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Financial Concerns Faced by Women

 

As the percentage of women in the U.S. workforce has risen in the last 50 years, so have the financial challenges they face. On average, women still make less than men, bear the brunt of family caregiving duties, and outlive men by more than five years. This means that there are definite life events that need to be planned for from a woman’s perspective.

 

Loss of family income. Whether working or staying at home to raise children, women will need to replace the income lost if they or their spouse die. There are years of future income to replace—and many expenses such as childcare, education, and other services that will need to be provided out of pocket. It’s crucial that mothers have adequate life insurance coverage for both themselves and their partner.

 

Maternity and family care leaves of absence. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for up to 12 job-protected weeks of leave for taking care of newborns or ailing family members in need of care. What the FMLA doesn’t provide, however, is paid leave. That can quickly add up to a major income shortfall. Women, especially those actively planning a family, may need to consider supplemental insurance to offset any lost income during these periods.

 

Assistance with nursing care. With women living longer and outliving their spouses on average, they’re more likely than men to need nursing assistance and/or medical care. Medicare helps to cover skilled nursing and rehabilitation costs to a maximum of 100 days—and does not cover the more prevalent non-skilled assistance associated with Activities of Daily living. Women should consult a financial advisor about different ways to help plan for longer and more comprehensive coverage of these expenses.

 

Outliving their retirement savings. Women should generally save more for retirement for all the reasons listed above. But when faced with gender disparity in pay, family leave employment gaps, and a tendency toward less aggressive savings and investment strategies, women have more challenges than men. All this makes it more critical for women to start saving and planning for retirement early on in their careers. And they’ll need to maximize their contributions and investment gains during their career, both to account for those times when they are out of the workforce due to family and to prepare for a longer life spent in retirement.

 

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Save Money this Holiday with Smart Shopping and Cheaper Traditions

 

Do you tend to get caught up in the holidays and spend more on gifts and festivities than they you probably should? Well, you’re not alone. But all the year-end celebrations and merriment don’t have to completely break the bank. By saving money, cutting back on expenses and spending wisely you can keep your costs down without sacrificing your holiday cheer. Here’s a few tips:

 

Set Your Holiday Budget
Review your holiday spending from last year and figure out where you may have spent more than you planned. Next, make a list of the purchases you want to make this year – gifts, meals, decorations, travel, donations and entertainment. Once you have a list, create a budget for each person on your list, along with an estimate for your other expenses. Make note of the activities you have planned, food you may need to buy for a family dinner, the cost to board your pets if you are traveling and the cost to make your world famous holiday cookies.

 

Consider reallocating some of your typical spending and put it towards the holiday budget. Cutting back on monthly expenses like restaurant dining in November and December can save you hundreds of dollars. Always remember to be honest about how much money you can responsibly spend so you can make an accurate budget. Knowing your spending goals ahead of time will go a long way towards keeping you on track this holiday.

 

Establish Cheaper Traditions for Your Family

Traditions often make the holiday season special, but many of them are expensive. If you’re planning that yearly trip to see relatives, consider booking your flights earlier than peak travel days, or add a couple extra days to make the drive and save on airfare. Instead of adding to your holiday lawn display, save that money and take a tour of the towns in your area that have decorated the streets with lights. Instead of taking the whole family out to see a movie, try starting a tradition of watching holiday films with hot chocolate at home. Or have a family cookie baking day.

 

Create Your Own Holiday Gifts
If money is tight or you simply want to cut back on what you spend for the holidays, consider foregoing store-bought gifts and give homemade ones instead. Your family and friends may appreciate hand-crafted presents even more than something you could get them in a store. If you don’t have any ideas for homemade gifts, a variety of online sites like Real Simple and Tip Junkie can get you started.

 

Another way to get creative and save money is to send e-cards. E-cards are free, or cost a fraction of the price of a physical card, and don't need postage. Today’s e-cards are quite interactive and fun, offering animation and music you can’t get with store bought cards.

 

Be Smart When You Shop

If you don’t want to create your own gifts, make sure you shop smart. Never go out and buy that fancy Star Wars Lego set at the first store you find it in. Take the time to compare prices at different stores. There are also a variety of bargain websites like Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Local and Ebay that may offer the products you want at discounted prices, or coupons at the stores you shop at. During the holiday season, many retailers offer in-store and online sales each week in November and December. Make sure to get on the mailing lists for your favorite retailers so you are alerted when holiday bargains are offered.

 

These are just a few tips to help you save during the holidays. Take a moment to plan your expenses and think of ways you can potentially cut back on costs. Not only will you still be able to celebrate the holidays, you’ll get to celebrate afterwards with a few more bucks in your pocket.

 

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Where There’s A Will, There’s … The Possibility Of Complications

 

 

You’re Ahead Of The Game . . .

 

So you’ve made a will and have made sure that your assets will pass to your heirs in an orderly fashion. Congratulations on your foresight and preparation. Statistics indicate that most Americans have not undertaken this essential task.

 

… But You Might Still Have A Problem …

 

Your foresight is praiseworthy, but now is not the time to rest on your laurels. There is still protection your heirs needs. And that protection can be summed up in one word: liquidity.

