Posts by Jeanie Ahn
- Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance1 day ago
When Steven and Paula Bonney took out $115,000 in loans a decade ago to put their two daughters through school, it was more than they ever thought they’d have to borrow. But they expected to be debt-free at this point in their lives.
Now, in their early 60s, any dreams they had of retirement are buried deep under a mound of debt.
Like the Bonneys, 21% of parents took out college loans for their kids in 2011, a sharp increase from 13% in 1999, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. With middle-income families shouldering more student debt than low and high-income households, parents all over the country are making plans to work longer than ever before.
The Bonneys, who live in Mattapoisset, Ma, worked long hours at their own small businesses to stay ahead of their debt obligations. Steven had a general contracting company while Paula was building a growing bookkeeping business. But all the work came to an abrupt halt six years ago when Steven fell from a 25-foot scaffold and broke his neck, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
- Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance11 days ago
After a few decades with your spouse, you’d hope to be on the same page on most matters. But when it comes to retirement, it turns out that one in three couples disagree about what their next chapter will look like, according to a recent couples study from Fidelity Investments.
The reality is many partners don’t talk about what they want in retirement, so when the time comes, they’re often not on the same page, says Chris Hogan, a financial expert with Ramsey Solutions. And when plans do get made, they often reflect the desires of the spouse who leads the household finances.
“Don’t let the one who is savvy with numbers do all the work because both sides have a part in that dream. Don’t make it about economics. This is a heart issue now,” says Hogan. Couples who share a vision are more likely to plan and save to successfully reach their goals as a team.
- Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance22 days ago
After the high of tossing your graduation cap into the air, having to pay off your student loan debt can bring you back down to reality in a hurry. Seven in 10 college seniors graduate with an average of $29,400 in student loan debt, according to the Institute for College Access & Success. Paying down this debt can be overwhelming for recent grads who are juggling a limited budget on a starting salary.
To optimize your chances for a debt-free college degree, Rachel Cruze, author of “Smart Money Smart Kids,” says making a concerted effort to plan out your finances in high school and throughout college will pay off in big ways.
Choose a college you can afford
Racking up student debt now and worrying about costs later will be a huge setback for adulthood, says Cruze. “It’s not worth it in the long-run. It doesn’t matter where you go to college, it just matters that you graduate debt-free,” she says.
Buying store-brand products can save money, but how do store brands compare to the quality of famous name brands? For years, Tod Marks, senior editor at Consumer Reports, has been putting hundreds of brands to the test. What he found was that many store-brand items cannot only compete, but beat leading name-brand products. And consumers are starting to take notice. “Over the years we’ve seen a steady increase in that quality perception [of store brands]. Most people, in fact, think that store brands are as at least as good as national brands,” says Marks. Toilet paper Testing 19 different brands of toilet paper, Marks was surprised to find that Walmart’s White Cloud Toilet Paper was given a score of 88 on the Consumer Reports rating scale, 17 points higher and nearly half the price of Charmin’s Ultra Strong which scored 71. Other strong performing store brands included Up & Up toilet paper from Target and Great Value Ultra Strong from Walmart, both scoring 68, three points higher than Charmin’s Ultra Soft. At the bottom of the list was Scott’s 1000-sheet rolls, with thin, less durable sheets that are not as soft. Paper towels For this popular household item, Marks says you get what you pay for. Bounty was clearly the strongest brand with three of its products at the top of the list. Marks was impressed by the performance of Bounty’s DuraTowel because of its strength and absorbency. With a high score of 96, it’s a product that “you can use, wash, rinse, and repeat,” said Marks. Popular brand Brawny paper towels scored a 68, the same as Walmart’s Great Value Strong & Absorbent line. Again, Target’s Up & Up Full Sheet Puddle Busters was a close contender with a rating of 65. The worst store brand paper towels were from CVS, Home Depot, and Family Dollar. Coffee While coffee is a always a hot topic, all of the reviews were lukewarm. “None of the 37 house blend coffees Consumer Reports tested blew our socks off,” said Marks. While Starbucks was the best of the bunch, it was more expensive and only slightly higher in its rating when compared to house blends from Whole Food’s “Allegro” and Walmart’s “Sam’s Choice.” All of the above had scores in the 50s. Popular leading brands like Folgers and Maxwell House had scores in the 20s. Condiments: ketchup & mayo Store brands are catching up to the famous formulations in brands like Heinz Ketchup and Hellman’s Mayonnaise. “What we’ve noticed here at Consumer Reports is that more and more manufacturers are going to reformulate their store-brand products and mimic the flavor of those legacy brands at a lower price.” To stay ahead of its competitors, leading national brands like Heinz are constantly coming out with new offerings. Lightbulbs While prices on energy-efficient lightbulbs have dropped, the quality has only gotten better. Store-brand lightbulbs from Walmart and Ikea tested comparably to name brands like GE and Phillips. “Energy-efficient lighting has come a long way
