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Entries in Savings (21)

Wednesday
Jul202011

Retirement Revolution: Saving for Your Dreams

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Travel, time with the family and volunteer work are some of the traditional perks of retirement, but there's another very modern picture, and that includes work.

Eighty percent of baby boomers say that when retirement day comes, they'll still be on the job -- in some cases, because they want to be; in others, because they have to be.

"I won't ever stop working," said Grant Aufderhar, 62.

Many companies now offer bridge jobs, full- or part-time work designed to ease the move into retirement.

ABC News polled dozens of financial experts and boiled down retirement advice to three crucial tips that apply to everyone, no matter what a person's financial state is.

1. Make a Plan

"[People] wing it when it comes to either their day-to-day investments and even retirement. If you are a couple looking to retire together, make sure you sit down and talk about it together," said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co.

2. Follow the Four-Percent Rule

Calculate what you think you need for one year of retirement, multiply that by 25 and withdraw four percent of the total each year to live on.

3. Don't Take Social Security Too Soon

Seventy-five percent of baby boomers claim Social Security before they turn 65, even though the math does not work in their favor. If you are 62 years old earning $60,000 a year, you'd get $1,126 a month from Social Security, but if you wait until you are 70 you'd receive $2,123 a month.

Steve Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics, says waiting can be hard on the human psyche.

"If you ask children would you like one marshmallow now or two marshmallows in 10 minutes, 70 percent of the children eat the marshmallow now," he said. "If I say to you would you like $1 today or $3 a year from now, most people say I want the dollar today."

So what does it all add up to once you throw in tough economic times and a Congress debating cuts in Medicare and Medicaid? Keep working, something Aufderhar is doing happily, thanks largely to another huge trend: companies offering bridge jobs to baby boomers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun152011

Over $16 Billion Exist in Unredeemed Treasury Bonds

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Treasury's Bureau of the Public Debt is holding 44.7 million matured, unredeemed savings bonds worth $16.3 billion -- and one of them could belong to your family.

"Matured" means they have finished earning interest and "unredeemed" means the owners haven't cashed them in.  When you consider that savings bonds take 20 to 40 years to mature, it's easy to see how people could forget about them.

The good news is that in 2000, the Treasury Department started its "Treasury Hunt" website, where you can search for savings bonds in your family's name.  All you do is enter a social security number and the site returns results instantly.

And it's worth checking -- the average successful search turns up bonds worth about $1,000.

Every month, the Treasury Department adds another half million bonds to the database as they mature, so check back periodically if your intial search comes up empty.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May272011

Consumer Spending, Personal Incomes Rise 0.4% in April

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- American consumers spent more and earned more in April, but the numbers are not as good as they may look. Both spending and incomes rose 0.4% last month and if it wasn't for inflation, that would be a reasonably strong gain. But the Commerce Department says most of the increase was eaten up by higher gas and food costs. Because of this, there's little left over for increased spending on other products.

The savings rate was unchanged in April, now at its lowest average in two and a half years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr072011

Stars of Reality Series Save $40,000 on Grocery Bill

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In the two-episode premiere of TLC's Extreme Couponing, families reveal their money-saving tactics and coupon prowess by taking coupon-clipping to the maximum.

"Why pay for something tomorrow when it's free today?" Nathan Engels, who operates the website WeUseCoupons.com, said in an interview with ABC News.

The coupon clippers on the new episodes of the TLC series aren't lifelong coupon savers, but at the cash register, they often cut more than 90 percent from their grocery bills.

The strategy of free frequently forces extreme couponers to stockpile enough food and supplies to feed an army for years -- but it works. Tiffany Ivanovsky, a preschool director who appears on the first episode, said she has accumulated two years' worth of supplies for her family of nine, and it has saved her around $40,000.

Engels said his obsession with coupons began more than three years ago while merging finances with his then-new wife.

"We combined our finances and realized we were deeply in debt, so we started cutting up our credit cards," said Engels. While trimming their debt, the couple began looking at other ways to save, which included the grocery store, their second largest household expense after the monthly mortgage payment.

The basic goal of stockpiling is to remove items from your grocery list and shrink your weekly shopping list. Then, meals and other needs are planned around the stockpiled items. Since welcoming a daughter 14 months ago, Engels hasn't made a single stop at the store to buy a pack of diapers, thanks to his stockpile.

