Your Money

Are You Ending 2016 Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise?

 
Are You Ending 2016 Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise?Although the year is drawing to a close, you still have time to review your finances. Pausing to reflect on the financial progress you made in 2016 and identifying adjustments for 2017 can help you start the new year stronger than ever.
 

How healthy are your finances?

 
Think of a year-end review as an annual physical for your money. Here are some questions to ask that will help assess your financial fitness.

  • Do you know how you spent your money in 2016? Did you make any progress toward your financial goals? Look for spending habits (such as eating out too much) that need tweaking, and make necessary adjustments to your budget.
  • Are you comfortable with the amount of debt that you have? Any end-of-year mortgage, credit card, and loan statements will spell out the amount of debt you still owe and how much you’ve been able to pay off this year.
  • How is your credit? Having a positive credit history may help you get better interest rates when you apply for credit, potentially saving you money over the long term. Check your credit report at least once a year by requesting your free annual copy through the federally authorized website annualcreditreport.com.
  • Do you have an emergency savings account? Generally, you should aim to set aside at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses. Having this money can help you avoid piling up more credit-card debt or shortchanging your retirement or college savings because of an unexpected event such as job loss or illness.
  • Do you have an adequate amount of insurance? Your insurance needs may change over time, so it’s a good idea to review your coverage at least once a year to make sure it still meets your needs.

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Top Financial Concerns of Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials

 
Top Financial Concerns of Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and MillennialsMany differences exist among baby boomers, Generation Xers, and millennials. But one thing that brings all three generations together is a concern about their financial situations.
 
According to an April 2016 employee financial wellness survey, 38% of boomers, 46% of Gen Xers, and 51% of millennials said that financial matters are the top cause of stress in their lives. In fact, baby boomers (50%), Gen Xers (56%), and millennials (60%) share the same top financial concern about not having enough emergency savings for unexpected expenses. Following are additional financial concerns for each group and some tips on how to address them.
 

Baby boomers

 
Baby boomers cite retirement as a top concern, with 45% of the group saying they worry about not being able to retire when they want to. Although 79% of the baby boomers said they are currently saving for retirement, 52% of the same group believe they will have to delay retirement. Health issues (30%) and health-care costs (38%) are some of the biggest retirement concerns cited by baby boomers. As a result, many baby boomers (23%) are delaying retirement in order to retain their current health-care benefits.
 
Other reasons reported by baby boomers for delaying retirement include not having enough money saved to retire (48%), not wanting to retire (27%), and having too much debt (23%).
 
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Earnings Call: A Closer Look at Financial Reports

 
Earnings Call: A Closer Look at Financial ReportsThe second quarter of 2016 marked the fifth quarter in a row of declining U.S. corporate earnings. Low oil prices and a strong dollar were largely to blame for lackluster financial results. 1
 
Publicly traded companies are required to report quarterly financial results to regulators and shareholders. Earnings season is the often-turbulent period when most companies must disclose their successes and failures.
 
An earnings surprise–whether profits come in above or below the stock market’s expectations–can have an immediate effect on a company’s stock price, so it’s easy to understand why executives may go to great lengths to impress their investors. Earnings do represent a corporation’s bottom line and are generally a key driver of the stock price over time. Still, an earnings surprise may not be a reliable indicator of a company’s longer-term outlook, partly because earnings figures generally reflect past performance.
 
Earnings are just one factor to consider when evaluating a company’s outlook. Sales performance, research and development, new products, consumer trends, and global economic conditions can all affect future results.
 
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Are federal employees eligible for phased retirement?

 

Are federal employees eligible for phased retirement?Yes, a phased retirement program is authorized by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act or MAP-21. In 2014, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued final rules relative to the program that provide guidance to agencies and employees about who may elect phased retirement, what benefits are provided, how the retirement pension/annuity is computed during and following phased retirement, and how federal employees may exit the phased retirement program.

Generally, each federal agency has the option of offering a phased retirement program–employees have no right to phased retirement. Otherwise, only employees who have worked full-time for the preceding three years–who meet certain age and years of service combinations for immediate retirement in either the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)–may be eligible. Employees subject to mandatory retirement (law enforcement officers, firefighters, air traffic controllers, etc.) may not participate.

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When a Saver Marries a Spender, Every Penny Counts

 
When a Saver Marries a Spender, Every Penny CountsIf you’re a penny pincher but your spouse is penny wise and pound foolish, money arguments may frequently erupt. Couples who have opposite philosophies regarding saving and spending often have trouble finding common ground. Thinking of yourselves as two sides of the same coin may help you appreciate your financial differences.

 

Heads or tails, saver or spender

If you’re a saver, you love having money in the bank, investing in your future, and saving for a rainy day. You probably hate credit card debt and spend money cautiously. Your spender spouse may seem impulsive, prompting you to think, “Don’t you care about our future?” But you may come across as controlling or miserly to your spouse who thinks, “Just for once, can’t you loosen up? We really need some things!”
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