Claudia Buck

It’s time to say goodbye – and hello again

It’s a time of transition.

For the last seven-plus years, I’ve been writing a weekly personal finance column. Launched during the recession, the column’s intent was to help readers navigate the shaky financial terrain. It dove into a wide range of consumer-friendly, money-related topics: how to pick a financial planner; how to fend off cyber-identity theft; how to thwart elderly financial abuse; how to teach your kids financial literacy; how to cope with rising college costs; how to avoid family disasters when writing a will or trust.

We also tried some innovative tools, connecting readers with free online advice from our “Ask the Experts” group of local financial and tax experts.

For me, it has been an opportunity to learn something new every week. And it’s been a chance to interview some fascinating financial personalities, including antic TV money man Jim Cramer; Facebook COO and “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg; notorious “Wolf of Wall Street” Jordan Belfort; and brainy John C. Williams, head of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (and a former Sacramento Bee paperboy).

Best of all, it’s been an opportunity to connect with everyday readers who’ve called and emailed to share their experiences, from dealing with tax troubles or predatory auto-title loans, to coping with scammers and those annoying robocallers. Some of their stories were unexpected: the frustration of trying to find homeowners’ insurance if you’re a pit bull owner. Some were candid: those struggling to get free from debt addiction through Debtors Anonymous. Some were heartfelt, like the lonely Yuba City widow who was fleeced out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by a Nigerian “suitor” who wooed her in an overseas romance scam.

Today, thankfully, the recession is well behind us. And more personal finance tools than ever are readily available at our fingertips.

Now it’s time to try my hand at something new. Starting in mid-June, I’ll be joining The Sacramento Bee’s health reporting team. And starting next Sunday, my colleague Cathie Anderson will bring her regular business column to the Sunday business section.

Look for it here May 24.

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