Can Cincinnati and Hamilton County save money on the Western Hills Viaduct?

As Cincinnati and Hamilton County look for ways to resolve one of the Tri-State’s biggest infrastructure headaches by financing a new Western Hills Viaduct, city and county engineers are looking for ways to bring down the price tag.

“I feel very confident saying we’ve made tremendous progress,” Hamilton County Engineer Ted Hubbard said. “It’s just a huge project.”

Hubbard said they are working with a design consultant to come up with money-saving ideas such as building the replacement on a slightly different route than the current span. That shift would happen on the eastern side of the viaduct, just as it merges into I-75.

“There’s a Duke substation that’s in the path of the structure,” he said. “We’re trying to miss that.”

The previous plan was to relocate the substation, but that isn’t cheap.

“It was $35 million,” said Joe Vogel, director of the Cincinnati department of transportation and engineering. In the cheaper design proposal, “we shifted it north so that we could avoid that and save that money.”

However, that idea is not yet finalized. Hubbard said they are working with Duke Energy and the Ohio Department of Transportation to make sure shifting the route “doesn’t create some kind of a fatal flaw.” He added they should have a definitive answer within the next few months.

Meanwhile, paying for the new viaduct may be harder than building it, according to Vogel.

“There are all kinds of challenges, but once we have the money, we’ll be able to move it forward,” he said.

Hamilton County

has committed to pay $33 million

through proceeds from a $5 fee on vehicle registration renewals. Cincinnati

has also committed $33 million,

and $34 million more will come from a variety of other sources.

The city and county are

looking to the federal and the state governments

to bring in additional financing. Hubbard said they hope to receive an INFRA Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and a TRAC grant from the State of Ohio.

The Western Hills Viaduct, which is

considered structurally sound but obsolete

at the ripe old age of 85, carries 55,000 cars each day and connects western communities with Clifton, Uptown and one of the busiest sections of I-75. Vogel said the viaduct is also vital to the region because of its proximity to the Brent Spence Bridge — another longterm infrastructure quandary without an easy answer in sight.

“Where the Western Hills Viaduct connects to I-75 is actually within what ODOT calls the Brent Spence project footprint,” Vogel said.

As for funding the two projects, Vogel said: “Interestingly, we want money for both.”

The latest estimates called for a new Western Hills Viaduct to be built in 2025. That could change with funding and design changes.

“You can save literally tens of millions of dollars in inflation costs if you can cut down the time,” Hubbard said.

Until then, maintenance crews will be outside the viaduct every three months to knock off loose concrete so that it doesn’t fall on cars driving on the lower deck of the viaduct.

(It’s happened before.)

“It’s a safety concern,” said Vogel. “So, we take that very seriously.”

5 Ways LGBTQ Financial Planning Is Different

On Friday, I asked a client for some additional documents so I could prepare for an upcoming meeting. He said he’d get to it soon, but not before Monday.  He was slammed getting ready for a big party. He closed the email “Happy Pride!”

I responded “Happy Pride” and reminded him “pictures or it didn’t happen.” He sent me a colorful photo of a rainbow-clad, selfie wall. I felt so lucky and grateful in that moment. I get paid to plan for a community that I love, whose members can be their full selves with me.

Because I focus on financial planning for the LGBTQ community, people often ask, “What makes LGBTQ planning different?’ Or to put another way, “can someone really specialize in LGBTQ planning?” I’ve already written about the distinct financial planning challenges that still exist after marriage equality came about, but I recently got asked what the planning actually looks like: “What do you do with your clients in the face of these challenges?

In honor of Pride month, let’s pull back the curtain on some of the unique characteristics of LGBTQ financial planning and what that planning actually looks like.

  1. We still have to carefully navigate society

This may seem obvious. Of course, being LGBTQ in the world makes us unique and different. And in many ways that’s good. We’re often forced to embrace our individuality, so we let our let shine, especially during Pride month. As one client put it,  “I really turn up in the month of June.”

In other ways, it’s still pretty hard. Let’s take working as an LGBTQ person, for example:

So yes, in 2019, the age of marriage equality, Mayor Pete, and Queer Eye, LGBTQ workers still feel that being out could hurt their careers . That leads to job insecurity and lower mobility. It may cause people to stay in careers they hate or with companies that don’t accept them.

For instance, one of my clients works doesn’t feel comfortable or fulfilled at the large tech company where he works. We’ve had in-depth conversations around his goals and values. We’ve discussed whether getting paid $300,000+ per year makes up for not being able to be who you are or not being comfortable in your work environment. We ended up creating a five-year exit strategy around the vesting of his equity compensation, so he can pursue his dream of quieter life working for himself.

Because I’m gay myself, I understand and empathize with my clients’ struggles as LGBTQ people.  I can help them confront and navigate the challenges that come their way. My experience also allows me to ask the right questions that help them recognize the choices and opportunities available to them.

  1. We buck the trend

Marriage equality is the law of the law, but it’s not for everyone.  I work with multiple couples that have chosen not to get married. Some just like the way things are, and others think getting married conforms to societal norms that they don’t want to be a part of.  For these couples, I make sure to highlight the 1,100+ benefits that come with being married. However, I also encourage them to create their own path. As long as they’re being thoughtful and intentional about their decisions, I say “let’s do that!”

From a technical statement point, it also means I need to understand the pitfalls of not being married. There are some real issues around sharing bank accounts and splitting expenses, especially when one partner earns a lot more than the other. Splitting expenses and giving money to one another can create gift tax liabilities for unmarried partners; it also makes filing income tax returns more complicated.  Estate and insurance planning are also complex—and very necessary—for couples who aren’t wed. We need to make sure they’re able to take care of one another if something unexpected happens. Being married does create some safeguards.

