All Articles Tagged "savings"
Woo hoo! We made it to a much-needed long weekend away from the office. If you have marked this holiday on your calendar, honey enjoy it! Now the question becomes just what you plan to do with your little bit of freedom?
If you are like most people, you are probably considering a Memorial Day get-together. While this is something you can definitely plan last minute, it’s very wise to consider some kind of budget so you don’t go overboard. Here are some last minute tips to hosting a Memorial Day celebration while saving some cash.
Most women may think that they’re better at saving money than men. But the infographic below will show you otherwise.
Analysis conducted by SaveUp.com shows that men actually have thousands of dollars more saved, on average, in their 401Ks, IRA accounts, and other savings plans. But it’s not as simple as being more diligent about putting money to the side. The Braintrack.com infographic illustrates some of the reasons why women can’t save more, with things like the gender pay gap and the higher cost of insurance for women playing a role. The result, according to the site, is “The $849,000 Disadvantage For Being Female.”
Some of the suggestions to equalize this savings gap are to negotiate for higher pay and put your money in places where it can gain more return. What are you doing to maximize your savings?
Studies Find That U.S. Workers Will Never Retire, African Americans Ought To Change Their Investing Habits
Studies have said this before, but it’s worth saying it again because it’s so important.
Americans are so financially pressed that they’re pretty sure they’ll never be able to retire. The latest numbers come from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, which found that fewer than 57 percent of US workers have $25,000 saved. And 28 percent, sadly but perhaps realistically, said they don’t expect to be able to retire comfortably. So it’s off to work forever and forever.
While this is happening, people are living their retired lives longer. The Wall Street Journal looks to numbers from the Society of Actuaries, which finds that a man who makes it to 65 years old should expect to live just over 20 years more. and a woman that age, nearly an additional 23 years. That’s a lot of living and little money.
Back in January, ABC News took a closer look specifically at black investors. The pressures affecting African Americans are exacerbated by high employment rates, a large wage gap, and a lack of wealth accumulation. Most striking here is the recommendation that blacks need to better make their money for them by investing in the stock market. Findings that they cite show that more blacks think investments in the home, like improvements, are a better investment than the stock market.
“Investors should remember that the stock market has averaged about 10 percent per year over the long-term. Those with longer time horizons need to learn how to balance risk and return,” the article says. In other words, African Americans say they’re conservative investors and it may be hurting them. Particularly when you consider the insane winning streak that the market has been on over the past couple of weeks.
The article also says blacks are more likely to ignore their retirement fund in favor of saving for their children’s education. And we’re more likely to have lots of money tied up in insurance products rather than investments.
Are you a conservative investor? Is it something you think you’ll change any time soon?
Many of us get so busy with the hustle and bustle of everyday life that our insurance policies typically get overlooked. Now’s the perfect time of year to take a look at all of your insurance policies such as auto, health, life, and homeowners in particular. Here are a few key pointers to keep in mind while reviewing each policy.
Health Insurance: If you are covered by an employer’s plan than typically you have one time of year where you can update or make adjustments to your insurance policies outside of a family life change such as birth, death, or marital status change. “Open enrollment,” for most, takes place in the fall, towards the end of the year. Therefore, any changes you make will take effect starting the new calendar year.
Plan ahead and review your current plan’s premiums, co-pays, out-of-pocket expenses, and annual deductibles. Compare them to other plan choices and possible increases for the next year if possible. Be sure to read each option carefully, weighing the pros and cons because your health plan choices can impact your take home pay tremendously.
Also, contact your benefits department to see if they have a health and wellness program for their employees. Many employers are adopting these programs to help encourage a healthier lifestyle. Extra incentives and cost deductions may be applied to your health insurance just for taking part in your company’s health and wellness program.
Life Insurance: Most people are under-insured when it comes to life insurance. Sit down with a specialist to review your policy at least once per year. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 10 times your annual income in life insurance coverage. This can allow your family to pay for college education, mortgage, funeral expenses, and other necessities to name a few. The aforementioned healthier lifestyle can be a cost savings to you. The higher health risk you are, the higher in cost for your coverage. There is not a “one size fits all” when it comes to choosing coverage. They will ask you questions and have you fill out a questionnaire to see what coverage fits best for you and your family.
Too often at the beginning of a New Year, we don’t address one of the biggest problem areas in our lives: our finances. Instead of striving to be financially fit, our physical fitness is more important. While health and wellness should be a main priority in our lives, our finances should also take some type of priority as well. And as 2013 approaches, striving to be more wealthy should be another resolution to put on our list.
