Does Money Make You Mean?

That question was posed by Jay MacDonald, a contributing editor, in an article published on-line at AOL. He referred to a recent behavioral study that says people with money on their minds tend to be less helpful, less considerate, less willing to interact with others or even ask for help in completing a task. The findings were consistent in all nine experiments conducted.

Now while that type of behavior doesn’t indicate being mean, it does illustrate that people in this category aren’t exactly nice to be around. Well, what about you? What is your attitude toward money? In her book, Build Your Money Muscles, Joan Sotkin lays out two very important steps; 1) preparing for financial change and 2) attaining a new financial identity.

Her book will guide you through recognizing what she calls your “identity factor” which reflects your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about money. As someone who has “been there – done it” in terms of having experienced financial disaster, Sotkin is well-equipped to offer sound advice on how to understand the dynamics behind your current financial situation, raise your level of financial awareness, and set realistic goals for yourself. Her web site features articles, audio programs, e-books, and prosperity tips. A study conducted for AARP Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Circle revealed that many women 45+ have a sense of false confidence when it comes to financial matters. While 61 percent of these women are confident that they will have enough money to enjoy life as they age, 62 per cent don’t have a long-term spending plan for retirement. Two questions you need to ask yourself are:
– Do I have a financial plan?

– What will I be able to do in case of a financial emergency?

Does it surprise you to know that 80 to 90 percent of women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives? This high figure is due to divorce and widowhood since women outlive men by seven years.

Here are some interesting points to ponder:

– Sixty percent of America’s wealth is controlled by women.

– Sixty-six per cent of women who work with a financial advisor feel more confident about having enough money in the future.

– Women retirees receive about half the average pension that men receive due to holding jobs that don’t offer pensions or because they’ve changed jobs more frequently.

Here are some viable solutions:
– Check your investment accounts on a monthly basis to see if there any significant changes. You can do this when you’re paying monthly bills.

– Don’t be afraid to ask questions about risk, fees, and how the investment fits your strategy when you meet with your financial advisor.

What Kind of Stool Are You Sitting On?

Barbara Kennelly, president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging in March, 2006. She said that retirement used to be thought of as a three-legged stool. Social Security benefits, employer-sponsored pensions, and personal savings made up the legs. This has changed dramatically over recent years and now that stool can be compared to what she described as a “bar stool” with Social Security forming the central pillar upon which retirement rests. It is 52 percent of the total income for unmarried women over 65 and if it weren’t for Social Security, two-thirds of elderly women would be impoverished. The two saving graces of Social Security are that the benefit lasts your entire lifetime and the Cost of Living Adjustment helps protect you against inflation.

On a more positive note, it may help to know that you may need less than you think for retirement. Except for healthcare costs which rise with age, there is a significant drop in spending in other areas by persons 65 and older. The figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2005 show a 30 percent decrease in spending on housing, 42 percent for transportation, 34 percent for food and alcohol, 34 per cent for entertainment, and a whopping 46 per cent for apparel.


About Chloe JonPaul

Chloe JonPaul is the author of Entering the Age of Elegance: A Rite of Passage & Practical Guide for the Modern Maturing Woman. Visit her website at <a Chloe JonPaul

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