At 53, Sue Dodick is a bit older than your average intern. But she’s embracing her internship opportunity as her way to get into the workforce -- again. Twelve years earlier, Dodick left her job at the height of her career as a successful portfolio manager to spend time with her children. With 18 years of experience under her belt, it was a difficult decision to make, but she felt her children needed a parent at home. When she started looking for work again, Dodick found the job search intimidating after being on the sidelines for so long. But a new internship program offered by JPMorgan Chase helped smooth her transition to full-time work again. “I liked the idea that JPMorgan Chase was welcoming people back. I definitely wanted to get back into finance and I thought a program like this would be a good fit,” said Dodick. Companies like Goldman Sachs were among the first to pioneer new “Returnship” programs, specifically geared toward tapping into the talent of professionals wanting to get back in the workforce. Within the last year, big financial services firms like JPMorgan Chase, MetLife, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and othershave followed suit, launching their own highly selective “Return to Work” programs with the goal of hiring the interns as full-time employees. These programs are especially helpful for women who stepped away from their jobs to take care of their children full time. Like Dodick, 43% of “highly qualified” women (defined as those with a graduate degree, a professional degree, or a high-honors undergraduate degree) with children take time off to be with their families, according to a Harvard Business Review report by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, founder of the Center of Talent Innovation. After the extended break, 93% who have “off-ramped” their careers are eager to return to work full time, but only 40% successfully do so. On average, women who stay at home for two years can lose about 18% of their earning power once they return to work. For those who take more than three years off, this figure climbs to 38%, according to Hewlett. Carol Fishman Cohen, co-founder of employment consultancyiRelaunch, has seen people relaunching their careers make up for the loss in time and compensation. But it takes some hard work to make it happen. Here are Cohen’s top strategies for people looking to get their careers back on track: 1) The career break can be a gift. For some, it’s the first time we’ve had the opportunity to step back and think about whether or not we were on the right career path to begin with. We may have fallen into our careers right out of school without a real plan, or maybe we pursued career goals out of pressure from others. Returning to work after a career break is our opportunity to figure out if our interests or skills have changed, and to determine our post-break career plan based on our
Families that have waited to go back-to-school shopping can score plenty of deals right now. In fact, savings are hard to miss when you’re shopping this time of year because of the convergence of three different sales: end-of-summer clearances, back-to-school supplies deals, and Labor Day sales. According to the National Retail Federation, parents are expected to spend $26.5 billion this shopping season, second only to holiday spending. Households with children in grades K-12 are expected to spend $580 to $670 on apparel, shoes, and supplies and electronics. The older your children are, the more likely you are to spend on big-ticket items like electronics. For the best back-to-school deals out there, we tapped Mark LoCastro of DealNews for tips on where to go when it comes to the most in-demand types of products. Electronics Based on historic trends that DealNews tracks, LoCastro says to expect the highest volume of laptop deals from the following retailers: 1. Lenovo 2. Toshiba 3. Newegg 4. Dell 5. HP Home & Home Office Store Some of the latest deals include a Toshiba Satellite laptop for $199 on eBay, a Labor Day sales0 G Series laptop for $419, and a Labor Day sales1 for $630 from HP and Labor Day sales2" PC599Q2" cuts the price to $605. Dell is also cutting up to 50% off laptops and desktops in their Labor Day sales3 sale now. If you’re looking for Android tablet deals, make sure to check out this top 10 list of retailers: 1. Labor Day sales4 2. Newegg 3. Labor Day sales6 4. Lenovo 5. Labor Day sales8 6. Labor Day sales9 7. National Retail Federation0 8. National Retail Federation1 9. National Retail Federation2 10. National Retail Federation3 National Retail Federation4, for instance, has an National Retail Federation5 on sale now for $200 (a $30 discount). For Apple lovers, each year there is a special back-to-school promotion. This year the company is offering a $100 National Retail Federation6 store gift card to college students when they purchase a Mac by Sept. 9. The Apple Store continues to offer a discount on a selection of MacBook Air laptops starting at $779. While Best Buy isn’t currently offering any special Apple deals, LoCastro suggests checking the electronics giant before school starts because it often puts Apple products on sale on or after Labor Day. Apparel Some of the best deals for clothing are at department stores like National Retail Federation7, National Retail Federation8, and even National Retail Federation9, as well has big-box retailers like DealNews0. Clothing has typically seen mark-downs between 30% and 50%, LoCastro says. Summer clothing should be on clearance now, so you will see steeper discounts on those items. But for fall apparel, expect about 20% off. Shoes For shoe deals check out stores
When David Beermann retired earlier this year from a career as a nurse at age 66, he expected to receive his full Social Security benefits. His wife Sandra, a retired teacher, also planned to file for full benefits when she turned 66 in September.
