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. Read More
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. Read More
“What can we do to not run out of money in retirement?” and “Will we have enough money to last as long as we are retired?”
Those are the two big questions which nearly all retirees have. For most of us, though, they are top concerns that what we all worry about as we approach retirement. Then we think about them quite often as we move through our retirement years.
Good news, however. To help alleviate the worrying and wondering, the solution is — quite simply — to have a PLAN. Read More
Imagine you are driving to work one day and daydreaming about all the things you will do when you retire. But when you walk into the office, your boss presents you with a pink slip.
Now what do you do?!
This is not a happy scenario, but it’s one we all should be prepared for as we approach retirement. Life is messy and random at times. Your best way to deal with the unexpected is to always have a back-up plan. Read More
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. Read More
It’s one of the things we like to think about the least: needing help caring for ourselves when we are older.
While living to a ripe old age sounds great—and statistics show that many of us might be headed in that direction—the idea of not being able to fully care for ourselves is so daunting that we put off planning for it, or perhaps never plan for it at all.
Yet it’s an issue that is much better dealt with now, when we are best equipped to explore our options.
Maybe it’s sticker shock that prevents some of us from taking action. The cost of long-term care, known as LTC, is well reported. Genworth, a provider in the long-term insurance space, has published its Cost of Care Survey for the last 15 years. Read More
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. Read More
“The Breakfast Club” was a classic coming-of-age film. The stars of the movie? Gen X misfits dreaming of their futures during a fateful day-long detention in their high school library.
What they couldn’t have foreseen is that many Gen Xers would grow up to be responsible not only for their own well-being, but for the care and livelihood of their parents and their grown children as well.
So, if a sequel about Gen Xers was made today, it might be called “The Breakfast Sandwich Club.” And why? Many members of Gen X struggle to plan for their own futures while facing the financial impact of caring for the generations before and after them. Read More
Life in the work lane means keeping your nose to the career grindstone. You work hard over many years, balancing work and family while accruing a comfortable nest egg for your retirement.
Along the way, you probably benefited from the discipline and focus that comes from working with a financial advisor. Their guidance was helpful in growing your portfolio and other assets to where they are now.
This life stage is called the “accumulation phase,” and its long-term priority is with the growth of your financial assets. Yet it’s just as important to plan for the backend, or when you start drawing on your nest egg for retirement income.
After all, life changes quite a bit when you retire. Your sources of income will change once you hit the golden years, whether you were a full-time executive, you ran your own business, you worked in a government capacity, or you steadily climbed the ranks as a salaried employee. And not only that.
There is also the matter of “distributions” from your portfolio. Withdrawals have tax implications, especially if money is taken from accounts or vehicles that had special tax treatment as you accumulated funds within them.
And don’t forget the question of longevity, which poses the potentially costly risk of outliving your retirement money. With the numbers of people living to their 90s, and even to 100-and-beyond, increasing by the year, there runs the possibility of a nest egg being mismanaged for long-term income needs. Read More
“Nothing is certain but death and taxes,” as the old saying goes. And while the question of spousal survivorship is an uncomfortable topic, it’s far too important to put off.
No one lives forever. What will happen when you or your partner pass away before the other? In that event, what is your plan?
To help you prepare ahead of time, here are some general guidelines for developing and managing a long-term retirement and financial survivorship strategy. They stress the importance of “income continuity,” or having uninterrupted income streams in place after the first death in a couple. Read More