Everything Newlyweds Should Know about Coupling Finances

Turns out that “coupling” doesn’t just mean “pairing” in the traditional sense, but is also a catchphrase when it comes to finances. As we head into wedding season, it’s especially relevant. Because as much as you may think no two people have ever been more in love than you are, the truth is that it could be less than smooth sailing ahead if you’re not on the same page when it comes to financial matters.

“Couples have a very hard time talking about money,” Joan Atwood, a Hofstra University professor of marriage and family therapy, bemoaned on an NPR “Money Coach” segment on the issue. “I would say it’s the last taboo.”

New Job Benefits Could Provide Employees Relief from Student Debt

When joining a new company, there are often perks to consider: a company car, maybe a 401(k) plan.

With Millennials now making up the lion’s share of the workforce, a number of companies are betting that helping to pay off student debt is the next game-changer when it comes to attracting and retaining the best and the brightest.

It’s not a bad wager. Total education debt stood at a staggering $1.52 trillion at the end of March. And while the perk is by no means reserved only for millennials, it’s not lost on anyone that the average student loan borrower will have graduated this year saddled with more than $37,000 in debt.

Retirement Score In America Hits Historical High

Americans are more financially prepared for retirement than they have been in quite some time – with special kudos to millennials for the amount of money they’ve been putting away.

Still, Fidelity Investments’ latest biennial Retirement Savings Assessment study (which is mostly upbeat), states that many of those surveyed remain “at risk” of not being able to fully cover essential expenses in retirement if they don’t turn things around.

Could Fewer New Year’s Financial Resolutions Be A Sign of Apathy?

Even as America enters its nine-year run in a bull market, the sheer number of people making year-end financial resolutions is at an all-time low, according to the ninth annual “Fidelity Investments New Year Financial Resolutions Study.” The reason? Because so many “are feeling better about their personal financial situation and are generally optimistic about what 2018 will bring,” according to the study.

In fact, only 27 percent of respondents say they intended to make a financial resolution this year. That’s down 16 percent from the high of 43 percent who answered similarly heading into 2014, and this is what could signal a worrisome sense of “inertia.”

Now That Summer’s Over, It’s A Perfect Time to Get Financially Organized

If, like many people, you have your important paperwork scattered helter skelter everywhere (think birth certifiate and IRS tax returns), you may want to consider getting financially organized before it’s absolutely imperative you put your hands on it.

While just the thought of getting organized may sound exhausting, it helps to start small. One way is to decide whether you’re ready to enter the 21st century, or go old school and pay for either a bank security box or get a locked fireproof box to keep in your closet.

Talking about Estate Planning Needs to Happen Sooner Rather Than Later

There are subjects in life that need to be discussed, but many of us tend to avoid them. Issues like mortality and money top the list. As parents and children grow older, a must-have conversation should be the topic of estate planning, but do we know all that we should?

According to Fidelity Investments’ “ Family & Finance Study,” the answer is a resounding — and rather scary — “no.” In fact, seven out of 10 of children underestimated their parents’ estate by an average of $278,000. That’s a big number between knowing what is going on and not understanding at all. It illustrates a breakdown in communication that Kevin Ruth, head of Fidelity’s wealth planning and personal trust, says badly needs addressing through ‘frank conversations” between parents and their adult children.

One New Year’s Resolution You Don’t Have to Keep to Be a Winner

Making a resolution to improve your finances puts you several steps closer along the road to a better bottom line, based on data from Fidelity Investments’ eighth annual “New Year Financial Resolutions Study.” Looking for a resolution that will pay off and pay dividends?  Simply resolving to pay more attention to your finances improves the chances that your financial health will improve.

According to the Fidelity study, 45 percent of individuals who reported making financial resolutions at the start of 2016 were more debt-free at the end, compared with 34 percent of individuals who did not report making any financial resolutions within the past year. In addition, those who made financial resolutions were more likely to say they felt financially secure compared to those who didn’t make resolutions (45 percent vs. 34 percent).

Kids Willing to Step Up to Help Aging Parents, Study Finds

Do you wonder if your kids will have your back when you’re older? Apparently the answer is a surprising yes.

That’s the good news in a conversation many people are having these days — around aging parents — that comes courtesy of the third biennial “Fidelity Investments Family & Finance Study.” Less heartening is that nearly 4 in 10 families seem to be suffering from what can only be described as — hats off to “Cool Hand Luke” for this — a failure to communicate.

Family vacation at the beach

Let’s start by paying homage to at least certain offspring and giving them their due credit:

Retirement Readiness Improves from Generation to Generation

personal retirement score online Are people becoming more savvy about ensuring their retirement won’t be like something out of the “Hunger Games?”

Perhaps.

Two years ago, Fidelity Investments (fidelity.com) created a unique way of measuring not only how close working Americans are to meeting their post-retirement expenses, but also how different generations — Baby Boomers, Gen Exers, and Gen Yers — compare to one another. The one stand-out back then was Boomers.

Now that same measure, the Retirement Preparedness Measure (RPM), is signaling more widespread improvement — due in large part to what John Sweeney, Fidelity’s executive vice president of retirement and investment strategies, ascribes to “across-the-board savings, and investments being allocated in a more age-appropriate way.”

Employees Seek Out Benefits Packages With More Perks

Closeup of a female medical professional wearing scrubs taking notes on a tablet computer. Horizontal format on a light to dark gray background. Woman is unrecognizable.

As consumers are asked to assume more health care costs than in the past, it’s important to consider benefits packages that offer more holistic support besides the usual health, dental and vision policies. Consumers should know that there are plans available today that will promote their overall well-being, which includes physical, mental and financial health.

Luckily, many employers see the need for robust benefits offerings, with some incorporating new solutions to meet increased employee demand for more from their benefits provider. In fact, 34 percent of employers surveyed in a Towers Watson study indicated they already offer more customization with voluntary benefits. Companies like Aflac are expanding services, ranging from credit monitoring to supplemental accident benefits to helping provide employees and their families with financial protection.