Tag Archives: Financial

Groundbreaking Global Study First to Reveal That Whether a Person Focuses on the Past, Present or Future Is a Leading Predictor of Their Financial Health

New York, NY (PRWEB) July 18, 2014

A groundbreaking new study reveals why some people make poor financial decisions while others make sound ones. Among its compelling findings: a person’s time personality – meaning whether they are stuck in the past, living hedonistically in the present or focused solely on the future – is a better predictor of financial health than their mathematical ability or financial acumen.

This first in-depth psychological study of its kind was undertaken by Philip Zimbardo, professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University, author of more than 50 books including The Time Paradox and creator of the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI). The six-nation, 3,000-adult study was carried out in partnership with MagnifyMoney (http://www.MagnifyMoney.com), which offers consumers a simple, unbiased way to comparison-shop for financial products.

Concurrent with the study’s release, MagnifyMoney launched a new quiz that helps consumers determine their time personality and offers tools for making more savvy financial decisions.

The study looks at three major time personality categories: past-oriented, present-oriented and future-oriented.

Past-oriented:

    “Once bitten twice shy“– For example, someone who has lost money in the stock market in the past, may be more conservative – thus limiting their downside — but often misses out on potential gains.
    “Memory Hoarders” — This group of people have fond memories of the past, but tend to get stuck there – meaning they might stay with their bank or credit card out of loyalty and not get the best deal.

Present-oriented:

    “Hedonists” – This group likes to enjoy life impulsively without thinking about tomorrow and is more likely to be financially sick. They tend to buy now and think later, with no thought of future consequences – or their credit card bill.
    “Powerless”– People who feel stuck in the present are also likely to be financially sick – they tend to believe things that happen in life are out of their control, and don’t feel empowered to change their financial situation and get more out of their banks.

Future-oriented:

    “Future Trippers” — This group is singularly focused on planning for the future and are likely to make financial decisions – such as buying a house, saving or investing – because they know it’s the right thing to do. However, this group doesn’t always achieve a higher degree of financial health because they seek out advice that might not always be prudent.

“Time personality, or perspective, drives decision making in many realms – from deciding what to eat to choosing who to marry. With this study, we show clearly that it can have a profound effect on a person’s overall financial health,” says Philip Zimbardo. “The study is informative – even surprising – but what makes it truly useful to consumers are the online tools MagnifyMoney has developed to help people assess their time personality and, ultimately, make better financial choices.”

Other intriguing study findings include:

    Millennials are much less likely to rate themselves as financially literate, when compared to baby-boomers. However, more millennials have demonstrated financial health than baby-boomers.
    Of the six countries studied, the UK ranked as the most financially healthy. Meanwhile, Brazil and Italy had the highest level of present-hedonism and lower financial literacy.
    The study did not find a significant difference between males and females.

NOTE: For more information on the study results, visit http://www.magnifymoney.com.

Traditionally, the focus has been on teaching financial literacy and math skills in order to improve financial health. We believe that financial literacy is important. However, our study results show that understanding one’s time perspective is an important new factor and should be integral to literacy training,” according to Nick Clements, co-founder of MagnifyMoney. “With our time perspective quiz, we are now able to help consumers make better financial decisions that can save them thousands of dollars.”

About Professor Philip Zimbardo

Born March 23, 1933, Professor Zimbardo is a psychologist and professor emeritus at Stanford University. He is best known for his controversial Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971 that highlighted the ease with which ordinary intelligent college students were able to cross the line between good and evil when caught up in the matrix of situational and systemic forces. He has authored introductory psychology books, textbooks for college students, and other notable works, including The Lucifer Effect, The Time Paradox and the The Time Cure. He developed the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI) – integral to this latest study as well as Zimbardo’s past work.

About MagnifyMoney

MagnifyMoney was founded in 2014 by Nick Clements and Brian Karimzad, who have a combined nearly 30 years experience working in banking, including Barclaycard and Citigroup. MagnifyMoney is a powerful free resource because its personalized side-by-side comparisons of banking and credit union products are free, unbiased and easy to navigate. With the proprietary Magnify Transparency Score, banking and credit card products are rated on their simplicity, making it easy for consumers to quickly evaluate which products have the least amount of fine print. MagnifyMoney is headquartered in New York, NY.

For more media information, contact:

Lisa Hendrickson, Commstrat

516-767-8390

lisa(at)commstrat(dot)com







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Student Debt Crisis Continues to Cloud Graduation Celebrations: Financial Principles Advisors Offer Tips for Paying Off and Reducing Loan Burdens

Fairfield, NJ (PRWEB) May 28, 2014

With high school and college graduation season under way, it’s time to consider how to get a handle on student debt – a phrase that has become tantamount to “higher education.”

