When to find a new stockbroker
Don't fire your broker just for making "a bad call about a stock's direction in the short term," said Matt Krantz at USA Today. Predicting stocks' short-term moves is almost impossible, and it's not what your broker should be doing anyway. For most investors, a broker's biggest role "is to protect them from themselves." Individual investors have the tendency "to be overly emotional about investing" and to react strongly to short-term moves. You need a financial hand who is thinking about the long term. "If your broker has you chasing short-term returns and speculating, it might be time to find an expert with more of a strategic approach."
Renters insurance for students
Those heading off to college this fall should consider whether they need renters insurance, said Angela Johnson at CNN.com. If you're living in a dorm, it may not be necessary, since your parents' homeowners insurance "should cover the loss or damage of most items as long as the policy includes so-called 'off-premise coverage.'" But if you'll be living off-campus and paying rent, your belongings will only be covered if you open a separate policy. The good news is that renters insurance is pretty cheap — it averages just $184 a year. If you're ready to take out a policy, take inventory of what you own and then figure out what kind of plan you need. Personal possession protection will cover your belongings if they're lost or damaged in a fire or burglary, while "liability protection kicks in if, say, your dog bites the neighbor," or if you're displaced by a storm or fire and need to stay in a hotel.
Drawing limits for at-home work
Working from home is a privilege that "comes with a price," said Laura Kreutzer at The Wall Street Journal. Having a home office gives you a degree of flexibility, but there's always a risk of letting the office part "seep too much" into home life. If you're trying to set better boundaries, know that "much of the challenge lies in learning when to turn things off." Establish a strict cutoff time for responding to emails and calls. Next, stay organized and keep your work materials where they belong: in the office. Isolating your work to one space will cut down your temptation to let it seep into your home life. And diligently keep track of your hours to get a true sense of how much time you actually spend working.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
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- Why does Fareed Zakaria still have a job?
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