America Saves Week is here!

America Saves Week is a national effort to set a savings goal, make a savings plan, and save automatically. Join millions of others who are taking time this week to start or grow their savings.

It all starts when you make a commitment to yourself to save. Let America Saves help! Take the first step today and take the America Saves pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. America Saves will keep you motivated with information, tips, and reminders to help you reach your savings goal. Think of them as your own personal support system.

If you only do one thing during America Saves Week 2017, complete this simple assessment to see if you are saving adequately.

Learn more: 5 Opportunities for Automatic Savings

Don’t forget the kids! Children learn from watching you earn, shop, save, and borrow – you’re the top influence on their financial lives. And you don’t need to be a money expert to help them start out strong. Click here for resources for parents and caregivers.


In the News

Avoid These Red Flags That Can Trigger a Tax Audit

Whether you’re a higher earner or someone in a lower tax bracket, you can take these steps to reduce your chances of getting on the IRS radar. READ MORE

81% Of Americans Don’t Know How Much They Need to Retire

So, you have no idea how much you should save for retirement? Join the club. One of the biggest unknowns is determining how long you will live. Among the 4,854 people questioned in the survey in August, the average person said they expected to live until age 90. READ MORE

Here’s How Much Money You Should Have Saved At Every Age

When it comes to savings, Americans are falling short. Nearly 70% of adults have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts. Retirement funds are looking equally bleak. In fact, about half of US families have zero retirement account savings. READ MORE

Make Your Money Last as Long as You Do

How long should you plan to live? No one can really know, of course. But the answer to that question may be the most critical factor in making a successful financial plan for retirement. READ MORE

“The ancestor of every action is a thought.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ginger Sesame Salmon

An easy way to serve this Asian-inspired entree.
Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 thin onion slices, separated in rings
4 medium carrots, shredded or julienned
4 fresh salmon filets (4 to 6 ounces each)
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Fennel
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450° or prep grill to medium-high heat.
Cut 4 pieces of non-stick aluminum foil, large enough to wrap each piece of fish.
Place 1/4 of onions and carrots into the center of each piece of aluminum foil.
Top each onion and carrot pile with a salmon filet.
Sprinkle ginger on salmon filets.
Drizzle sesame oil and rice vinegar on each filet.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bring up ends of one foil square.
Seal packet by double-folding ends and top, leaving space inside for heat to circulate.
Repeat foil prep for all packets.
Garnish with a pinch of fennel.

If cooking in oven:
Place 4 packets on baking sheet.
Bake for 16 to 20 minutes.

If cooking on grill:
Place packets directly on heated grill and close lid.
Grill for 14 to 18 minutes.

Know These Helpful Facts About Capital Gains and Losses

The IRS requires taxpayers to claim gains and losses they have on any capital assets they own when filing their personal taxes. How much you pay in taxes and whether or not you can deduct items depends on your unique financial details. Here are some details to keep in mind as you file your taxes this year.

  • What are capital assets?
    You hold capital assets when you buy both physical and investment properties. Physical property includes items like a home or car. Investment property includes assets such as stocks and bonds.
  • What are gains and losses?
    Whenever you sell a capital asset that you own, you will have either a gain (profit) or loss (deficit). You calculate your gain or loss by determining the difference between the basis (typically what you paid for the capital asset) and what you received after the sale.

Details to Consider

  • Net Investment Income Tax:
    When filing your taxes, your income must include all capital gains. Depending on how much income you made, you may have to pay the 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax on your capital gains. https://www.irs.gov/individuals/net-investment-income-tax
  • Deductible Losses:
    Taxpayers are able to deduct any financial losses on their investment properties. However, any physical properties you own for personal use do not count toward your deductible losses.
  • Carryover Losses:
    You may be able to carry over your total net capital losses if this amount is more than the amount you’re allowed to deduct.

