How Men and Women View Money


Differently, of course. Thankfully, my better half is the bargain hunter. I, on the other hand, think that higher price = better value. According to GoBankingRates.com,

“Men and women have very different attitudes toward saving for retirement, levels of bargaining ability and confidence when dealing with investments. Not only that, but on average, women make a significantly lower amount of money than men, even when they work in the same position.”

Men Women and Money
See the full-size infographic at GoBankingRates.com.

Looking for 10% Returns? Not so Fast.

Or so says bond guru Bill Gross,co-chief investment officer of Pimco and manager of the planet’s biggest bond mutual fund.

“The important thing to recognize is that if you’re looking for 10% returns to pay for college or to retire on, they’re not going to be there. We’ve been an asset-growth-based economy for so long. We’ve skimmed off the top, living off second and third mortgages on homes, and capital gains on stocks and even on bonds. Now instead of having money work for you, you’ve got to work for your money.”

No more investment books touting 12% returns “over the long haul”. The new normal will require more hands on, thoughtful investment strategies. So what should we expect?

Instead of 10% returns for stocks, look for five or so. And instead of the past 20 years’ returns on bonds, which are actually better than stocks — close to double digits — it’s 4% going forward. So that’s what the new normal is. And it’s based upon the primary assumptions of a deleveraging of the private sector and the public sector being limited in what it can spend.

Read the entire article on Money.com.

As Money Dries Up, Despair Settles In

In a recent article, Michael Luo from the New York Times chronicles the trials of one lady’s plight to find permanent work after losing her job in August of 2008.

Ms. Sadler, who lost her job at an automotive parts plant in October 2008, learned last month that her unemployment insurance had been cut off.

Ms. Sadler, who lives in Carlisle Kentucky, continued…

“I’m basically applying for everything, trying to get something,” said Ms. Sadler, 52, who since early June has not received an unemployment check, which used to be about $388 a week before taxes. “If I don’t, I’m going to lose everything. I’m not going to have a roof over my head. I’m just going to have to walk away with what I have on my back, and my dog.”

On Tuesday, Ms. Sadler scored just her third interview since 2008, for a $7.50-an-hour job at a check-cashing business that is an hour’s drive from her home. It would have paid less than she received on unemployment benefits and left her still unable to cover her expenses, but she had little choice.

It took all her willpower not to reach across the table to shake her interviewer and beg for a chance. The company said she would know by Thursday, but as of Friday she had not heard back.

I know the feelings. I’ve been there although not as desperate but desperate enough nonetheless. It’s a situation that never goes away. A situation that always hangs over your head. Nights became my favorite time because I knew I had made it through another day and that I could at least forget about my situation for a few hours of fitful sleep.

America’s Most Affordable Places to Retire


So, why am I writing about places to retire when I’m nowhere near retirement? Because if a place is affordable for a retiree, then it’s most certainly affordable for a working man, no?

I’m fascinated about places. Whenever I drive through a small town, I’m thinking, “How do people end up living here? What do they do for a living? Do they want to leave but can’t? Did they move here from somewhere else and love it?”

Continue Reading…

How Optimistic are You?

That question was posted on the BankRate Wealth Blog on Friday. Here are a few highlights according to a poll  1,002 Americans:

65 percent of Americans are more concerned about their finances today than they were at the beginning of the financial crisis two years ago.

37 percent expect to see their personal finances improve in the next six months, versus less than half (46 percent) who expect to hold onto what they currently have and 16 percent who expect to lose money.

80 percent of Americans say that Congress and regulators have not done enough “to deal with the financial market problems and their impact on American investors.”

44 percent of Americans expect the U.S. economy to improve in the next six months, while only 28 percent expect things to get worse. A smaller group (22 percent) anticipates no change in the economy.

What to make of this somewhat downer report? Seems like a cautiously optimistic, “wait and see” approach. I know for me, two years ago I was a hurtin’ dude. Failing business. Bad investments. Large mortgage. My financial picture has turned around dramatically in the last two years. Dramatically.

What about you? Do you identify with the poll answers?

Where did we get the $ Sign?

In a recent Slate article, writer Christopher Beam states that…

We got the $ from the Spanish. In the late 18th century, merchants in the North American British colonies traded mainly with two currencies: the British pound and the Spanish dollar. When the United States adopted its own currency in 1785, it used Spanish money as its model–a deliberate “screw you” to the British. Scholars have since theorized that the $ sign evolved out of an abbreviation for peso: The plural for pesos was “ps,” which eventually became “ps,” and then simply an “S” with a single stroke denoting the “p.” One early instance of the $ symbol crops up in a letter written by the merchant Oliver Pollock in 1778. Pollock also uses the “ps” abbreviation, making the letter a bridge between the two. The double-line through the S variation is less easily explained. Some believe they represent the twin pillars of Gibraltar depicted on the Spanish coat of arms. Others say it’s shorthand for the letter “U” superimposed over the letter “S”–for U.S.

Meh. I was hoping for a stork.

Read the rest of the article at Slate.

Dow 1,000? Oh my.

In a recent online New York Times article, Jeff Sommer interviews Robert Prechter, a stock market forecaster, who predicts…

“…we have entered a market decline of staggering proportions — perhaps the biggest of the last 300 years.”

What is this “staggering” market decline?
Continue Reading…

Free Checking – Headed Into Hibernation?

We assume free checking is and will always be, well, free. But that age may be ending, at least for some customers. Which banks might be going “freeless”? According to the New York Times:

Wells Fargo: As of July 1, the bank is no longer offering its “free checking,” or no monthly fee, account product to new customers. Instead, new customers will either have to pay a monthly service fee or meet certain requirements like a minimum balance requirement to have the fee waived (the change does not affect customers who had the account before July 1).

Citibank: Last November, the bank announced it was removing certain waivers from its EZ Checking and Access Checking packages.

Fifth Third Bank: Discontinued sales of free checking to new customers last September, though existing holders of the account weren’t affected.

Bank of America: The bank is testing new pricing models but spokesmen wouldn’t go into details.

Seems like bigger banks are starting the trend. Will local and community banks follow? Will free checking end entirely? Only time will tell.

Read the rest of the article.

Are People Without Nice Things Lazy?

Kid’s ask the darndest things, don’t they? According to a recent NY Times article, a young boy asked his dad…

“You tell me all the time that the reason we have nice things and can go to a nice school is that you work hard. Does that mean that people who don’t have nice things don’t work hard?”

Doh. Not having nice things = laziness? How to respond to that one? Maybe I would tell my kids, “I was wrong. This reason you have all these nice things is because you (a child) persuaded me (the supposed adult in charge) through various means of guilt and bad behavior to buy you these things.”

Maybe “life isn’t fair” is the only simple answer available. For the most part, if someone chooses laziness, they won’t have nice things. And if someone chooses hard work they will have nice things. But those are general statements that we all know don’t apply in all cases.

How would you respond?

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