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GUEST POST: Identifying Elder Financial Abuse by John Gower of NerdWallet

John Gower is a writer for NerdWallet.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping you make smart financial decisions. Identifying Elder Financial Abuse: The Signs and the Perpetrators As people grow older, they unfortunately become more vulnerable to certain types of crimes. We all know about the dangers of walking alone at night, or carrying lots of cash, but elder financial abuse is another common risk that many seniors and their families fail to understand. Sadly, it often occurs at the hand of a person the elder knows and trusts. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines financial abuse (or exploitation) as “the unauthorized or improper use of the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain.” More specifically, this means any forging, misusing, or stealing money or possessions from an elder. This includes forcing or deceiving the elder into surrendering his finances, as well as wrongfully using guardianship or power of attorney for

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Guest Post: Four Ways to Budget Smarter, Not Harder by John Gower of NerdWallet

4 Ways to Budget Smarter, Not Harder Creating a budget is a life necessity - one that consumers, businesses, and governments alike must address. Unfortunately, more than half of Americans lack a budget to help track and understand their personal spending habits. Why do so many people continue to turn a blind eye to their personal finances? Many would likely claim that a budget is either too tough to follow, or too time-consuming to prepare. However, if you can learn to make smarter decisions, and take simple actions to control spending, then maintaining a solid budget could become second nature. Here are four tips to help make your budgeting process smarter, more efficient, and easier to follow.  1. Understand opportunity cost If you’ve ever taken a class in economics, you may remember this term. Opportunity cost is, to put it simply, the benefits you sacrifice by choosing one action instead of another. When applied to your budget and spending, this concept is an important

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Guest Post: Buying Your First Car by Laura Edgar of NerdWallet

Buying Your First Car: 5 Tips for Success Laura Edgar is a senior writer for NerdWallet.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping you make smart financial decisions. Shopping for your first car is definitely exciting, but it can also be stressful. Ease the burden on yourself by planning ahead. You’ll save yourself time and money, and possibly avert disaster. These five tips will help make your car buying experience a positive one. 1. Know your budget Cars are expensive, so if you’re like most people, you’ll probably need an auto loan. This is especially true if you’re buying a new car. You’ll need at least a few thousand dollars in your savings account for the down payment, and then another several hundred each month for your loan payments. If you’ve got a few thousand dollars saved up, you may be able to buy a used car without borrowing money. Even if you can afford a new car, don’t write-off the possibility of a used car just yet. According to Kelley Blue Book,

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