Financial Wellness @ Work

How to Make College More Affordable

We all know that education is a key element in achieving the financial hopes and dreams that we all have, but is it possible that college education is getting too expensive?  One of my colleagues calculated that when he started college at a public university in 1988, a student would have to work 34 hours a week at minimum wage to pay for a year of college.  At that same school today, a student would have to work 53 hours a week to pay their way. Read more

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Student Loan Repayments

My oldest child, Rachel, is a junior in high school, and while we enjoy having her around the house, we know that soon she’ll be looking into college. In case you haven’t looked lately, the average cost for a four-year in-state public institution is $9,139—and that’s just for tuition and fees! Over four years, that’s going to cost upwards of around $40,000. By itself that might not seem so bad, but when you consider that Rachel has three younger brothers, that price tag starts to look awfully daunting. Read more

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Shave Your Budget, Not Your Moustache

A recent Wells Fargo study found that 31% of survey respondents do not think they will have enough money to “survive” on in retirement, yet more than half say they plan to save later for retirement in order to “make up for not saving enough now.” If we have learned anything from Aesop’s fable regarding the ant and the grasshopper, it’s that waiting until later is NOT a good strategy. This is especially true when it comes to saving for retirement. Read more

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Living Longer May Not Be All Good News For Women

According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, Americans are living longer—o.1 years longer to be exact—as the national life expectancy has reached a new record high of 78.8 years. Women, with an average life expectancy of 81.2 years, live on average 4.8 years longer than men, at 76.4 years. While some may see this purely as a blessing, it does present a financial challenge for today’s women. Namely, women may need to save more for retirement than men in order to account for these additional years. Here are five things women can do to help address this added financial challenge: Read more

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The Changing Landscape of Health Insurance

Now that we are in the midst of open-enrollment season, this is a great time to start looking at how the trends in health insurance may impact you and your family. In the last few weeks, Wal-Mart has announced that they will no longer offer health insurance to certain part-time employees. Other large employers are rolling out new plans that will either charge a steep premium to cover spouses that have coverage available at their employer, or they are not offering coverage to those spouses with their own option at all. In addition to all of this, there is an undeniable trend towards high-deductible health plans paired with a Health Savings Account (HSA)Read more

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Social Security Myth #5: You Only Receive A Spousal Benefit If You Are Married When You Retire

In my last blog post, I addressed the myth that Social Security benefits are based on an accumulation of assets and that collecting a spousal benefit would reduce the amount a spouse would otherwise be eligible to receive. This brings up another myth that is circulating out there that suggests that one has to be married in order to collect a spousal benefit. That is not the case. Read more

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Social Security Myth #4: Collecting a Spousal Benefit Reduces the Amount Your Spouse Will Receive

One of the most valuable aspects of the Social Security formula is the accrual of spousal benefits for couples that have been married for at least one year at the time they file for benefits. However, some think of these benefits as a pool of money that somehow is split between the two of them. For this reason, they sometimes fall under the misconception that if one of them starts to collect a spousal benefit, the other’s benefit will be reduced. Read more

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Social Security Myth #3: You Will Lose Benefits If You Collect While You Are Working

In my previous two blog posts, I’ve addressed the myths of Social Security insolvency and calculating Social Security using final average earnings. Next up is a myth concerning the receipt of benefits while employed. Most of us know that the earliest we can collect a Social Security retirement benefit is age 62, but that doesn’t mean most of us plan to stop working by then. For this reason, I am often asked about the implications of collecting a Social Security benefit while working. Read more

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Five Myths About Social Security: Myth #2 – Social Security Is Based on Your Last Five Years of Earnings

Last week, I addressed the first myth about Social Security benefits, namely that they won’t be there by the time you’re eligible to receive them. For this week’s post, I’d like to address another common myth related to how benefits are calculated: Benefits are based on your last five years of earnings. Read more

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Things You Need to Know About Social Security: Will It Be There?

When I facilitate a workshop or webcast on retirement planning, I like to poll my audience to see which areas of retirement planning they would prefer to spend more time talking about. The audience generally ranks saving and investing for retirement as their top two choices but depending on who is in the audience, Social Security may rank as third. Even when it doesn’t, I find it amusing that a government benefit that some are skeptical will even be there by the time they retire ends up being the topic that generates the most questions. I guess it’s because it’s a source of retirement income that many are familiar with yet so few truly understand. Read more

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