Archive for January, 2016

MLK Day: Facts & Figures

Posted on January 18, 2016 by Saldutti

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday that is celebrated on the third Monday of every January. Many Americans see this holiday as a day off from work and school, while others see it as an opportunity to give back to their local communities in honor of the late King.  Martin Luther King was many things: a father, son, doctor, pastor, Civil Rights Leader, and a prophet. King was man who stood firmly in his beliefs and played a pivotal role in ending segregation of African-American citizens. He lived a spiritual life and was a strong believer in…

What are the Hardest Working States in the U.S.?

Posted on January 15, 2016 by Saldutti

America has long been known as the land of opportunity.  It’s the one place in the world where if you bare down and work your nose to the grindstone, you can make a better life for your family and yourself. While all Americans are hardworking, there’s a certain part of the country that takes the Puritan work ethic to the extreme — the great Northeast.  Zippia, a website of career professionals who utilize machine learning to examine career paths, has gone through the data to determine the hardest-working states in the union. Which states took the top two spots? Maryland and…

How to Save for Retirement AND Pay Off Student Loans

Posted on January 14, 2016 by Saldutti

Between rent, transportation, food, recreation, and, the cherry on top – student loans  – recent graduates have tons of expenses. The burden of paying off life’s many expenses on a starting salary means recent grads often wait to start saving for retirement until they’ve paid off their student loans. The folks at Credible, a multi-lender marketplace, want to enable student loan borrowers to find the best options to get ahead financially. Here’s what they think borrowers should know about their student loan debt, and some tools to help student loan borrowers start saving for retirement today. Is student loan debt…

What to do When You Win the $1.5 Billion Jackpot

Posted on January 13, 2016 by Saldutti

Everyone’s heard the stories about people who blow through sudden, large sums of money, such as inheritances, game show prizes or lottery winnings. Financial planner Lynnette “The Money Coach” Khalfani-Cox, says that the first mistake people usually make is overestimating their payout and underestimating the taxes they’ll owe. “Very few people with dreams of a $1.5 billion lottery windfall are thinking about the fact that 25% in federal taxes get taken out automatically, not to mention additional state states in most parts of the country. So even a huge lottery win is often likely to net a person about half – or…

Both Insured and Uninsured Struggle with Medical Debt

Posted on January 12, 2016 by Saldutti

Both consumers with health insurance and those lacking any coverage are reporting problems paying medical bills, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The New York Times. Among respondents with health insurance, 20% reported problems paying medical bills –the troubles often cause significant financial challenges and changes in employment and lifestyle.  The situation is even worse among people who are uninsured: half (53%) face problems with medical bills, bringing the overall total to 26%. “Among those facing problems with medical bills, almost identical shares of the insured (44%) and uninsured (45%) say the bills had a major impact…

Student Savvy: Saving Money in 2016

Posted on January 11, 2016 by Saldutti

The new year often inspires new habits and goals one wants to accomplish in the coming year. This year, many Americans have made the resolution to save their money. The hard part of new year’s resolutions is always following through with the goal. These simple steps will help you ensure you are on the right path to save in 2016: Understand financial literacy.  According to the University of Massachusetts, financial literacy is a prime factor when it comes to people building wealth over time. People are more likely to save their money over the years if they understand basic concepts…

5 New Ways to Manage Your Money

Posted on January 08, 2016 by Saldutti

Can’t seem to keep a budget? Don’t be too hard on yourself – you’re not alone. Only 1 in 3 Americans say they have a detailed household budget, according to a recent Gallup survey. The difficulty in sticking to a plan may have nothing to do with your willpower. According to a report by the JPMorgan Chase Institute, 1 in 4 people saw big changes in their income (as high as 30% from 2013 to 2014).  Given all the expenses you can’t predict, spending is rarely consistent. It’s time to adjust how we think of budgeting – especially since money strategies are…

Banks Use Tech to Make Mortgage Process Easier

Posted on January 07, 2016 by Saldutti

USAA now updates mortgage customers with customized clips that show information like the closing data, items still needed, the estimated escrow and the interest rate. The idea is to take the sometimes daunting experience and boil it down. “It walks them through the main concepts; there’s a lot of information [in the mortgage process] and this video brings out the main bullet points they need to know,” said Winston Wilkinson, senior vice president for residential real estate at USAA. The videos are part of a new wave of technology designed to improve the mortgage customer experience by making it more digital friendly and…

Consumers Gain Confidence in Economy

Posted on January 06, 2016 by Saldutti

A key consumer confidence measure showed consumers had a more positive view of the economy in December than a month earlier and their optimism about the labor market also has improved.  The Consumer Confidence Index tracked by The Conference Board is at 96.5 (1985=100), up from 92.6 in November. Consumers’ view of current conditions was mixed in December, The Conference Board reports in its news release. Those saying business conditions are ‘good’ increased from 25% to 27.3%. However, those saying business conditions are ‘bad’ also increased from 16.9% to 19.8%. Consumers, however, were more positive about the labor market. The proportion…

Holiday Retail Sales Get Boost From Online Shopping, Gas Prices

Posted on January 05, 2016 by Saldutti

After years of recessionary belt tightening, consumers spent 7.9% more than last year during the dash between Black Friday and Christmas Eve and ponied up for furniture and other high-priced items, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse.  The report, released last week, doesn’t include sales of cars or gas and is based on an analysis of actual spending data as well as surveys of consumers using credit cards, cash and checks. Target reported several “record-breaking days” on Target.com, said spokeswoman Megan Boyd. Although the company couldn’t offer specific sales data, toys remained a perennial favorite and consumers showed “great interest” in the…