This week's top Personal Finance stories
Low mortgage rates over the past year have inspired many Americans to refinance their home loans, but some eligible borrowers haven't made the leap. Often that reluctance to refinance stems from the fact that interest rates on their adjustable-rate mortgages have fallen below 3% -- a better rate than they'd get by switching to a fixed-rate loan.
See Real Estate.
As health-insurance premiums rise beyond what many people can pay, some states are experimenting with more aggressive ways to protect consumers from skyrocketing premiums in the individual market.
See Vital Signs.
Pity the poor traveler who must fly in and out of New York City. Consumers gave some of the weakest scores to the area's three main airports -- John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia International -- for everything from baggage handling to security checkpoints in J.D. Power & Associates' North America Airport Satisfaction Study for 2010.
Credit-card holders: Your card issuers have been trying to tell you something with mailers and in actions that you need to know but have probably missed.
See Chuck Jaffe.
A train wreck waiting to happen. That's the only way to describe the mess that state pension systems are in right now, according to a report published Thursday by the Pew Center on the States.
See Robert Powell.
There are many reasons why your neighbor might have a much brighter retirement outlook than you, or vice versa. Maybe one of you sets aside more each month, started saving younger or chose investments that fared better in the downturn. But to what degree does your 401(k) plan itself make a difference?
See Andrea Coombes' Ways and Means.
As you enter retirement, probably the largest and most daunting item of expense that you encounter will be taxes. And we're talking not just of a benign single item of expense, but quite possibly many different kinds of levies. Each one of our 50 states can enact and enforce state and local taxes by the dozen, as well as property taxes by the hundreds, and countless more.
See Marshall Loeb.
Lack of insurance or timely access to your regular doctor doesn't have to mean going without needed health care. If you're uninsured and seeking stop-gap medical care before you find coverage again, you can triage your way to better health by understanding the trade-offs of several care options, experts say. A retail clinic, urgent-care or community health center may be a suitable fit, depending on the severity of your medical need and your personal preferences.
See Vital Signs.
Banks, many of which are deluging consumers with new fees and changing services, held their own in keeping customers happy in the latest quarter thanks to the myriad of smaller banks, the American Consumer Satisfaction Index reported Tuesday.
See Consumer Watch.
Taking care of children is tricky when both parents work, but when one parent falls sick, goes on a trip or is out commission for whatever reason, balancing work and child care can be downright daunting for the parent left in charge.
See Diary of a Recession Baby.