If you are looking to make a few changes in your financial part of life this New Years, here are a few suggestions of resolutions for your finances. Get in better financial shape in 2013!
We all want to take great care of our bodies through proper grooming—like manicures, pedicures, haircuts, beauty appointments, etc.–as well as reap the benefits of being physically appealing once said grooming is done. We may not, however, always have the resources to maintain going to professionals to aid us in these endeavors. Luckily, they recognize the value of a partnership with you and many are willing to negotiate ways to gain new business for them, and cost savings for you. It’s a win/win. When looking to save money on grooming services, start with these tips:
Inquire about discounts for frequent visits. Many barbers and hair stylists will offer discounts for their regular customers; they might give you a coupon to have stamped that allows you, after so many visits, to obtain a service for free or at a discounted rate. Others might send e-blasts containing specials exclusively to those on their electronic list. Make sure you’re on it.
Check the website or signage within the shop for day-of-the-week specials. The hair salon where I have my hair straightened offers free deep conditioners on Thursdays. I know this because I check their website frequently, and because it is listed on a dry erase board along with other specials inside the shop. Be on the lookout for deals that might benefit you each time you visit.
Find out if there is a referral program. If a vendor wants to drum up business, he or she may use word-of-mouth advertising (your endorsement) to get people in the door. The incentive for you is often free or discounted services if you send a certain amount of business their way. If you love them, you’re already doing this anyway—why not benefit?
Host a party. In-home parties are becoming more and more popular in the grooming industry. Spa parties, massages, manis/pedis, makeup—you name it: you can get it done at home. Most of the time, there is a host discount if you are able to meet a minimum quota of party attendees for the person conducting the services.
Offer a trade. “Use what you got to get what you want” as the old adage goes. If you have a photography business, a column in a digital magazine, a blog, a marketing company—or any other business where you might be able to help promote your barber, stylist, aesthetician, etc—offer your services. They may consider lowering their rates if you are willing to write about or promote their services to an audience you have already built.
Follow them on social media. The quickest and easiest way to reach out to a brand business or company; or to be among the first to know when they are offering discounts or having a sale, is by engaging with them via their social media channels.
Use social discount sites. Websites like Groupon and Living Social that work with businesses to present special offers to customers are a fantastic resource if you’re willing to pay before you have a need for the service, and if you like trying out new establishments. Sign up for their email lists, and customize the info you want to come to you most often to make sure you can snatch those deals up while they last.
Dreams of retiring early are becoming nightmares. According to a new study, Americans feel they won’t be able to retire—at all. “Thirty percent of middle-class Americans, or nearly one in three, say they plan to work until their 80s because they can’t afford to retire earlier,” reports The Huffington Post. This means people are planning to work their entire lives—as the average American dies at age 78, according to the World Bank.
Harris Interactive on behalf of Wells Fargo surveyed 1,000 Americans about their retirement goals. The middle class is basically disappearing, say some experts, leaving little room for people to save for retirement. “The U.S.’ real median household income, at just $50,054, is roughly at the same level where it was in 1989. While worker productivity has risen 69 percent since 1979, median hourly compensation rose just 6.5 percent during the same time period, according to the Economic Policy Institute,” write HuffPo.
Americans seem to feel they won’t have enough to retire on. And this may be true. Americans need about $1 million in retirement savings to maintain a decent standard of living in retirement, according to Kiplinger.
And even if workers do retire from one job, most say they plan on getting another. “Thirty-nine percent of middle-class Americans said in the Wells Fargo survey that they plan to work in retirement out of financial necessity, according to the survey,” states the article.
There are ways, however, to try to save for retirement even if you have a low income, according to US News & World Report:
- Set up a direct deposit. Have a portion of each paycheck automatically deposited into a 401(k), IRA, savings, or investment account.
- Redirect your tax refund and tax break. If you don’t need your tax refund for immediate expenses or debts, consider saving a portion of it for retirement.
- Take advantage of tax breaks. Saving in a retirement account has the added bonus of reducing your current or future taxes.
- Don’t spend your savings early. Once you begin to build a nest egg, try not to spend any of it before retirement.
How much do you have in the bank? If you are like most Americans, then it is less than five Benjamins. Yes, that little. According to a new study, nearly half of Americans have less than $500 in savings.
