Money Monday





On Friday, the President announced tariffs (or, tax) of 25% on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. The good news, at least according to the White House, is that the latest list of 818 items doesn't include things that are commonly purchased by American consumers.

The bad news? If past tariffs are any indication, the latest trade disputes with China may not end well for American workers. After President George W. Bush’s administration imposed tariffs of up to 30% on steel in early 2002, roughly 200,000 workers in the U.S. manufacturing industry lost their jobs


You may plan on working until 72, but unfortunately, retirement may come sooner than that. Nearly 60% of Americans have to retire earlier than they planned. What do you do if this is you?

1) Get yours. An early retirement means planning on understanding your benefits from the government (unemployement, disability, Social Security), and your benefits from your former employer

2) Guard your equity and cut expenses. An early retirement is nerve wracking, but don't let it lead to poor decisions. a) Do not get a second mortgage. b) Consider refinancing your mortgage c) Evaluate all of your expenses. Cut the unnecessary ones.  

3) Develop a strategy for your health insurance. If you are 5 years from retirement, one of the main reasons you may be sticking around work is health insurance. If your offered an 'Early Retirement Opportunity' figuring out your options can be stressful, especially because health care can be the biggest expense. Because health insurance is so complex, make sure you talk to a Certified Financial Planner or a Chartered Financial Consultant to evaluate your options.

Tips for health insurance: a) Make sure you never lose coverage. b) Look into the options with your souse's employer. 3) Consider COBRA Insurance; temporary insurance from your former employer. This can last up to 18 months.

4) Know your payout options. If your "early retirement opportunity" you may get a payout choice which could very well be the largest financial decision that you will ever have to make. Payout options usually come alongside a defined benefit pension which is becoming more rare.


A forced retirement may happen to you. Understand your options, think clearly about the road ahead, and get the help of a Certified Financial Planner or a Chartered Financial Consultant. 


#2: Enquirer

Every Sunday, Simply Money is answering your money questions in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Tom in West Chester: I just saw that Social Security needs to pull money from its trust fund this year. I’m 54. Should I be worried about my retirement?



#3: ID theft / scams

Spam calls used to just be to your landline, but now they’re getting through to your cellphone! In 2017, more than $9 billion was lost from phone scams ($430 per person). In the month of April alone, 3.4 billion robo-calls were made.

The new tactic scammers are now using is to “spoof” local area codes, hoping you’ll answer. Makes sense, right? You're probably more inclined to answer a call from a 513 of 859 number than any other call. HALF of all phone scams today use this tactic.

How can you help stop all these calls? Sign up for the "Do Not Call List" at (helps a lot with landlines, but it's a little shakier for cell phones)

Or, try the app "Hiya:" Free. Has a huge database of known spam numbers, and if one of those numbers comes through it blocks it for you.

Or the app "Nomorobo:" Free for your landline. $1.99/month for your cellphone. Also has a huge database of known spam numbers, and if one of those numbers comes through it blocks it for you.

Or the app "Robokiller:" If you want to “mess” with the scammers, this one’s for you. RoboKiller intercepts the spam call, then it transfers it to their own call center where employees try to keep them on the line for as long as possible and waste their time. You can then access the recordings of those calls and listen to the conversations! $2.99 a month.


One of the best (and cheapest) ways to avoid becoming a robo-call scam victim is to simply not answer a number you don’t recognize, even if you recognize the area code. If it’s truly an important call, they’ll leave a voicemail.