February 2, 2016

"You might be among the world’s richest people and not realize it"

"Compared with the rest of the world, a middle class American" is... wealthy. "To be among the wealthiest half of the world last year, an adult needed to own only $3,210 in net assets." To compare yourself to other Americans, "the median American family had $81,000 in net worth in 2013."
The majority (71%) of the global population -- collectively own only 3% of global wealth, according to Ana Swanson, writing in The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/21/you-might-be-among-the-richest-people-in-the-world-and-not-realize-it/

Learn from Melanie how to pay off student loans

Find out how Melanie paid  off $81,000 in college & grad school loans by age 31. It CAN be done with the right attitude & diligence. She combined a positive focus with accelerated payments to accomplish her goal of being debt-free. Read her story and get inspired on the Squared Away blog: http://squaredawayblog.bc.edu/squared-away/how-melanie-paid-off-her-student-debt/

January 28, 2016

Empty-nesters are missing prime opportunity to save for retirement

"Day care, sneakers, cell phones, maybe college – kids are expensive. When they grow up, empty-nesters face a decision about what to do with their extra money.
What they choose is crucial to their retirement security for two reasons – one obvious, and one subtle but very important."
"The obvious thing to do after being freed from child-rearing obligations is to put more money into an employer retirement plan. But 401(k) saving increases only modestly after the kids leave home," according a study by the Center for Retirement Research "comparing empty-nesters with parents whose kids are still living at home."
Read more at http://squaredawayblog.bc.edu/squared-away/empty-nesters-arent-saving-enough/

Test your financial common sense

Why the poor do better on these simple tests of financial common sense...
And implications for the non-poor...
"If you spend all your time thinking about money, chances are, you're going to get pretty good at thinking about money. Indeed, new research suggests that the poor -- for whom concerns about cash are inescapable -- are not as prone to certain financial mistakes often made by the affluent."
Research shows that conventional wisdom about poverty is... wrong.
Try a few of these tests for yourself.
Here's the first question.
You're shopping for an iPad. Just when you think you've picked one out, the clerk lets slip that the same model is $50 cheaper at another big-box retailer. That other store is half an hour's drive away. If the iPad costs $1,000, is it worth going to save $50? What if the device costs $500? $300?
Read all about it:

January 27, 2016

Keeping financial resolutions on track

Okay it's that time of year... the end of January when many New Year's resolutions have fallen by the wayside.  Research shows that it takes multiple attempts to change behavior. Don't give up: just hit the reset button.
Three steps you need to follow to get back on track are:
1. Set actionable goals. 
2. Push the reset button.
3. Automate your savings and bills.
Read the details at: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/articles/2016-01-26/why-youve-probably-already-given-up-on-your-financial-new-years-resolution  

January 21, 2016

It's Easy to Lose Money in the Bond Market

Compared to stocks, bonds are often considered to be a "safe" investment. However, it is easy to lose money in bonds, especially as interest rates rise, which is the current situation. Because bonds promise to pay a fixed interest rate, set at the time of purchase, if prevailing interest rates in the economy increase, the value of existing bonds decrease because investors can purchase new bonds that pay a higher interest rates than older existing bonds. Another factor to consider is inflation; bonds generally pay modest interest rates which, after paying taxes on the income, may translate to just breaking even or even losing money. Another factor to consider is the possibility that the bond issuer will default and fail to make regular interest payments and even default on repayment of the principal. Read the details at: http://time.com/money/4186106/bonds-investing-risk/

January 20, 2016

Are you tempted to pay with your smart phone? It's time to learn about mobile payments

Consumer Action published a guide on mobile payments using your smart phone.
"The idea behind mobile payments is simple: Instead of paying with cash, check, credit or debit card, consumers can use their smartphone to pay for purchases via a mobile app."
"To help consumers understand their mobile payment choices, Consumer Action looked into how four of these payment systems work. Popular mobile payment systems Apple Pay and PayPal Mobile recently gained two new competitors: Android Pay and Samsung Pay."
Find out the details and how to protect yourself at: http://www.consumer-action.org/news/articles/mobile_payments_guide_fall_2015

Earned income tax credit

Consumer Action has published the 2015 information about the earned income tax credit. "The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps low-to-moderate-income, working taxpayers get more money back when they file their federal income tax return. A tax credit means that you will be eligible for a larger tax refund because it reduces the amount of money you may owe the federal government." In addition he is available in Chinese and Vietnamese Spanish and Korean. Check out the information on their website at: http://www.consumer-action.org/english/articles/get_credit_for_your_hard_work_eng

January 19, 2016

3 Investment Gurus Share Their Model Portfolios

Investing doesn't have to be complicated!
"How do some of the most respected investors on the planet think Americans should be investing their money? NPR talked to three about what a retirement portfolio should look like."
diversify, pay low fees, & adjust your asset allocation as you age. Check out the advice from an interview with the experts on NPR: http://www.npr.org/2015/10/17/436993646/three-investment-gurus-share-their-model-portfolios

Did you overspend on Christmas and the Holidays?

The Institute of Consumer Financial Education has 10 steps to help you cope the bills coming in from holidays. Read their advice at: http://icfe.info/broadcasts/broadcast1601.html
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