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This Week In Your Wallet: How To Protect Your Internet Of Things

Last week, my team was invited to a lunch to learn how to protect ourselves from being hacked through the many devices that make up the Internet of Things — baby monitors, DVRs, anything in fact connected to WiFi. We figured we’d write it up in the next few weeks. But given what happened last Friday, when Twitter, PayPal, Spotify, Netflix, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others, were involved in a widespread hack — through hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected things like closed-circuit TV cameras, routers, and, yes, DVRs — we decided sooner was better.

The Internet of Things is proliferating almost faster than consumers are learning the terminology. Smart thermostats, refrigerators, toasters and even toothbrushes are available for purchase. Unfortunately, as our reporter Hayden Field learned from Jerry Irvine, CIO of Prescient Solutions, at a home hacker lab hosted by Hartford Steam Boiler, many of these gizmos aren’t very secure. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself.

The Cost Of A Break

Moving on. If you’re planning on taking a career break anytime in the near future, it could cost you — wait for it — up to $1.3 million, according to recent research by Financial Finesse Inc. About 40 percent of women (and 10 percent of men) take extended time off to care for children or parents, pursue a passion or find a new direction for their career. The earlier the break in a career, the more you’ll have to save for retirement to make up for it (since money saved sooner has more time to grow), according to Liz Davidson — who recently appeared on my HerMoney podcast — and The Wall Street Journal. Example: A woman who takes 10 years off early in her career must save 25 percent of annual pay over the remaining 30 years of her career to reach recommended retirement savings, according to the findings. It’s something to keep in mind when you’re considering a career break — and another reason to save as much as you can right now.

Farewell, Unknown Fees

Here’s one way to make up for some of that lost cash: Watch your investment fees. A median-income couple, both of whom work, may pay nearly $155,000 in investment fees over 40 years, according to NerdWallet and public policy organization Demos. That’s based on average contribution rates, 401(k) fees and plan costs — and it could be close to one-third of total retirement savings returns.  How can you cut those costs? NerdWallet suggests:

Airfare Hack

Finally, here’s a hack of a different kind: The kind that saves you money. Just in time for the holidays, Google Flights has a new tool that uses historical pricing data to give you automatic notifications if prices are expected to increase for flights, routes and itineraries you’re interested in. It’ll let you know when prices will rise and if you could get a better deal by being more flexible on the days you’re willing to travel or your choice of airports.

Have a great week,


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