December 3, 2016

How to get 88 percent more from Social Security

Benefits of delaying Social Security retirement by Kelli B. Grant: "Someone who retires and begins claiming Social Security at age 70 would receive a benefit that's 76 percent higher than the one he or she would receive at age 62. Factor in late-career earnings replacing a zero-income year and the increase becomes as much as 88 percent for women and 82 percent for men."(emphasis added). A study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College reveals the benefits of working longer because of replacing years of zero earnings with a high earning year. SS calculates benefits based on 35 years of earnings. Many women in particular have fewer than 35 years of earnings history. Working longer only benefits singles or spouses who have a substantial work history. Many women who did not work for pay for most of their marriage are better off claiming a spousal benefit.

Wealthy likely to get huge tax cut under Trump propsal

As reported December 2, 2016 by the conservative Wall Street Journal, despite promises of big tax cuts, the middle class is likely to pay higher taxes under Trump while the wealthy enjoy big tax cuts under trump's proposed tax plan. Bottom line: big increase in the federal deficit under this Republican administration. Trump;s pick for Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, worked for Goldman Sachs and will have the wealthy in mind as he helps craft tax policies. WSJ writer Laura Sanders reports "the wealthy would receive an average tax cut of about $215,000 per household." The top 1% of taxpayers would receive a tax cut of 26.9%. Middle income tax payers would shoulder a larger portion of the federal tax burden. "According to the Tax Policy Center’s analysis, nearly half the benefits of Mr. Trump’s tax plan would go to the top 1%, households earning more than about $700,000 annually."

Taxes Under Trump: Almost Everyone Pays Less and the Richest Pay a Lot Less

December 1, 2016

Strategies to increase your retirement savings

Emily Brandon shares suggestions for improving your retirement security. 
1.      Save your raise.
2.      Invest your windfalls.
3.      Qualify for tax breaks.
4.      Get a 401(k) match.
5.      Create an emergency fund.
6.      Save $10 more.
7.      Consolidate your accounts.
8.      Redirect debt payments into savings.
9.      Save side job income.
10.  Ramp up your career.

Turning a nest egg into retirement income

There are plenty of strategies for how to turn your retirement accounts into a reliable income stream at retirement. Walter Updegrave is one of my favorite financial columnists due to the high quality of his research and writing. He answers this question in an article that is short enough to absorb but also includes links to valuable tools and resources. Updegrave leads you through the process of deciding how much monthly income you need, how to determine the amount you'll get from Social Security, clearly explains the basics of annuities, and provides guidance on how to invest in retirement... all in one article! Check out:

November 17, 2016

Earthquake risk and Insurance in Utah

 Just a gentle reminder before you start spending and using your credit cards for the holidays. Utah is overdue for an earthquake. Homeowners insurance specifically excludes damage from earthquakes so you need to protect your biggest financial investment by buying earthquake insurance. See the Utah Divison of Insurance info page on earthquake coverage:

November 10, 2016

Alternative Gift Mart in Cache Valley Nov. 12

If you are tired of the holiday gift giving frenzy, it's time to visit the Alternative Gift Market  Give, in honor of a friend or relative, an alternative gift of food, medicine, livestock or education. These gifts will be sent to areas with great needs around the world and here at home. When you purchase an alternative gift,
you will receive beautiful gift cards with informational inserts describing your gift. Your gifts of peace and compassion will change the world!
These alternative gifts are life-saving gifts of hope. They empower the poorest of the poor on our planet to sustain life and to build a future for subsequent generations. When people share with their world neighbors; a more peaceful, equitable global community can flourish. This year's Cache Valley Community Market, where you can enjoy fair trade shopping, learning about the projects, lunch, a bake sale, music, and purchasing your gifts is at the Presbyterian Church, 200 West Center St., in Logan on Saturday Nov. 12, 9 am - 2 pm. If you can't fit Saturday into your schedule, visit Global Village Gifts, 69 East 100 North.
For more details see:

November 4, 2016

Recommended Financial Author and Newsletter

One of my favorite resources for consumer-oriented financial and investing advice is Jonathan Clements. Check out his website: with his excellent books. You can sign up for a monthly newsletter:


Taking out a loan to purchase an automobile can be a significant part of consumers’ financial lives. And it is a complicated process.  The decision to obtain auto financing includes many factors, including the source of financing, features of the loan, and issues related to down payment, trade-in, and add-ons. To help consumers navigate this process and get the best loan for their situation, the CFPB has released a new set of resources called Take Control of Your Auto Loan.

This web page has easy-to-navigate information and tips on planning to shop for an auto loan, learning to explore loan choices, knowing what is negotiable, and understanding how to close the deal. You can access the website here.

Consumers can use this worksheet to compare loan offers, see the total cost, and negotiate the best deal on an auto loan.  You can access the worksheet here 

Consumers can use this printable guide to navigate the auto financing process, including budgeting considerations, understanding the auto finance process, shopping for an auto loan, negotiating and closing the deal. The guide also emphasizes how to avoid common pitfalls. As a financial educator, you can also use this guide to familiarize yourself with the auto finance process, so that you can provide helpful guidance to those you assist. You can access the guide here.

This report describes the findings of consumer focus groups and consumer complaint data about the challenges of navigating the auto financing process.  We found that many consumers reported they did not shop around and negotiate as much for the financing as they did for the vehicle itself.  The complaint data showed that consumers faced challenges in understanding loan features during negotiations on financing. You can learn more about these findings here.

There are updated questions and answers about auto budgeting and financing in the Ask CFPB database of consumer questions.  The Ask CFPB auto loan questions can be found here.

Financial Resources for Parents from CFPB

Parents and caregivers want to put their children on a solid path to a bright financial future – but they’re not always certain about what to do and when. The CPFB has launched the new Money As You Grow Web site, where we provide a framework for how children develop financially, along with activities and conversation starters parents can use right away.  You can share these resources with your clients who are parents, or integrate them into programs you may be offering for children and youth

In early childhood, it’s a little too soon for children to understand abstract financial concepts. Still, they are practicing skills and attitudes that will serve them well in school and in the future: planning and problem solving, staying focused, and waiting for what they want.

Parents can use resources such as the Money sort and Pretend play activities to help children learn about earning, saving, planning, and shopping.

In middle childhood, young people start to pay attention to the financial world around them. They start to absorb habits and attitudes about what’s typical and what’s popular. Peers become important – but their parents are still the most important influence on their financial world.

Parents can use resources such as Bingo on the Go to engage with their kids around financial topics.

Teens and young adults start to earn money and make financial decisions on their own, learn how to find and apply useful information, and make choices about their future. Adult supervision, guidance, and feedback are important in helping teens learn to navigate these experiences successfully.

Parents can use resources such as the Family members’ jobs tool and College Scorecard to help teens research and understand college and career options. 
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