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Financial Friday Round-Up: October 11 – October 15, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find articles about the cheapest cities to live in, remote work, the Nobel Prize for economics, and more.

The 25 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In

In an interesting bit of light reading, Kiplinger gave us a list of the cheapest towns in which to live in 2021 this week, with most of the contenders sitting south of the Mason-Dixon line. Check out the full piece to see if your hometown might have made the list.

Consumer Prices Jump Again, Presenting a Dilemma for Washington

Issues with the supply chain as well as limited housing have caused a slight push in inflation in the past month, exceeding economist expectations by a small amount. Read this piece from the New York Times to stay informed on the state of inflation today.

High-Paying Remote Jobs Are Getting Much Easier to Find

One of the benefits of the pandemic that continues to hold has been the amount of high-paying jobs that still offer remote work. Nearly 15% of all jobs that pay $80,000 listed in the third quarter of this year were still remote. Check out this piece from Money to learn more.

A Nobel Prize For a Revolution in Economics

The Nobel Prizes were awarded for this year, and the winners for economics revolutionized the field by creating an evidence-based standard of research to replace the old theoretical approach. This newsletter from NPR’s Planet Money offers a brief glimpse into what makes these winners so important to the financial world.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: October 4 - October 8, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 27 - October 1, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 20 - September 24, 2021


Five Apps to Help You Reach Your Financial Goals

Apps now make meeting your financial goals easier than ever. Today, there are online tools that connect directly to your bank to track your expenses, set reminders for bills, and categorize your needs to help you save. If you are one of the millions who had to readjust their financial plans in the past eighteen months, technology can help you get back on track.

It takes a lot of data to make a good financial plan, from counting each expense to tracking monthly income. Back when people had to do it all by hand, the work felt overwhelming — now, it can be as easy as the push of a button:

PocketGuard

This app is designed to stop overspending. PocketGuard tracks your income and savings goals to limit how much you can spend every day. It even subtracts upcoming bills, automatically categorizes your expenses, and exports your data into spreadsheets for easy viewing. Whether you need to cut back on retail therapy or simply need to know how much to split between groceries and savings, this app can help.

You Need A Budget

YNAB provides you with a zero-based budgeting system — for those who are committed, it can help reach financial goals quickly. Zero-based budgets mean you must plan for every penny you make, whether they go to food, retirement, an emergency fund or other spending categories. This app connects your bank accounts and also gives you resources, budget advice and free workshops.

"If you are one of the millions who had to readjust their financial plans in the past eighteen months, these apps can help you get back on track."

Mint

Perhaps the most popular of the personal finance apps, Mint is known as a one-stop app for tracking spending, budgeting and seeing the big picture of your financial situation. One of Mint’s most helpful features lets you set deadlines for upcoming bills, reminding you of what you owe and the funds available to pay them.

Wally

Here’s a robust app for expense tracking: connect your credit cards and bank accounts to Wally and it will compile a list of all your spending and include the receipts of each purchase. It even files your purchases into categories like “Dining Out,” “Clothing” and “Entertainment." Just snap a picture of your receipts and it will log them all, saving you time spent typing in the data and giving you the financial control you need.

Strides

While it can be used outside of strictly financial goals, Strides is a helpful app for anybody who wants to stay accountable to their goals and dreams. This smart goal tracker helps you write your goals every day. It is also well-organized with tools like charts, reminders and target dates.

"Back when people had to track their expenses by hand, the work felt overwhelming — now, it can be as easy as downloading an app."

Personal finance apps have helped many people reach their financial goals, whether it be a vacation, a child’s education, a new home or simply financial freedom. With technology on your side and a little bit of financial knowledge, anyone can start down the road that ends in financial security.

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Financial Friday Round-Up: October 4 – October 8, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find articles about retirement trends, the new jobs report, supply chain delays, and more.

America's New Retirement Age is 62 — or Younger

Business Insider reported this week that almost half of Americans expect to retire before turning 62, according to a New York Fed survey. Check out this article to see what that means for the economy and for financial planning in general.

