Get the best service: Dial into Mobile Savings

iStock_smartphoneSome providers are coming out with new offers to entice customers to switch carriers, even if they have existing contracts. They’ll happily buy that contract out, pay your early termination fees and throw in a few extra perks if you switch your service. On Bankrate I go over what you should consider before taking advantage of a deal like this. 

Read more here.

Should your 401(k) amount to cash in a flash? #GetAPlan

When times are tight, that money sitting in your 401(k) can look very tempting. If it’s the difference between paying hospital bills, getting out of crushing debt or fixing a hole in the roof, it can be hard not to dip in. But is it always a smart idea? That’s just one of the several most frequently asked questions about 401(k)s. Here’s the answer to that and other common 401(k) questions. For more, head over to today.com.

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Wednesday Welcome: Know Your Worth, Three Reasons Why Women Need Life Insurance

CT-ssToday, we’re welcoming Cynthia Tidwell, President/CEO of Royal Neighbors of America, to the blog. Royal Neighbors of America is one of the largest women-led insurers in the U.S. September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, and Ms. Tidwell, nationally recognized as an expert in life insurance for women, discusses the importance for women and their families to be financially protected.

When I look to the future, I see great things for women. At no other time in our country’s history have women had so much opportunity to pursue education and careers; grow as leaders in their communities; and raise healthy families. A recent Shriver Report analysis found that women — including both married and single mothers — are breadwinners or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of families with children as of 2009. Plus, women dominate the global marketplace controlling more than 80 percent of consumer spending — the power of the purse! (more…)

Money Sense on Fortune

XSmallToday’s Fortune column is based on an Arizona Pathways to Life Success (APLUS) study, which found that more than half of college graduates rely on their parents for financial support (that includes nearly half of those employed full-time). Additionally, these recent grads don’t seem to value the same things many of us did at their ages. Nearly 30% said marriage and having children wasn’t important — and roughly 20% don’t value owning a home. And 16% — gulp – said living on their own is unimportant. For more — and to see my take on the matter — head over to Fortune.com.

Jean on Morning Joe

Has it become impossible for America’s middle class families to save money? This morning I weighed in on Morning Joe. See my take below:

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Mailbag Monday: Calculating Your Retirement Numbers

Nest Egg with coinsI always read columns on many magazines and financial shows on finding your retirement number. This number is always into the hundred thousand or million dollar amount for your retirement. This number is based on certain criteria so a retiree will live comfortably. For a person who has no mortgage payment, a small amount of debt, no credit card or personal loan. That individual with a pension/401k plan and Social Security would not need the high dollar number that is always brought up. What is your input on that?  That is my position I will be upon retiring in 5 years. Thank you.

–Adrian

 

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Wednesday Welcome: Three Steps to Maximize Your 401(k)

This week we welcome Roger Wohlner, an Illinois fee-only financial advisor and blogger at The Chicago Financial Planner. Since I met Roger at the FINCON blogging conference last year, he’s become a frequent source of mine when I’m reporting a column or television segment. I asked him to bring his wisdom to you today. Below, he offers some tips for making the most of your 401(k) plan.

indexThe financial press carried numerous stories during the financial crisis about the evils of 401(k) plans — in several cases it was referred to as a “201(k).”  There are many lousy 401(k) plans out there, but there are also many excellent ones as well.  Here are a few tips to help you maximize the benefit of your workplace retirement plan.

Get started.  This might seem intuitive, but you can’t benefit from your employer’s 401(k) plan unless you are participating.  If you haven’t started deferring a portion of your salary into the plan, this is great time to start.  Look at your budget, determine how much you can afford to defer each pay period and as the Nike folks say “…just do it…”  Many plans allow you to do everything online. Otherwise, contact the plan administrator at your company. (more…)

Wednesday Welcome: How to Motivate Yourself to Save Money

This week David Ning joins the blog. David is the writer behind MoneyNing, a blog that encourages readers to take action when it comes to their finances. The action he’s encouraging today? Some simple steps you can take to get more money in the bank. You know we love that!

moneyning-headshot-1“Savings is boring, so why do it?” says pretty much everyone around you. Luckily, you know better, but still, stepping on the gas could be difficult to maintain at times. If you are struggling to stay focused on saving money, then you need a few tricks to help ease the perceived sacrifice. Here are a few such suggestions:

Celebrate a milestone generously. Savers know the key to long term success is to keep the fire up. That’s why it’s important to relax for a brief moment every time you reach a mini goal to bring out the bubbly. It’s like resting just so you can actually walk farther. Aside from validating the effort you put behind reaching this milestone, you are also giving the present a bit of a priority. After all, today is just as important as the future.

Look at history. Sometimes, all it takes to remind yourself of the effects of modern day consumerism is looking at everything you bought but no longer use. Open up the closet, dig out the cabinets and check out the garage when you have a chance. Do you even get any enjoyment out of much of that junk taking up space anymore? Now what if you just bought half of those things and saved the rest? (more…)

New SEC Guidance for Financial Advisors

handshakeJust recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) granted money managers and advisors the right to feature third-party reviews on their marketing materials. Meaning: Your advisor can now use your dazzling Facebook review (of him) to boost his business. I asked WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou for the run down – why you should care and what this means for the advisory industry? Here’s what he had to say:

JC: What finally sparked the SEC to allow this?

OP: Not sure, but we hope that sites like Yelp & WalletHub that have allowed reviews on financial advisors irrespective of financial gain had something to do with this. 

JC: What does this mean for consumers/investors?

OP: This represents a major breakthrough for consumers and investors. In a world where everyone relies heavily on the internet for fast-paced information, this will allow investors to react faster. Additionally, consumers/investors are now free to compare the professionals who manage our money with the same level of discernment and transparency that has long been available in other segments of the market – from hotels to restaurants and consumer electronics. In other words, the SEC is making ground breaking strides to level the playing field.

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Money Sense on Fortune

jobreportIf you’ve been following me for a while now, then you might already know my take on target-date funds (TDFs). I’m a proponent — especially if you’re aiming to rebalance your portfolio — and need some help along the way. In this week’s column, I take you through what you need to know about TDFs when it comes to retirement.

FORTUNE – More than 51 million Americans have an active 401(k) retirement account, according to the Investment Company Institute.  And if recent statistics from Vanguard hold across the category – more than half have at least some of their money in a target-date fund. That’s a lot of dough and it’s growing fast.  According to BrightScope, target-date fund balances overall hit $500 billion in assets in 2012.  The company is estimating them to reach $2 trillion by 2020.

In many ways, that’s a good thing.  That shift has tempered the bi-polar tendencies of many 401(k) investors.   According to Vanguard, 10 years ago, 13% of their self-directed 401(k) investors held no stocks and 22% held only stocks.   No matter how you slice it, those investors were taking too little or too much risk.  Last year those numbers dropped to 10% and 13%, respectively – a result, at least in part, of making TDFs the default option on many retirement plans.

I’ve been a proponent of TDFs over the years.  I like the way they help humans who say they are going to rebalance their portfolios but never seem to get around to it stay at least in the vicinity of the track. Which is not to say I think they’re perfect.

For the full column, head over to Fortune.com

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