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Taking the Hassle Out of the Holidays

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The holidays are around the corner. It’s getting closer to cherished times with family and friends. But for many Americans, this memorable period comes with its own stresses. Apart from the “typical” hustle-and-bustle, the holiday season itself presents many financial pressures. 


As we’ve covered before, seniors already face a number of challenges in retirement. Say your family is living out-of-state. If finances are already tight, travel could be costly and difficult. Like seniors, working Americans have their own difficulties, too. Many households struggle with just having enough retirement funds as current household expenditures take priority. For instance, in a 2014 study by BankRate.com, over 33.3% of American workers didn’t have any retirement savings.

Or for seniors and their families: say there hasn’t been a family discussion over finances. Given the season’s merriment and cheer, it may seem like not a good time to talk over such matters. But in fact, the holidays can be a great period for reflection and discussion. They are a great springboard for re-examining and readjustment of financial priorities.

Read on for some common holiday financial humbugs to avoid while preparing for the festivities.

Overcoming Holiday-Related Financial Challenges

Not budgeting – If finances are tight, the holidays are even more stressful. For many American households, this period means active spending. And once the celebrations are over, managing expenses can be quite the hassle.

According to LendingTree.com, 25% of Americans struggle to pay off debt from holiday shopping. Furthermore, 41% of Americans admitted to financial regret after intensive holiday spending. Over 50% of Americans don’t plan to create a budget this year, either – which leads to more unnecessary financial strain. For peace of mind, we recommend creating a budget for your holiday expenses – and sticking to it!

Procrastinating from planning – Early planning may be a hassle. But it does pay off. Waiting until the last minute to make reservations or travel arrangements will involve elevated costs. Likewise, early shopping plans can provide greater ease on the pocketbook, as well.

In the LendingTree.com survey, among people with holiday spending regrets, 38.3% said last-minute shopping was their greatest regret. The next most-often-reported regret was consumers refraining from comparative shopping. Engaging in early planning can be a difference of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in savings.

Refraining from financial discussions with family – As parents age, it becomes more important for them to discuss their finances with their family. But this is a difficult subject to talk over already. The stress of the holidays – compounded by the positivity, cheer, and spirit of the season – may make it seem like an inappropriate period for such discussions. It’s a growing, pressing concern. According to Fidelity’s 2014 Retirement Savings Assessment, 70% of parents didn’t know how much money they would need in retirement – a suggestion that many seniors are unprepared for retirement.

The lack of familial financial discussions shows in other ways, too. In the 2014 Intra-Family Generational Finance Study from Fidelity, data was foretelling: 49% of surveyed parents and 46% of surveyed adult children reported feeling discomfort at discussing finances with family. Likewise, 40% of the parents hadn’t discussed their finances with their children; only 41% had discussed their wills and estates. Given how one’s parents’ finances are a timely matter, it’s best to discuss it before the stresses of retirement or health needs arise. The comings-together during the holidays offers an ideal time-frame for doing so.

Having getaways during holidays – When they reach retirement, most people want to enjoy life. It’s natural to want to kick back after years of working. But strained financial resources may make a dream retirement lifestyle – including one with holiday getaways or vacations – seem out of sight.

But it doesn’t have to be. Proper retirement planning will position you to enjoy these luxuries once you’ve retired from the working days. And if you’re in retirement and looking to put a plan into place, it’s never too late. Financial products with guaranteed income benefits may offer a source of further income supplementation, as well.

These are just a few of the financial humbugs which can make the holidays less enjoyable. The point is they don’t have to. Take efforts to position yourself for short-term and long-term financial well-being, and the holidays will be even brighter and more enjoyable.

Need Assistance with Your Finances?

Whether you’re a senior looking for expert financial guidance or a working couple, creating a personal financial plan is well within grasp. If you're looking for resources on educating yourself in retirement planning, we invite you to use the content here on SafeMoney.com. There are articles and resources on annuities, Social Security, life insurance, IRAs, estate planning, retirement income planning, long-term care needs, and more. Please use these resources to empower yourself for effective decision-making.

And when you're ready for personal help, SafeMoney.com can help you there, as well. Use our Find a Licensed Advisor section to connect directly with an independent financial professional, and to request a personal strategy session to discuss your needs and goals. And should you have any questions or concerns, call 877.476.9723.

Author: Super User

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