Posts Tagged ‘financial’

Is There a Secret Formula for Financial Wellness?

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

There are many prescriptions to get to financial health. Here are four proven strategies to help you get there:

 Setting and sticking to a budget

In 2017, 78% of Americans said they were living paycheck to paycheck, up from 75% three years earlier.1 Part of the reason may be that only 41% of us use a budget,2 even though it’s one of the best ways to keep track of where our money goes.

Fortunately, it’s a pretty easy problem to fix. Try writing down what you spend every day for six months. At the end of six months, add up what you have spent in major categories (living expenses, transportation, dining out, and so forth), and see if what you’re spending money on brings you joy. If it doesn’t, time to create a budget! Budgeting is the process of taking control of your money, rather than trying to figure out where it went. Budgeting looks forward, not backward.

Saving for emergencies

Just 39% of U.S. households have the savings for an unexpected

$1,000 outlay,3 such as making out-of-the-blue house or car repairs. Many experts think you should have three to six months of living expenses stashed away. Saving up doesn’t need to be hard. Simply put $40 or $50 a month into an account, and let it build — it will help you feel more secure financially.

Paying down debt

The average household has $134,058 in debt, including credit cards, mortgages, and auto and school loans.4 We suggest attacking two kinds of debt first:

  • High-interest-rate credit cards: Every dollar you spend paying down a credit card that charges 19% per year is like getting a 19% return on that money.
  • Small credit-card balances: Maybe you signed up for a store credit card and used it once or twice. Carrying a small balance may not seem like a big deal, but retiring this type of debt can give you an emotional boost.

Planning for retirement

The median working age couple has only $5,000 saved for retirement, according to a Federal Reserve study.5 Unfortunately, most people don’t start saving until it’s too late. There’s even a big cost if you delay savings just one year. Look at how much money a 26-year-old gives up by delaying the start of contributions by just 12 months:

Your Starting Age Your Contributions by Age 65 Your Account Value at Age 65 The Cost of Waiting One Year
25 $48,000 $324,180  
26 $46,800 $299,008 $25,172

This is a hypothetical illustration intended to show how a one-year delay in investing might affect savings. It is not intended to depict the performance of any particular investment. Assumes monthly contributions of $100, an annual 8% hypothetical rate of return in a tax- deferred account, retirement at age 65, and no withdrawals. Savings totals do not reflect any fees/expenses or taxes. The accumulations shown would be reduced if fees and taxes had been deducted.

You may be able to achieve financial health simply by following these four guidelines.

1 Source: http://careerbuilder.com. National survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 24 to June 16, 2018.

2 Source: U.S. Bank, CNN.com, October 24, 2016. https://money.cnn.com/2016/10/24/pf/financial-mistake-budget/index.html

3 Source: https://www.bankrate.com/banking/savings/financial-security-0118/

4 Source: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/average-credit-card-debt-household/.  Balances as of June 2018.

5 Source: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-typical-american-couple-has-only-5000-saved-for-retirement-2016-04-28

 

November Checklist

Friday, October 26th, 2018

  • Prepare to issue a payroll stuffer or other announcement to employees to publicize the plan’s advantages and benefits, and any plan changes becoming effective in January.
  • Conduct a campaign to encourage participants to review and, if necessary, update their mailing addresses to ensure their receipt of Form 1099-R to be mailed in January for reportable plan transactions in 2018.
  • Check current editions of enrollment materials, fund prospectuses and other plan information that is available to employees to ensure that they are up to date.

Looking For Free Financial Advice?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Looking for free financial advice? Money Smart Week, launched by the Federal Reserve Bank in 2002 for people of all income levels, is one of the most comprehensive financial literacy programs in the country. And it’s free! Get informed about saving for college, buying a house and using credit wisely.

Source: moneysmartweek.org.

How Millennials View the Role of Employers and Government

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

As the workforce transitions toward more Millennials in company leadership roles, change is happening in how things are done and in attitudes. Recently, a national cross-section of workers was asked about a variety of topics that included what they expect from their company. According to the survey, American workers say they play the largest role in their own success. But the next-highest number, 76% of the workers, say their employer should have “a meaningful role in providing access to opportunities to help them be successful.” In fact, 36% of the surveyed workers said their employers should have a large role in providing access to opportunities to be successful. That figure is higher than the 34% who said their families should have a large role in their success. The list of actions employers could take to give employees the help they need, according to the survey, included: access to financial products, including retirement savings plans, to help them grow and build wealth (87%); health and wellness programs (85%); and free financial education courses (82%).

