While today’s economy continues to put extra stress on most Americans’ wallets, those preparing to welcome a new child into the family experience the added pressure of a whole new set of expenses.
From diapers to baby furniture and daycare, the costs for new parents mount quickly. For some, the reality of these expenses is daunting. Others are completely unaware of how the joy of a new child will affect their financial situation.
As students prepare to head back to the books, college planning is on the minds of many families.
It’s common knowledge that the cost of higher education has skyrocketed over the years and that many students end up struggling with a mountain of student loan debt once they graduate. In fact, the average student loan balance last year was $24,803, 70 percent higher than it was in 2004. During those same years, overall student loan debt nearly tripled to $966 billion. If you’re concerned about runaway college costs, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers this advice.
Incorporating Social Security into a retirement strategy is a smart move. The money taken out of your paycheck every month may be unwelcome now, but it can give you monthly income later in life.
However, some question if Social Security will last long enough for those in the work force now to be able to receive these benefits. According to Social Security trustees, enough reserves exist for the system to pay 100 percent of promised benefits until 2033, without further reform. Full benefits are available at age 65 for those born before 1938, gradually increasing to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. There is more to Social Security than just applying for retirement benefits when you are eligible at age 62 or over. By waiting, you can maximize your benefits, which will increase every year you choose to wait to file for Social Security retirement benefits.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling, considered the gold standard for credit counseling, surveyed experts from their member organizations around the country — including Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota — to ask them what their advice would be to others in these difficult economic times.
Following are their recommendations:
Social Security can be an important financial asset for married couples when the time comes to apply for retirement benefits. In many cases, one spouse may have earned significantly more than the other,or have worked for a longer span of years. Or it could be that one spouse stayed home to do the work of raising the children or caring for elderly family members while the other focused on a career.
There are special moments when people look back and evaluate a life or an era: birthdays, class reunions, holidays, anniversaries. Time is, after all, simply the stringing together of a number of events, some small, others significant. These events can speed by quickly, but each one can have an effect on the greater whole. A lifetime of seemingly mundane events can pass in what seems like the blink of an eye … until one looks back to examine them and realizes just how much has filled the space.
Did you know that most parents expect their kids to do some work in exchange for an allowance? In fact, 89 percent of parents want their children to spend at least an hour a week on chores, according to a survey conducted for the American Institute of CPAs.
Summer is traditionally a time when couples tie the knot and, as is the case with so many major milestones in life, all newlyweds should be aware of the tax considerations associated with marriage. If you or a loved one is planning nuptials, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers this advice on addressing the tax concerns.
Debt is not always a bad thing. Taking out a loan can make it possible to buy a home, purchase a new car or send your child to college. However, building up too much debt — and failing to manage your outstanding balances wisely — can be costly mistakes, according to the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA). Many American families have allowed their debt to get out of control, but there are smart steps you can take to remedy the problem.