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The Financial History of Daylight Saving

March 09, 2015

tips, financial education

admin

27705495_m.jpgConceived by Benjamin Franklin and panned by Native American proverbs, daylight saving time, or DST, has been a constant topic of debate.

And as this year's "spring-forward" approaches (2 a.m. on March 8), what better time than now to learn about its origins?

Nearly 100 years ago, it was created for practicality, but it has caused astonishing confusion along the way. Implemented to save energy costs and be a boon to the economy, many argue DST has been more of a detriment financially.

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Three Things to Remember During America Saves Week

February 26, 2015

tips, savings

admin

Broken_bank.jpg(Bloomberg Business) -- Here comes “America Saves Week,” when consumers are deluged with surveys and advice about saving. And no one's going to argue that putting more money away — for a child’s education, for a comfortable retirement, for a rainy-day fund — isn't an important goal.

But next week's flood of tips, warnings and sales pitches also highlights how useless much of this is to those who need to save the most — the many Americans who are just getting by. 
What they need is wage growth.

 

Lately we've seen some positive signs. Labor Department figures for January showed the strongest wage gains since 2008, with average hourly earnings up 0.5 percent. As more industries expand payroll and more employers compete for workers by bidding up wages, incomes will grow. Wal-Mart is preparing to raise wages for half a million workers.

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25 Ways to Get Smarter About Money Right Now

February 17, 2015

tips, financial education

admin

14309969_m.jpgSmall steps that can make a big difference.

Retirement planning is serious business that requires diligence and patience. But a quick tip, or even an irreverent one, can sometimes be helpful, too. Here are 25 observations from my 30 years of writing about retirement and investing that may spur you to plan more effectively (or to start planning if you’ve been putting it off).

1. If you’re not sure whether you’re saving enough for retirement, you probably aren’t. You can find out for sure pretty easily, though, by going to this Am I Saving Enough? tool.

2. There’s an easy way not to outlive your money: die early. But I think most people would agree that coming up with a realistic and flexible retirement income plan is a more reasonable way to go.

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Four Main Elements Define Financial Well-Being

February 12, 2015

tips, Financial Wellness

admin

33214038_m.jpgYou probably have a few goals in mind when it comes to thinking about your financial life. You might think about taking more control over bills, or getting to a specific point like paying off a credit card, or making an important purchase. We want to help people improve their financial lives, so we want to help them set goals that can make a real difference, and work toward them. That’s why we talked to consumers across the country, to hear what they had to say about financial well-being and what it means to them.

You can see what we learned in our report on financial well-being.

Savings and income are part of financial well-being, but we learned that they’re not always the most important part. Instead, when people talked about their own financial well-being, four main elements came to light.

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3 Ways Money Leaks Out of Your 401(k)

February 11, 2015

tips, 401k

admin

40521340_s.jpgMany people dip into their 401(k)s before retirement when they change jobs or experience a financial emergency. Workers who take early withdrawals from their retirement accounts often never replace the money and end up with significantly less cash in retirement. A recent Center for Retirement Research at Boston College report found that leakages reduce retirement wealth by about 25 percent. Here’s how money leaks out of retirement accounts and what you can do to prevent it.

 

Hardship withdrawals. Hard­ship withdrawals from 401(k)s are often permitted when the worker can demonstrate an “immediate and heavy financial need” for the money, which might include medical care, higher education costs or repairing or avoiding foreclosure on a home.

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10 Steps to an Upgraded Financial Life

Broken_bank.jpgThe beginning of the year offers a great opportunity to take stock of your financial situation and make any necessary changes to build a bigger nest egg or cut back on unnecessary spending. If you’re ready for a financial upgrade but aren’t sure where to start, these suggestions will move you in the right direction without requiring too much sacrifice.

 

1. Choose a better bank.

If you find yourself constantly paying fees for using out-of-network ATMs or running out of cash when you're on the road, now is the time to find a bank that better fits your needs. FindABetterBank.com has a comparison tool that can help, as can Bankrate and Google Compare, which focuses on credit cards. Larger banks tend to offer more ATMs for frequent travelers, while smaller banks and credit unions might be less convenient but offer lower fees.

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7 Steps for Financial Wellness

February 06, 2015

tips, Financial Wellness

Susie Moore

fin1-300x168.jpgOften at the start of a new year, one of our most popular resolutions is to become more financially stable and responsible. Overspending and overextending ourselves often comes from a place of lack and not feeling as if we have enough. It is an emotional issue as much as a material one.

Sometimes we feel as if by controlling and increasing the material volume of lives, we feel more abundant. Not only is this not true, it has the opposite effect. The more we spend our money in non-constructive ways, the worse we feel and the more we spend to feel better. Vicious cycle much?

Money is a deeply personal subject and financial circumstances vary greatly from individual to individual and family to family. There are no one-size fits all rules regarding money but there are some general tips that work well for most people.

Here are 7 tips to creating the abundance and calm you deserve:

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Improve Your Financial Status with These 3 Numbers

February 04, 2015

tips, financial education

Jenna Lee

33214038_m.jpgOur society is obsessed with numbers. We’re given numbered grades and GPAs all throughout school, we rely on numbers to track our weight and even our very identities are tagged with a Social Security number from the day we’re born.

We don’t blame you if you’re sick of numbers.

However, there are a few important aspects of your financial situation that you simply cannot ignore. Neglecting these figures could be catastrophic, but proactively working on them could lower your stress level, save you thousands of dollars and minimize future financial fiascos. While working on your finances may be painful now, it should be well worth your efforts in the end. So take a deep breath, and dive right into these three important numbers:

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Improving Your Credit Score in 2015

14309969_m.jpg2015 is here! With a new year upon us, it's the perfect time to make a few resolutions to help improve your financial life.

One of the best ways to do that is to boost your credit scores because this will give you access to a number of useful benefits. From lower interest rates to more credit card offers with generous rewards, your credit scores play a major factor in determining where you stand financially.

But how can you improve your credit scores? With a little work and patience, you can see your credit scores rise dramatically in 2015. Here's how to do it:

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Cut These 10 Everyday Expenses and Save Thousands

January 30, 2015

tips, savings

Jennifer Calonia

fin1-300x168.jpgThe new year typically brings about many changes. People are more optimistic about fresh opportunities and are more motivated to leave bad habits behind. According to a GOBankingRates new year's resolution survey, Americans' No. 1 financial goal is saving money.

There are a number of ways to save money, but in the greater scheme of things, the fundamentals of saving money are simple: decrease your spending and increase your income (ideally at the same time). Re-evaluating your spending habits is the easier in many cases, but it can be hard to part with some habitual expenses. What you might not realize, however, is that most unnecessary expenses are misleading in their true costs. Cutting these 10 purchases from your budget will change the way you save money one day at a time, and put money back in your pocket over the course of the year.

1. Gourmet Coffee

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