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A woman takes a picture outside the Samsung stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. The company's portable storage drive is among the products offered for a discount in this roundup of discounts from (Albert Gea/Reuters/File)

Samsung 500GB portable drive for $235, Toshiba 1.5TB drive for $65

By Marcy BonebrightGuest blogger / 03.28.14

You might have heard of Storage Wars, a reality show about people who bid on abandoned storage units. However, there's another storage war going on, one you won't see on TV (yet, anyway). Various data storage mediums are vying for your cash, and we've rounded up some of the choicest contenders in this week's best storage deals. Save $25 on a Toshiba 1.5TB external hard drive, score a Samsung 500GB SSD for $235, or grab two Lexar 32GB USB flash drives for just $22.

Toshiba 1.5TB Canvio Basics USB 3.0 External Hard Drive
 Store: Best Buy
 Price: $64.99 with free shipping
 Lowest By: $25

Is It Worth It?: If you've got more than a terabyte of data to haul around, then you could use a good portable hard drive. The Toshiba 1.5TB Canvio Basics external HDD is an easy Editors' Choice pick at $65, which is a $25 savings. This USB 3.0 drive features an 8MB cache and runs at 5400 rpm. ( Continue… )

A wallet containing cash and a Visa card is displayed in this file photo. Check out this short list of financial advice. (Wilfredo Lee / AP / File )

All the financial advice you need fits on a 4x6 index card

By Kevin VoigtGuest blogger / 03.27.14

Sometimes, less is more.

Amid the ocean of personal finance books published each year (not to mention all the digital ink spilt in blogs and articles dedicated to the topic), one of the best reads in recent months was a scant 96-words long.

Hand-written on a 4×6 index card, a photo of University of Chicago social scientist Harold Pollack’s cheat sheet on the basics of personal finance has been bouncing around the Twittersphere for the past six months, and its legs shows no sign of wearing out. His advice:

  • Max your 401K or equivalent employee contribution. 
  • Buy inexpensive, well diversified mutual funds such as Vanguard Target 20XX funds.
  • Never buy or sell an individual security. The person on the other side of the table knows more than you do about this stuff. ( Continue… )

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE in New York. Amburgey argues that an all-stock portfolio is a good option for maximizing retirement savings, but the risk is too great for most people to stomach. (Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/File)

The case for a 100 percent stock portfolio

By Keith AmburgeyGuest blogger / 03.27.14

Recently I wanted to teach my children about the concept of saving money and earning interest. My parents taught me by opening a bank account. The problem is that banks pay almost nothing to hold your money. Savings bonds yielding 1% or 2% are no better. My children are simply not very excited about the prospect of investing $100 and waiting patiently for an entire year (a lifetime for them), only to receive an extra $1 or $2 for their trouble! They have a point; there is a lesson here for all of us. In the end, I used their money to purchase a few stocks as a learning exercise. Thanks to Apple’s stock, their portfolio has done better than mine over the past year!

There is an old rule of thumb about the right mix of stocks and bonds: The amount in stocks should be 100 minus your age. So, following this rule, a 55-year-old would have a portfolio with 45% stocks and 55% bonds. This may have been good advice 25 years ago when interest rates were much higher. Someone fortunate enough to retire with a million dollars back then could invest entirely in high-quality bonds and have an income of more than $90,000 [annually]. That same million-dollar bond portfolio today would only generate less than $20,000 of income [annually]. This is not a viable retirement plan! ( Continue… )

Samsung's Gear smartwatch is among the discounts in today's sales roundup. (Albert Gea/Reuters/File)

Discounts on Samsung watch, Berkley sunglasses and more

By Donna DoyleGuest blogger / 03.26.14

If you've already parted with big bucks on a season-appropriate ensemble, you'll want to save even bigger on some accompanying accessories. Luckily for you and your weekly budget, we've spotted an $80 drop (and all-time price low) on a Samsung Android watch, a leather wallet for just $4, and more in today's list of five Editors' Choice deals that we found overnight and early this morning.

Top Gadget Deal
 Refurbished Samsung Galaxy Gear Bluetooth Android Watch
 Store: Best Buy
 Price: $99.99 with free shipping
 Lowest by: $99
 Expires: Today

Do You Need It?: Hoverboards may not be on our radar as of yet, but contemporary wiz-kids have supplied us with a plethora of impressive gizmos. This smartwatch is a prime example, but fortunately won't break the bank. It's dropped $80 in a fortnight to an all-time price low. Plus, it's almost half the price of a new model elsewhere. It's compatible with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and other Galaxy smartphones. ( Continue… )

Morning fog blankets much of the Gulf Coast as retiree Bobby Jadolon of Brooksville, Fla., casts his fishing pole at Bayport Park Pier in Spring Hill, Fla. Russo recommends starting retirement with a decreased stock exposure, then increasing your risk as you feel more comfortable. (Octavio Jones/The Tampa Bay Times/AP/File)

Retiring? Five investment tips from a financial planner.