College costs have been rising faster than inflation for years and two-thirds of recent bachelor’s degree recipients now have outstanding student loans according to a Pew Research Center report, with an average debt of about $ 29,400 reports the Institute for College Access and Success. That is about $ 1.1 trillion in American student loan debt, causing concern for not just graduates, but for the overall economy, as well.

“Whether your student is graduating this year or just heading off to college, student debt is a reality for today’s families,” says Brad Bofford and Mike Flower, managing partners of Financial Principles in Fairfield, NJ.

Due to accruing interest, Bofford warns that loans often end up larger than expected making it in a borrower’s best interest to pay them off quickly. “Time is not your friend when it comes to debt, so the sooner you pay, the less you pay in the long run,” Bofford advises. “But of course, if you can find a way to pay for college without taking out any loans, you’ll be that much further ahead of the game at graduation.”

After College: Get a Plan to Pay off Debt Fast

The average federal student loan takes around 10 years to pay off after graduation, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “That can seriously hamper a graduates ability to buy a house or save for retirement,” says Bofford.

Although most lenders give students a six-month grace period following graduation before they must make their first payment, Bofford urges graduates to prepare to repay loans early by doing the following:


    Determine who owns your loan and exactly how much you owe them.
There are basically two types of student loans; federal and private. To get all the details about your federal loans visit the National Student Loan Data System, the Department of Education’s database for student aid which collects data from schools, guaranty agencies, the Direct Loan program, and other Department programs.

“Student can typically find information about their loans on their credit report,” explains Bofford. “The AnnualCreditReport.com is good place to start your search.”

    Start repayment early and pay on time.
Most student loans offer a six-month grace period after graduation before payments must begin. However, there isn’t always a grace period on accrued interest, so if payments can begin earlier, then the overall loan bill will be lower. The amount of the monthly payment also impacts total costs.

“If you have multiple loans, determine which one has the highest interest rate and get that paid off first,” says Bofford.

Making payments on time each month have the added benefit of helping establish good credit scores, improving eligibility for future home or car loans, and possibly lowering interest rates.

“But most importantly, do not ignore the situation and risk defaulting on your loan,” warns Bofford. “Your wages can be garnished, tax refunds and Social Security benefits can be withheld, your credit score will crash making it very difficult to buy a house and your ability to secure a new job could even be impacted.”

    Participate in retirement savings when appropriate.
While paying off student loan debt is priority number one, graduates fortunate enough to secure a job after school that offers a 401k or a similar retirement savings plan should consider participating – especially if there is an employer matching program. “Employer contributions are essentially free money which shouldn’t be left on the table,” says Bofford.

Bofford first recommends reviewing income and expenses then choosing an affordable amount to set aside each month for direct deposit into a retirement savings account. “Even if you can only afford $ 25.00 per month at first, you’ll have established a good saving habit and can more easily increase that amount over time.”

Before College: Lessen the Loan Burden

Since college costs can lead to financial strain well past graduation, Flower stresses the importance of preparing early in order to reduce the amount of loan costs needed in the first place. He offers the following planning tips:

    Save Early and Often
Parents and grandparents have several college savings options to help their student, including State 529 Plans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, and traditional and Roth IRAs. “Many offer tax advantages, however not all plans are equal, even among the state 529 plans, so read the terms carefully and compare your options,” says Flower.

Families anxious to help their student are advised not to forgo their own retirement savings in order to provide college tuition. “Student loans may not be ideal, but remember, no one is going to give you a loan to retire,” says Flower.

“Talk with your high school students about how much you can afford and how much they will be responsible to carry in the form of scholarship, their own savings or loans,” urges Flower. “Don’t spring it on them after they have their heart set on a particular school.” Online research and conversations with a school counselor can help narrow the search to qualifying scholarships and more affordable schools.

Students can put some skin in the game. Working throughout high school and college not only helps save for education costs, it often opens doors to additional funding options such as employer-based scholarships and other scholarships designed specifically for working students.

    Thoroughly Research Financial Aid and Loan Options
Parents are advised to investigate their children’s merit and needs-based financial-aid prospects well in advance of selecting a school. Merit aid eligibility increases when students keep their grades up and take academically challenging courses.

Stafford, PLUS and Perkins are student loans commonly offered through school financial aid packages. Federal student loans usually offer fixed interest rates and repayment plans based on income. Some don’t begin accruing interest until the student graduates and interest on federal loans are often tax deductible, which can save some money down the road. To be considered for a federal loan, start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Because the terms of various loans can vary greatly, the Loan Comparison Calculator at Finaid.org is available for a comparison of loan options.