Retirees, Plan for the Tax Hit From Savings Bonds

Tax consequences for savings bonds are complicated. There are four common ways that the interest can be taxed when it comes time to retire, and Kiplinger put together this guide for each. Read this to help prepare yourself or a loved one for potential tax situations.

The New Jobs Numbers Are Pretty Good, Actually

While other headlines about the jobs report this week took an alarmed or negative tone, the New York Times looked at the numbers and came to a different conclusion — that it’s not as bad as it looks. Read this for a well-argued bit of optimism surrounding the labor market.

Supply Chain Delays Hit Holiday Shopping—Buttigieg Says Could Last 'Years And Years'

Companies are noticing that the supply chain issues likely will not be solved by the holiday season. This report from Forbes warns that this could cause a 20% increase in prices and fewer Black Friday deals — for more potential consequences, check out the full report.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: September 27 - October 1, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 20 - September 24, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 13 - September 17, 2021


Using Life Insurance as a Financial Tool

Financial tools like the 401(k) or Roth IRA are widely known, but few people have heard of the many ways life insurance can be used as a financial tool as well. Life insurance was established to protect families from worst-case scenarios, but they have also changed a lot since then. For example, not only does life insurance help you protect your legacy after you die, but it can also be used while you are alive, and even protect your money during a market downturn.

Our world is always changing, which is why flexible financial solutions are essential. Here are all the different ways life insurance can help you:

"Our world is always changing, which is why flexible financial solutions are essential. Here are all the different ways life insurance can help you."

To Build a Legacy

The simplest form of life insurance is the term life policy, but even at its most basic, life insurance proves it is essential — the best policy is usually the one that’s in place when you need it. Term life coverage comes in 10–, 20– or 30–year plans that provide your family with a death benefit, or a payout to cover their expenses should you pass away. The earlier you get cover, the cheaper it is, so if your biggest priority is providing for your loved ones, you ought to look into term life coverage today.

To Protect Your Wealth

Another way life insurance can be used is through an indexed policy. These special products use an investment strategy called indexing to credit interest on your policy as it ages. This means indexing protects you against market volatility — if the market goes negative, your interest rate never dips below zero, unlike some other investments.

Over time, you can borrow against the cash value in an indexed policy so you can get the most out of the accumulated wealth in your account. This borrowing can be done whenever you may need it; upon retirement, you can even take distributions of your cash value with tax advantages. These kinds of policies are essential if you want to take advantage of things like compound interest, tax advantages and market protection.

To Improve Your Quality of Life

Life insurance policies can also feature Accelerated Benefits Riders (sometimes known as living benefits) that you can use to access part — or all — of your death benefit while you are still alive. These benefits can be used if you have a qualifying terminal, chronic or critical illness. If you qualify, you can use your money while you are still alive, and for any reason: medical expenses, in-home care, bills, childcare, college tuition and more.

"Indexed policies are essential if you want to take advantage of things like compound interest, tax advantages and market protection."

Life Insurance is a Tool for Peace of Mind

Life insurance still exists for its primary purpose — to ensure financial security and put a legacy in place for your family — and it excels at these roles. But it is important to know all the different ways life insurance can help you as a financial tool. Whether it is through living benefits, market protection or more, life insurance remains a flexible financial tool to give you peace of mind.

Check out our website for more information about our products or to get expert financial advice on your life insurance options.

FFS Agents – share this post with your networks using our resources in the ABO.


Financial Friday Round-Up: September 27 – October 1, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find articles about refinancing your mortgage, women on Wall Street, life insurance as retirement planning, and more.

Is Now A Good Time To Refinance Your Mortgage?

Current mortgage rates have been historically low for a few weeks, leading many to ask whether now is a good time to refinance their loans. This guide from Money can help people decide whether they should take advantage of these refinancing rates.

Five Wall Street Moms Open Up About What the Pandemic Has Taught Them

Mothers face unique challenges in almost any industry, but particularly in demanding fields like Wall Street. Business Insider talked to five mothers about what they learned during the pandemic and how they will face these challenges going forward — from returning to the office to juggling home and work.

