It's no wonder that people, even those who make an upper-middle-class income, aren't saving for retirement and are spending all that they earn.
This post comes from Bob Sullivan at partner site Money Talks News.
Editor's note: This is part of a series by Bob Sullivan called The Restless Project.
It seems like a simple enough question: How much money does a normal American family need to afford to be … normal? You already know what I'm about to say next: Coming up with a realistic average family budget is fraught with peril.
There are obvious geographic problems: What's normal in New York City is not normal in Omaha. There are honest questions about what "need" is: Some parents feel their kids need private school, others don't. Is normal a three-bedroom house in a leafy neighborhood, or an apartment? So it goes.
A brilliant professor friend of mine named David Cloutier, who is working on a book for Georgetown University Press about luxury, kicked this question around on Sunday. His research addresses the issue that people often confuse need and want, and this leads to all sorts of trouble, including financial trouble. (Here's one of his essays).
Of course he's right: We all know folks who spend too much on granite countertops, Wolf ovens, Cadillac Escalades, and a fourth bathroom. On the other hand, I am often in the position of defending middle-class Americans who are slowly slipping further and further behind, even while it seems like they make a lot of money.
A recent study shows your health and wealth are closely linked.
This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.
Eat your fruits and veggies, exercise and donate to your 401k. It turns out that you may be able to predict an individual's physical health by examining their behavior when it comes to saving for their financial future.
A recent study in Psychological Science found that people who contribute to their retirement plans are more likely to take the necessary steps to improve their physical health.
"Employees who saved for the future by contributing to a 401k showed improvements in their abnormal blood test results and health behaviors approximately 27 percent more often than noncontributors did," the study said.
The study offers an insight into people who are willing to sacrifice now in an effort to provide themselves a healthy financial future.
Moving to a foreign land for your golden years may sound expensive, but it isn't always.
People dream of different things when considering retirement: relaxation, affordability, traveling or trying new things. For those who want to combine as many of those ideals as possible, retiring abroad can be an appealing option.
If moving to a different country sounds exciting but expensive, that's understandable, because picking a new place to live is going to require more savings and planning than merely staying put after you stop working. Still, affordable retirement abroad is within reach, and while everyone's lifestyle preferences differ, there are some basic guidelines you can follow when looking into your best options for retiring outside the U.S.
In its latest edition, the Overseas Retirement Letter released its 2014 Retire Overseas Index, scoring foreign locales on 12 criteria crucial to retirees' relocation decisions: climate, cost of living, crime, English speaking, entertainment, environmental conditions, the existing expat community, healthcare, infrastructure, real estate, residency requirements and taxes.
Of all the areas researched, cost of living seemed to be the most challenging to assess, according to the report written by the newsletter publisher. Your monthly budget depends heavily on how you want to live -- that goes for any lifestyle, not just retirement. Living like a tourist, no matter where you are, is more expensive than living like a local, the publisher pointed out. To try and provide some sense of cost-of-living rankings, the researchers created budgets for various cities based on the following typical expenses:
You could easily save several hundred dollars or more before the end of the year by implementing several of these tips. Nothing sweeter than a debt-free holiday.
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News.
If you woke up after the holidays last year with an overspending hangover, or you're wondering where you'll get money for gifts this year, this article's for you.
To give the gifts you want without money stress, start saving now. A fat holiday shopping fund lets you enjoy a season that's both affordable and inner-peaceful.
Long gone are the days of coupon clipping: coupon apps are the wave of the future. Find the best mobile coupon apps that can help you save money on your grocery bill.
Patio furniture is priced to move, but TVs will be better come Black Friday; these insights and more in our September buying guide.
This post comes from Lindsay Sakraida and Louis Ramirez at partner site DealNews.com.
September is an odd month for shopping, since summer has officially come to a close, and we're inching ever closer to Black Friday. But September has its own deal virtues, including Labor Day sales!
So, we've mined the extensive DealNews archives of sales, coupons, and individual products from the past few summers to find out what are the best and worst things to buy in September.
A new survey by MoneyRates.com gives a glimpse into what a little financial education can do.
This post comes from Richard Barrington at partner site MoneyRates.com.
A new MoneyRates.com poll finds that financial education in high school may help people feel more comfortable with financial matters later in life. The problem is that the survey also reveals that relatively few Americans -- and especially few women -- have received much financial education.
In the Op4G-conducted poll of 2,000 American adults, the majority said they received little or no financial education in high school. The respondents who received little or no financial education were much less likely to rate themselves as proficient in financial concepts than the respondents who reported receiving more financial education.
The women surveyed reported receiving significantly less financial education than their male counterparts, though the poll results indicate that both sexes benefit from this type of education.
The overlooked subject
Poll participants were asked about how much financial education they received in high school: a lot, some, a little or none. Then they were asked how knowledgeable they are about personal finance as adults, allowing for a comparison between how much instruction they received in high school and how comfortable they are with the subject today.
Here are some of the most notable data points:
Big cable companies want to merge. What's in it for you? Take a look in our crystal ball.
This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.
Have you heard?
The two most hated companies in America are trying to merge. That's right. Comcast and Time Warner Cable are planning to combine forces and, presumably, lock out the competition so no other company can ever steal their coveted spot at the bottom of the American Customer Satisfaction Index. They're seeking federal approval to do so.
They aren't the only big names looking forward to merging either. The Department of Justice just green lighted an AT&T takeover of satellite TV provider DirecTV. While the Federal Communications Commission still needs to sign off, that deal is looking like it might be close to being inked.
With some of the biggest names in the industry set to merge, what have you got to look forward to other than longer hold times? Our crystal ball is hazy, but here are a few educated guesses.
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