Life Planning vs. Retirement Planning

In the past, the transition to retirement has been viewed solely as an economic event. As a result, the focus of retirement planning has always been on building a nest egg.

In The Late-Start Investor, author John Wasik recommends discarding this obsolete view in favor of a “flexible life plan that provides for financial, vocational, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.”  He explains, “Unless you look at your future holistically, merely saving up a pile of money will be a meaningless act.” (more…)

Cut the Clutter – Fatten Your Wallet

By Melissa Tosetti

cut-clutter-fat-walletWhen you walk into your home after a long day at work, do you:

  1. Immediately feel the stress of the day melt from your shoulders or…
  2. Cringe at the piles of clutter creeping out from every corner, cower from the piles of unfolded laundry and tremble at the sight of the kitchen sink full of dirty dishes?


The Art and Science of “Smarter” Spending

giving-hands-moneyAlthough a number of studies have focused on the effect of income on happiness, Elizabeth Dunn, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia, also wanted to understand the effect of spending choices on happiness.

For example, previous research clearly demonstrated that income has a predictably positive effect on level of happiness, but these levels remain flat over time even as income increases. This finding puzzled Dunn and she wanted to find out why happiness did not increase along with income. (more…)

Encore Careers

encoreSponsors of the MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures “Encore Career Survey” estimate that between 5.3 and 8.4 million Americans, between the ages of 44 and 70, have already launched “encore careers”—positions that combine income and personal meaning with social impact.

This study helps to answer an important question with major implications for the American economy: What will 78 million baby boomers do as they continue to work into traditional retirement age? The final report indicates that a majority of Americans in this age bracket express a desire to use their skills and experience to help others. (more…)

Investing Long Term? Don’t Overlook the Inflation Factor!

inflation-dollarsA penny saved is a penny earned, right? Not necessarily. Thanks to inflation, over time that penny could be worth less than when it was first dropped into the piggy bank. That’s why if you’re investing — especially for major goals years away, such as retirement — you can’t afford to ignore the corrosive effect rising prices can have on the value of your assets.

Inflation Under the Microscope

Just what is inflation, this ravenous beast that eats away at the value of every dollar you earn? It is essentially the increase in the price of any good or service. The most commonly referenced measure of that increase is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is based on a monthly survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI compares current and past prices of a sample “market basket” of goods from a variety of categories including housing, food, transportation, and apparel. The CPI does have shortcomings, according to economists — it does not take taxes into account or consider that as the price of one product rises, consumers may react by purchasing a cheaper substitute (name brand vs. generic, for example). Nonetheless, it is widely considered a useful way to measure prices over time. (more…)

Reflect on Your Money Memories

money-memoriesOur attitudes and beliefs about money have their roots in value-laden messages we have picked up along life’s journey. These money messages are not only clothed in the words of others, but in their actions as well.

The following paragraphs include a series of questions designed to jog your money memories. To gain insight into your financial beliefs and behaviors, look first to your childhood experiences.

In your home growing up, was there an atmosphere of plenty or scarcity? How did your parents and grandparents demonstrate their money beliefs? Did the adults in your life demonstrate responsible or irresponsible money management behavior? (more…)