And speaking of bucking the trend, I have a few gender non-conforming clients as well. This produces its own set of challenges when it comes to applying for insurance (most have had to apply with their original birth gender) and even entering them into our tech solutions, which often only offer binary options. One tech provider was forcing a client to pick a gender, when they didn’t want to. So I had to learn how to navigate those sensitive conversations, develop a work around and advocate for more inclusive technology.

  1. We pay a high price to live amongst our peers

Navigating the world as an LGBTQ person can be difficult. It’s easier if you live where there are more people like you. As a result, LGBTQ people tend to live in urban, high-cost areas.  In addition, LGBTQ people are more likely than straight ones to consider themselves spenders.  It’s expensive to live the way many of us want to, and that requires some planning, too.  

As a result, I spend time with my clients going over their cash flow.  We take an inventory of what’s coming in and what’s going out. Additionally, we create spending plans that allow them to establish security and reserves.  We plan for what they want and need now, as well as what they will want and need in the future.

We have to deal with navigating jumbo mortgage loans, spending with intention and facing the anxiety of all of those articles about not having X saved by time your 30, 40 or 50.  Should you really be comparing yourself to other people who don’t have pay 30-40% of their income on housing? Instead of worrying about society around them, we focus on building good habits that contribute to the life that they want to live.

  1. We have to plan to have a family

Several of my LGBTQ clients have children, and I’ve yet to hear any of them say it was unexpected. Usually, they’ve planned for months or years in advance. I’ve become intimately familiar with the different methods of creating a family — adoption, fostering and surrogacy. I’ve also learned a lot about second parent adoption and situations where both spouses can appear on the birth certificate.

Having children is always costly, but often more so for LGBTQ couples. At the low end, fostering costs next to nothing and, at the high, surrogacy can run $100,000 to $200,000. I find digging into the nuances of the adoption credits and the deductibility of certain medical expenses especially fun.

The LGBTQ community often has to choose their family structure, when their biological family may not be the most welcoming. When it comes to planning, I want to make sure that family is protected as well as possible.

  1. Our mindset matters

Lastly, I spend time digging into my clients mindsets, whether it’s analyzing money scripts or getting information on their financial perspective or ability to build wealth. Granted, I think this is important for all clients, but especially for my LGBTQ clients who tend to have more emotional baggage around family and money.

I also like to celebrate those millionaire clients who have against all odds accumulated wealth—that goes double for my LGBTQ clients of color.

In the end, I want my clients to embrace their uniqueness, become confident in what they want to accomplish and be proud of our rich culture and history. We are unique. We need to plan differently. And the more we embrace those differences, the better off we will be. Happy Pride!

12 Tips For Avoiding ‘Single Tax’ When You Don’t Have A Partner

1. If you’re living alone, make sure you have single person council tax discount (25% off).

2. For Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime, etc – can you share accounts with family to split the cost?

3. Holidays – if you can go with friends you can share the hotel costs, if not then shop around for good deals and if you don’t mind slumming it a bit, stretch your budget that way.

4. Food shopping – plan your meals and batch cook/freeze so you waste less and are more economical with time and money.

5. Don’t say yes to plans if you don’t want to – it’ll cost you and you won’t enjoy it. Do what makes you happy.

6. Look for fun and free events to attend if you’re feeling stagnant with your own company.

7. Don’t compare yourself to couples and what they have or are doing – it’s not healthy for your mind or self-worth.

8. Never undersell yourself. Know your worth if you’re job-hunting or seeking promotion or a raise; men aren’t afraid to ask for what they want.

9. Enjoy being single and spending time with others who make you feel good. A night in with a home-cooked meal and movie with the girls can cost you less than a tenner!

–Kiri

Here’s how much money Americans in their 30s have in their 401(k)s

The answer to this is highly personal and depends on your lifestyle, expenses and spending habits, but there are a few basic guidelines to follow if you want to retire comfortably.

Some experts, including co-founder of AE Wealth Management David Bach, say that if you set aside at least 10% of your income, you’ll be fine. More is always better: Bach says that if you want to retire “rich,” save 15-20% and, if you want to retire early, save 20% or more.

Fidelity recommends saving 15%, and that amount includes contributions from your paycheck as well as any contributions from your company.

If you can’t save 15% right away, “make sure that you’re saving at least enough to get the full match that your employer offers,” Katie Taylor, vice president of thought leadership at Fidelity Investments, tells CNBC Make It. Then, “make a commitment to yourself that you’re going to increase your contribution by 1-2% every year until you get there,” she says, adding: “Getting started early at any amount is always a great idea.”

Ultimately, everyone’s scenario is different. If you’re getting a later start on saving, you may have to save more to catch up. In a 2018 report, the Stanford Center on Longevity determined that if you want to retire by age 65, you should be setting aside 10-17% of your income if you start saving as early as age 25. But if you wait until 35 to start, you have to save 15-20%.

To help you figure out the right amount to fund your retirement, try using a retirement calculator.

Financial planner travel agent? BNY Mellon Pershing advisors at Insite conference weigh in

PHOENIX — Could the next trend in mass affluent financial planning be … travel planning?

It’s not so far-fetched. These days, families with $10 million — or even less — are demanding the kinds of services once reserved for clients with $100 million or more, according to Gabe Garcia, head of relationship management for BNYMellon|Pershing’s Advisor Solutions group.

