Meet our writers


Money October 2017

Dollar Sense

Potpourri: Stuff You Should Know to Protect Your Assets, Your Cash and Just Possibly… to Rearrange Your Work Life

By Teresa Ambord

Most working at home (as employees, not self-employed persons such as freelancers) are baby boomers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey. The older the worker, the higher the chance he or she will be working from home.

MyRA Retirement Plans are Going Away

Do you have a “my Retirement Account” (myRA)? A myRA is touted as a “starter savings account,” a government-administered Roth IRA that holds one investment. The program is only a few years old, having been started in 2014. The intention was for account holders to have a Roth IRA that is treated as a traditional IRA in most respects. MyRAs earn interest the same way that government securities for federal employees earn interest. Unfortunately, the accounts have proven to be cost-ineffective, and will soon disappear as possibility. Existing accounts will remain open and accessible, and you can continue to manage the account until further notice. Eventually you’ll be notified that you’ll need to move your funds into another Roth IRA.

If you need more information log onto or call your customer support number. Account holders are assured that there’s an abundance of private sector solutions that offer no account maintenance fees, no minimum balance and safe investment opportunities. The U.S. Treasurer, Jovita Carranza said “We will be communicating frequently with participants to help facilitate a smooth transition to other investment opportunities.”


Ever Wish You Could Work from Home?

It used to be a rare thing to meet someone who worked from home and actually made a decent income. Some people say they could never do it. They’re not self-starters. They can’t deal with the distractions. They’d feel like they were always at work. Then there are people who work from home, for an employer or for themselves, and never want to “go to work” again.

Who actually works at home? In 2015, only about 3% of workers, or 4 million people, worked from home. As millenials swarm the workforce and always talk about work-life balance, many experts believed they’d be the ones who work from home. But in actual fact, most of the ones working at home (as employees, not self-employed persons such as freelancers) are baby boomers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey. The older the worker, the higher the chance he or she will be working from home.

Why? It’s a mixture of reasons behind it. According to Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, this type of employment is “more available to those who have earned the trust of their employer or just don’t give a damn about climbing the corporate ladder.” Lister goes on to say that though millenials may want to work from home, they also feel they must be seen in the office, and fear that working remotely will diminish their potential for promotion.

If you’re not concerned about the corporate ladder and would rather work from home in your pajamas and slippers, with your dog beside you, and not fighting traffic and inclement weather, there’s more good news. The census survey mentioned above and information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that telecommuters make, on the average, $4,000 a year more than employees who commute to work.

Apart from “appearances,” not everyone is cut out to work from home. If you’re thinking about it, here are seven traits lists that you need to work well from home:

  1. Self-motivation. Can you be motivated to work without the office atmosphere and coworkers?
  2. Good communication skills. It may sound odd, but communication skills are even more important for at-home workers. This is because you’ll need to rely on nonverbal clues much of the time.
  3. Resourcefulness. There will be times when you have to solve a problem without input.
  4. Tech-savvyness. Even if you can call for tech help, you’ll need some ability to troubleshoot when things go awry.
  5. Ability to self-evaluate. Without external feedback, you’ll need a critical eye for your own work in terms of quantity, quality, and speed.
  6. Independence. Do coworkers annoy and distract you, or do you need the interaction with them? If your best work is collaborative, working at home may not be for you, depending on whether feedback is available to you.
  7. Confidence. You’ll need a high degree of confidence in your skills and knowledge. That means you’ll need a thick skin when inevitable criticism comes.

Read more from about the seven traits here:

Can you do your current job from your home? Obviously if you’re a retail salesclerk or a cardiac nurse, you can’t. But if you’re a medical biller, an editor, a tutor, an administrative assistant, or any other job that you can accomplish from your home (even if only part of the time), you might ask your boss if he or she would consider it. Here’s a big selling point: it frees up desk space at the office. And, studies show that for people cut out for working at home, more work gets done.

If you’re searching for opportunities for work-at-home jobs, be careful. This is an area where many scams have popped up. suggests you weigh any job in terms of positive indicators of real employment:

  • The hirer is an established company.
  • The ad includes the company name and does not have applicants reply to a blind email address.
  • Human resources personnel are available for questions.
  • There is mention of information commonly associated with "real" employment (benefits, vacations, policies, etc.).
  • There is an application and interview process, not simply an emailed offer.
  • The employer can detail the job duties and expectations.
  • References/work samples are requested.

You can read more from here:

On a personal note, I changed careers and began working from home, as an employee, more than 13 years ago. My mom was certain my new employer would never pay me and even if they did, there would be no benefits and the pay would be puny. None of that happened, though for me it took a change of careers, a very good decision for me. Working from home can be done and it can be very rewarding if you have the temperament.


When You’ve Been the Victim of a Scam… Who Ya Gonna Call?

If you get hit with a scam you may feel lost. Rest assured, there’s always someone with the knowledge and willingness, waiting to help. The question is, who ya gonna call? Here’s a list of phone numbers and websites where you can find help.

Social Security Number: If you have reason to believe someone has obtained and misused your Social Security (SS) number you can order a freeze on the SS account and prevent future misuse of your SS benefits. Call one of the three national credit bureaus to place a scam alert.

Equifax: 1-800-685-1111 (Fraud Hotline: 1-888-766-0008) Important! You may have heard that the Equifax credit bureau (listed above) was recently hit with a security breach wherein 143 million consumers might’ve had their Social Security numbers exposed. The Federal Trade Commission advises taking these steps to see if your information was included.

Experian: 1-888-397-3742 (Fraud Hotline: 1-888-397-3742)
TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800 (Fraud Hotline: 1-800-680-7289)

Placing a freeze should halt the problem, but also report it to the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General at: 1-800-269-0271

From a secure computer with an encrypted network connection, log onto:

Click on “Potential Impact” and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.

The site will tell you if your number has been affected.

Whether or not it has been, because of this breach you can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. You will be given a date when you can enroll, but enrollment must occur by November 21, 2017.

Sweepstakes Fraud: Contact the Federal Trade Commission by logging onto 1-877-382-4357 or Postal Inspector, at 1-887-876-2455.

Mortgage Fraud: Contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at 1-855-411-2372.

Or, the HUD OIG Fraud Hotline at 1-800-347-3735

Timeshare Scam: Contact the Federal Trade Commission at or 1-877-382-4357.

Grandparents Scam: Contact the Federal Trade Commission at or 1-877-382-4357. Or the FBI Field Office at


Teresa Ambord is a former accountant and Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Now she writes full time from her home, mostly for business, and about family when the inspiration strikes.

Meet Teresa