Connie Prater

My official title is senior writer at In fact, I consider myself a savvy consumer, a mom, a penny-pincher/tightwad and an above average Scrabble player.

I have been a reporter and editor for print and online news organizations for more than 25 years. I was on the team of Miami Herald journalists that won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in a series of articles on voter fraud in the Miami city elections.

As a journalist, I have written about consumer affairs, social services for the working poor and health and medicine. Over the years, I’ve developed a knack for explaining complex topics in simple terms “that my mother can understand.”

In April 2010, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers recognized my coverage of the credit card reform law with its Best in Business Award for creative use of online media.

I found out firsthand what identity theft victims go through in protecting their good names and credit ratings when my purse was stolen several years ago. I can share my tips on protecting your privacy and what not to haul around in those big purses and handbags.

I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master’s in business administration from Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla. In addition to the Miami Herald, I have been fortunate enough to work at the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News and

What’s in my wallet? A Visa credit card is on the top of the pile as the most frequently used plastic in my wallet.

Connie Prater was a senior writer for from 2007 to 2012.

Posts by Connie Prater

Fine print, Living with credit, Rewards

Grab teachable moments when you can for teen money tips

“Would you like to save 5 percent on your purchase today?” the Target store checkout clerk asked on a recent visit.

I answered automatically to the credit card offer, “No, thank you,” and signed the electronic signature pad for $71. My teenage daughter, who was standing next to me at the register, asked a question that led to a 20-minute teachable moment about personal finance: “Why did you say ‘No’?”

I never take the retail store credit card offers, I tell her. As we walked out of the store, bags in hand, I explained that store credit cards almost always have higher interest rates. Even though I don’t carry a balance and I pay my credit card bills off in full each month, that 5 percent savings still isn’t worth it to me to sign up.

Why? Unless they are co-branded with a Visa or MasterCard logo, you can only use them at the store that issued the card. I couldn’t buy gas with the Target card or use it to pay for meals at restaurants.

My daughter nodded and, I hope, absorbed what I was saying.

Financial literacy experts tell parents they need to find teachable moments to share their wisdom about money and finances to their children. Since she had asked, I took the opportunity to elaborate. I think she tunes me out when I offer unsolicited advice (parents, you know what I’m talking about).

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Living with credit, Protecting yourself, Rewards

Chad Ochocinco’s venti venting over stolen Starbucks card

Customer loyalty knows no bounds.

NFL baller Chad Ochocinco took to Twitter this week in a rant about the loss of his Starbucks coffee card. Someone broke into his SUV May 23 and stole his iPod and wallet containing his driver’s license and two credit cards.

Ochocinco wasn’t sweating the loss of those things, though. He expresses the real outrage in a video he taped inside his SUV: He lost his Starbucks card. And not just any Starbucks card.

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Living with credit

Good news or bad? I got the Facebook IPO stock

The good news is that I got in on the biggest Internet stock initial public offering (IPO) in history. The bad news, if you believe all of the analysts who have warned about overvaluation and low chances of future earnings growth, is that I bought Facebook stock.

I’m still thrilled. It’s extremely rare for a small potatoes investor like me to be able to get in on an IPO. eTrade sent an email early this morning alerting me that they have fulfilled my request to buy FB (as the social media giant will be known on NASDAQ when public trading begins) had been granted. I asked for 100 shares. I was able to buy 50 shares at $38.

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Fine print, Living with credit

Facebook IPO blog gets Mother’s Day nod

My blog about hoping to get in on the upcoming initial public offering (IPO) of Facebook stock was selected for the 361st edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance.

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Living with credit, Research, regulation, industry reports

Mom’s financial advice sticks for many of us

What do you remember about what your mom told you about managing your money?

If you’re lucky you had a money-wise mom who taught you the importance of saving something for a rainy day or a nest egg. Not everyone was blessed with such mentoring — from either parent. If that were the case and the advice stuck, we would all be like Warren Buffett, the billionaire investment guru.

A new survey published this week in time for Mother’s Day found that the most popular words of wisdom remembered from mom were: “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Surely, many of us recall this from mom or grandma or some other caregiver, perhaps when we left the water faucet running too long or left an empty room with the lights on.

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