Women

As a retired psychotherapist who also had a CPA practice, G. Moskowitz of Bedford Hills, N.Y., has a unique perspective on what can happen when couples don’t’ share what they know. The widow of one client realized she knew almost nothing about her spouse’s business when he died, not even the name of his lawyer. “He died, and she was left saying, “what do I do now?’” Moskowitz recalls.

Our survey showed that in only 40 percent of households did both spouses know where to find details of their financial accounts, required passwords, and keys to safe-deposit boxes

Our survey showed that in only 40 percent of households did both spouses know where to find details of their financial accounts, required passwords, and keys to safe-deposit boxes

Our survey showed that in only 40 percent of households did both spouses know where to find details of their financial accounts, required passwords, and keys to safe-deposit boxes. In only 30 percent of homes did both partners also share major details of the family’s finances? The death of a spouse who controls the family money can leave survivors struggling to construct the financial puzzle. An easy solution is to designate a safe, file cabinet, or safe-deposit box to hold all important documents and account access information.

Communication between generations also can reduce hassles and misunderstandings. Yet just 37 percent of respondents with adult children said they’d told their kids where to find important documents, accounts, and passwords. Two-thirds of folks in their 70s said they’d had that conversation, but a meager 35 percent of respondents in their 60s reported doing so. Fewer than half of individuals with a parent 65 or older had discussed with their parents their wishes regarding power of attorney, management of finances in the case of incapacity, location of the parents’ important documents, long-term-care arrangements, or provisions of the parents ‘wills.

Communication between generations also can reduce hassles and misunderstandings.

Communication between generations also can reduce hassles and misunderstandings.

Well-meaning adult children who inquire about their parents’ finances risk being viewed as greedy for the inheritance, and parents might refuse to share that information. But adult children stand a better chance of gaining their parents’ trust and helping them make plans if they get their own financial houses in order first. Then, Krooks says, “They can sit down with their parents to say, ‘We’ve just done these ourselves to make things easier for your grandchildren. What have you guys done, and what can we do to help?’”

3.    Botching your 401(k).

When we interviewed our subscribers who’ve been successful savers and investors for our profile, a common refrain we heard was to start saving early in life, invest consistently, and put the maximum allowed into a retirement plan. “I contributed 6 percent of my salary to my 401(k), and then increased that to 10 and then 15 percent,” says retiree D. Baeza, 60, of Coral Springs, Fla. “When I got a raise, half would go to our lifestyle and the rest was put away.”

But in our survey, two-fifths of respondents with 401(k) and similar retirement plans said they were investing 6 percent or less of their income, the typical ceiling for getting a full employer match. Six percent had stopped contributing entirely. Less than a third-29 percent- were maxing out their contributions.

Two-fifths of respondents with 401(k) and similar retirement plans said they were investing 6 percent or less of their income, the typical ceiling for getting a full employer match.\

Two-fifths of respondents with 401(k) and similar retirement plans said they were investing 6 percent or less of their income, the typical ceiling for getting a full employer match.

Ninety-one percent of survey respondents said they didn’t review their funds’ fees and other expenses. That’s too bad. A 2010 study by Morningstar, the investment research company, showed that low fees were the best predictor of a fund’s future performance. “The only thing that I am absolutely sure about is that the lower the fee I pay to the purveyor of the investment product, the more there will be for me,” says Burton Malkiel, the renowned economics professor and author.

Fortunately, it’s easier than in the past to compare funds’ expenses. As of last year, 401(k) plans are required to send statements to investors outlining marketing and fund management fees. If, for example, you’re investing in index funds- a strategy we strongly recommend- you shouldn’t be spending more than $20 per $1000 invested, or about 0.2 percent, on fees over all. Two good choices are the Schwab S&P 500 Index fund (SWPPX), which charges expenses of just 0.09 percent, and the comparable iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV), with expenses of 0.07 percent.

Notably, a large percentage of respondents to our Money Adviser survey mentioned costly investment errors, such as buying or selling at the wrong time. Heeding Malkiel’s advice to invest at regular intervals and hold over the long term- is the most surefire way to avoid those mistakes and build wealth in a relatively risk-free way. “People invariably try to time the market,” Malkiel notes. “They don’t’ put their investments on automatic pilot. That just kills them.”

4.    Underinsuring your home and your life.

When Hurricane Gustav blew two trees onto the Baton Rouge, La., home of Denise Porter and Richard Hannon in 2008, the two assumed their homeowners insurance would pay to replace the roof and repair two damaged rooms. But their policy paid only the actual cash value of their property-that is, the replacement cost of the property minus depreciation. And they faced repair bulls in the (tens of thousands,” Porter estimates. To economize, they’d also failed to get policy features that would cover the cost of bringing the home up to new building standards and provide for inflation in the cost of materials. “We were shortchanging ourselves,” Porter admits.

Only 36 percent of homeowners told us they’d purchased replacement-cost cover age, a more expensive homeowner insurance that provides replacement of your home with like kind and quality materials. And only 20 percent have umbrella coverage against liability claims.

 
Build up your emergency fund a bit at a time, say, $20 a week.

Build up your emergency fund a bit at a time, say, $20 a week.

Since settling their claim, the couple sold that property and bought a new home nearby. Now their homeowner’s policy includes coverage for inflation protection and to rebuild up to code. To reduce their premium, they’ve raised the deductible to $1,000 per incident from $500. They have a separate, state-sponsored wind and hail policy, with a deductible of 2 percent of the home’s insured value when the loss is caused by a hurricane.

The couple also bought federal flood insurance, at about $350 a year, though their home is not considered to be in a flood-prone area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that more than 20 percent of all flood claims arise outside of high-risk areas.

Two other coverage that should not be overlooked are life and disability insurance. Term life insurance is more economical than other types. Planner Losey says working parents of young children should buy at least 10 times, their incomes, but he and planner Blayney recommend talking to a certified financial planner for a more sophisticated estimate. Use an online broker such as Accuquote, Select Quote, FindMy-Insurance, or LifeInsure.com compare premium quotes.

Two other coverage that should not be overlooked are life and disability insurance

Two other coverage that should not be overlooked are life and disability insurance

Your income is your most important asset, but injury or illness could put it at risk. So if your employer offers supplemental long-term group disability insurance, buy it. A supplemental group policy that raises coverage to 70 percent of income from 40 percent could cost you on average $150 to $200 a year, says the Council for Disability Awareness, an industry group.

By the numbers:

1 in 7 the proportion of survey respondents who said they’d lent $500 or more to a family member or friend within the previous 12 months. Our advice: Even relatives should sign an agreement with the loan’s terms.

 

Top search
Women
- 6 Ways To Have a Natural Miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Losing Weight In A Week With Honey
- Can You Eat Crab Meat During Pregnancy?
- Grape Is Pregnant Women’s Friend
- 4 Kinds Of Fruit That Can Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
- Some Drinks Pregnant Women Should Say No With
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy
- Why Do Pregnant Women Have Stomachache When Eating?
- Top Foods That Pregnant Women Should Be Careful Of
- 6 Kinds Of Vegetable That Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
Other
Women
- 15 Dishes Extremely Nutritious For Pregnant Women
- 14 Things That Make Pregnant Women Nervous (Part 2)
- 14 Things That Make Pregnant Women Nervous (Part 1)
- 24 Things To Do Before Giving Birth
- Why You Should Add Cauliflower In Meals
- Marathon Special (Part 4)
- Marathon Special (Part 3)
- Marathon Special (Part 2)
- Marathon Special (Part 1)
- 8 Ways To Defeat Stress After Delivery
 
women
Top keywords
women
Miscarriage Pregnant Pregnancy Pregnancy day by day Pregnancy week by week Losing Weight Stress Placenta Makeup Collection
Women
Top 5
women
- Cinnamon: A natural treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
- 5 Tips for Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 2)
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 1)
- Is Your Mental Health Causing You to Gain Weight (part 2) - Bipolar Disorder Associated with Weight Gain