Reading List for August 16-18

Aug 16, 2019
Current Events, Parent Conversations, Paying for College, Investing, Economics, Retirement, Student Loans, Financial Scams, Insurance

As your former students or maybe your own children are heading off to college for the first time, here is some sage advice for them.


  • Having taught at a college for several years, and living amongst the students for even longer, I cannot agree more with the tips offered by a college professor in this MarketWatch article, like show up for class, turn off the phone, and go to office hours! I like the cartoons too!


  • And here is one for the parents. Once your child turns 18, their privacy rights trump your parental inclinations. There are four legal documents you will want to get to ensure you can help should your child have a medical or financial emergency. (Kiplinger)

Current Events/Retirement

  • And you thought your 403b options were expensive, read about the lawsuit being filed on behalf of MIT employees against MIT, alleging that their 401k plan, managed by Fidelity, funneled huge fees to Fidelity in exchange for large donations by Fidelity to the Institution. (NPR)
  • The retirement shenanigans don’t stop there. If you live in Pennsylvania, or Texas, you might want to read about how “Pennsylvania and Texas passed some of the most blatant anti-consumer 403(b) legislation in modern history.” (Tony Isola)



  • Volatility is the name of the game again this week. The market had 2nd worst day of 2019 on Wednesday, and as folks fled to bonds and drove bond prices up, the yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped below the 2-year. Why is this a big deal? Because sustained yield inversions have preceded each of the last 7 recessions. (NYT) And on Thursday, yields on the 30-year Treasury dips to a record low below 2% for the first time ever. (Reuters)
  • And here is a view of the global economy preparing for a downturn from The Economist. Negative interest rates abound.


Personal Finance

  • Do you cover handling relationships in your class? Here is a blog from on the arguments on both sides of combining finances as a married couple. There is no one answer.
  • The New York Times published this interactive on income and wealth that shows where you/your family income and wealth stack up in terms of percentile.



  • Would you go to Mexico for surgery to save money? How about if your employer gave you $5000 to do so? Read how some self-insured companies have contracted with a third party to arrange for certain procedures to be done in foreign hospitals by American doctors, saving thousands and sharing the savings with the insured party! (NYT)


Paying for College/Student Loans

  • Kenyan College president Sean Decatur published the first of a series breaking down the cost of college. LinkedIn
  • Student loan debt now exceeds all other forms of household debt in the"severely derogatory" category, according to a new report our by the New York Fed. (Inside Higher Ed)
  • Visual Capitalist’s infographic deals with average student debt by state.

Financial Pitfalls

  • You should be aware of the most recent Social Security scam, where seniors, arguably the most vulnerable, are targeted. (WAPO)
  • Ever wonder what to do with a stash of damaged bills? Whether they are shredded, burned, sodden, or even covered in blood? Don’t throw them out! The Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Mutilated Currency Division will bail you out! (NPR)


Gen Z

  • Northwestern Mutual just released the results of the 2019 Planning and Progress study conducted recently, giving some insight into the change in the “Financial States of America” from 2009 to 2019. This press release summarizes the findings regarding Gen Z (they are goal oriented but not confident about their financial lives.)
  • In a different study by Junior Achievement and Alliance Data, 80% of teens report they are paid by parents and caregivers in cash, and 75% have made purchases in cash. Despite the cool technology available, cash is still commonly used by teens. (PRN Newswire)



  • Do you think it is safe to give out your cell phone number to anyone/everyone? Think again. Not that you don’t have enough to be nervous about. (NYT)


About the Author

Beth Tallman

Beth Tallman entered the working world armed with an M.B.A. in finance and thoroughly enjoyed her first career working in manufacturing and telecommunications, including a stint overseas. She took advantage of an involuntary separation to try teaching high school math, something she had always dreamed of doing. When fate stepped in once again, Beth jumped on the opportunity to combine her passion for numbers, money, and education to develop curriculum and teach personal finance at Oberlin College. Beth now spends her time writing on personal finance and financial education, conducting student workshops, and developing finance curricula and educational content. She is also the Treasurer of Ohio Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.