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Gift bag and Santa hat

We ve all got people who make our lives easier all year long. There s the manicurist who always squeezes you into her schedule, the folks who mow the lawn and shovel the snow so you don t have to, and even the mail and delivery workers who make sure letters and packages arrive safely to your front door.

Stock Market

You have probably heard about exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in recent years, but maybe you re unsure exactly what the so-called ETFs actually are and whether they could be right for your investment portfolio. ETFs are very similar to mutual funds, in that they are made up of a basket of securities, and therefore provide diversification for investors.

Piggy Bank

Do you ever wonder what millionaires know that the rest of us don t? Experts say affluent people don t necessarily understand the stock market or real estate better than the rest of us. In fact, it s usually common sense financial decisions that build wealth. Below are eight habits millionaires tend to have in common. Try some (or all!) of them to create a more secure retirement for yourself.

Investing pic

There s no denying that money talks in our society. If you want to exercise greater control over what your money says, so to speak, consider socially responsible investing. Socially responsible investing, or SRI, has its roots in mutual funds that excluded companies that sold alcohol, tobacco, and guns, based largely on religious principle. R.

Woman holding open sign

In the still-weak job market, many people are choosing to start their own companies. At that same time, traditional financing is harder to secure. That means would-be entrepreneurs have to look to other sources for start-up capital. If you re retired with a sizable nest egg, adult children or grandchildren could approach you for money to launch a business.

Broken piggy bank

You ve no doubt factored into your budget all of the recurring monthly expenses you expect to pay during retirement. But, what about those unplanned expenses that inevitably pop up when your furnace peters out, your dog gets sick, or your granddaughter has a destination wedding? With some savvy planning, you can prevent those unexpected expenses from blowing your retirement budget.

Man and his granddaughter

Plenty of headlines lately tell us traditional retirement has gone by the wayside that we have to work until we re 70 or launch an encore career. If you d still like a good old-fashioned retirement, complete with afternoon golf and frequent travel, it may be possible with some savvy financial planning. The first step toward retiring sooner is figuring out exactly how much money you ll need.

Couple at the beach

Summer travel season is about to kick into high gear. Get the most bang for your vacation buck with these savvy strategies and insider tips. If you re retired, you have one thing that most travelers don t: time. Having flexibility is the greatest thing you can do to find cheap travel deals, Matt Kepnes, author of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, says.

YLi1010_MoneyMattersHolidaySpending

Ahhh, the holidays cozy evenings by the fireplace, champagne toasts, juicy turkeys with all the trimmings, and a credit card bill to make your head spin come January! [caption id="attachment_14597" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Watch your money fly away when you don t plan your holiday gift-giving.