“The values proposition has changed,” said Garcia, who spoke on a panel at the firm’s Insite conference. “What you’re providing has changed. The traditional building blocks of a successful practice may need to be torn down. How does your business evolve and adjust? You need to be thinking about it today.”

Will planners start offering “experience concierge” services as well as financial advice?

Bloomberg News

When a client asked Scott Klososky to help arrange a special family trip, the founding partner of digital strategy firm TriCorps Technologies, after getting over his surprise, made it happen. He then created and filled a position dedicated to client experiences. Klososky recommends advisors make similar concessions to client demands. “The actual management of assets is becoming commoditized,” said Klososky, who appeared with Garcia on a conference panel. “We can’t just say, ‘my firm manages better than your firm.’”

The idea of hiring an “experience concierge,” as Garcia calls it, may seem far-fetched but societal changes are rattling the foundation of wealth management. Having someone on staff who knows the details of a family’s wealth and priorities is a “selling point for new clients,” Klososky said. “We know how much they can afford, we know whether they will fly on a private plane versus first class. Wealth managers will need to figure out how to provide services that are different from just managing money.”

Robos are taking over many investment recommendation duties. Indeed, they run through risk scenarios better and faster than humans, Garcia and Klososky agreed. Machine intelligence easily and inexpensively performs back office tasks, investment monitoring — even client communication. And boomers, who hold 56% of the country’s investable assets, compared with younger investors’ 20%, increasingly tell Pershing advisors they want to invest in experiences rather than waiting for their children to inherit the wealth.

Concierge-type services will also help attract and keep younger clients without millions to invest, said Garcia. It will also help firms diversify. “You have 82 million millennials who are earning income. They have equally complex needs as boomers but don’t have the assets.” Offering more experience-based advice will likely force firms to alter their fee structure. “Those kinds of services are never AUM-based services,” Garcia went on.

Advisors who have shifted away from offering just financial advice have benefited, according to Garcia and Klososky. “Today, we are seeing more experience-led, experience-driven services; more technological collaboration,” said Garcia. “And we are seeing better outcomes.”


Chelsea Emery


For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.


Preparing our youth to manage and invest the money they plan to make

Delta Jones Walker

Graduation season is upon us! Viewing pictures upon videos on social media never gets old. In fact, I joined the online festivities and posted a few pics as we recently celebrated the high school graduation of my son. As he and countless others head off to college, the minds of parents become focused on the monumental price tag attached to that impending degree.

As a long-time financial advisor, my goal is not only to get my children but my clients’ children and anyone else who’s interested to focus on long-term earning power and how to manage/grow the “big dollars” they plan to make after graduation.

According to the National Financial Educators Council CEO Vince Shorb, “College graduates spend 16 years gaining skills that will help them command a higher salary; yet little or no time is spent helping them save, invest and grow their money.”

Breaking the cycle of debt starts in the home. With our children absorbing just about everything we do and say, we have a captive audience and perfect opportunity to instill in them smart money habits. Here are a few pointers for your graduates:

  1. Have a heart to heart money conversation before your child heads off to school.  Discuss the spending budget, but also encourage them to save starting with all of those graduation funds that family and friends sent their way along with well wishes. Challenge your child to use these monies to establish an account that represents the beginning of their financial “empire.” Offer to contribute to the fund as an incentive each time they meet a saving milestone.
  2. Ask your child to write down a few short and long-term financial goals. There’s a saying that goes “Things become more real once you write them down.” Each of you should keep a copy of these goals and periodically connect to check on the progress. Remember, no goal is too lofty! The higher they strive, the more financially aware they will become.
  3. Introduce your child to the stock market. Your graduate is not too young to start investing. In fact, now is the perfect time while they’re still young with a higher risk tolerance. If you are unfamiliar with investing, then make an appointment with a financial advisor for you and your family, so that everyone can get in the game! Start small and pick a few stocks that pique your interest, and make it a fun, competitive activity.

Whether your child is headed to college, the military, trade school or the armed forces, money will always be a common denominator that will be a part of shaping your child’s quality of life. Your guidance in this process may not always be welcomed, but is definitely critical. Just remind them, “Making money is one thing, but making it grow is even better!”

Connect with Delta Jones-Walker and Atled Financial on Facebook, Twitter: @Atled_Financial and LinkedIn! To schedule a free consultation or a presentation to your group or organization, call 219-513-3710 or email djwalker@atledfinancial.com and mention this column. Topic ideas for this column are welcome!

*Securities and advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through Atled Financial Group 717 B Main Street Schererville, IN 46375 which is not affiliated with Woodbury Financial.

Looking to Advertise? Contact the Crusader for more information.

Preparing our youth to manage and invest the money they plan to make

Delta Jones Walker

Graduation season is upon us! Viewing pictures upon videos on social media never gets old. In fact, I joined the online festivities and posted a few pics as we recently celebrated the high school graduation of my son. As he and countless others head off to college, the minds of parents become focused on the monumental price tag attached to that impending degree.

As a long-time financial advisor, my goal is not only to get my children but my clients’ children and anyone else who’s interested to focus on long-term earning power and how to manage/grow the “big dollars” they plan to make after graduation.

According to the National Financial Educators Council CEO Vince Shorb, “College graduates spend 16 years gaining skills that will help them command a higher salary; yet little or no time is spent helping them save, invest and grow their money.”

