Monday, December 12, 2011

Baby Boomers: Caring for three generations?

Baby Boomers, are the next generation set to retire. Saving for retirement continues to be the top priority for this group also known as the Sandwich Generation.  Some of Baby Boomers’ stress could be because saving for their own retirement isn’t their only priority. According to the sixth annual Scottrade American Investor Survey, nearly one in four Baby Boomers (born 1945-1966) reported they are financially supporting an adult child and their sandwich is growing. Grandchildren are being added to their financial demands; 9 percent of Baby Boomers surveyed reported they hold a college or education savings account, an increase from 4 percent in 2010. And, while most (72 percent) continue to name retirement as their primary reason for investing, they also reported saving:

• For their own or a family member’s education expenses (11 percent)

• To build an emergency fund (36 percent)

• To reduce their debt (21 percent)

See full article from DailyFinance

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A recent Wells Fargo survey finds that Americans are expecting to work longer to ensure they have enough money for retirement, 80 may be the new 65 for many American retirees. Of respondents age 40 to 59, 54% indicate they need to work in their retirement years, while only 34% of the 25 to 39 age group indicates they will be working in retirment.

At one of my last Managing Money in Tough Times workshops the financial reality facing retired Wyomingites became very apparant. We haven't been unaffected by the financial turbulance experienced in our country in recent years. It is a very real and difficult financial challenge for seniors who find themselves facing the reality of having outlived their retirement savings.

A tip from the class.... if at all possible, practice living on your retirement income before making the big decision to leave the workforce.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Retirees aren't planning far down the road, study finds

Many retirees overlook important issues such as health care costs in their planning, according to a study by the Society of Actuaries. "The study highlights the importance of retirees educating themselves on how to successfully plan for their retirement years while understanding the value of partnering with a trusted financial advisor for guidance," according to the society. Retirees with financial advisers increased to 61% this year, from 56% in 2008.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Strategies for taking required minimum distributions

Older investors who must take minimum distributions from retirement plans should consider taking them from the smallest of multiple retirement accounts or taking the distribution in-kind if they don't need the cash, certified financial planner Gary Brooks writes. Another tip: Consider taking more than the required minimum in order to shrink a future tax bill, when income tax rates may be higher. Read the full article from The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Evaluating buying vs. renting

Renting a home can be a better option than buying, Walter Updegrave writes. Potential buyers should consider that the housing market probably hasn't bottomed out, the job market is unstable and a down payment and other costs could leave buyers without enough cushion, Updegrave writes. In addition, renting offers more flexibility. Read the full article at

Monday, October 10, 2011

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 29

The Drug Enforcement Agency has scheduled National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 29, 2011, from 10am-2pm for persons who want to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs.

More than seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Each day approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.

Find a disposal site at

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pills, Potions and Profits begins today

The 11th Consumer Issues Conference begins tonight with a free showing of Big Bucks, Big Pharma at 7pm in the UW Union. The conference sessions begin Thursday morning in Laramie with speakers on business/legal, health and criminal aspects of drugs and consumers. Sessions include sessions on medical marijuana, alcohol and Wyoming law, the proliferation of drug ads targeted directly to consumers, alternative medicine, a panel of legislators focusing on policy issues raised during the conference, and more.

Details and registration are at

Continuing education credits are available for attorneys, educators, health professionals, and family and consumer sciences professionals.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Banking on Mom and Dad

Forget the empty nest. According to a recent survey, 59% of parents are giving their adult children financial help, from housing (50%) to spending money (29%) to assisting with medical bills (28%). To bring boomerang kids into financial adulthood, the National Endowment for Financial Education suggests offering nonmonetary help, collecting rent to live at home, and charging interest on any loans you make them.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

September is Preparedness Month

September is Preparedness Month -- is your family prepared for an emergency? How would you communicate? Do you have a three-day kit ready?

Information is at and

Monday, August 22, 2011

Redefining the American Dream -- Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Say Top Financial Goal is Having Enough Money for Retirement

The National Endowment for Financial Education today released the results of a survey about what Americans' top financial goals are. They found that almost half of American adults say the financial goal that is most important to them is having enough money for retirement. Forty-seven percent of U.S. adults aged 18 and older say having enough money for retirement is their top financial priority, compared to just 17 percent who feel homeownership is their top financial goal.

Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE says, "Homeownership has been a traditional indication of achieving the American Dream. But whether it’s due to the decline in the housing market or because of challenges experienced during the economic downturn, people grasp the importance of planning for the future and seem to be having a shift in their approach—from physical to more financial security-based values."