“Keep in mind that if your school aid package includes a loan with disagreeable terms such as a very high interest rate, you are free to decline that portion of the package,” explains Flower. “And don’t stop investigating scholarships once you begin school. There are many available to current students throughout their college career.”

    Make fiscally responsible decisions when selecting a school.
Staying in state – even for just a year – or returning home for graduate school, can greatly improve bottom line costs. “Many students attend two-year community college while living at home in order to save,” offers Flower. “Just be sure the credits will transfer when you continue on to a four-year university.”

Earlier this year, the Obama administration proposed a new federal college ratings system based on how well schools perform in such areas as affordability, graduation rates and post-graduation job placement. Although the proposed system is currently being debated, this kind of system could impact the amount of financial aid certain schools have available to offer their students in the future.

“One of the best strategies for achieving financial security is to live debt free,” says Flower. “So don’t wait. Plan, save and repay any loans as early as possible.”

About Financial Principles, LLC

Financial Principles understands the importance of planning – whether it’s for retirement, saving for college or protecting your estate and legacy. Two senior partners, Bradley H. Bofford, CLU, ChFC, CFP® and Michael A. Flower, CFP® bring a combined 40+ years of financial services experience to their clientele. Both are recognized as qualifying life members of the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table, “The Premier Association for Financial Professionals®”. Bofford and Flower have contributed to articles in several leading trade publications including Investment News, Financial Advisor, and Research magazine, as well as consumer outlets such as BusinessWeek, Money and New Jersey Business magazine. Learn more at http://www.financialprinciples.com.

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DISCLOSURE:

Securities offered through Securities America, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Bradley H. Bofford, CLU, ChFC, CFP® and Michael A. Flower, CFP® are Registered Representatives. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. Bradley H. Bofford and Michael A. Flower are Investment Advisor Representatives. Financial Principles, LLC and Securities America, Inc. are not affiliated.

Written by Brad Bofford and Mike Flower, Securities America, Inc. Registered Representatives, in conjunction with Impact Communications.

The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and may not actually come to pass. This information is subject to change at any time, based on market and other conditions and should not be construed as a recommendation of any specific security or investment plan.







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Millennials Overlook Principles in Favor of More Sophisticated Technology When Selecting Financial Services Providers: Study

(PRWEB) May 28, 2014

Credit unions are failing to engage millennials online, a new research study on digital behavior of millennials and financial services shows, revealing a key reason why millennials are the least likely demographic to become credit union members despite sharing common values. In financial services, digital convenience and pragmatism prevails over loyalty or belief-based decision making.

Digital Fieldwork, a digital audience research company focused on the channels, culture and content that drive digital behavior, revealed today why 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. are less likely to select credit unions as their financial services provider. This is primarily due to a lack of awareness about credit unions and a perception that they are not up on the latest technology. The report’s findings debunk a commonly held belief that millennials’ consumer purchasing decisions are driven by their values.

“Millennials are very pragmatic and have high expectations around technology,” said Laurie Paleczny, co-founder of Digital Fieldwork, who noted that the research examined thousands of online data points, including publicly available profiles on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. “If convenience and functionality aren’t there, they’ll do business with banks even if they do not always respect their values.”

Paleczny said that the report, “Strangers in the Night: Credit Unions, Millennials and Digital Behavior,” offers other important insights for financial service marketers:

Strangers, not friends — Millennials do not seek or desire financial advice on Facebook, and credit unions are more successful with member engagement through posts about local news, sports teams, charity causes or even financial literacy programs.
Giving Twitter the business — The majority of credit union followers on Twitter are industry stakeholders, not customers, which suggests it is not an effective way to court millennials.
Prefer to remain anonymous — Blogs and forums are far more influential with millennials seeking financial advice than Facebook or Twitter.
Money mobilized — Millennials want to do business on mobile devices and credit unions have opportunity to partner and integrate with popular mobile personal finance apps.
Positively confused — Online attitudes are highly negative toward banks and generally positive toward credit unions, but confusion persists about their differences.

Altimeter Group noted in their recent report on content marketing software that 67% of marketers identify audience identification and targeting as a top need, yet only 25% were investing in this area,” said Paleczny. “It’s a big miss. Our research shows how credit union marketing tactics are mismatched to the behavior of a key audience, which reflects a common issue in marketing today.”

“Financial services providers in particular need to go beyond demographics to really understand their audience’s digital behavior,” added Paleczny, a former financial services executive. “It’s critical for them to learn how to participate in online channels and platforms where millennials are having financial discussions.”

The 53-page report is based on research conducted between January and April 2014 and provides a roadmap for financial services marketers to more effectively reach and engage millennials online. It was released on the Digital Fieldwork website on May 22 as part of an annual subscription.