How Life Insurance Fits into a Retirement Plan

Life insurance policies are an essential part of broader retirement planning, and this Kiplinger guide provides the questions you will want to ask yourself when thinking about your coverage after you leave the workforce. Check out this piece for an important perspective on how to protect your legacy in retirement.

When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt

This brief history lesson from the Planet Money podcast shines a light on the history of the national debt and what happened the one time America paid it off all at once. Listen to this episode for some financial insight into the history of American economics.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: September 20 - September 24, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 13 - September 17, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 30 - September 3, 2021


Share Your Umbrella Podcast: A Conversation with Yetti Esatu

This week, Field Vice President Yetti Esatu sat down with the hosts of Share Your Umbrella for a lively discussion of real estate and insurance. We talked to Yetti about informing her fellow realtors about the importance of life insurance, how to stay educated on the latest financial products, and how her experience in the housing market helped her adapt to the changes of 2020. For this blog post, we have highlighted some excerpts of her interview for all to read.

See below for an excerpt of our conversation — you can listen to the full episode here.

How did you come to start working with FFS?

I’ve been a real estate agent since 2010. I am still an active real estate agent. A real estate background is very similar to insurance. They have differences, of course, but they complement each other very well. People come to a realtor to purchase a home and build some generational wealth or to secure their financial future.

But there is a difference between financial products and real estate, which goes up and down with the economy. I wish my equity would never go down, but that's not the nature of the real estate market. The similarity is that they are both still investments. On one side, we're dealing with the fixed market, and on the other, we're dealing with a product that is backed by the insurance commissioner and the government. It’s more secure. We can depend on it 100%.

When did you decide to take the first leap with FFS?

I had lunch with Shirley Luu one day. It was really an open discussion. The honesty, the integrity, and the company’s generosity really stuck out to me. I said, “I think this is what I’m looking for.”

What kind of challenges did you face when starting with FFS?

Once you transfer your license or you move from one company to another, for six months you're not really allowed to sell the same products. The company that I left had one of the carriers that we offer — of the many that we offer to our consumers. So I wasn’t able to sell those products.

It wasn’t a big problem because we have so many options with FFS. I was able to introduce clients to the other products until that six months was up, so it didn't really hurt me. That, I think, was the only real challenge.

The company I came from was pushing only one product. But I’m not here for me — in both industries, real estate and financial services, I am here for the consumers. Whatever I can do to fit their needs, even if I don't get paid, I have to provide it for them. So my heart was not so aligned with my old company. It was going in a different direction. I will never be satisfied if I don't offer what they are really looking for.

Our fiduciary relationship with our clients is just to offer everything, show them the differences between products, and let them see which one really gives them the most dollars. They are here to duplicate their money. They are here to grow their money. They're not here to make me as a friend. We want to secure their financial future. Friendship comes after that wonderful service has been provided.

Listen to our full conversation with Yetti Esatu for more valuable insight into running your own business.

FFS Agents – share this post with your networks using our resources in the ABO.

Financial Friday Round-Up: September 20 – September 24, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find a podcast on women and work, an article on the importance of mentoring, news about mortgage qualifications, and more.

Two Indicators: Women and Work

Despite making progress towards equality for women in the workplace, some statistics still nag at experts who work to raise the status of women in business — like how fewer companies are run by women than men. This podcast episode from Planet Money highlights two reporters who are breaking down the biggest obstacles for equality.

Paying Your Rent on Time Can Now Help You Qualify for a Mortgage

Some lenders are introducing a new tool that may help renters qualify for a mortgage. By monitoring which renters pay on time, this change in the industry could help more people with slim credit histories or low scores buy homes. Check out this report from Money for more information.

The Importance Of Mentorship And Why Starting Early Is Key

Worth released an article this week on the impact of mentoring young women early and the importance of investing in younger generations. This inspiring piece collects quotes from girls who had mentors through the pandemic and the positive impact they had on them.

These 2 Emotional Biases Could Kill Your Retirement

Our money habits are always tied up in our emotions, and planning for retirement is no exception. This Kiplinger guide outlines the emotional attitudes to avoid when saving for retirement, such as overconfidence and following the herd. Check out this piece for further detail.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: September 13 - September 17, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 30 - September 3, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 23 – August 27, 2021