But after a chance encounter with a local financial planner, the Beermanns have adopted a new Social Security strategy that will result in potentially $70,000 of additional income over the course of their expected lifetimes. Tony Drake, a certified financial planner in Waukesha, Wisc., said people like the Beermanns, who are or have been married, stand to gain thousands of dollars by utilizing their spousal benefits.
Breaking up is hard to do no matter when it happens. But getting divorced later in life can be especially traumatic, both emotionally and financially.
There are now more divorcées over the age of 50 than ever before. In 1990, just one in 10 people who got divorced was over 50; today, it’s one in four, according to “The Gray Divorce Revolution,” an analysis of federal statistics conducted by researchers at Bowling Green State University.
For this age group, some of the biggest challenges include divvying up accumulated assets and learning how to take control of their finances, often for the first time.
Lisa Baio, 53, was married for 27 years but knew she wanted to get divorced when her fourth child, Jade, now 19, was a toddler. Jade was born with a bone disease that requires special medical care, and Baio, who devotes much of her time to her daughter’s caretaking, felt she wouldn’t be able to support her children on her own. So she waited to divorce until her husband retired so she could collect part of his pension.
Permanently traveling the world sounds like it could quickly drain your finances. But for Derek Earl Baron, 37, founder of wanderingearl.com, it was the most lucrative decision of his life. He’s been on the road for 5,268 days — over 14 years — visited 88 countries, and worked 10 different jobs.
After graduating college, Baron was only planning to travel for three months before buckling down to start his career in sports management. But a week into his trip, he decided corporate life wasn’t for him.
“In just that one week I had so many life-changing travel experiences, that [I thought] there must be so many more of those experiences out there in the world. I decided that I couldn’t go back,” Baron told Yahoo Finance. Determined to make a living while on the road, he was able to find money-making opportunities that allowed him to save money while seeing the world.
It’s an undeniable fact that seniors are making up a larger portion of the American workforce, either because they can’t afford to retire yet or they just don’t want to. And it’s becoming increasingly crucial for those 50-and-over workers to stay professionally relevant. Yahoo Finance tapped Barbara Corcoran, founder of her eponymous real estate company and investor on “Shark Tank,” to find out how older workers can stay relevant and thrive in a demanding job market. Keep up with technology While older employees can be valued for their experience and maturity, they can also be seen as inflexible and resistant to learning new technologies, as found in a 2000 AARP report. In an AARP survey of older workers in 2012, 75% disagree with the statement that they have a difficult time keeping up with all the new technology required to do their job. To counter this negative impression, Corcoran says learning new technology is the first thing you need to do to stay in the game. “All of our communication today is based on technology and many people who are older don’t make that effort to get on the modern page. You have to if you’re going to live,” she says. Team up with younger colleagues Whether you’re in a management position or not, everyone has to get along with co-workers. Corcoran has noticed that older employees get too comfortable interacting only with the people they got started with, and avoiding younger colleagues. She told Yahoo Finance that your best insurance policy is to make an effort to stay connected to your colleagues and clients. “Think of yourself as Mr. Hospitality because if you ingratiate yourself to people and truly help them, you are indispensable. No one gets rid of the old guy or the old girl who everybody adores,” says Corcoran. Be open to new experiences Many studies support the idea that getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to try new experiences keeps you happy and healthy. Corcoran agrees and says it’s important to take advantage of opportunities to learn new skills and meet new people. “The more facets you have to yourself that are new, the more people are attracted to you. So it keeps you on your game, keeps you on the edge,” she says.