Breaking the cycle of debt starts in the home. With our children absorbing just about everything we do and say, we have a captive audience and perfect opportunity to instill in them smart money habits. Here are a few pointers for your graduates:

  1. Have a heart to heart money conversation before your child heads off to school.  Discuss the spending budget, but also encourage them to save starting with all of those graduation funds that family and friends sent their way along with well wishes. Challenge your child to use these monies to establish an account that represents the beginning of their financial “empire.” Offer to contribute to the fund as an incentive each time they meet a saving milestone.
  2. Ask your child to write down a few short and long-term financial goals. There’s a saying that goes “Things become more real once you write them down.” Each of you should keep a copy of these goals and periodically connect to check on the progress. Remember, no goal is too lofty! The higher they strive, the more financially aware they will become.
  3. Introduce your child to the stock market. Your graduate is not too young to start investing. In fact, now is the perfect time while they’re still young with a higher risk tolerance. If you are unfamiliar with investing, then make an appointment with a financial advisor for you and your family, so that everyone can get in the game! Start small and pick a few stocks that pique your interest, and make it a fun, competitive activity.

Whether your child is headed to college, the military, trade school or the armed forces, money will always be a common denominator that will be a part of shaping your child’s quality of life. Your guidance in this process may not always be welcomed, but is definitely critical. Just remind them, “Making money is one thing, but making it grow is even better!”

Connect with Delta Jones-Walker and Atled Financial on Facebook, Twitter: @Atled_Financial and LinkedIn! To schedule a free consultation or a presentation to your group or organization, call 219-513-3710 or email djwalker@atledfinancial.com and mention this column. Topic ideas for this column are welcome!

*Securities and advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through Atled Financial Group 717 B Main Street Schererville, IN 46375 which is not affiliated with Woodbury Financial.

Looking to Advertise? Contact the Crusader for more information.

Should you give your kid an allowance? Not if you aren’t willing to do some work.


Creditcards.com released a survey recently that found just 40 percent of parents with children under 18 give them an allowance. (iStock)
Michelle Singletary

When it comes to giving your child an allowance, it’s all about the delivery.

And by that I don’t mean how you get the money to them. There are apps for that. Savings accounts are so yesterday.

No, I’m talking about your plans to deliver a message with the money.

Are you going to just give them funds to do with it as they please? Or, are you fully prepared to use the transaction as a way to teach your child how to be money smart. If it’s the former — money and no lesson — don’t do it. Your child would be better off if you instead added the money to a college fund.

Creditcards.com released a survey recently that found just 40 percent of parents with children under 18 give them an allowance.

I’m not bothered that the overwhelming majority of parents haven’t put their kids on the payroll. You shouldn’t bother giving your child an allowance if you aren’t planning to take the time to discuss what having money means. An allowance alone isn’t the best way to teach your children how to manage money.

Of course, for families living on the financial edge, an allowance is a luxury they can’t afford. But let’s say you’ve got the resources to dole out money to your kid. Should you? Will it work in teaching them to be good stewards of their own resources once they launch?

The answers to those questions depend not on how you transfer the money — via a savings/checking account, prepaid debit card or app — but on the values you deliver.

Your children probably won’t want to be taught. They just want the money and what it can get them. But you need to embrace a higher purpose for the allowance. You should see this free money as a means to an end. And that end is in-home financial literacy lessons.

There should be strings attached. Don’t give an allowance if you aren’t prepared for pushback when you want to talk about taxes, saving, giving to charity, delayed gratification or the difference between a want and a need.

Be thoughtful about the decision because you could do more harm than good. Children with cash and no lessons behind the payout just end up becoming consumers.

Creditcards.com also found that 1 in 4 Americans said their parents didn’t provide them with any financial education.

I asked Ted Rossman, an industry analyst for Creditcards.com, about the findings.

Q: What surprised you about the survey?

Rossman: I was surprised how few American kids receive allowances. I also think it’s notable that 39 percent of allowances are paid in something other than cash. If you choose to give your child an allowance, I like the idea of paying them via a mobile payments service or on a prepaid debit card because it meets them where they are. These digital payment methods are certainly the future, and they’re increasingly the present. I think you’re doing your kids a disservice if you’re only teaching them about money in terms of coins and bills. It’s important to show kids that these payment methods represent real money — not magic money.

Q: Do you think it’s vital that a child get an allowance?

Rossman: I think it’s a personal decision. Speaking for myself, I never got an allowance growing up. I remember my mom saying she didn’t think it was appropriate to pay me just for being her kid. And I was expected to do certain chores simply because I was a member of the household. That said, it’s not wrong to give an allowance — that works for many families. My daughter is only 4 so she’s a little young for an allowance. But when she gets a little older, I’m leaning against an allowance for many of the same reasons my mom cited. I do think it’s very important to teach about needs versus wants, though.

I’m thinking of giving my daughter a set amount of money each week for extras at the grocery store. Of course, my wife and I will buy all the essentials, but for snacks, ice cream, candy, etc., I like the idea of forcing our daughter Ashleigh to make trade-offs. She can compare prices and figure out where she really wants to spend her $5 or $10 junk food budget.

That’s key for me — the trade-off aspect. The same logic applies to toys, video games, clothes, etc. Back-to-school shopping would be another good example. If you have a teenager, consider giving him or her a set amount for new clothes, shoes, a backpack and so on and when the money runs out, it’s out. That’s a great lesson to help kids to comparison shop and decide what’s really important. We joke with my youngest brother that he didn’t become frugal until it was his money, once he was working and renting his own apartment. The Amazon deliveries became a lot less frequent when he was funding them rather than Mom and Dad.