Digital Fieldwork will hold weekly briefings beginning Thursday, May 29 at 2 p.m. ET to showcase the results. Media are invited to register to attend our briefing on May 29.

ABOUT DIGITAL FIELDWORK INC — Launched in April 2014, Digital Fieldwork Inc. combines over 150 of the most relevant and useful online data inputs including proprietary ethnography, search data, social media listening, social network data, content engagement, consumption and performance data, to help companies deeply understand the current information needs, behavior and culture of the digital audiences they are marketing to. Digital Fieldwork’s first report, “Strangers in the Night: Credit Unions, Millennials and Digital Behavior” is available on digitalfieldworkinc.com. Upcoming reports will focus on healthcare and enterprise software.

For more information about this topic, please contact Laurie Paleczny by calling or 888.795.0402, or email Laurie at laurie(at)digitalfieldworkinc(dot)com.







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5 Ways Employers Can Promote Financial Literacy


Falmouth, ME (PRWEB) March 27, 2014

During Financial Literacy Month in April, scores of money-management experts and educators will be promoting financial literacy to Americans.

But there’s another influential group – U.S. employers – that can play a significant role in enhancing the financial IQ of America’s workforce.

“Most employers don’t think their workers have serious financial problems — after all, they have jobs,” says Chris Viale, president and CEO of Cambridge Credit Counseling, a member of the Association of Credit Counseling Professionals (ACCPros).

“But we know that the opposite is true,” Viale says. “Even people who are holding down good jobs can have financial difficulty, and that makes for distracted, unproductive workers.”

Adds Judy Sorensen, President of ACCPros: “Promoting financial literacy isn’t just good for employees, it’s also good business. Employees who aren’t stressed about their finances can better focus on their jobs, they have higher morale, and they tend to have lower rates of absenteeism too.”

Sorensen and the experts at ACCPros offer five strategies that any employer can use to make the financial lives of its employees much better:

1. Host “lunch and learn” financial workshops

“Holding a lunchtime series of financial literacy seminars is a good way to let employees know how to avoid problems and learn how to manage their money,” says Viale.

The seminars or workshops can focus on general subjects such as budgeting, saving money, and managing credit and debt; or specific topics like paying for college, buying a first home, or planning for retirement.

2. Boost employee paychecks with “tips”

“Lots of employers put inserts in with their employees’ paychecks — from important company notices to marketing pieces from vendors looking to sell products or services to those employees,” says Bradley Wood, Education Director at Christian Credit Counselors.

Instead of marketing materials, Wood suggests that employers insert money-saving tips in the envelopes carrying workers’ paychecks.

“A simple tri-fold with money saving tips on it, or an educational piece on financial topics could be inserted in the pay envelope quite easily,” he adds.

3. Sponsor a financial empowerment event for couples

A company can host an on- or off-site event focused on personal finances and invite their employees’ spouses or significant others.

The money-related event doesn’t have to be a formal lunch or a stand-alone evening affair. It can occur during a corporate retreat or even as part of the company picnic.

Why bring in an employee’s other half?

“Both spouses need to be on the same page,” says Will VanderToolen, Director of Counseling Services at Fair Credit Foundation.

4. Have a company-wide financial challenge

Issue a challenge to your workforce and ask something like: “How much debt can you shed?” or “How much money can you save?” Then encourage employees to work toward healthy financial goals like reducing credit card bills or building retirement savings.

Some companies might make it a fun competition among employees. Other employers may opt to simply add up all the financial totals and show the overall economic progress made for all workers in the organization.

“You can track the total debt paid off over a given amount of time, or even the amount of money saved in dollar terms or as a percentage of income,” says VanderToolen.

5. Use the power of email

Hopefully, your employees are reading their company emails, right?

Well, an easy way to leverage that online time is to have a financial “contest,” which can be done strictly via email.

“A company can send a weekly email blast with a single financial literacy question. Then it can offer a reward or recognition to the employee who is the fastest responder with the correct answer,” suggests Paul Donohue, President and Founder of Credit Card Management Services.

ACCPros member agencies are ready, willing and able to work with any employer to help them implement financial literacy in the workplace, including one-on-one counseling for employees.

About ACCPros

The Association of Credit Counseling Professionals, ACCPros, is the credit counseling industry’s newest and fastest growing trade association. ACCPros distinguishes itself from other associations by placing an emphasis on ethics and compliance and focusing on best practices, quality service, education, training, and professional ethics. ACCPros member agencies can be a great resource for consumers seeking help managing their debt. Call the toll-free ACCPros Locator Line at 800-635-0553 to speak with a certified credit counselor at an agency licensed/registered in your state.