The study, by CreditDonkey.com, a credit card comparison company, found that of the roughly 1,100 Americans polled, 41 percent reported having less than half a grand of savings at hand, reports The Huffington Post.
Another study done earlier this year by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, found that about a third of American workers had savings of $1,000 or less. (Another third said they have about $25,000.)
1. Save before you spend. If you’re not doing it now, you have to find a way to save and the best thing you can do to help yourself is automate. If the money lands in your checking account and you see it on your ATM receipt, it’s too easy to find some “need” to spend it on. Arrange for it to be swiped out of your checking account before that happen and put into an IRA or other savings account.
2. Prioritize your savings.
- Emergency fund first: You need at least six months of living expenses – in cash – just in case.
- Matched contributions: After you satisfy your emergency needs, you can start putting away money for other, longer-term goals.
3. Set a realistic savings percentage per month. Start by saving two percent per month. Almost ANYONE can save two percent. In the long-term, aim to save 10 percent to 15 percent per month, but you can’t start there.
Suze Orman has an interesting idea as well: Make saving as fun as spending. If you feel like it’s an accomplishment, it’s something you’ll do more often.
Have you tried every which way you can think of to save money and nothing seems to work? You freeze your credit cards. You save change. You cut coupons. Budgeted every cent. But you seem to always dip into that savings until there’s nothing left.
Well, a writer for MSN Money, Richard Jenkins, has come up with a new way to save — or so he claims.
“My answer is the 60 Percent Solution, a faster and easier way to structure your budget without having to account for every penny,” Jenkins writes. Forget the typical budget. “What you’re trying to do with a budget is to prevent overspending, which ultimately leads to piling up debt. Contrary to the way most people budget, however, it rarely matters what you’re overspending on — dining out, entertainment, clothes. Who cares? It’s still debt, right?”
What throws out the typical budget, Jenkins explains, are unforeseen expenses or major purchases. “It was the large, irregular expenses — like vacations, major repairs and the holidays — that did all the damage. To avoid overspending, I had to do a better job of planning for those,” Jenkins points out. “They also can often be postponed, sometimes for years, which theoretically should give me a chance to save for them.”
So after analyzing his family’s spending patterns over a couple of years, Jenkins came up with a new savings budget that would keep “committed expenses at or below 60 percent” of gross income. After this, divide your remaining 40 percent of your income into various savings programs, putting 10 percent each into things like retirement savings, long-term savings, short-term savings for irregular expenses and fun money.
If you can’t cut down your expenses to be covered by 60 percent of your income, then look at your fixed monthly expenses and see where you can cut. Maybe your home or apartment is too expensive, or your car payment needs to be reduced. “If the problem is having champagne tastes on a beer budget, you’ll need to take a long, hard look at where the money is going and why,” explains Jenkins. “Perhaps you’re using money and things to fill a void in your life. Often, the steps needed to fill that void have little to do with money.”
What do you think of this savings plan? Is this something you could stick with?
Still dream of retiring early, but just don’t know how you are going to swing it? Well, it can still be possible with some key planning.
CNN offers various retirement calculators on its “Money” page allowing you to figure out just when your can retire and how much money you need to save, among other components. Among the tips:
• Have a withdrawal strategy. “Knowing how much money should be withdrawn from your retirement savings each year is a critical factor in building a retirement plan. Withdraw too much and you are likely to outlive your assets; take too little and you may unnecessarily sacrifice your standard of living, especially in the early years of retirement,” explained Dean Urbanski, vice president of BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc., in a press release.
• Make sure you have enough money. US News reports, “There are still a few people who enjoy a generous, fully-guaranteed defined-benefit pension that kicks in after 20 or 25 years of service. This might be enough by itself to enable you to retire. And some highly-paid professionals in the private sector might have built up a substantial retirement nest egg that will be enough to last for the rest of their lives.” But just having the money isn’t enough. The article suggests it will take “diligent saving and proficient money-management skills to accumulate enough to retire early.”
• Keep your health insurance. Figure out a way to maintain your medical insurance, advises US News.
• Be mindful of asset allocation. “As individuals seek increased income upon entering retirement, they often shift their holdings more toward bonds and cash. This may or may not be a good move, as there are other key investment considerations beyond having a need for income,” stated Urbanski. “Confer with your financial advisor to determine the appropriate allocation for your needs, investment objective, risk profile and timeframe.”
Good information to chew on as we head into the weekend.