Q: If parents give an allowance, what should come along with the money? What lessons?

Rossman: Many parents like giving allowances because they equate work with money. That’s a valuable life lesson. There’s an app called RoosterMoney that helps guide kids and parents through this process. Maybe their standard $4 weekly allowance requires them to make their bed, set the table and feed the dog. If they want to earn more, they can tackle extras such as shoveling snow in the winter or weeding the front walkway in the summer. That’s a kid-oriented version of what we all experience in the workforce and with side hustles.

I also like prepaid debit cards targeted at young adults. Examples include Greenlight, Current and GoHenry. These come with helpful budgeting tools and training wheels like spending limits and even in some cases which stores are approved/disapproved. These lessons are great for teens who are already getting more independent — perhaps going to the movies without an adult, maybe even driving themselves — and on the cusp of even more independence once they head off to college and/or the workforce. I’d also refer back to the trade-offs discussion above — distinguishing between needs and wants is so critical.

Like Rossman, I never got an allowance. I didn’t need one. My grandmother Big Mama, who raised me, demonstrated how to be a good money manager. I just followed her lead. Although she was a low-paid worker in a hospital, she saved money from every single paycheck. She taught me to despise debt and railed against using credit cards to elevate your lifestyle. She was a giver. She always paid her bills on time.

Whatever you decide to do — allowance/no allowance — just know that children often learn what they live. Financial lessons can be imparted even without putting them on your payroll.

Read more:

No, an allowance does not teach your children how to manage money

How to advocate for financial literacy in your child’s school

Allowances and Teenage Jobs Should Have Strings Attached

Color of Money Question of the Week

Did getting an allowance as a child help you become a better money manager? Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line put “Allowance.”

Live Chat Today

I’m back. Join me live at noon (Eastern time) today. I’ll be taking your personal finance questions.

It’s also “Testimony Thursday.” Share your financial success stories. Have you paid off debt? Do you finally have an emergency fund?

You can join the discussion by clicking this link.

Also, you will notice that to join the chat you will have to sign into your Washington Post account or create one. All the live chats will now have a “registration wall” before you can join a discussion. It is free to create an account. Here’s a FAQ that may address your concerns:

Q: Why do I have to create a Post account to join the live chat?

We value your readership and we want to deepen that tie. Making a free account on washingtonpost.com gives you access to things you can’t get otherwise such as newsletters like this one.

Q: Does the account mean I’ll be charged a subscription to The Post?

No, a subscription is separate from having a Washington Post account. With a Post account, there will still be a monthly paywall but you’ll be able to manage your newsletters and edit preferences for The Post.

Q: Are questions submitted to live chats still anonymous?

Yes, your Washington Post account is not connected to live chat submissions.

Q: I’m having technical issues with the registration wall. Who do I contact to fix that?

If you are having a technical issue signing up for the free account, contact customer service and they can help troubleshoot the issue: https://help.washingtonpost.com

Money worries

Last week I asked: What personal finance issues concern you right now?

Ed Welch, a retiree living in the Philippines, wrote, “My biggest worry is that my state retirement fund might be raided. It is a large portion of our fixed income. If it is reduced for some reason, our plans will deteriorate. We are contributing to our mutual funds to diversify our long-term options. Am I paranoid?”

Nope. Read: State pension plan may miss target for the year

And this: $5.2 Trillion Of Government Pension Debt Threatens To Overwhelm State Budgets, Taxpayers

Lorna Gilkey of Alexandria, Va., wrote, “I am fairly debt-free and am about to turn 50 years old. For the vast majority of my adult years, I was not able to save; single mom, two kids, salaries that were a joke. Until four years ago, I didn’t even have a tiny emergency fund. Now with the kids grown and diligence in financially educating myself, I’m doing better and saving. In January, I finally became eligible to contribute to my firm’s 401(k), but what scares me is that I only have about 10 years to prepare for retirement.”

Even people with substantial retirement savings still worry about having enough.

Read: Is $1 million enough to retire? Why this benchmark is both real and unrealistic.

What worries me is the cost of health care now and especially after I retire,” wrote Scott Fossum from Houston. “The combined cost of insurance, doctors visits, medication and supplies is almost incomprehensible.”

Read: Seniors report spending $22 billion from savings to cover health-care costs

Color of Money Columns This Week

Knowledge isn’t power. The right knowledge is power.

Stay informed about your money.

In addition to this newsletter, please read and share my weekly personal finance columns.

Women can — and should — take charge of their personal finances

Need help preventing hackers from accessing your private data? Follow Jenni Rogers’s advice

Newsletter Comments Policy

Please note it is my personal policy to identify readers who respond to questions I ask in my newsletters. I find it encourages thoughtful and civil conversation. I want my newsletters to be a safe place to express your opinion. On sensitive matters or upon request, I’m happy to include just your first name and/or last initial. But I prefer not to post anonymous comments (I do make exceptions when I’m asking questions that might reveal sensitive information or cause conflict.)

Have a question about your finances? Michelle Singletary has a weekly live chat every Thursday at noon where she discusses financial dilemmas with readers. You can also write to Michelle directly by sending an email to michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested.

To read more Color of Money columns, go here.

If you’re viewing this post online, sign up to automatically receive Michelle Singletary’s newsletters right into your email box: “Your Retirement” on Mondays and “Personal Finance” on Thursdays

Follow Michelle Singletary on Twitter @SingletaryM and Facebook.

