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on 26 April, 2019

ready for financial wellness need a guide

Editor's Note: This article is Part 4 of a month-long series on financial illiteracy in America. April marks National Financial Literacy Month, and to help raise Americans' financial awareness, SafeMoney.com is teaming up with the Society for Financial Awareness (SOFA), a leading financial literacy non-profit, to spread the word. You can find Part 3, "Watch Out for These Financial Blunders," and can read here our dynamic interview with Jim Chilton, the CEO and founder of SOFA.

Have you ever seen a documentary on thrill-seekers heading to some far-flung destination?

Scaling Mount Everest. Base-jumping off Europe’s Troll Wall. Biking on the World’s Most Dangerous Road in Bolivia. Traversing the Alps.

Whether one of these treks or someplace else, chances are you will see that they have something in common. Rarely do the thrill-seekers go it alone.

Their expeditions often include some sort of guide. And not just any guide. It’s someone who knows the terrain, understands the challenges, and offers the experience to successfully navigate potential mishaps.

Although they don’t involve thrill-seeking, money matters can operate in the same fashion. Without guidance from an advisor, it’s easy to make choices that lead not to financial wellness but to fiscal misery.

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on 21 March, 2019

heres why america needs financial wakeup call

If consumer studies give any indication, America needs a financial wake-up call.

A lack of consumer financial awareness is taking a toll nationwide, as InvestmentNews covers in a recent story. And the effects of what the advisory news publisher calls a “financial literacy crisis” are significant.

Almost two-thirds of people shows signs of low financial awareness, according to FINRA. Financial advisors also recognize the challenge. In a survey by InvestmentNews, 78% of advisors strongly agreed that financial literacy is of national concern.   

WalletHub reports that the average household credit card debt is the highest it has been in nearly a decade. Financial stress is affecting work productivity, according to a recent survey of 10,000 employees by Salary Financial.

Nearly one in two Americans (48%) said they worry about their finances, leading to sleep loss, distractions at work, and other disruptors in work performance. The survey drew responses from employees ranging from entry-level to C-suite professionals.

In turn, this wave of personal financial stress costs U.S. businesses $500 billion per year in lost productivity, Salary Financial estimates.

And the washout from lower financial awareness isn’t limited to just working-age Americans, either.

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on 24 April, 2019

robert kiyosaki

Recently, Robert Kiyosaki talked about a widespread problem in America: for millions of people, the never-ending struggle with money and financial matters. And why does this challenge continue?

Kiyosaki talks about how he believes the education system is partially responsible. People learn knowledge and skill sets that are conducive to future employment, but almost nothing about good money behaviors and practices. Watch the video below to see more.

on 29 November, 2018

year end financial checklist

With the holidays upon us, many demands compete for our time. It can be hard to sit down and organize our financial lives as the year draws to a close. Indeed, it might appear easier to put off financial planning and review until the New Year.

That being said, there are still money moves you can think about doing before the year ends. After all, life doesn’t take a straight path. People’s needs, goals, and situations change.

Making these moves before year-end can help with managing money-related stress in the upcoming year. Not only that, it can help you get started on the right foot. And if by chance you could meet with a financial professional for your annual review, you could measure progress, see where to improve, and set new goals.

Here are some savvy money moves to consider making before the New Year rolls in, so you can improve your financial wellness, your peace of mind, and your bottom-line.

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on 17 April, 2019

common financial blunders

By Jim Chilton, CEO and Founder of the Society for Financial Awareness

Editor's Note: This article is Part 3 of a month-long series on financial illiteracy in America. April marks National Financial Literacy Month, and to help raise Americans' financial awareness, SafeMoney.com is teaming up with the Society for Financial Awareness (SOFA), a leading financial literacy non-profit, to spread the word. You can find Part 2, "Want a Comfortable Future Retirement? Start Planning Now," and can read here our dynamic interview with Jim, the CEO and founder of SOFA.

Most of us would agree, as we go through life, we make blunders, mistakes, misjudgments… In short, we all “screw up.” Nothing noteworthy here.

The issue though is, these blunders usually occur from our behavior – the way we are wired. So, when the topic of personal finance, the way we do money, gets discussed, many opinions from many personalities take center stage.

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on 20 November, 2018

steps to financial wellness

Buckle up, everyone. The holidays are just around the corner. And while they bring a spirit of joy and cheer, they can also be a stressful time for many Americans.

From Thanksgiving dinners and holiday shopping to seasonal parties and family get-togethers, there is no shortage of events in which folks participate.

Aside from the festivity, fellowship, and merriment, however, people can “feel the heat” in their money matters in a number of ways. And how might that be?

