September 28, 2012

5 Ways Better Health leads to a Wealthier Retirement

"Employers and employees are emphasizing both physical and financial health, writes Tim Minard, Principal Financial Group's senior vice president of distribution for Retirement and Investor Services and U.S. Insurance Solutions. Minard writes that healthier people spend less on medical bills, freeing up more for their retirement, and employers who put more money toward wellness benefits end up paying less for employees' health insurance. Minard explains five ways healthy lifestyles lead to better finances during retirement, such as avoiding the costs of chronic diseases and lower medical bills before and during retirement." See details at:

Candidate's Positions on Student Financial Aid

Politics is about your personal finances. If you are a college student, someone planning to go to college, a parent/grandparent, or just a citizen who cares about the future of young adults and our country, you need to read this New York Times analysis of the the presidential candidate's positions on student aid. As a family economist I'm very concerned about the shrinkage of the middle class and the fact that all the economic growth for the past couple decades has gone to the top 10% of income earners. Post-secondary education is a critical path to entering and staying in the middle class.

September 25, 2012

Who Pays More for Credit: Women or Men & Why?

Check out this research-based infographic on the results of a recent FINRA study:

Ten Nasty Social Security's Gotchas to Avoid

“No one in Social Security is intentionally trying to get any of us to make the wrong decisions or end up with lower benefits than possible. But over the years, the rules governing benefit determination have become so convoluted and indecipherable that even the people working at the local Social Security offices routinely get things wrong.” Read the full article by Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff:
When you’re finished reading you’ll be ready to check out his Maximize Social Security software:
The take-away message: do your homework before filing for SS benefits.

Financial Checklist for Newlyweds

"Getting married also means joining, at some level, your finances. Mary Beth Storjohann provides a checklist of financial tasks for newlyweds, including name-change processes, taxes, beneficiary updates and insurance changes." All Things Financial Planning blog

September 19, 2012

Middle-income Americans wing it on financial decisions

"Middle-income Americans tend to wing it when making decisions about their money, which has led to expensive financial mistakes, according to a new survey. About 67% of people with household annual income between $30,000 and $100,000 have made at least one “really bad financial decision,” according to a study released Tuesday by the Consumer Federation of America and Primerica Inc. Those stumbles cost families an average $23,000.
“They'll spend weeks planning a vacation to Disney World, but when it comes to their financial future, they procrastinate,” John Addison Jr., Primerica's co-chief executive, told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington on Monday.
“The highest obstacle to financial success is procrastination.”
The sponsors of the study are shocked at the willingness of middle-income investors to go it alone.
“A strikingly high percentage of respondents in our survey said they wouldn't consult any information at all in making a decision,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America.
He urges more discipline before taking out unaffordable home mortgages, taking on too much credit card debt or making risky investments." Read the details By Mark Schoeff Jr.:

September 18, 2012

3 New Reasons to Beef Up Your Retirement Accounts

Unless Congress acts soon.... who are we kidding; both parties are locked in mortal combat to obstruct any constructive proposals to solve our nation's fiscal cliff dilemma.  Dan Caplinger writes for Motley Fool about why we need to invest in our retirement accounts:
1. Higher taxes on ordinary income are coming.
2. Higher taxes on investment income are coming.
3. Excess taxes for high-income taxpayers are coming. 
Mostly we need to put more into retirement because most Americans are woefully unprepared but the fear of a bag lady/dog food retirement doesn't seem to motivate people. Maybe tax savings will.
"To reduce your taxable income and therefore your tax bill, IRA and 401(k) contributions are one of the most effective things you can do. The sooner you get money into those accounts, the better off you'll be -- and even if the fiscal cliff somehow gets fixed, you'll still have done a lot to make your retirement that much more secure."
Red the details:

Crystal Balls vs. Bag Lunches

“Few advisers want to say it, and no client wants to hear it, but your best bet isn't obsessing over funds and strategies but simply raising your savings rate.
The investment industry - and clients - are intensely focused on how to maximize returns, with much ink, brain power and tears spent on trying to divine which fund to choose and what strategy to adopt.
While this is entirely appropriate, and sometimes even fruitful, it is also, in many ways, a self-defeating diversion.
The truth is that the primary generator of wealth is earnings, and the only earnings that really count are those you don't spend but invest.
Deferring consumption is a much tougher sell than the alchemy of fund selection, and so the industry, with clients and advisers both complicit, spends far more time thinking of one than the other.
Putnam Institute has done a well-constructed study which looks at the impact of fund selection, asset allocation, rebalancing and simply saving more, and finds that over the long term delaying gratification is the name of the game.” Bottom line: it’s how much you save, stupid! By James Saft for Reuters. 9/13/12 Read details at:

September 13, 2012

Video of Sept FPW: Your Retirement Paycheck

PowerPoint presentations of past FPW programs are posted on the FPW website: If you missed the September presentation or want to review it, here is the link:
Included in the presentation is the Kiplinger's video Do-It-Yourself Pension:
Financial Planning for Women does not sell, rent, loan, lease or otherwise provide any personal information collected at our site to any third parties.