Side hustle ideas for people who are already way too busy

So you’re trying to make some extra money on the side, and are looking for side hustle ideas to cash in on the entrepreneur lifestyle. Because everyone’s doing it — hustling to make a few extra bucks, trying out a couple of side gigs or work from home jobs here and there.

But if you’re already working a regular 9-to-5, aren’t you already way too busy?


Follow Ladders on Flipboard!

Follow Ladders’ magazines on Flipboard covering Happiness, Productivity, Job Satisfaction, Neuroscience, and more!


How do you find the time to do all of this hustling … and still enjoy living your life?

It’s true that a lot of side hustles focus solely on the “hustle” part. For example, you’ll find suggestions all over the internet about becoming a driver for Uber or Lyft ridesharing, and Amazon Flex or Prime Now delivery services. GrubHub and DoorDash are popular services for restaurant delivery.

But what if you don’t have the time or bandwidth to do all of that physical hustling? What if you already work a full-time job, therefore only have a few hours a week to dedicate to side gigs?

Why Some Side Hustle Ideas Just Don’t Work

Additionally, there are some people who may not have the flexibility or convenience of doing extra work outside of the home.

There could be many different reasons for this, such as:

  • Not having reliable transportation
  • Caring for children or older family members
  • A physical or emotional disability keeping them at home
  • Unpredictable or longer hours during their full-time job
  • No familial support for working an additional job

I’d like to play devil’s advocate to the high-powered motivational gurus who say things like “Your Only Limit is Yourself” and “If You Really Want it Badly Enough, You’ll Find a Way to Do It“.

I call total BS on that sentiment.

Because many people are over-stressed, overworked, undervalued, and underpaid.

When you’re already teetering on the edge of financial chaos, you will grasp at whatever lifeline you feel you’re capable of grabbing a hold of.

And it’s totally unhelpful for a self-proclaimed money expert to declare you’re just not working hard enough.

Seriously??

The Anti-Social Media Influencer

In addition, I’d like to throw something a little bit controversial out there. Some people (not naming any names) just don’t like … other people.

There, I said it.

Because there are those of us who just really value our “alone time”. So working 40+ hours a week for someone else, and then having to dedicate another 10-15 hours for an external side hustle — will not last very long.

You can only force yourself into uncomfortable situations for so long before you finally throw your arms up in the air and yell “Screw it!”. (or another similar phrase).

Human interaction overload can send some anti-social butterflies into an anxious tailspin.

Like, if you need me, I’ll be locked away in my bedroom for the next two days, recovering from all the “people”-ing I’ve had to do lately. Just leave a pizza and a few bottles of water by the door. And maybe a pint of Ben Jerry’s. As long as I have my phone, my laptop, and my dogs — I’ll be pretty self-sufficient. Okay, and maybe my Kindle. That’s all I’ll really need. But don’t worry about me, because I just need to recharge for a while. Build up that outer shell of protection that’s chipped away after too many back-to-back in-person events.

The Introvert Advantage of an Online Side Hustle

If you happen to be a people person, then much of the above probably did not make a whole lot of sense.

But if you found this article because you’re looking for ways to make money online — without a lot of human interaction — then there’s a good chance you know what I’m talking about.

Because there definitely are ways to make extra money on the side, on your own terms, on a part-time basis.

And it is absolutely possible to work from home, at your own pace and on your own schedule, without having to leave the house whatsoever.

Now, don’t get me wrong — it most likely will not make you rich.

Let’s just say that again —

It is highly unlikely that you will become rich off of a part-time, online, side hustle.

Others may tell you differently. Most likely, they are trying to sell you something. But I don’t want your money.

I mean, I could definitely use some money, but it’s not yours that I’m after.

What I’d really love is for you to read my articles, and pass them along to your friends.

But I’m not selling anything. I don’t have a course, or an ebook, or online coaching sessions.

I’m sharing this information to get it out there to the people who have one (or two, or three) too many bills.

Or are strapped for cash due to an unexpected expense. Or maybe went a little too crazy this past holiday season, and are still trying to dig out from under their credit cards.

I’ve been there, you’ve been there, we’ve all been there. And if you haven’t … then you’re probably a Kardashian or something.

Side Gigs That Require a Lot of Hustle, with Little Gain

When so many online articles offer “99 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money on the Side” or “Top 25 Side Hustle Ideas to Make You Rich”, it can be utterly discouraging to find side hustle ideas that can actually work for you.

Because so many suggest ideas such as tag sale/flea market flipping, selling handcrafted products on eBay or Etsy, or selling wholesale on Amazon FBA, where you have to package and mail these items out.

Flipping rental properties, renting out your vehicle, house sitting/pet sitting, house cleaning (when our own houses may have dust bunnies that should be paying rent by now). Again, these are all notably profitable side hustle ideas. But they also require a fair amount of time, physical activity, and effort.

Side Hustle Ideas That You Can Do from Home

Okay, so if you’ve made it this far and you’re still with me, then I can only assume you’d like to hear more.

We’ve established the difference between in-home, online side hustles and external, physically busting-your-butt side hustles. Neither concept is right or wrong, it’s really just a matter of preference.

And I prefer the flexibility of working at home, according to my own schedule. Especially since my day job is also from home. If your regular 9-to-5 has you out and about, then your preference may be different.

For example, I have a friend who does amazingly well with a mystery shopping side hustle. So well, in fact, that she is currently writing a book about it. She travels around the state quite a bit, and is able to cash in by scheduling several shops back to back. That’s a perfect way to maximize efficiencies, and get the best bang for your buck (+ better gas mileage).