"My 11th commandment is, 'Thou shall not pay retail.' It's not necessary with the use of coupons," said J'amie Kirlew, who keeps coupons valued at $40,000 bound and sorted in her home.

Kirlew took to extreme couponing after her husband lost his job, leaving her to fret about their lifestyle and their three children. Living in an affluent suburb of Washington, D.C., she seeks to avoid the stereotype of an obsessed coupon user by getting dressed up for outings to the grocery store.

"My image is very important to me and I think it's very important to me when I'm shopping," said Kirlew. At the grocery store Kirlew believes her image projects money to the cashiers and store clerks. "That's totally fine because they're none the wiser," said Kirlew.

Engels, who has earned the nickname "Mr. Coupon" for his money-saving efforts, is less concerned with image. The father of one has found a way to save on the purchase of 5 to 10 newspapers by taking a peek inside dumpsters.

At times, he's only actually paid one percent of a $680 grocery bill. "It does take time but if you have the time and are willing to put the effort into it you can do it, too," says Engels.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar292011

Majority of British Women Flirt for Discounts

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- British women don’t just rely on sales and coupons to save money, they also use their feminine charms.  A new survey conducted in the UK shows 85 percent of women admit using flirting techniques, including hair tossing, giggling, strong eye contact and being overly friendly, to get the best price on a product.

Additional survey findings:

    * The survey found that women were most likely to turn on their feminine charms to receive discounts at bars, electronics and appliance retailers, gyms and travel agents.
    * More than 56 percent of the women surveyed have managed to obtain a service or product free of charge because they flirted.
    * Women save on average $225 a year by flirting with store staffers until they get a discount.  In comparison, men save more money by haggling for the best price and offering to pay for items with cash.

The survey of 3,000 British adults was commissioned by PromoCodes.co.uk, an online coupon company.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar182011

Survey: Record Pessimism About Retirement

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- How are Americans feeling about retirement?  In one word: grim.

That's the finding of a new survey just released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, which asked 1,258 respondents how confident they felt they'd be able to afford a comfortable retirement.

Their pessimism set a new record for the 21-year old annual survey.  Twenty-seven percent declared themselves "not at all confident" they'd be able to retire comfortably, up from 22 percent the year before.  Only 13 percent said they were "very confident" of being able to.

Jack VanDerhei, research director at EBRI, says what surprised him most -- in light of the stock market's rebound in 2010 -- was the five percent increase in "not at all confident" responses.  The increase was not uniform, but varied according to income.

The increase in the total percentage of workers not at all confident appears to be largely the result of a loss of confidence among those who have less than $100,000 in savings, the report found.  That percentage increased sharply among people with savings of less than $25,000 (43 percent in 2011, up from 19 percent in 2007) and between $25,000 and $99,000 (22 percent in 2011, up from seven percent in 2007).

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar142011

How to Rebudget Your Household in the Face of Soaring Gas Prices

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gas prices hit a high of $3.52 a gallon in the latest weekly survey, and that has a ripple effect on our budgets. Not only do we end up spending more on gasoline, but those who use their cars to save money on other things -- namely groceries -- suffer twice. Many people are in the habit of making runs to multiple grocery, big box and drug stores to take advantage of the best deals. With gas prices surging, it's time for at least a temporary change in tactics.

For advice on how to recalibrate, ABC News turned to grocery guru Chrissy Pate of savings website BeCentsAble.net. Chrissy is also co-author with Kristin McKee of Be CentsAble, How to Cut Your Household Budget In Half.

Here are Chrissy's tips for the thorny gas/grocery conundrum:

Shop one store.

Shop at only one store or a cluster of stores close by. Use price matching to get all the hot deals in one store without running around town. Price matching simply means shopping at a store that offers to match competitors' prices. Typically you provide store circulars from the rival stores as proof of the low prices. It helps to put all your price match items in one area of your cart, so they're easy to present to the checker.

Shop when you are already out.

Put your grocery list in your car and stop by stores that you are passing when you are already out and about. This works best for nonperishables, of course, but I can remember a time when my mom used to tote a cooler around in her car to keep milk and other things cold a bit longer when running other errands.

Shop less frequently.

