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personal finance

Life is pretty busy for Mike Buchmann, a high school art teacher and football coach, and his wife Shannon, who works as an assistant controller at a small private college near their home in Mishawaka, Ind.

Everyone is out the door by 7:45 each morning: Mike shuttles their two older kids to before-school care, while Shannon drops off their 14-month-old at a church-based child care center before they head off to their full-time jobs.

Need knee replacement surgery? It may be worthwhile to head for Tucson.

That's because the average price for a knee replacement in the Arizona city is $21,976, about $38,000 less than it would in Sacramento, Calif. That's according to a report issued Wednesday by the Health Care Cost Institute.

Investing for retirement doesn't have to be hard. You read up on how to put together a diverse mix of low-cost index funds, bonds, etc. Then keep setting aside all you can into that retirement account. Easy.

But when you actually retire and start spending that money, that's like going from playing checkers to playing chess. It can get a lot harder.

Look into an infant's eyes, and there you'll find the stirring of a new life. Look into the eyes of that infant's parent, and you may just find something else: financial terror. Having a child can change everything in a family, especially the budget.

Yami Chavarria and Anthony Rivas are navigating this lovely — and frightening — time together. Chavarria was 39 weeks pregnant — in other words, really pregnant — and was cooing over the super-cute, hand-painted onesies her friends made at her baby shower.

When Robin Bunevich and her boyfriend, Alex Rivas, decided to buy a place together, they knew they wanted to live in their favorite neighborhood, Astoria, Queens. They found the perfect two-bedroom, two-bath apartment last year. The purchase was a big, exciting step for the couple, who had previously been renting a place together. And just as they were getting ready to start the new chapter together, the process also had them thinking about what would happen if they broke up.

Mary Fusillo and her husband, Bob, have been married for 20 years. She met him on a blind date in Houston. Right away, she knew she liked him.

He was very intellectual, and he "read jazz biographies of dead jazz musicians," she says, laughing.

"And I was used to guys that went hunting on the weekends," she adds.

They fell in love and got married. Pretty soon they had a house and kids — twins, actually.

But within a few years, there was trouble.

Is It Time To Write Off Checks?

Mar 3, 2016

Remember checks?

You know, those slips of paper where you spell out the numbers, rip them from the book, put them in an envelope, add a stamp, then drop them in a mailbox?

They've been around for centuries, but like many traditional tools nowadays checks are in rapid decline, disrupted by digital payments, the Internet and technology in general. Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com, calls it a "consumer-driven change."

If you watch the news shows on Sunday mornings, or cable news at night, you've probably seen that ad where parents are dropping off their daughter at college. And then they start to fret about, well, something involving access to investment advice.

The ad ends by urging you to "Tell Congress: Fix this now."

Curtis Carroll discovered the stock market in prison. Through friends and family on the outside, he invests from San Quentin State Prison in Northern California, and he's also an informal financial adviser to fellow inmates and correctional officers. Everyone in prison calls him Wall Street.

"I couldn't believe that this kind of access to this type of money could be accessible to anybody. Everybody should do it. And it's legal!" he says.

Rae Ellen Bichell / KPLU

The world's first bitcoin ATM launched last year in Vancouver, Canada. Now there's also a physical place in the Northwest to buy and sell the virtual currency – at the Spitfire Grill in Belltown.

Why The Machinists Union Wants To Keep Their Pensions

Jan 2, 2014
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Steve Scher talks with certified financial planner John Flavin about the differences between 401Ks and pensions.

Financial Expert: Check Your Fiancée’s Credit

Jun 10, 2013
Jane Bryant Quinn's book "Making the Most of Your Money Now."

In some states you still have to get a blood test before you get married, but no state requires you to get a credit check before getting married. How important is it to sit down with a bottle of wine and talk debt before you walk down the aisle? David Hyde talks to financial expert Jane Bryant Quinn who says it should be at the top of your list. She’s the author of a book called "Making the Most of Your Money Now."

Flickr Photo/Volker Neumann

A new study by the National Institute on Retirement Security found that people under 40 are more anxious than ever about their retirement. With Social Security benefits dwindling and pension plans becoming more and more scarce, many experts say planning early is more critical than ever. But for many under 40, rent, student loans or cars are far more pressing financial matters. So, how do you start? Ross Reynolds talks with National Institute on Retirement Security Executive Director Diane Oakley about the most recent trends in retirement, and gets advice on how and what to save from certified financial planner, Mindy Crary.

The oldest of the baby boomers came of age in the 1960s and are beginning to retire. Their younger cohorts are still putting kids through college and building careers. Baby boomers are a giant portion of the population — 78 million people, by one estimate.

They grew up in an era of rising living standards, but the Great Recession destroyed any sense of financial security — and many nest eggs. Financial planner Tim Maurer outlines a variety of issues boomers face.

Who is a baby boomer, and what defines their financial situations?