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  • Archive for the ‘Money-Minded Gifts’ Category

    Love may stand the test of time, but do your finances?

    Friday, February 11th, 2011

    Valentine’s Day is great time to focus on the relationships in your life. We often spend this day showering our loved ones with gifts, loving words and delicious meals, but something we often overlook is the love one can express by simply planning for the future together.

    It’s not always about the most expensive or lavish gift you can find, because at the end of the day knowing that you and those you care about will be financially comfortable and protected in the future can truly be the greatest gift.

    Take time this month to sit down with your partner, spouse, or significant other to review your financial picture. Here are four helpful ways to get started this Valentine’s Day:

    1. Look more closely at what you are each spending your money on and if you have any sort of nest egg to fall back on in the future. Use this fact sheet to help you keep track of your spending.

    2. This is a great opportunity to become aware of your significant other’s employee-sponsored or other retirement plans and assets. Here are some retirement plan basics to keep in mind in this process.

    3. See what your insurance needs are for the time being and what they might become in the future. Use our “WISER Woman’s Guide to Insurance” to get you started.

    4. Most importantly, every love nest should have an organized file on hand with all of your important financial documents. Our FactSheet, “Financial Documents: What to Keep and Where,” will help your organization and preparation, which make for great gifts that will carry you well into the future.

    So do something different this Valentine’s Day and let your loved one know that your love runs deeper than diamonds and roses; It runs all the way into retirement. Now that’s a loving investment. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Money Minded Gifts: Financial Planners

    Thursday, December 18th, 2008

    Are you trying to give the budget conscious friend in your life something a little more exciting than cash? One option may be arranging a session for them with a financial planner. A financial planner can help your friend create a plan to save for retirement, start a budget, or offer solutions for their current financial issues. There are two kinds of financial planners: Fee Only and Commission Based. Fee only financial planners charge a flat fee or an hourly fee for financial advice. They do not receive commissions from mutual funds or other financial products that they recommend. Commission based planners receive a commission on the investments they sell, so they may be biased towards investments that will offer them a commission. A Fee Only financial planner is a good option if you’re purchasing a session for a friend, since you’re able to buy one session at a time and they’re less likely to be biased. But make sure you ask how they’re paid: One survey found that some planners that called themselves “fee-only” were receiving commissions on investments they sold.

    Because a session with a financial planner can be pricey, Candice Choi at the AP recommends “pooling resources with friend or family” and asking if the planner offers gift certificates. You may also want to find free financial planning clinics that you could recommend to a friend. Add your recommendation to a holiday card and maybe a financial planning book, and you have a financially savvy, money-minded gift for your friends and family. To find free financial planning clinics, check the Certified Financial Planner Board website. The CFP’s clinics only use certified financial planners and the clinics are completely free of charge.

    Money-Minded Gifts: Finance Books

    Thursday, December 4th, 2008

    Holiday gift shopping may be hurting more than your checking account this winter. A new study shows that Christmas shopping increases blood pressure to dangerous levels in 50% of holiday shoppers. When researchers tested men and women after having them buy gifts, women were three times more stressed than they had been before shopping.

    It’s hard enough to try to find the perfect gift, and braving crowds and cold weather can make shopping feel especially stressful. When you combine these factors with a tighter budget, it’s no wonder that shoppers’ heart rates increase by 10% while shopping during the holiday season . But if you’re feeling financial pressure, chances are the people you’re shopping for are experiencing similar money-related stress. So why not channel your shopping anxiety into a helpful, money-minded gift? This week, we’re taking a look at finance books. In 2008, 52% of consumers’ New Years resolutions were related to getting out of debt. Help your friends and family get a jump start on improving their financial situations by giving them a personal finance book this holiday season.
    Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Yours 20s and 30s by Beth Kobliner:
    This book is a smart choice for any person who is new to managing her finances or who is interested in managing her finances in a more responsible way. Get a Financial Life is exceptionally thorough but never dull or overwhelming. For the most time-strapped readers, Kobliner offers a “Financial Cramming section” at the end of each chapter to summarize the chapter’s most important ideas.

    The Number: A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life by Lee Eisenberg
    The number is a less a retirement guide than a reflection on issues facing the aging population. Eisenberg is a journalist, not a financial planner, but his experience writing on the topic is evident. According to Eisenberg, everyone should be thinking about his or her “Number,” which is the amount of money required to meet an individual’s expectations for life in retirement.
    Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People
    by Jane Bryant Quinn
    Jane Bryant Quinn is informative and charming in this book. She covers all the bases, but perhaps the most helpful chapter is “Putting Your Whole Financial Life on Cruise Control”– the idea being that money saved automatically is less likely to be spent frivolously. Shifting to automatic saving can save you both time and money. Quinn’s personal stories of struggling with debt make this both an enjoyable and worthwhile read.
    Next Week’s Money-Minded Gift: Online Savings Accounts (coming Thursday)


    About Us

    WISER is a nonprofit organization that works to help women, educators and policymakers understand the important issues surrounding women's retirement income. WISER creates a variety of consumer publications including fact sheets, booklets and a quarterly newsletter that explain in easy-to-understand language the complex issues surrounding Social Security, divorce, pay equity, pensions, savings and investments, banking, home-ownership, long-term care and disability insurance.

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