By Richard M. RossoGuest blogger / 03.25.14

Recently, financial planning industry thought leader Michael Kitces CFP® , CLU® , ChFC® , RHU, REBC and professor of retirement income at the American College Wade D. Pfau Ph.D., CFA, penned a seminal work for the Journal of Financial Planning titled Reducing Retirement Risk with a Rising Equity Glide Path.

During the accumulation stage as personal wealth is building and human capital potential is high, a financial planner will assess risk tolerance, time frame, and then commonly create a static portfolio asset allocation accompanied by a method to rebalance on a periodic basis. I call this “Plan A” for accumulation.

In addition, an ongoing saving and investment plan is fine-tuned and monitored to help a client achieve an important financial life benchmark such as creating an inflation-adjusted income stream that will continue throughout a 20-30 year retirement period.

It’s customary for a financial professional, depending on individual circumstances, to reduce portfolio equity exposure as a retirement date approaches and ostensibly increase the allocation to conservative selections like fixed income (bonds) cash and ultra-short duration bond holdings earmarked as reserve for withdrawals.

On the surface, the portfolio strategy appears to be effective; it’s appropriate to shield a retiree from future (or current) unfavorable stock market conditions and the subsequent time required to recover from an unfavorable sequence of market returns, especially in the face of systematic portfolio withdrawals. ( Continue… )

A JetBlue passenger airliner flies past the Washington Monument and the tail of a USAirways jet on approach to Washington's Ronald Reagan National National Airport in January. More and more airline customers are taking to Twitter to give companies feedback and complaints. (J. David Ake/AP/File)

Which airline is the quickest to respond to customers on Twitter?

By Elizabeth HarperGuest blogger / 03.25.14

Chances are, everyone reading this has been frustrated by a disappointing experience with a business at some point in their lives. Though in the past, we might have complained to family and friends, vented at customer support reps, or even written angry letters, today we're far more likely to turn to Twitter or Facebook.

Social media makes it easier than ever to make our frustrations public — and for those frustrations to be read, shared, and favorited by many others. This kind of negative buzz can be a problem for any business, but it's perhaps worst for airlines, where customers stuck at the airport may not have access to ordinary support channels and take to complaining via their smartphones when they have nothing to do beyond waiting out an extended layover.

The Airlines Most Likely to Save the Day on Twitter

But as we've turned to social channels to voice our complaints, businesses – especially airlines, who can bear the brunt of complaints — have followed, which means a complaint on Twitter could get a faster response than calling or waiting in line for a support rep. A recent study by Skift rates American Airlines as the speediest social responder amongst airlines, getting back to customers in just 12 minutes. JetBlue comes in second with 15 minutes and Indian airline IndiGo rates third at 16 minutes. Meanwhile, Consumerist points out that Frontier has the longest response time, checking in at 182 minutes. And somewhat surprisingly, Virgin America averages 139 minutes. ( Continue… )

A sign for a RadioShack store in the Brighton Beach section of the Brooklyn borough in New York. RadioShack is closing 1100 stores in the coming years, but experts say that isn't necessarily a bad thing. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/File)

Why store closings could be good for Staples, RadioShack

By Lou CarlozoGuest blogger / 03.24.14

Earlier this month, RadioShack announced plans to close up to 1,100 stores in the U.S., following a dismal fourth quarter of 2013, where sales were down 19%. Meanwhile, Staples also announced it will close 225 stores in North America by 2015. The office center’s sales also fell in the fourth quarter, though by a less dramatic 10.6%.

Taken one way, news of these closings could be the result of a particular outlet’s woes. But both companies have been careful in their public statements to brand the moves as opportunities to recast themselves. RadioShack CEO Joseph Magnacca told analysts in a conference call that Radio Shack is "overstored" and has too many retail outlets. And Staples CEO Ron Sargent said in USA Today, "With nearly half our sales generated online today, we're meeting the changing needs of business customers."

DealNews reached out to retail experts to better understand whether these store closings are as bad as they might seem, or if they point to something greater (and smarter) on the digital side of things. ( Continue… )

Dell Inspiron laptops. Dell Home is selling the Dell Inspiron 17R laptop for $689.99 with free shipping, with a coupon code. (Businesswire/File)

Best laptops: five great deals from Sony, Dell, and more

By Louis RamirezGuest blogger / 03.24.14

The days of overpriced hybrids are long gone as three of this week's best laptop deals can slide, twist, and rotate their screens to be used as full-on tablets. With prices starting at $385, it's a sure sign that hybrids are here to stay. If it's quad-core power you seek, we also have deals on Alienware's portable gaming rig and an Editors' Choice HP Envy at $635.