The pressure to overspend, for one. According to a recent survey by NerdWallet, a little over half of all Americans (51%) say they "typically overspend" on gifts.

Meanwhile, 39.4 million Americans are still paying off debt from last year’s holiday spending spree. And gift shopping is just one of many seasonal expenses that can keep the holiday cash register ringing.

Expenditures such as these can put the strain on retirees, who are more likely to have fixed incomes than other age groups. Not only that, the pressure of growing debt loads can have an impact on people’s retirement goals, not to mention any other financial objectives they may have.

But there is good news. Taking the right steps can go a long way toward achieving more financial security. If you, and your partner, are in your 50s or 60s, it’s good to start laying out your goals, mapping out a strategy for your future, and taking action so your money can work hard for you.

Here are some steps you can take to improve your financial wellness and potentially be more confident for the years ahead. 

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on 11 April, 2019

our future retirement article

Editor's Note: This article is Part 2 of a month-long series on financial illiteracy in America. April marks National Financial Literacy Month, and to help raise Americans' financial awareness, SafeMoney.com is teaming up with the Society for Financial Awareness (SOFA), a leading financial literacy non-profit, to spread the word. You can read here our dynamic interview with Jim Chilton, the CEO and founder of SOFA.

When venturing into the great unknown, you wouldn’t travel without a GPS or a map.

They are a “must-have” for reaching your destination. And for arriving on time, for that matter! How otherwise could you tell if you were going the right direction or if you were lost?

The same principle applies to our retirement. Whether you retire 10 years or 10 months from now, you need a financial plan.

In many ways, a plan is like a financial roadmap. It lays out clear directions for you to take and helps you keep on track.

Yet most people don’t have a roadmap for their future retirement. Just three percent of Americans have a written financial plan, according to Jim Chilton, founder and CEO of the Society for Financial Awareness.

Overcoming the “Ready-Fire-Aim” Mentality

And what explains the planning gap?

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on 03 July, 2018

what is 1035 exchange

Do you have a current annuity or insurance policy that doesn’t fit your needs well? If you are on the lookout for a new policy, a 1035 exchange may be a worthwhile option.

A 1035 exchange is a section of the U.S. tax code that lets policyholders replace an existing annuity or insurance policy with a new policy – and with no tax consequences. This tax-free exchange may be used for life insurance policies, modified endowment contracts (MECs for short), and non-qualified annuities toward a new policy.

With new waves of innovation available – such as living benefits for terminal illnesses or long-term care situations – you might wish to explore new options. The good news is you don’t have to keep your current policy forever.

Let’s take a closer look at how a 1035 exchange may and may not benefit a policyholder looking for new annuity or insurance choices.

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on 04 April, 2019

why financial literacy is important

The struggle for financial wellness is real. Four in 10 Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Board.

And that is just one sign of the financial strain plaguing America.

Credit card debt is at its highest level in a decade. People are behind on retirement savings. Student loan debt has hit a new record, and Americans continually rate financial stress as one of their top concerns.

April is National Financial Literacy Month, which spotlights a driving factor behind the fiscal heartburn – financial illiteracy – and aims to solve it by raising people’s financial awareness.

To discuss how to tackle the devastating effects of the U.S. financial literacy crisis, we asked for insights from Jim Chilton, founder and CEO of the Society for Financial Awareness (SOFA).  

SOFA is a national non-profit, which Chilton started in 1993, with the mission of ending financial illiteracy across America.

Below is a sum-up of the conversation, which covers why financial literacy is important, how people struggle with money matters, and ways to solve the problem.

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on 23 April, 2018

financial literacy matters for happy retirement 

Editor's Note: This is the last feature in a fourt-part series on financial education for April, which is National Financial Literacy Month. To see the first part of this series, click here.

As Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” But actually investing in gaining more financial knowledge is an activity that many Americans don’t seem to do.

While studies suggest that lots of people understand the value of financial literacy, the truth is many things compete for our time. When so much is going on, it’s easy to put learning time for money matters on the back-burner. Even so, what we know drives our money behaviors and decisions, and so a gap in knowledge can hit home in many ways.

This is a complex problem for several reasons. For instance, in one survey, GoBankingRates found that over half of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. In another study by TD Ameritrade, 96% of Americans knew what they paid for streaming media services like Netflix, but only 27% knew what they paid in 401(k) plan fees.

In fact, the majority of investors in the TD Ameritrade survey thought they paid no employer plan fees, didn't know if their plans had fees, or didn't know how to determine the fees. Other studies have also captured similar data with investors and their familarity with their employer retirement plans.

All of this adds up to an ongoing cycle of money headaches, mistakes, and disappointments for many households. 

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