NEFE found that, in thinking about their own financial situations, 57 percent believe they are achieving the American Dream. But the chase isn’t without its obstacles. A majority of US adults (70 percent) agree that a significant obstacle to achieving the American Dream is their inability to save enough, and 54 percent agree that managing their debt is a significant barrier.

Take the LifeValues Quiz

Understanding your financial values is one part to success in managing your money. NEFE has a LifeValues Quiz to help identify the values that drive their financial decisions. To take the quiz, visit

For tips and information on money management, visit and

Thursday, August 4, 2011

free webinar on debt management - Aug 16

In August, you can participate in a personal financial webinar offered by Cooperative Extension personnel from the University of Florida. Sign-up at the link below. These Webinars offer you the chance to improve your finances from home or office with live, interactive on-line classes.

Debt Management

August 16 – 10:30 to 11:30 PM (MDT)

Find out how to:

· Evaluate your level of debt

· Use Power Pay to become “debt free”

· Evaluate debt management options

· Avoid scams

Register at

Webinars are provided by the University of Florida Extension in partnership with Lake County Extension, Hillsborough County Extension and Okaloosa County Extension.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wyoming Residents HUD Emergency Homeowners Loan Program - deadline July 22

The EHLP program is an opportunity for homeowners who are behind on their mortgage due to underemployment, unemployment, or high medical debt. HUD has a new program that offers unemployed or underemployed homeowners up to $50,000 in mortgage assistance, but you must act quickly. There are 36 applicant spots available in Wyoming through the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. Applicants aren’t necessarily guaranteed a spot, but it would be nice to fill the allocated 36 that are available across Wyoming. Applications are needed by July 22.

To learn how to apply, call RDI Consumer Credit Counseling Service. The deadline for applications is July 22, so you must act fast. Find more on the web at or call 1.877-275-2227. Information is also at

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Understanding the Minimum Distribution Rules for Your Retirement Plans

At some point you will have to take distributions from your retirement accounts -- our personal finance colleagues in Extension have been getting a lot of questions on the topic (especially in December!). If people don’t take the first distribution of their money at age 70 ½, they have until April 1 of the following year to take it…or there are fees to pay. Here are a couple resources are a great read to better understand what people will need to consider when it comes time to withdraw the RMD (required minimum distribution) out of IRAs.

Rules for Taking Distributions from Tax-Deferred Retirement Savings Plans, University of Illinois publication:

Distribution table link:

There are also a number of FAQs on the topic at Just search "RMD."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Make Tax Credit Extension Work for You

You may have noticed a little more money in your paycheck this year. Federal legislation signed into law in December extended a couple of things affecting net pay: a temporary 2 percent reduction in the FICA tax (for Social Security), and a two-year extension of all tax rates.

A worker with an income of about $50,000 can expect to get a take home pay boost of $1,000 over the course of the year, which comes out to approximately $83 per month.

What should you do with an extra $1,000?

A few prudent things include

· Building up your emergency fund. Could you cover several months of living expenses if something happened to you or you needed money quickly?

· Pay down debt -- especially credit card debt. Make sure any high interest debt is reduced. Then put the rest toward an extra payment on your car loan or house mortgage.

· Save for retirement. Invest in your long term financial security by putting the money in a tax-deferred retirement plan, like an IRA.

· Reward yourself. If you're covered, it's okay to treat yourself. But shop around for good deals.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Check Facebook Security Settings

While on Facebook, look at your URL address; if you see "http:" instead of "https:" then you do NOT have a secure session and you risk getting hacked and your personal information may be at risk. Go to AccountAccount SettingsAccount Security and click Change. FB defaults to the non-secure setting.

It's also worthwhile to take a look at the other settings that FB may have as a default.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Delinquent Mortgage Borrowers Should Contact Lenders

The number of delinquinces in Wyoming has been on the rise. If you're under stress, remember that doing nothing is the worst thing a delinquent borrower can do. And the longer the delay, the worse it gets.

US Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan says, "The record shows that the early stages of mortgage delinquency are the most crucial. The sooner borrowers reach out for help, the more options they have, and the more likely foreclosure may be avoided."

In half of all foreclosures, lenders say borrowers do not make contact with them. Yet, more than one-third of those who reach out for assistance are successful in finding alternatives to foreclosure.

Homeowners experiencing financial difficulties to call 1-888-995 HOPE, a toll-free hotline staffed around the clock, seven days a week, by 85 qualified housing counselors from agencies approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs.