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
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
Education has historically been the most powerful way for children of the U.S. working class to brighten their futures. But as the cost of college rises, they must climb taller and taller mountains to attend.
The ideal for college – an ideal still pursued by students whose parents can afford it – is to attend full-time and focus on one thing: their studies. But five untraditional students who were profiled in a new documentary say they must juggle their multiple pressing priorities:
Work, sometimes full-time, to support themselves or help support parents or siblings.
Maintain a high grade point average after poor high school preparation.
Inadequate financial aid packages and parents who are unable to help.
Parents who may not understand the college financial aid process.
Complexities of transferring credits from a community college to a four-year institution.
Like many untraditional students, Sharon Flores is the first generation in her family to attend college. This top high school student and daughter of a single mother explains her struggle to attend King’s College in Pennsylvania in the documentary, “Redefining Access for the 21st Century Student,” which was produced by the Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington. …Learn More
Despite the growing tendency of Americans to migrate around the country for a job or retirement, half of all adults still live less than 25 miles from their mothers.
Such details about basic family living patterns were described in this video featuring Janice Compton, an economist with the University of Manitoba, who conducts research on the relationship between geographic proximity to older parents and who cares for them.
The vast majority of hands-on caregivers are family members. And elderly women, who tend to live longer than men, are more often the ones who receive care from their children.
To determine who’s most likely to stay near mom – and be in a position to assume care-giving duties – Compton and Robert Pollak at Washington University analyzed data from the U.S. Census and the National Survey of Families and Households for adults over age 25. Here’s what they found: …Learn More
As a young adult starting my career in Chicago in the 1980s, I didn’t have a clue how Social Security worked or why money was being taken out of my scrawny paycheck.
But trust me on this: the Social Security retirement program becomes a lot more interesting to workers as they age and their retirement horizon comes into sharp focus. It affects just about every American – and most of us pay into it.
It is not only the bedrock of retirement for millions of Americans and their spouses, but it’s also a source of income for their survivors, including children, and workers who become disabled.
In this video, officials from the U.S. Social Security Administration explain what its programs do and why they matter. Learn More
About 15 percent of Americans age 65 and over are poor, according to the federal government’s alternative definition of poverty, known as the Supplemental Poverty Measure, a yardstick that takes into account seniors’ out-of-pocket medical expenses, as well as income and tax effects not included in the standard measure of poverty.
A compelling new video profiles poor older Americans who live in Baltimore, rural West Virginia, and Los Angeles. In the video, produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit research and policy organization focused on health care, the seniors identify rising rents and medical expenses as major explanations of financial hardship, which can mean lacking enough money for food.
Squared Away also has interviewed seniors living in a Boston housing complex for low-income seniors. To hear their stories, click here. Learn More