Emily Guy Birken's blog

This Trick Could Help You Finally Pay Off Your Debt

Personal finance is personal — especially debt. But if you can overcome that hurdle, a partner may be the motivation you need to tame that balance.

Will New Chip-and-PIN Credit Cards Stop Identity Theft?

Pretty soon you'll be getting a new, more secure credit card in the mailbox. It's called "chip and PIN," and here's what you need to know about it.

Your Debt Is Killing You — Here's the Cure

Forget about saving for retirement and your kid's college tuition. Here's the best reason to get serious about eliminating debt — it's killing you.

The 5 Most Common Ways People Derail Their Retirement

Many people are making these critical mistakes in their retirement planning. Are you one of them?

How Online Retailers Make It Easier to Spend Money

Much of what's convenient about online retail — reviews, one-click shopping, fast shipping — is aimed at one thing: reducing the "pain of paying" so you'll spend more.

Understanding the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Exchange

The Obamacare insurance exchanges open for business in a few weeks. Here's what you need to know about the system before you sign up.

Investment Advice You Should Never Hear From Your Financial Advisor

Choosing a financial advisor you can trust is hard. Narrow the field by eliminating any advisor who offers you any of this "advice."

4 Brain Hacks for Better Investment Decisions

Investors may think they make rational decisions, but for many, emotions and psychology call the shots. Understand your biases to make better decisions.

How Emotions Can Hurt a Home Buyer

Granite counters and fresh paint can lead a buyer to overlook a home's flaws. Avoid buying the wrong house by recognizing these common biases.

How We Brainwash Ourselves Into Brand Loyalty

If you think you're immune to marketing, think again — in fact, you might be convincing yourself to buy something and not even realize that you're doing it.

Credit Cards Aren’t as Competitive as They Want You to Believe

Competition between businesses is what creates good deals for consumers, right? Then why the heck are credit card companies not more competitive?

Marketing, Life Insurance, and Behavioral Psychology

Many of us avoid thinking about life insurance because, well, it's kind of creepy. But it's also incredibly important. Learn why.

Psychology and Loans: The Strange Reasons Why You Make Bad Decisions

You might think that when it comes to big financial decisions, you only make logical, rational decisions. But research suggests that you don't.

A Brief History of Credit Card Marketing Tactics

Credit card companies have been trying to part us from our money for years — and their techniques are only getting more sophisticated.

The Presenter’s Paradox: Why Less Really Is More

Whether you're getting something for free from a company or giving your significant other a gift, discover how our minds assign less value to more stuff.

Mental Accounting: Why You Blow Your Tax Refund but Not Your Raise

Learn why we treat some money differently from other money — and how to get a better overall grip on your finances.

Why Superstition Makes You Buy Insurance

Our illogical brains lead us to buy insurance when we need it the least and forget about it when we need it the most. Here's how to change the cycle.

The Paradox of Choice and the Mortgage Crisis

We often think that having more choices is better. But in reality, having more options might cause us to make bad decisions — like getting risky mortgages.

How Credit Card Companies Prey on Your Basic Needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs helps explain why humans react the way they do. And for credit card companies, it helps explain how to get more of your money.

How Retailers Manipulate You Into Spending

Whether you're at the mall or online, retailers have plenty of tricks to help separate you from your cash. Learn what they are so you can shop smarter.