Author Archive
Stories written by Nick Maffeo

Saving is a ‘path to happiness’

For too many people, saving sounds boring. Like they’re not going to have any fun … now or ever. That is absolutely wrong. Most of the people who think saving is boring usually end up in debt. Since incomes tend to be steady and expenses tend to rise, it can be a real temptation to […]

Smart About Money: Extended Warranties

David Bakke, writing for the Money Crashers personal finance blog, says he “cannot think of a single instance where purchasing an extended warranty is a good idea.” With one exception (which I will get to at the end of this column), I’d say Bakke has it exactly right. And extended warranties — also known as […]

Smart About Money: Beware of the sucker list


If you’re trying to help a relative or friend you see responding to dubious mail and telephone schemes, you’ve probably realized how tough it is to combat the unstoppable flood of “offers” they get. Maybe you’ve even wondered if the person you’re concerned about has been specifically targeted. In many cases, the answer is probably […]

Smart About Money: Advice on Mortgages

Unless you’re Donald Trump or refinancing is your hobby, getting a mortgage is probably not something you do often. Borrowers tend to see it as a serious commitment to a house and to a loan. And why not? Finding the “right house” and getting a mortgage is a big deal! Something people very much want […]

Smart About Money: Red Flags of a Scam

Sometimes it seems as if there are people in the world who actually have nothing to do all day and all night but think up scams to steal money from complete strangers. Besides being international criminals, these scammers are heartless in the way they target people with highly emotional appeals, which run the gamut from […]

Smart About Money: Financial Planning

The biggest part of successful money management is having a plan. That doesn’t mean you need a formal financial plan. In fact, the vast majority of Americans never do any formal financial planning. And, for most, things work out just fine. Some people do have extremely detailed plans. Many times, that’s just right for their […]

Smart About Money: Mortgage Myths

Bankers hear all kinds of questions about mortgages. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions and flat-out myths, and the truth behind them. “It’s always best to get the lowest rate.” Not true! Unit pricing signs at supermarkets are there to give you a way to compare apples to apples. The “unit pricing […]

Smart About Money: Do One Thing Different

If you’re struggling with your finances — and many people are — December is the perfect time both for reflection and for considering new ideas to bring you closer to where you want to be in 2013. While it’s not presented as an “improve your finances” book, Do One Thing Different: And Other Uncommonly Sensible […]

Smart About Money: A 30-Year Mortgage at Age 81

An 81-year-old man recently came in to talk about taking out a 30-year mortgage on his house in Canton. Given his age, you might be thinking, “What?” But times change. Financial tools change. And the way people can make use of those tools changes too. Some background: Up until about 1985, a homeowner might have […]

Smart About Money: Scam Victim Learns Tough Lessons

A gentleman called and asked if he could get an “objective second opinion” on “something his bank had done.” I said, “Sure.” Here’s what happened: He had received an email from a “mystery shopper company” — and there’s a reason why that’s in quotes — asking if he’d like to participate in their regional program […]

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