How to Make Your Financial Dreams a Reality

In his “I Have a Dream” speech, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged us to think about the real possibilities of a brighter future — a future that affords us to live in comfort and prosperity. It is in that spirit that we encourage you to evaluate your dream of financial security. >> AARP’s Financial Freedom Program There are several steps you should consider to help you work toward financial freedom as you kick off the new year with a …

How to Stay Warm and Save Energy

For people in much of the country, temperatures are going down and utility bills are skyrocketing up. Home heating accounts for about 45 percent of the typical American household’s energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. One of the biggest culprits behind high heating bills is heat loss that occurs through small holes and cracks in the home’s envelope. Though seemingly small, these little escape hatches can drain up to 25 percent of a home’s heat, DOE reports. …

Illinois Is First State With New Savings Plan for Workers

Illinois will become the first state with a broad-based effort to automatically enroll private-sector employees without retirement plans into a new savings program. Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation on Sunday that creates the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program. Employers with at least 25 workers and no retirement plan will be required to offer employees the option of enrolling in Secure Choice, which allows employees to invest in a Roth IRA through payroll deduction. Employees can decline. “This turnkey program will make it …

Thinking Money Over the Holidays

The PBS documentary Thinking Money: The Psychology Behind Our Best and Worst Financial Decisions probably won’t take root as a holiday tradition like gathering the family round to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. But it’s sure to be a worthwhile reprieve from binge-watching A Christmas Story and other holiday TV classics. For more information on when Thinking Money is airing and to watch short clips from the show, check out this website. >> Discussion: What would you do with a …

Making Social Security Work for Women

Social Security is gender neutral, meaning men and women earning the same amount in their careers should receive the same size benefit. In reality, a woman’s benefit on average is lower than a man’s — $1,103 vs. $1,417 in 2012 — because her work and personal experiences are rarely the same. Women tend to earn less — an average of 78 cents for every $1 a man makes. They are more likely to be in low-paying jobs without pensions and to …