the money or making sacrifices to their lifestyle by cutting other spending. Here’s the state of Americans’ emergency savings, and an action plan you could take if your savings isn’t where it should be.

Is Amazon Prime Worth $99 a Year?
It’s easy to see why Amazon wants people to sign up for its $99-a-year Prime program. Prime members in the United States are estimated to spend on average about $1,200 per year, compared to about $600 per year for non-members, according to data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). That makes the 65 million U.S. Prime members CIRP estimated the online retailer having in November 2016 worth the perks the company doles out to get people to join.

79% of Americans Favor Social Security Benefit Cuts, New Survey Shows
For many retired workers, Social Security is viewed as a vital source of monthly income. A majority of today’s retirees rely on Social Security to provide at least half of their monthly income, while a Gallup poll finds that greater than 8 in 10 baby boomers plan to rely on Social Security income to some degree when they eventually retire.

The Average American Got a $4,886 Tax Deduction by Doing This. Will You?
Tax season is almost here, and if you’re like most taxpayers, you’ll soon be looking high and low for ways to pay less to Uncle Sam — or to get a bigger refund. One way that most Americans can cut their tax bill and take a step forward in saving for retirement is to contribute to a traditional IRA. Indeed, the average taxpayer who took advantage of this tax break got a deduction of nearly $5,000. Yet only a tiny fraction of those who are eligible actually make those deductible contributions. Let’s look more closely at deducting contributions to traditional IRAs to see whether you could benefit from doing so.

Investing

Investing: How much risk can you stand?
The investing world is full of unknowns these days. The only certainty is that volatility will escalate, so be prepared for a few gut checks as the market zigs and zags.

6-Point Checklist for Making Sure You Can Afford to Invest
If you’re itching to start investing in the stock market, who could blame you? It’s where Warren Buffett and countless others have made much of their money, and it’s just about the best way to build wealth over the long term.

Personal Finance

Wells Fargo $250 New Checking Account Bonus
Wells Fargo has a $250 bonus offer for new checking account customers. You can open any consumer checking account except for Teen Checking. The prepaid Wells Fargo EasyPay® Card is not eligible. You must open the account from the special bonus page with a minimum opening deposit of $25 by February 17, 2017. (You can charge the opening deposit on a credit card.) Within 60 days of account opening, you must also do one of the following:

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America Merger: 10,000 Free Alaska Miles
As Virgin America and Alaska Airlines have closed on their merger/acquisition, they are moving towards merging the two frequent flier programs. If you were a Virgin America Elevate member as of December 5, 2016 and they haven’t found a matching Alaska Airlines profile for you, they should send you an e-mail offering you a welcome bonus of either 10,000 Alaska Airlines miles or a $100 off discount any Alaska-operated flight when you activate your new Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account.

Reminder: If Your Password Is “123456,” Change It
While one might think that there cannot possibly still be anyone out there who would use incredibly easy-to-guess passwords like, for example, “123456,” one would be wrong: according to a new study, that’s still the most popular password in the world. Sigh.

$1500 for dental work
My wife goes to dentist twice a year and today she found out that she has a back tooth that is broke and need a crown. She also has a cavity and with a cleaning and the crown it is in the ball park of $1500 they told her.

Retirement Planning

Financial Pros/Cons of being Married/Single in Retirement
Hypothetically, we have a couple very much in love and living together and they will continue to do so until the day one of them dies. Would it be better for them financially to be married or single? I realize that different lifetime income levels would factor in but lets assume they were always within 10-20% of each other’s incomes. Where do they win and where do they lose for being married?

Chart of the Day

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