  1. HP ENVY 15t-j100 Quad Edition Intel Haswell Core i7 2.4GHz 15.6" LED-Backlit Laptop
    Store: HP Home & Home Office
    Price: $634.99 via coupon code "SAVE15HP" with free shipping
    Lowest By: $165

    Is It Worth It?: Despite its ordinary looks, the 5.6-lb. HP ENVY 15t-j100 packs an impressive array of specs starting with an Intel Core i7-4700MQ 2.4GHz Haswell quad-core processor. HP pairs the CPU with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a 15.6" 1366x768 display. Though we've seen this system with dedicated graphics, today's configuration bypasses the video card, but takes advantage of coupon code "SAVE15HP", which drops its cost to an Editors' Choice price of $635.

  2. Sony Vaio Duo 13 Intel Haswell Core i5 1.6GHz 13.3" Touchscreen Laptop
    Store: Microsoft Store
    Price: $899 with free shipping
    Lowest By: $100

    Is It Worth It?: Sony may have bid sayonara to its VAIO line of PCs last month, but that doesn't stop the Duo 13 from stealing the show. Both CNET and Engadget like the Duo 13's redesign, which includes a sliding screen that's easier to activate than its 11" predecessor's. A more spacious keyboard, larger 13.3" 1920x1080 touchscreen, and a bigger touchpad are also stark improvements. Under the hood of this laptop/tablet hybrid, you'll find a Core i5-4200U Haswell 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 4GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD. There's no optical drive, but you do get a stylus (for on-screen scribbling) and improved battery life, the latter of which PC Mag says will get you through a full day at the office. Better yet, it's $100 under our last mention. ( Continue… )

The IRS opened tax-filing season on Friday with a reminder to e-file for a quick refund. (Damian Dovarganes/AP/File)

5 inventive ways to spend your tax return

By Richard M. RossoGuest blogger / 03.23.14

It’s that time when all the financial “gurus” begin to tell you what to do with your tax refund. According to the IRS, the average refund this year is $3,034 – up 3% over the same period last year.

So, you’ve read or heard the same old advice. Granted, it’s valid. But it’s old. Pay down credit card debt, fund a Roth IRA, begin or bolster an emergency reserve. It’s all good information.

But let’s try something new for once.

Here are five unorthodox ways to direct your tax refund.

1. Treat the grandparents and parents to dinners.

The knowledge you’ll gain from asking questions to those with money experiences (good and bad) will be invaluable. Listen, learn, write down the responses. Gaining perspective from those who have been handling investments, credit, debt or financial failures is worth more than any Roth contribution.

2. Purchase experiences, not stuff.

According to the authors of the book “Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending,” your money goes a long way to provide happiness when it’s directed toward experiences that create memories, not stuff like new smartphones. Eventually, your satisfaction with goods diminishes, but memories last a lifetime. ( Continue… )

Nike President & CEO Mark Parker appears at a company event in New York in 2012. has found a discount for Nike men's running shoes in this roundup of online bargains. (Mike Segar/Reuters/File)

Discounts on shoes from Nike, Timberland and Steve Madden

By Marcy BonebrightGuest blogger / 03.22.14

Everyone needs a little retail therapy now and then, so you might as well buy something you'll get a lot of miles out of. But because we list a shockingly small amount of cars on DealNews, we decided to round up shoes instead! (Also, who buys cars on a whim? Don't do that.) The week's best shoe deals include five Editors' Choice offers from Steve Madden, Nike, Timberland, and more!

 Steve Madden Men's Ditmars Shoes
 Store: Steve Madden
 Price: $49.99 with free shipping via coupon code "SMFREE50" with padding over $50
 Lowest By: $80

Is It Worth It?: Leather driving shoes are so comfortable, so easy to slip on and off ... so incredibly hot on warmer days. That is, unless the leather is perforated for maximum breathability, as is the case with the Steve Madden Ditmars. Available in five colors for just $49.99, these drivers also feature a textured sole for stability. At $80 off, we're pretty sure you just found your go-to summer shoe. Be sure to pad your order over $50 and apply coupon code "SMFREE50" to dodge the $7.95 shipping.

Steve Madden's got your back when it comes to stocking your shoe closet on the cheap. The site has cut an extra 50% off select clearance shoes, with prices starting at around $10. (Prices are as marked.) That's tied as the best extra discount we've seen on clearance merch from Steve Madden, yielding some huge price lows. Shipping adds $7.95, or bag free shipping on orders of $50 or more via coupon code "SMFREE50". ( Continue… )

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