recency bias
Unconscious thinking patterns are influencing our perspective and steering our actions even when we believe we’re making conscious, logical decisions. I sometimes find myself making self-sabotaging decisions and wondering whether something else is at play — what made me do that?!

The tendency to develop habits isn’t all bad. Habits provide structure and familiarity to our day and give our minds one less thing to think about. Being creatures of habit can also be downright good for us. After months of repetition, it’s the force of habit that gets us out of bed to work out, make healthier food choices, balance our budget at the end of the month, or set aside money in savings.

But it can also be bad. Kicking a bad habit — be it a personal, social, emotional, or financial — can be extremely difficult, especially the longer that habit has been in place. This is especially true if it’s rooted in a skewed thinking pattern. Habits of thinking spill over into the way we act and have both positive and negative implications for the way we handle our finances.

Previously, I’ve talked about some of the common money traps and money mindsets that can sabotage your best financial intentions, and I recently came across another one. It’s known as the recency effect (or bias).
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flu season
Fall is the time of year known for vibrant colors, crisp weather, pumpkin patches, and spiced cider — but it’s also known as the beginning of cold and flu season.

Whether you blame it on the changing weather patterns, the lack of daylight, or spending more time in close quarters with other people, getting sick can impact not just your health, but your wallet. Between missed work and medical costs, sickness gets expensive very quickly.

And sure, staying healthy (I’ll share some tips for that) is probably the cheapest option, but there are still ways to save money while you’re on the mend so more of your hard-earned money can go toward a holiday shopping fund, savings goal, or retirement account.
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Mobile apps have become a convenient way for us to shop online without being tied to a desktop. In fact, shopping on mobile has become so popular that Adobe Analytics predicts that 54% of the holiday purchases will be made from a mobile phone or tablet.

As more people shift their cyber shopping to mobile, phishing scams are shifting their focus to mobile as well. There are numerous ways to protect personal information on your smartphone, but all these security measures are useless if you’re opening the door wide for scammers to get past them. How? Through fake shopping apps.

Back in September, Google Play had a scourge of 50 rogue apps termed doppelgangers because of how they closely mimicked popular sites. Before they were caught, the apps received 4.2 million downloads from unsuspecting mobile users. To illustrate how innocent they appeared, one of them was titled “Lovely Wallpaper.”

Although Google has identified the malware used to make the group of apps and heightened the security measures that protect its Play store, scammers will continue to target us where we’re most vulnerable: our love of convenience and our love of shopping. As we enter the holiday shopping season, here are some helpful tips to avoid becoming a victim of fake shopping apps.
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My teenage son started his first part-time job a about two months ago. Earning $9.75 an hour, and working 25 hours week, results in some nice income for a teenager. I’m requiring him to save half his earnings to be used for purchasing his own car, or for use when he goes to college in a few years.

I don’t want him to just deposit his money into a savings account, however. I really want to use the income from his first job as a tool to teach him about the world of investing.

Here’s why it’s important to teach your teen about the basics of investing now.

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There’s a myth that goes along with getting a job: you work hard and your employer will take care of you. Maybe if you work particularly hard, you might eventually get promoted.

As long as you’re doing your job and doing it right, you’re guaranteed to get a pay check. That makes finding a good job the most conservative thing you can do with your career, right?

The truth isn’t so simple, though. Even if the myth of the good job was true in our parents or grandparents’ day, it’s become almost impossible to believe in now.

With the sheer number of companies that rely on contractors, the number of mergers that end with layoffs and all the other ways that a job has become a surprisingly fragile career path, it’s important to recognize that taking job after job can’t be considered a conservative way to make a living.
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cheap holiday gifts

The holidays can be some of the best times of the year, and a tremendous way to close the calendar, so long as you don’t allow the stresses that come with too much family, food, and gift giving to fill you with unnecessary and unwanted anxiety.

Most holiday stress originates from gift giving, which feels all too frequent by the end of the year. When you have a lot of family and friends, almost no budget seems big enough to amply satisfy everyone.

But who wants to spend the first half of the following year paying off presents?

Big-ticket items are at the top of everyone’s list—iPods, iPads, and the Kindle Fire. But big doesn’t necessarily mean better. You can give a gift that’s meaningful, without breaking the bank.

Here are 7 small gifts that will make a big impact this year.

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