Author Archive
Stories written by Nick Maffeo

Smart About Money: Catching a Thief

One morning at the bank, we had a call from a customer who was on his online banking the night before and noticed a check he hadn’t written had just cleared his account. He wondered if it was a bank error. And even though technology has made mistakes like that much more rare, they do […]

Smart About Money: Saving for the Future

It’s probably fair to say that most of the troubles people have with money have nothing to do with unavoidable disasters. In fact, many of the troubles people have with money could be avoided if they did the one thing that most of us just don’t like to do: Make today’s financial decisions with your […]

Smart About Money: Scammers Hit Home

My father-in-law was home one afternoon and the phone rang. At first he thought it was a telemarketer. Then he realized the caller was saying they were from “Microsoft” and it was something about his computer. So he took a minute to see why they were calling. The caller said he wanted to check on […]

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 […]

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