 

Your passing will probably create debts, even while they leave the need for cash to sustain your heirs’ normal expenses. If your assets are largely in the form of a home or homes, interest in a business or other valuable items, you may have an impressive balance sheet, but no way to easily convert assets to ready cash. Then, too, probate courts can delay access to your estate, even if there are no disputes over your will.

 

… And Life Insurance Could Be The Solution

 

A life insurance policy can provide the cash your heirs need in the short term, so that they can make orderly plans for the long term. And life insurance proceeds are generally available immediately.

 

Estate planning doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. You will want to involve your legal and tax advisors in the process, and then work with them to bring in a life insurance agent who will design a plan that suits your needs.

 

Making your will was an excellent first step in making sure that your wealth passes to your chosen heirs just as you want it to. Now is the time to take the next steps on that journey.

 

 

Source Of Statistics On Wills:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2014/04/09/americans-ostrich-approach-to-estate-planning/

 

 

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How Much Should A 20-Something Really Save Each Month?

 

 

Let’s face it, saving money for retirement and other long-term financial goals isn’t something most 20-somethings put at the top of their priority lists. If you are in your 20s, you are probably more concerned about establishing your career than about what happens at the end of it. But making a point to put away money early will reap big financial benefits for you in the future.

 

So exactly how much should you save? Most experts say that you should start by saving at least 10% of your salary every month and then increase that amount over time. Saving 10% is a good starting point because it’s a set amount that should be relatively easy to achieve. If you can save more than that, however, you should. You’ll know when you’re saving the right amount when your budget feels a bit tight. Keeping your budget snug means you are probably doing a good job watching what you spend each month.

 

Save With Purpose

When you start saving your money, make sure you give that savings purpose. First, try and put away at least three months of income in an emergency fund. Ideally, your emergency fund should cover a year’s worth of expenses. Once you have this cushion established it will be much easier for you to save for the future because you’ll be covered in case you lose your job suddenly or come down with a serious illness.

 

Save for Retirement

With your emergency fund in place, you can now put aside some of your income for retirement. You should set an initial goal of saving 15% of your income for retirement every year. Contribute this money to your company’s 401 (k), and/or open an IRA. If you start saving your money in your twenties it will be worth a lot more than someone who starts saving 10 or 20 years later. A recent study by Nerd Wallet, found that rising student debt, increasing rents and poor money management is pushing back retirement for 20-somethings in 2015 to age 75. This means saving is now more important than ever. According to the study, “a 23-year-old who begins saving 10% today can shave five years off retirement age, amassing enough to leave work at 70.” The study says that a 23-year-old who saves 15% will bring retirement down to age 65. Saving 20% or more means retirement as early as age 62.

 

Save and Keep Saving

As your salary increases and your career blossoms, you can start setting aside additional money for other goals and large purchases, like that vacation you always wanted to go on, or a nice house. Remember to be consistent with your saving. Setting up an automatic transfer at your bank is a good way to establish the habit. Over time, increase the amount you contribute to savings and investments. Ten percent is a great start, but by gradually increasing your contribution, you will ensure you reach your ultimate financial goals.

 

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Quit Smoking - Start By Making a Plan

 

 

With increasing costs of tobacco products, higher insurance premiums, greater risks of disease, and new laws across the country banning smoking in public, there are many incentives to give up smoking. However quitting the use of an addictive substance like tobacco is an incredibly difficult thing for many to do. As we observe the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout this week, take some time to encourage someone you know to develop a plan to quit.

 

Nicotine, a drug naturally found in tobacco can be as addictive as heroin or cocaine according to the American Cancer Society. When a smoker tries to quit or goes for long enough without tobacco, they may have to deal with the unwanted side-car of dependency—withdrawal. Both physical and emotional in nature, withdrawal can cause a smoker to experience some very unpleasant things like dizziness, depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, headaches, and weigh gain (just to name a few). With the negative symptoms that can crop up from trying to quit, it’s not hard to see why it can be a formidable challenge. Thankfully quitting is possible, and it all starts with a plan:

 

Pick a date. Choose a day when you are committed to quitting—whether a random day or a significant one, it is important to give yourself a timeline.

 

Decide how you’ll do it. Whether going cold turkey, cutting back, replacing cigarettes with gum, using a prescribed medication, or attending meetings there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Just make sure you have a plan prepared that makes sense for you.

 

Replace the old with the new. Throw out the cigarettes, and stock up on things like gum, hard candy, toothpicks, etc. to keep your mind off the physical act of smoking. Replace your old routines with new ones that don’t involve lighting up, and avoid situations where the urge to smoke is strong.

 

Get your friends involved. Build a network of support and accountability by letting your friends and family know about your decision to quit. Ask your friends who smoke to not do it around you.

 

Keep your resolve. Whatever method or combination of methods you choose to use to stop, quitting takes commitment—even in the face of withdrawal symptoms and psychological urges to smoke.

While quitting may seem like an insurmountable goal, it can be achieved by researching the options, recognizing the challenges, and defining a path for success. Visit the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout resource page for additional information on how to quit smoking.

 

 

NAM-3397  11/15

 

 

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