But if you have a situation that’s better suited for working from home, then read on for some different side hustle ideas.

Working Entirely from Home

The following side hustles can be done entirely from home, according to your schedule. While there is a certain level of effort involved — you can basically make your own hours. Plus you can do as much or as little as you’d like.

First let’s start with an obvious one, to get it out of the way —

Online Surveys

Who hasn’t tried online surveys? I think out of all the side hustle ideas out there, “taking surveys” takes the cake in terms of getting a bad rap. Online surveys have gotten some negative press over the years, simply because they’re the absolute easiest way to make a little bit of money. Emphasis on “little bit”. But … it’s still money.

Because all you have to do is provide your opinion. Something each and every one of us has. The hard part is finding a company that will pay you top dollar for the least amount of your time. And for my money, I’ll take my chances with Survey Savvy every time. Why? Because out of all the companies I’ve tried, Survey Savvy has consistently sent me the most surveys in the $1, $2, and $5 price range.

Most other companies will either give you pennies, or award points you need to accumulate convert into a few dollars. Additionally, joining the Survey Savvy team will allow even more money-making opportunities. For example, their Cash for Junk Mail program, and also various online research communities.

IntelliZoom Panel

IntelliZoom is kind of a cross between online survey and website user testing. You’re assigned a task, which usually involves evaluating a website. All steps of the task are recorded with either screen recording software, webcam video, or both. You walk through all of the task steps, answering questions and explaining your thought process. They really want you to “Think Out Loud”, to understand the average customer mindset. And the reason I’m specifically including this company here is because the payout is $10 per study. With other online survey or web testing sites, you mightbe lucky enough to stumble across a $10 study. But it definitely isn’t something offered on a consistent basis.

Kindle Self-Publishing

Are you more of a creative type? If you love to write stories, you should consider self-publishing on Amazon. You might think getting a book published would be a complicated process, but it really isn’t.

Using the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, they take care of all of the technical details. You upload your completed document, add a cover image and description, and Amazon takes care of the rest. Many people make a great side income by writing short stories. And the beauty of this is — once you have your book listed on Amazon, it will stay there for years to come, earning income with no additional work on your end.

eJury Member

If you watch prime time television, you may have seen the popular CBS show “Bull”, starring Michael Weatherly. It’s a courtroom drama about a trial-consulting firm that assembles mock juries to help predict potential trial outcomes. Sound interesting? Well, you can have the opportunity to do the same thing, entirely online.

eJury.com brings together online juries and focus groups to help attorneys develop their case strategies, based on valuable data and information that YOU provide. You can sign up to be an eJuror right on the website, and will be contacted once a qualifying case becomes available. A typical case consists of a written description — facts, diagrams, pictures, and questions. The average case study takes 35 minutes, and you are paid $5 – $10 per case, depending on length.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing, if done correctly, is pretty much a “set it and forget it”. A certain amount of work is required up front, and then after that will be totally passive income. So what exactly is affiliate marketing? It’s basically when you vouch for a product or service, recommending it to others. And then that company offers you a reward for bringing in new customers. It could be a certain dollar amount, a free product, or a free service, depending on what the company sells. And it’s something everyone can do, even if you don’t have a blog or professional online presence.

I’m sure you’ve heard of cash back or refund programs like Ebates (aka Rakuten), where you get money back from making purchases online. But did you know you can also make money as an Ebates affiliate? You sign up through their affiliate program, and are given your own personal affiliate link. Then you promote your link on social media, or by email to family and friends, and yes, even on your blog, if you have one.

And for every person who signs up through your link with a qualifying sale, you will earn $25. That’s huge!

And it’s also why sooo many people promote Ebates online. It’s a heck of a lot easier to earn $25 referrals, than to actually earn $25 cash back after making online purchases.

Fun fact: Ebates has been officially renamed/rebranded to “Rakuten“, which means “optimism” in Japanese.

Selling Photos Stock Footage

If you were to look at your phone right now, how many photos do you think would be on there? I just looked at mine, and I have 668 photos, plus 104 videos. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could somehow make money on a few of these photos? I don’t mean by selling out your bestie, or posting a bunch of selfies online. But if you have high-quality photos (in focus, non-blurry) of outdoor scenes, foliage, nature, animals, flowers, sunsets — you name it — you can make money by selling them online.

Websites like Shutterstock, Pond5, iStock/Getty images, and Fotolia will pay you for your still pictures or stock footage (short video clips). Each company has its specific guidelines. But in general, they look for quality photos that are generic and seasonal, which others can then purchase for commercial or personal use through their website. Also, if there are people in your pics or footage, then a model release form also needs to be completed.

Merch by Amazon

One of the quickest and easiest ways to sell a physical product online is through Print on Demand. This means you provide a design, and the POD company takes care of printing, shipping, and customer support. Merch by Amazon is the platform I recommend for getting started with POD, since it’s user friendly and extremely popular. I mean, everybody has shopped on Amazon one or two times, right?

This article first appeared on Money Mix.


You might also enjoy…

  • New neuroscience reveals 4 rituals that will make you happy
  • Strangers know your social class in the first seven words you say, study finds
  • 10 lessons from Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule that will double your productivity
  • The worst mistakes you can make in an interview, according to 12 CEOs
  • 10 habits of mentally strong people

Advisor Group Adds Financial Planning Tools to eQuipt Platform

Advisor Group has added new financial planning capabilities to its eQuipt platform for advisors affiliated with its four broker-dealers, the firm announced during its yearly wealth management symposium.

