Insurance: Choosing the right plan

This the second of four articles about health insurance by Joanna Lahey, an associate professor of economics at the George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). You can read the first one here. The subsequent articles will be published on the next two Saturdays.

In part two of our exploration of health economics, we will explore the more common structures of health insurance, why none of them work perfectly, and what you should consider when choosing among plans. Also: baby animal pictures.

Health insurance structures have been evolving to try to cut costs of health care and, in some cases, to increase patient health while doing so.

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More about...Economics, Health & Fitness

Should you comment on a friend’s overspending?

This post is from Ollie Geiger, a personal finance writer who contributes to MoneyRates.com.

My wife has a friend who likes to talk about how broke she is. This friend - let's call her "Amber," since that's her real name - is fond of complaining about the dire state of her finances each month, even though her income is higher than many of our mutual friends.

But here's the rub in Amber's complaints: She is a spender. When she and my wife take shopping trips, she buys some very nice things. We're talking non-essentials, including lavish gifts for friends and plenty of impulse buys - such as the high-end mountain bike she bought this spring that has since served as a coat rack in her apartment.

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More about...Debt

How to Pick the Best Darned Account for You

Happy World Wide Invest Better Day!

What, you're not familiar with this holiday? Well, it might because we at The Motley Fool invented it, and today is the first time we're going to celebrate it — all day long, over on Fool.com.

For today's post, I'm borrowing one of the videos I shot for Invest Better Day. The Fool has long had the 13 Steps to Investing Foolishly, and we recently put them to video. One of my installments was about choosing the right investment account for your goals, filmed with the assistant of my colleague Lyons George. Here 'tis: Continue reading...

More about...Investing, Retirement, Taxes

15 things you need to know about financial aid

Timothy M. Hayes, MBA, CFP®,is the founder and President of Landmark Financial Advisory Services, a member of the Garrett Planning Network of fee-only advisors, and an expert in navigating the financial-aid application process.

Every January, students and their parents face the daunting prospect of preparing the various financial-aid applications that are required to be submitted in order to determine their eligibility for federal and/or institutional financial aid. Most families find the process, at best, mystifying and at worst, overwhelming. Worse yet, many rely on inaccurate information from well-meaning friends or the college's own financial-aid office when completing the applications, leading to a potential loss of aid.

To better assist students and their parents in the preparation and submission of the various financial-aid applications — including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — we offer the following caveats, tips, and recommendations:

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More about...Planning