June 19, 2018

College Resources for Disabled Students: Best Colleges, Gov't Programs, Scholarships & Helpful Apps

This college resources guide provides "an updated, definitive list of all the government and private sector benefits for disabled college students — free or low-cost apps & relevant assistive technology (+ discounts), plus a list of available scholarships. New for 2018, we’ve added a section listing colleges specifically for students with learning disabilities."
Here’s what you’ll get in this guide:
  • 5 of our best tips for accessing college education as a person with disabilities.
  • A list of government resources for your education
  • Tips on scholarships, top schools for people with disabilities, discounts on assistive technology, and more!
College Resources for Disabled Students: Best Colleges, Gov't Programs, Scholarships & Helpful Apps

June 7, 2018

How much can you expect to spend in retirement?

"Households run by people 65 or older tend to spend about $3,800 a month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here is a look at how that spending breaks down into categories, such as housing, transportation and health care." Will you be able to live on $45,756 per year $45,756 per year?  Read the article by Dayana Yochim based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on the NerdWallet website: https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/lets-get-real-what-an-average-retirement-costs

Let’s Get Real: What an Average Retirement Costs

Here’s a monthly breakdown of how households headed by a retirement-age person spend money, on average, in seven major categories:
Housing: $1,322
Transportation: $567
Health care: $499
Food: $483
Personal insurance/pensions: $237
Cash contributions: $202
Entertainment: $197

June 6, 2018

Special Needs Financial Planning Guide

Parents of children with special needs have an extra responsibility to ensure care of their child when they are no longer able to be an advocate and manage finances and daily needs. Don't wait; start now to protect your loved one. Check out this useful resource written by certified financial planner Steven Millstein, available at: https://www.creditzeal.com/2018/05/special-needs-financial-planning.html

Special Needs Financial Planning: A Definitive Guide

May 16, 2018

Health Savings Account Contribution Limits for 2019

The IRS has released contribution limits for health savings accounts for 2019. The individual limit will be $3,500, a $50 increase over 2018, while the family limit will increase $100 to $7,000.
"A type of savings account that lets you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. By using untaxed dollars in a Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and some other expenses, you can lower your overall health care costs."
"An HSA can be used only if you have a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) — generally any health plan (including a Marketplace plan) with a deductible of at least $1,350 for an individual or $2,700 for a family. When you view plans in the Marketplace, you can see if they’re "HSA-eligible."
For 2018, you can contribute up to $3,450 for self-only HDHP coverage and up to $6,900 for family HDHP coverage. HSA funds roll over year to year if you don't spend them. An HSA may earn interest, which is not taxable."
"Some health insurance companies offer HSAs for their high deductible plans. Check with your company. You can also open an HSA through some banks and other financial institutions."

May 11, 2018

CFPB backs down on student loan oversight

Just when student loans outstanding exceeded all other debt categories except mortgages and hit the $1.5 TRILLION mark.... Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Mick Mulvaney is shrinking efforts of the CFPB to protect students from unethical and illegal lenders. The May 11 Wall Street Journal reports that "Mulvaney dismantled a group that helped direct the agency's actions against predatory student loan debt collection practices...."

May 10, 2018

More Bad News About Wells Fargo

As reported in The Wall Street Journal (5/10/18, p. B1): "Wells Fargo & Co. has acknowledged that it pocketed fee rebates that should have been passed on to a public pension fund in Tennessee while acting as its trustee...."
Wow! What hasn't this bank done to screw its consumer and corporate customers? Drop this bank like a hot potato. Find a credit union that will treat you right. Need I say more?

Avoiding "Lifestyle Creep"

"You've heard the seemingly outrageous stories of families who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars and still can't make ends meet. How can that happen?"
Trent Hamm explains: "One of the biggest reasons that high-earners struggle to pay their bills is lifestyle creep. Here's how it happens: As people gradually earn more money, they begin to buy more expensive things, and those purchases often result in a lot of debt, maintenance, taxes and expensive insurance bills. Over time, the bills required just to keep and maintain those expensive items can gobble up your income, leaving you with all the old worries and more career stress than before."
Sound familiar? I hope not but, if it does read Hamm's article: 5 Ways to Avoid Expensive 'Lifestyle Inflation.'
"Don't let mindless overspending decimate your increasing salary and delay financial milestones."

May 6, 2018

Which generation has the highest student debt load?

Millenials? Gen-X? 
Guess again!
Boomers age 45 to 74 "now owe more money in education-related debt, on average, than do younger college graduates."
"People under age 35 with student debt owe $32,900 on average, according to data from the Fed’s 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances. That debt number is higher for every other 10-year age bracket up to age 75: It peaks at $37,000 for 45- to 54-year-olds, but even 65- to 74-year-old borrowers owe an average $35,400."
Much of the debt is due to helping children and grandchildren with higher education expenses. 

Kerri Anne Renzulli explains the details in Money magazine

This Generation Has a Huge and Growing Student Debt Burden. It's Not Who You Think


Locate a "lost" pension from a former job

The Squared Away Blog tells the story of two sisters who worked for Spiegel decades ago.  Blogger Kim Blanton explains:
"Betty Taylor is 74 and retired from a job she held for more than a decade filling Spiegel catalog orders and packing them up for shipping – she left in 1984. Diane Taylor, 70, was a packer and then a keypunch operator there between 1982 and 1995."
"But the sisters, who live together in their late mother’s house on Chicago’s Southwest Side, couldn’t track down anyone who could confirm that their low-paying jobs entitled them to Spiegel pensions.
This is more common than one might think." Blanton explains how the Pension Action Center (PAC) at the University of Massachusetts Boston helped the sisters receive their hard-earned benefits.
See: http://squaredawayblog.bc.edu/squared-away/do-i-have-a-pension-sleuths-can-find-it/

Dealing with Alzheimers

The Squared Away blog offers a short video about Alzheimers disease and thoughtful comments.
The video "provides invaluable information and insight into the myriad causes of Alzheimer’s and the unique way its symptoms manifest in each individual. It also explains why diagnosis by a physician is critical – turns out, some people appear to have dementia, but the cause of their cognitive decline isn’t Alzheimer’s and may be reversible."
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