Read more of the American Workers Survey commissioned by Prudential and conducted by Morning Consult, at https://tinyurl.com/Worker-attitudes-Pru.

In The Driver’s Seat

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

When it comes to investing for retirement, it’s up to you to decide how to manage your plan.

Your company offers a major benefit through its retirement plan — a powerful vehicle that helps you save. It’s up to you to decide how to make the most of its many features, including deciding on your investments. But you don’t have to go it alone… whether you want to “do it yourself,” have a professional “do it for you” or “get some help doing it,” most plans offer a wealth of resources to get you started and keep you on track.

Drive the “car” yourself.

If you’re interested in learning about the investment markets and comfortable making the choices that are right for you, you may want to be more involved in managing your plan.

When you choose to “do it yourself,” you:
• Mix and match individual funds from your plan’s investment menu.
• Select an asset allocation fund that invests in accordance with your tolerance for risk, and then decide when you want to change to another fund when your risk tolerance or new financial circumstances warrant.
• May want to consider a target-date fund if you are interested in an “all-in-one” type of investment that automatically invests according to your time horizon to retirement and beyond.

Uber your future!

Would you rather focus your time on interests outside of investing, taking more of a hands-off approach to managing money? Maybe you’re a “do it for me” investor. This option may be appealing to you if your finances are complex. Say your financial goals include buying a first home, having children or caring for parents. As a “do it for me” investor, you can have an investment professional select and manage the funds in your account for an annual cost and provide financial planning to help you pursue your goals.

Maybe ridesharing is more your speed.

Maybe you’d like to keep control over the funds you select in your account but would like someone to talk to about your decision. This describes the “get some help doing it” investor. Most retirement plans offer access to online advice tools, or a toll-free Call Center that you can call for guidance about the investments offered under your plan, how to allocate them, and when it may make sense for you to rebalance.

Five Money Rules to Live By

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

It’s not simply a matter of working harder; it’s much more about using your non-financial skills and talents in new ways to bring you prosperity and a greater sense of personal satisfaction. Here are five tips to follow when seeking balance in your finances. (more…)

How To Retire Well

Monday, August 25th, 2014

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How well prepared are you for the retired life?

The first consideration for retirees is to be sure that you have enough money saved and invested to sustain your financial needs during your retired life. Aside from the basics, you want to be able to sustain a chosen lifestyle. Setting aside some funds for emergencies and cash needs adds to your security. Continuing to save and invest during your retirement helps you to hedge against outliving your retirement assets. According to U.S.News & World Report contributor, Dave Bernard, there are steps to help you make the transition into a happy retirement that involves setting personal goals and working toward achieving them.

The first consideration in your preparation is to decide what will you do? (more…)

Expenses You Must Include In Your Retirement Budget

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Man in home office on telephone using computer smiling

How accurately can we estimate and budget for our retirement future? While individual lifestyle will dictate your expenses, a report published by U.S. News & World Report lists the expenses that are shared by all retirees and must be budgeted for.

  • Health care costs will be one of the biggest expenses you must deal with in retirement. A 65 year-old couple retiring in 2013 will need $220,000 to cover health care costs during retirement, according to calculations by Fidelity. This figure is based on average life expectancy. The cost of long-term care services depends on whether you receive it at home, in adult day care, at an assisted living facility or in a traditional nursing home. The average cost of a private nursing home is about $90,000 per year, assisted living facilities average $3477 per month and hourly home care rates average $46 for a Medicare-certified home health aid, according to MetLife.

(more…)

Five ways to wreck your retirement (and marriage)

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Spending your retirement in comfort depends largely on what you and your spouse do today.

Retirement, like marriage, comes under enormous strain when money is constantly an issue and recognizing this sooner rather than later can make the difference between traveling and living out your years together in relative comfort or having to scrape by for years as you get older and less healthy. It’s a pretty stark contrast.

Here are five things to avoid with your retirement today:

1. Not saving early or often

It’s the little things that add up. While you may think there’s plenty of time between your current situation and retirement, saving now means you won’t have to catch up later, when you may face other issues or unplanned expenses. It’s also the single most effective habit you can develop: saving a little bit all the time.

2. Underestimating your needs and lifestyle (more…)