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A Time for Family and Friends

The staff at Squared Away wish our readers a Happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends.
Our twice-weekly articles will resume next Tuesday.Learn More

trust

Trusting Souls Want Financial Advice

Here’s a conundrum: Americans struggle to save for retirement or reduce their credit card spending.  But only about one out of three seeks help with financial issues.

So what lies at the heart of our decisions about whether and when to seek help?  Trust.

In the video below, Angela Hung, director of the RAND Center for Financial and Economic Decision Making, describes research showing that people who trust financial institutions – the markets, financial services companies, brokers – are also more likely to ask for advice from a financial adviser or similar professional.

Further, Hung’s research found that people who trust the industry are also “more likely to be satisfied with their financial service provider.”  Watch the video for Hung’s explanation of an interesting experiment that explores the circumstances under which people follow the advice once it’s given to them.

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Financial Guides Come in Many Languages

The federal government has added two Spanish-language guides to its multilingual library printed in languages ranging from French to Tagalog, the language of the Philippines.

The Spanish guides (previously available in English) – “Money Smart para Adultos Mayores” (“Money Smart for Older Adults”) and “Cómo Administrar el Dinero de Otras Personas” (“Managing Someone Else’s Money”) – teach seniors and their caregivers how to spot scams and frauds and help caregivers to understand their financial duties.

They are all free of charge and published by the Office for Older Americans in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Other topics also appear in the CFPB’s online table of contents, which permits consumers and financial planners to search by language or by subjects including money management, credit, and mortgages.

Booklets in Chinese and other languages explain the safest ways to send money back home. Mortgage booklets are available in Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Tagalog, and Spanish. They explain borrower’s rights, including the additional requirements for lenders’ disclosures to borrowers put in place in the wake of the subprime mortgage meltdown, which also affected immigrant neighborhoods. The Spanish booklets include one on reverse mortgages for retirees.

The library’s table of contents is available here – it requires clicking around to find out what’s available in each language.Learn More

Videos Critique Active Stock Investing

This is the sixth video featured in a series of seven that are worth watching.

The new series, “How to Win the Loser’s Game,” takes viewers on an in-depth tour of the financial industry landscape while managing not to be dull.  It includes a history of academic research in the finance field and examines the issue of paying high fees for active investment managers.

The big message in the above video has also been covered on this blog: it’s virtually impossible for active managers to consistently outperform the overall market’s return. The solution: buy passive mutual funds and diversify. The evidence presented in the videos, sometimes by academic giants in the field, is compelling.

Click here to watch the remaining videos, which are produced by sensibleinvesting.tv, a non-profit founded by a U.K. financial company.Learn More

Today’s Savings Rate Half of 1970s Rate

In the 1970s, Americans saved about 12 percent of their after-tax income.  Today, that’s plummeted to less than 6 percent.

Yet saving is in everyone’s interest.

A new video produced by The Atlantic magazine, “Why Americans Are So Bad at Saving Money,” blames our savings apathy on three factors: math (the lower one’s income, the less people save); psychology (spending money is more fun); and envy (keeping up with the Joneses).

The video doesn’t fully explain why this is an American problem.  But it’s accessible and thought-provoking. For example, the narrator notes that much of the national conversation is about wealth – taxing it, measuring its disparities, winning it in the stock market.

We don’t expend a lot of energy talking about what builds wealth – saving – or how to encourage it.Learn More

Social Security: Vale La Pena Esperar

Waiting to claim Social Security is good for retirees’ financial health – none more so than the U.S. Latino population.

This message is delivered in Spanish in the above video, “El Seguro Social: Vale la Pena Esperar.” The video was produced by the National Academy of Social Insurance, a policy research non-profit, and Squared Away found it on the website of Latinos & Economic Security.

Latinos & Economic Security, which is part of UCLA’s Center for Policy Research on Aging, said Latinos make up 7 percent of the U.S. population age 65 and older. But due to their lower incomes during their working years, Latinos are more reliant on Social Security than are Asian-American, African-American and white, non-Latino retirees, the organization said.

Its research also shows that Social Security provides at least 90 percent of the income of well over 40 percent of elderly Latino couples. So it pays to delay and increase the size of that monthly pension check. …Learn More

Aging, but Oblivious

Older people often wonder why young adults get tattoos that they’ll later want to remove.

In this Ted video, psychologist Dan Gilbert says tattoos are a good example of a universal error in thinking. …

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