Tip courtesy of IRS.gov

New to Golf? Avoid These Mistakes

As a new golfer, you have many tricks of the trade to learn as you perfect your game. However, if you want to advance more quickly, start by avoiding these three mistakes:

1. Not using properly fitted clubs

New golfers often use clubs that don’t fit their current abilities and playing style. Just because you find a set for sale or purchase the top brand on the market doesn’t mean they’re the right clubs for you. If you keep having problems with your swing, you may be using improperly fitted clubs. As a beginner, you want a good balance of forgiveness in your clubs mixed with control. As you start to improve, you’ll want to make sure you upgrade your clubs to reflect your new skill level.

2. Neglecting your club’s grooves

You know those times when you know you nailed your shot with the perfect stroke and backspin – and then it just falls flat without any spin? Many factors can cause this to happen, including the ball, club, or technique. On the other hand, your club’s grooves could be to blame. They need to be neat and clean to support the shot, especially if you’re using lofted clubs. Start a habit of checking and cleaning your grooves after every shot and before every game. If you keep them clean and still see your performance and spin falling, you probably need a shop to re-groove your clubs.

3. Overemphasizing distance and power

These days, golfers often focus on distance over finesse and accuracy. And manufacturers design clubs to hit monster distances. As a result, new players often hit the ball too hard, thinking that if they swing hard enough, the ball will travel faster. What really happens, however, is you lose balance, tempo, and rhythm in your swing – and you might miss the ball’s center. You are also more likely to close your eyes, damaging your concentration and accuracy. Instead of focusing on speed, put your efforts into having a consistent swing that hits the ball’s center. Only after mastering your swing should you think about trying to pick up the speed.

Tip courtesy of Golf Digest

Tips to Help You Improve Your Metabolism

Having a strong metabolic rate is important for staying healthy. How efficiently your body burns calories will drive many health factors, such as how easily you stay trim. While aspects of our metabolisms are genetic, you can still take steps to boost yours. To optimize your health and improve your metabolism, follow these tips.

Build Muscle
Your body is always burning calories, even when resting. On average, you will burn roughly six calories each day for every pound of muscle; meanwhile, you burn only two calories daily for each pound of fat. When you have stronger muscles, you increase your resting metabolic rate.

Drink More Water
You need water to burn calories. And drinking more water can help you burn more calories. In fact, when you are dehydrated, your metabolic rate may even decrease. To ramp up your metabolism, increase the amount of water you drink throughout the day, especially before meals. Also, make sure to swap chips and salty snacks for fruits and vegetables, which naturally contain water.

Eat Spicy Food
Hot foods, such as green chili peppers, naturally boost your metabolism with natural chemical properties. While the effect may be temporary if you sporadically eat spicy food, with prolonged, consistent consumption, you may see these benefits add up. To incorporate more spice into your diet, you can easily add fresh chili peppers or red pepper flakes to dishes like soups and pasta.

Tip courtesy of WebMD

Buy the Right Filter for Your Local Drinking Water

Removing chemicals from drinking water is important to many people as they move toward greener, healthier living. Even though the Safe Drinking Water Act has protected our water since 1974, this law does not guarantee that all water currently meets health-safety guidelines. Here are some tips for how to check what’s in your water so you can match which filter will best serve your needs.

Know what’s in your drinking water

Read your city’s annual water-quality report. Each year, your local water supplier will publish a consumer confidence report about the quality of your drinking water. You may also be able to find your locale’s report on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website: https://www.epa.gov/ccr

Explore “What’s In Your Water” online tool. The Environmental Working Group has an online tool available to the public. You can access previous reports on your local drinking water, which includes a breakdown of various toxins and their levels. http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/whats-in-yourwater.php

Understand different water filters

  • Carbon filters: These remove a number of impurities, including lead, PCBs, certain parasites, pesticides and herbicides, some levels of bacteria (such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia), and limited pharmaceuticals.
  • Reverse-osmosis systems: These remove chemicals that carbon filters may allow through, such as perchlorate, sulfates, industrial chemicals, heavy metals, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Ultraviolet light: These remove bacteria, and experts suggest you pair them with carbon filters.

Tip courtesy of National Geographic