BANKING

To see if you’re owed money from a forgotten bank or brokerage account The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators at www.unclaimed.org or www.missingmoney.com

For current interest rates on a wide variety of banking products www.bankrate.com. This site also offers excellent consumer information

To see if your bank deposits are fully covered by federal deposit insurance www2.fdic.gov/edie

To find a credit union that you might be eligible to join The Credit Union National Association at www.cuna.org. Click on “Consumer Information” and then on “Locate a Credit Union”

A credit union anyone can join www.penfed.org/howtojoin/overview.asp

CONSUMER

Sites that keep you informed about important consumer issues

http://www.consumer-action.org

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org

US Government’s Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection: http://www.treasury.gov/initiatives/Pages/cfpb.aspx

CREDIT

For consumer information on credit cards www.consumer-action.org and the Federal Trade Commission’s site at www.ftc.gov (click on “Consumer Protection,” then “Consumer Information”)

To see the latest credit card rates and offers www.cardtrak.com
www.cardoffers.com, www.cardhub.com, www.cardratings.com, www.lowcards.com, www.creditcards.com

For information on adding a security freeze to your credit history, to help prevent identity theft Consumers Union at www.financialprivacynow.org

To find out what to do if you’re a victim of identity theft The Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft

To find a local nonprofit counseling agency to help you get out of debt The National Foundation for Credit Counseling at www.nfcc.org

To understand your credit score and learn how to improve it www.myfico.com

FAMILY

For advice on locating benefits and creating a trust for a disabled person Your local Association for Retarded Citizens, findable at www.thearc.org

For free, state-specific forms for living wills and health-care proxies, also known as “advance directives” Caring Connections at www.caringinfo.org

For lawyers who specialize in cooperative divorces International Academy of Collaborative Professionals at www.collaborativepractice.com or www.divorcenet.com. Divorcenet also offers good consumer information.

For caregivers, including people caring for an aging parent Family Caregiver Alliance at www.caregiver.org.

For help with long-distance care, try the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers at www.caremanager.org

For locating local senior service organizations www.eldercare.gov

For evaluations of the charities you contribute to www.charitynavigator.org and www.guidestar.org

To get off snail mail lists and call lists National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov to stop annoying sales calls. Credit Bureau Opt Out Service at www.optoutprescreen.com to stop “preapproved or prescreened” offers of credit or insurance. Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service at www.dmachoice.org to reduce your junk mail.

For coupons and other consumer deals www.fatwallet.com

FINANCIAL PLANNING

For advice on all your financial planning needs: News, Q&A, advice columns (including mine), tips from financial planners  www.dimespring.com

To learn about basic financial planning www.smartaboutmoney.org

For the names of planners who charge fees for advice and don’t earn commissions by selling financial products The Garrett Planning Network at www.garrettplanningnetwork.com, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors at www.napfa.org, or Cambridge Advisors at www.cambridgeadvisors.com

For background information on registered investment advisers The Investment Adviser Public Disclosure Web site at www.adviser.sec.gov (click on “Investment Adviser Search” and enter the adviser’s name)

To organize your spending and saving www.mint.com

For general good advice www.consumerismcommentary.com

HIGHER EDUCATION

For people seeking student aid based on financial needInformation on federal grants and loans at www.collegeboard.com, www.finaid.org, and  www.studentaid.ed.gov. The form you need to apply for aid is at www.fafsa.ed.gov

For people seeking scholarships not based on financial need At www.collegeboard.com. Enter the name of a school in College Search, click on “Cost & Financial Aid,” then scroll down to see who might qualify for non-need-based aid.

For information on tax-favored college saving and investment plans www.savingforcollege.com

HEALTH AND HEALTH INSURANCE

To find cost quotes for individual health insurance policies www.ehealthinsurance.com

To find a local health insurance agent National Association of Health Underwriters at www.nahu.org

To find high-quality, lower-cost treatment abroad www.medicaltourismassociation.com

To find a specialist to help with complicated health-insurance claims www.billadvocates.com or www.claims.org

To find health insurance for children from moderate-income families The State Children’s Health Insurance Program at www.insurekidsnow.gov

For best buys in drugs www.consumerreports.org/health/best-buy-drugs.index.htm

For information on Medicare and Medicaid The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services atwww.cms.hhs.gov

To find a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan www.medicare.gov

For information on the value of brand-name drugs, generics, and vitamin supplements www.peoplespharmacy.com

For quotes on auto and homeowners insurance www.insweb.com, www.insure.com, www.esurance.com, www.insureone.com

For consumer information on auto and homeowners coverage The Insurance Information Institute at www.iii.org (click on “Insurance topics”)

