Tips On How to Celebrate at Any Age

Americans, young and old, continue to spend more and save less. In an effort to help break the cycle of growing debt, Stowers Innovations, Inc. announces the first annual Achieve Financial Independence Week(TM) this October 10-16.

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Based on the philosophies and strategies of James E. Stowers, one of the country's top money managers, and founder and chairman of the board of American Century Investments, Achieve Financial Independence Week is designed to:

  • Raise awareness of the pitfalls of spending, the dangers of debt and the diminishing value of the dollar
  • Equip Americans of all ages with the tools and knowledge to realize their own financial goals
  • Provide specific and actionable ideas on how to achieve financial independence

Mr. Stowers offers the following tips for kids, parents, grandparents and newlyweds on how to celebrate Achieve Financial Independence Week this year. The tips are based on the strategies and philosophies found in the Stowers Innovations' "Yes, You Can..." book series: "Yes, You Can... Achieve Financial Independence", "Yes, You Can... Raise Financially Aware Kids" and "Yes, You Can... Afford to Raise a Family".

For Kids & Parents

  • Explain to your children how money works -- Children as young as three can grasp the concept of money. Teach them where money goes, how to write a check and how to use an ATM. Make sure to explain that money must be in your account to cover the transactions.
  • Hold quarterly family planning summits -- Involve children in discussions on the family budget. Explain to them the difference between "wants" and "needs" and how this affects the items the family can afford to buy.
  • Teach your college-age children about credit -- If you allow your child to have a credit card, consider arranging for the card to be linked to a bank account, or set up a card where you are the primary account holder.
  • Keep talking about money -- For too many families, finances are a taboo subject. If you don't teach them about money, who will?
  • Review your life insurance coverage -- Carefully consider the type and amount of life insurance to buy. Pure Permanent Annual Renewable Term Life Insurance can be one of the least expensive ways to ensure financial stability for children.

For Newlyweds

  • Maintain a good credit history -- Unlike so many other things that combine after marriage, your credit reports will stay separate. Keep a good report by paying bills on time, opening a revolving account like a bankcard or store card, and only canceling credit cards when necessary.
  • Go on finance dates -- Set up a date with your partner to discuss how finances will work in the marriage. Go over how you will each contribute to household expenses, who will pay the bills and how you plan to pay off debt.
  • Be smart about debt -- Because student loans are classified as "good debt" and are tax-deductible, there is no need to make paying them off a priority. Pay off high-interest credit card bills first.
  • Be careful when eating out -- Instead of going out to eat, stay home and invite friends over for a potluck. When you do choose to splurge, split a meal at the restaurant.
  • Cut the cord -- Consider canceling your cable television. Depending on the package you subscribe to, cutting out cable can save hundreds of dollars a year.
  • Re-discover peanut butter and jelly -- Save $10 a day by bringing your lunch to work instead of eating out.
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For Grandparents

  • Be realistic -- Many people don't realize that retirement is the most expensive purchase they'll ever make. Realize you are looking at replacing 70 to 90 percent of your pre-retirement income.
  • Save your retirement money -- Once you do retire, don't spend your retirement money first. This money isn't taxed until it is taken out of your retirement fund. By using non-retirement money you can continue to defer taxes as long as possible.
  • Delay cashing in on Social Security -- The longer you wait to start taking Social Security, the higher your benefits will be.
  • Keep rolling -- If you change jobs, nine times out of 10 it makes sense to roll current retirement assets into an IRA rollover account.
  • Plan your estate now -- Make sure your loved ones won't be burdened with your finances if you become incapable of making your own decisions. Talk to family members now about how you want your affairs handled.
  • Downsize your home -- Move to a smaller and less-expensive home and invest the money you save into your retirement funds.
  • Try something new -- Start a new career or scale down to a part-time job. By trying a new career, even part time, you can have a continued income.

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