Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

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This week: a bummer for Mac users, working to be self-employed, teaching your kids about credit, starting late on your New Year's resolutions, and places to educate yourself for free.

1. For Mac Users, the Security Bubble Has Burst

[Credit.com] “Researchers at Palo Alto Networks reported finding “the first fully functional ransomware seen on the OS X platform,” according to a March 6 post on their site

In the past, one of the advantages of using Mac over PC was that Apple is less vulnerable to hack attacks than Microsoft’s operating system, presumably because hackers would rather design malware for the largest potential audience. Since Mac users are a tiny fraction of those using PCs, fewer bad guys aimed for Apple.

That, apparently, is now over. Check out this post for details, as well as what you can do to protect yourself from bad apples.

2. Could You Earn Enough Money Being Self-Employed?

[The Dollar Stretcher] “You’re burned out on your job. Or maybe you have a marketable skill, such as website designing, that you could do independently from home. When making rough calculations about what your salary [is] versus what your boss charges for services, you know that your company’s earning boatloads of money while you slave at work.”

I’ve been self-employed for about 25 years — 35 if you count my career as a commission-based financial adviser — so I wanted to see if the suggestions in this article ring true. They do. Advice includes thinking about things like how much money you need to live, how much you could reasonably expect to make, how you’ll market your services and legal and tax considerations.

One thing that the author didn’t emphasize, but I will: One great thing about being self-employed is that you can typically try things out on the side without quitting your day job. I’d stringently advise you do so.

3. Teach Your Kids About Credit: 4 Ideas That Really Work

[Credit Sesame] “Despite the open dialogue that many parents have about money, teaching children about credit specifically is still challenging because it’s a hard concept to grasp. However, it’s arguably one of the most important money topics to discuss if they’re going to be financially successful adults in the future.”

The ideas that really work include teaching your kids that credit is a privilege, not a right; understanding things like credit reports, the concept of interest; and then actually becoming a family lender to demonstrate how it all works. See the post for details.

4. 3 Financial Resolutions I’m Getting a Late Start On

[Debt.com] “New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to keep, as anyone who has tried to spend January losing weight, saving money or doing some other type of self-improvement knows. Too often, the resolution is thrown to the side by February, and that includes financial resolutions.”

This article is from an author who’s chosen to ignore the traditional January 1st resolution deadline. His resolutions include getting a better checking account, not paying any credit card interest this year and automating his retirement plan contributions.

If you didn’t make any resolutions this year, aren’t you glad it’s not too late?

5. 6 Places to Find Cheap (or Free!) Education

[Wise Bread] “You have no skills, and no experience. Nightmares of a life cooking fries at a fast food chain weave in and out of your dreams. But don’t give up yet. There is an escape from your fry-littered nightmares. Education can be the golden ticket that jumpstarts a lucrative and fulfilling career as a corporate manager, editor or web developer.”

While I’m not clear on how these education sources can make it onto your resume, they’re still worth checking out. They include podcasts, free educational videos and lectures, free education websites, sitting in on college courses and using The Global Freshman Academy from Arizona State University. The final suggestion is trying to find work with a company that offers a tuition assistance program, which isn’t actually getting an education, but helping you finance one.

Stacy Johnson

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