LIFE INSURANCE

For people seeking low-cost term life insurance www.term4sale.com

For people wondering whether to dump, keep, or exchange a cash-value life insurance policy www.evaluatelifeinsurance.org

For people considering a large cash-value purchase and want independent advice Look for fee-only life insurance advisers at www.glenndaily.com/glenndaily (scroll down to the bottom of the page)

For information on how much protection you have in your state if your life or health insurance policy fails The National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations at www.nolgha.com

To find your state’s insurance department The National Association of Insurance Commissioners at www.naic.org

INVESTING

For research on mutual funds www.morningstar.com, for stock and bond funds; www.imoneynet.com for current yields on money market mutual funds

To compare the costs of different mutual funds www.finra.org/fundanalyzer

For chat about index funds and personal investing http://bogleheads.org/forum

For basic stock research www.yahoo.finance.com or www.google.finance.com

To buy U.S. Savings Bonds or Treasury securities directly from the federal government www.treasurydirect.gov

For information on “green” investing www.socialinvest.org or www.socialfunds.com

For timely warnings on high-risk investments in the marketplace (including those sold as “low risk”) www.finra.org/investors (click on “Investor Alerts”)

To check on the background of your stockbroker www.brokercheck.finra.org

To find out how to bring a complaint against a stockbroker www.finra.org (click on “Arbitration & Mediation”)

To see of old stock certificates are worth something www.smytheonline.com or www.scripophily.net

PUBLIC INTEREST

For great investigative stories on the web which newspapers can’t afford to do anymore ProPublica.org

To find info about current public interest issues, and how you can help www.uspirg.org/

REAL ESTATE

For everything you need to know about mortgages Mortgage expert Jack Guttentag at www.mtgprofessor.com and HSA Associates Financial Publishers at www.hsh.com

For information on canceling private mortgage insurance www.privatemi.com

For help if you’re selling your house without a broker www.forsalebyowner.com and www.owners.com

For an evaluation of the gurus who sell real estate investing programs Real estate expert John T. Reed at www.johntreed.com. Click on”Real Estate Investment,” then on “Real Estate Guru Ratings.”

RETIREMENT

To calculate whether you’re saving enough for retirement www.choosetosave.org/ballpark or www.aarp.org (click on “Money”)

For general information on traditional pensions www.pensionrights.org

To see how much of your traditional retirement pension is insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation www.pbgc.gov

To see how large a lifetime income you can buy with a fixed amount of money www.immediateannuities.com

For Social Security information www.socialsecurity.gov

For information on reverse mortgageswww.aarp.org/money/personal/articles/reverse_mortgage_basics.html

NEWS ON PERSONAL FINANCE

www.dimespring.com – a great site for news and tips. Plug: I write for it!

www.moneywatch.com
www.money.cnn.com
www.kiplinger.com

PERSONAL FINANCE BLOGGERS

www.bargaineering.com

INVESTMENT NEWS

www.marketwatch.com
www.bloomberg.com
www.businessinsider.com/clusterstock

OTHER OPINIONS

Brad DeLong (economics, skeptical)  http://delong.typepad.com
Paul Krugman (public policy, liberal) http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com
Greg Mankiw (economics, center right) http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com
Economic Policy Institute (great data and public policy) http://www.epi.org
Ezra Klein (great on health care reform) http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein
Interesting political observations (center, liberal) www.washingtonmonthly.com
The Wall Street Journal’s health blog http://blogs.wsj.com/health
The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (good data) http://www.cbpp.org

SITES OF INTEREST TO WOMEN

www.jeanchatzky.com, www.vibrantnation.com

GOSSIP!

www.huffingtonpost.com, www.thedailybeast.com, www.drudgereport.com

MY FAVORITE INVESTMENT BOOKS

The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio, by William J. Bernstein, co-founder of Efficient Frontiers Advisors

Common Sense on Mutual Funds, by John Bogle, father of the retail index mutual fund and founder of The Vanguard Group

Winning the Loser’s Game: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing, by the investment consultant, Charles Ellis

A Random Walk Down Wall Street, by Burton Malkiel, professor of economics at Princeton University

“Where Are the Customers’ Yachts?” by stockbroker Fred Schwed. Written in 1940, this marvelous book bares Wall Street’s fib-and-nonsense as it was, is and always will be.

The Only Guide to a Winning Investment Strategy You Will Ever Need: The Way Smart Money Invests Today, by Larry Swedroe of Buckingham

Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment, by David Swensen, manager of Yale University’s endowment

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The Number by Lee Eisenberg

THE book to read, when you’re puzzling over how much to save for retirement.

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Jane Bryant Quinn is a nationally known commentator on personal finance, with books and columns read and trusted by millions.
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