The offering, eQuipt for Financial Planning, enables the delivery of financial plans and offer consulting services to clients across one-time, periodic or ongoing client engagement strategies.

The eQuipt digital client onboarding and account management platform was launched in November. It brings together different systems, including those of its clearing partners, advisory platforms, CRM and account resources.

Features like multiple payment options and digitally enabled new-client onboarding are expected to drive growth for Advisor Group. Leveraging eQuipt FP, financial professionals can leverage a wider range of clients, including those with needs like estate and divorce planning or debt management.

Additionally, eQuipt FP includes a payment platform powered by Stripe, a third-party payment processor, along with integrated compliance tools like check log, plan storage, contracting, and disclosure delivery.

“The world is changing, and the ways in which financial advice is delivered are constantly improving,” Matthew Schlueter, Advisor Group’s president of Wealth Management Solutions, said in a statement. “As technology evolves, we are investing in wealth management tools and platforms to support the growth and success of our advisors. In rolling out eQuipt for Financial Planning, we re-examined the client life cycle, incorporating advisor feedback, and reimagined the experience to dramatically improve the end-to-end process for both clients and advisors.”

— Check out Advisor Group Rolls Out Digital Onboarding System on ThinkAdvisor.

Medscape Endocrinologist Wealth and Debt Report 2019

In order to use Medscape, your browser must be set to accept cookies delivered by the Medscape site.

Medscape uses cookies to customize the site based on the information we collect at registration. The cookies contain no personally identifiable information and have no effect once you leave the Medscape site.

Millennial Money: What couples gain by merging finances

As a millennial couple, you and your partner might not be planning to blend finances even if you’ve been together for a while.

Venmo is convenient, after all; the peer-to-peer money transfer app makes it easy to split costs like rent and utilities. Or perhaps you’ve each agreed to pay specific bills while keeping separate bank accounts.

In a Bank of America report released last year, 28% of couples between the ages of 23 and 37 surveyed said they kept their finances separate. That compared with 11% of couples ages 38-52 and 13% of couples 53-71.

There’s no “right” way to manage finances, but there are benefits to mixing love and money. Here are tips from millennial couples who make it work.

FIRST, SET EXPECTATIONS

When Juli Olson and her boyfriend, Travis McClelland, both 31, moved in together in Houston, their finances remained separate. Olson says she had a frugal upbringing, and mismatched expectations led to arguments. “He may think spending this much money on going out to eat is OK, but it didn’t feel good for me,” she says.

Eventually, the couple created a shared budget and goals. They compromised, spending on necessities as well as amusement. “He’s introduced more fun into my life for sure,” she says.

When you’re ready to talk with your partner, be honest about your attitudes toward money and agree on expectations. How much is reasonable to spend on things like eating out or groceries? Will you both save for a shared goal, like a vacation or car? Using the 50/30/20 budget gives you a good place to start. It divides spending into needs, wants and savings.

JOINT ACCOUNTS SAVE TIME, HASSLE

A joint account is not just for convenience. Suppose you have separate accounts and you don’t know or remember your partner’s login information. If an emergency arises — your partner is hospitalized, for example — getting access to pay a bill takes effort, says Christine Centeno, 36, a certified financial planner at Simplicity Wealth Management near Richmond, Virginia.

“Even if you are married, you have to jump through a couple of hoops to get access to the funds,” she says. If you don’t have a joint account, she advises adding your partner as the beneficiary on your checking account.

Centeno, like many millennials, uses an online-only bank. She says it was easy to add her husband, Osmin, 37, to her account; the bank mailed her paperwork to sign.

Opening a joint account doesn’t imply you have to close yours or give up control, Centeno says. To prevent fights, agree on an amount you each can spend on wants, no questions asked.

50-50 IS NOT ALWAYS FAIR

Splitting things equally may not be fair when one partner makes a lot more than the other. Consider a proportional split instead, Centeno says.

Calculate your total household income before expenses, and what share of the total comes from each income. Use that as a guideline — you pay 60% of expenses while your partner pays 40%, for example.

This also helps each person put money away for retirement or general savings, Centeno says. That’s crucial if you split up or your partner dies.

Ashley Patrick, 34, and her husband Tyler, 35, took less than two years to pay off more than $47,000 in student loans, a tax bill and a car. The Charlotte, North Carolina, couple used a mix of budgeting, taking on extra work and selling things.

Ashley, who blogs at BudgetsMadeEasy.com, uses her husband’s bigger paycheck — which arrives a week before hers — to pay larger bills, and her own paycheck to cover smaller bills the following week.

“It’s something after a couple years I figured out, after paying late fees and missing payments,” she says.

SET UP REGULAR CHECK-INS

Olson and McClelland have a weekly budget check-in, using an app called Honeyfi. While paying off debt, the Patricks tracked their progress every Friday on a spreadsheet.

Millennials aren’t shy when it comes to talking about money; 97% of couples ages 18-34 said they discuss finances at least once a month, compared with the average 88% for all age groups, according to a 2018 survey of more than 1,700 U.S. adults by TD Bank.

“For a lot of couples, it’s easy to fall into the trap of only talking about money when something stressful happens,” says Sam Schultz, co-founder of Honeyfi . “Try to get into the habit of checking in about money even when stuff’s not bad.”

——————————————————————————————————————

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Amrita Jayakumar is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: ajayakumar@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ajbombay.

RELATED LINK:

NerdWallet: Budgeting 101: How to create a budget http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-budgeting-101