For example, you could shop for 10 days' worth of food instead of seven. It helps to plan your menus and create a list from there so that you don't have to make extra runs to the store because you forgot something. Be extra conscious of expiration dates on your dairy and meat products. Or plan to freeze them -- you can even freeze milk and cheese. If needed, use canned or frozen produce to help you squeak through the last couple of days before you get back to the store. Buying in bulk is another way to avoid shopping too often.

Shop at home.

If you live in an area where your local grocery store offers delivery, do the math and see if the delivery fee is now worth it since gas prices have gone up. Alternatively, Amazon.com now sells all sorts of groceries. "They run 'hot' deals," Chrissy told ABC News. "I got Horizon Organic Milk for $.78 for 8-ounce cartons when it is regularly $1.38." Chrissy's final insider tip: Use Amazon's subscribe-and-save service to get free shipping and 15 percent off. You can always cancel if gas prices go down.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar072011

Considering Retirement? Don't Put Off Planning

Jupiterimages/Pixland(NEW YORK) -- So you're planning for your retirement. Do you know what factors you need to consider?

Creating a retirement plan can be a fairly painless process, and one experts say you should not put off. The earlier you have a plan, the earlier you'll be able to implement it -- and the earlier you'll be able to see your nest egg growing.

First, you'll want to determine your retirement goals. Do you want to open up your own business after you retire? Buy a house in Florida and lay on the beach? Or do you want to volunteer around the world? No matter what you want to do, you are going to have to save a lot of money. Remember, social security will help, but the average payout is approximately $1,100 a month, so it is definitely something you cannot rely upon to take care of all your needs.

Once you have established your goals you will need to determine how much money you will need to reach those goals. There are many websites that have useful "retirement calculators" to help you find the level of savings you will need to achieve your goals while taking into account your current circumstances. A retirement calculator will allow you to adjust multiple variables to see how they can affect your retirement savings. For example, if you go with a riskier portfolio or if you take social security one year later than you expected, how will these things affect your retirement?

What adjustments should you make to your 401k? You can find a great example of a retirement calculator at schwab.com.

Now that you are well on your way to enjoying your golden years, keep in mind that goals and situations are constantly changing; what you wanted last year may not be your dream retirement this year. Experts advise prospective retirees to update their goals and savings strategy annually to keep up.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov032010

Local Deals Come to Facebook Places

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- The rumors are apparently true: at an event Wednesday at Facebook headquarters, the social networking site revealed that it will, in fact, be launching a deals service for Facebook Places. 

"Deals" is a new application within Facebook's iPhone app (which just got a refresh) that lets you find deals at nearby businesses.

There are four types of deals: Individual Deals (for discounts, free stuff or other rewards), Friend Deals (where you and a pal claim something together), Loyalty Deals (for the regulars) and Charity Deals (which allow you to donate to a cause).

The service is only available in the refreshed iPhone app, but Android users can access deals via touch.facebook.com (as they did when they wanted to use Places before the Android refresh).

So how does it work? Users can find deals by looking for the yellow icon when checking in using Places. Simply click on the deal to claim it, and then show it to the cashier to cash in. Deals claimed will be shared on your News Feed, which will allow your friends to reap the same benefits if they so choose.

Right now, Deals will be rolling out in the U.S. over the next few days, but Facebook says it will be expanding over time.

Currently, a host of businesses are offering deals, including Chipotle, GAP, and 24 Hour Fitness. You can check out more details on the Facebook blog. Facebook has also posted a video to show other merchants how they can start using the Deals platform.

This announcement is expected to be a game-changer when it comes to the future of geo-location services.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct252010

Most Americans Report Cutting Back on Spending

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Despite signs that the economy is improving, Americans are changing their shopping habits and cutting back on everyday and leisure expenses.  According to a new quarterly survey issued by Citi and conducted by Hart Research Associates, these changes stem from consumers' increasing unease about their debt and savings.

The percentage of Americans who say they are uncomfortable with their level of debt has risen five points since June to 38 percent, according to the survey.  The percentage of those who are somewhat or very uncomfortable with their level of savings has also increased by three points since June to 52 percent, marking the first time since September 2009 that a majority of Americans have expressed unease with their savings level.

The survey also finds that 49 percent of Americans say they either avoid shopping altogether or only shop for necessary items, while 72 percent say they have decreased everyday expenses.  Others reported planning to cut back over the next six months on spending on eating out, clothing, vacations, home appliances, electronics, automobiles and real estate.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio