NYC Wife Shocked by Husband’s 401(k) Balance

I recently ran across an article about the couple below that left me completely irritated about millennial marriages and marriages in general when it comes to financial communication.

business-insider-article

The highly attractive couple shown here were recently featured in Business Insider via Yahoo Finance.  In the feature, the wife recounted the time she realized that her husband saves a much higher percentage of his individual income than she does her individual income—three times higher to be exact.

After coming to this realization, she finally gets her bearings and decides that she will up her 2 percent retirement contributions to 8 percent with the eventual hope of reaching the 12 percent milestone that her husband is currently at.

This may seem like the end of the story and a happy ending, but I can’t help but wonder why her husband was so oblivious to this massive miscommunication problem as it relates to their long-term financial future.

Other than purchasing a house (the reason for his wife’s great discovery happened), the husband in this relationship has done nothing to truly unite himself with his wife.  He’s done nothing to visibly prepare his marriage to last the long haul, at least in terms of finances.

Given that the number one reason for divorce in North America today is money fights and money problems, I hope this couple really improves their financial communication.  As a fellow millennial, I want their marriage to thrive financially.  Not just for the wealth, but for the dreams.

As a world-famous John Maxwell says, “Teamwork makes the dream work!”

Follow Ben on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

Potential Retirement Nest Egg for a Median Household in Each Alabama County by Age 67

The following chart shows what a current median-age, median-income household in each Alabama county will have saved for retirement by age 67.  The most recent median age data was collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, and the most recent median household income (HHI) was collected from the Alabama Center for Business and Economic Research.  Annualized rate of return of investing is set at 9 percent inside a tax-free growth Roth IRA, Roth 401(k), or Roth 403(b).  The savings rate per year is set at 15 percent of median household income.  The assumption is that each median household starts with zero saved in retirement, and that each median household never gets an annual pay raise.

County County Seat Median HHI Median Age Retirement Value at 67
Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa $46,892 32.4 $1,594,896
Lee Opelika $41,256 31.0 $1,592,745
Shelby Columbiana $69,432 38.6 $1,331,831
Pike Troy $31,844 31.5 $1,175,095
Madison Huntsville $58,833 38.4 $1,150,001
Autauga Prattville $54,366 38.3 $1,072,737
Montgomery Montgomery $43,054 35.8 $1,072,574
Elmore Wetumpka $54,298 38.4 $1,061,356
Russell Phenix City $35,585 34.9 $963,211
Jefferson Birmingham $44,852 37.6 $945,107
Mobile Mobile $42,943 37.3 $930,623
Limestone Athens $51,175 39.3 $918,721
Dale Ozark $41,940 37.4 $900,434
St. Clair Ashville $50,571 39.9 $857,498
Coffee Elba $46,931 39.2 $850,561
Chilton Clanton $41,450 38.9 $772,872
Morgan Decatur $45,082 40.2 $742,825
Calhoun Anniston $41,123 39.4 $731,286
Houston Dothan $40,124 39.3 $720,328
Blount Oneonta $45,567 40.9 $702,017
Bibb Centreville $39,546 39.6 $689,998
DeKalb Fort Payne $36,241 39.0 $669,382
Franklin Russellville $33,881 38.4 $662,267
Marshall Guntersville $36,536 39.2 $662,165
Baldwin Bay Minette $49,626 42.6 $648,075
Escambia Brewton $37,077 39.8 $634,714
Talladega Talladega $39,999 40.9 $616,235
Cullman Cullman $39,922 40.9 $615,049
Lauderdale Florence $41,324 41.3 $612,532
Macon Tuskegee $28,518 37.6 $600,922
Barbour Clayton $34,971 39.8 $598,662
Etowah Gadsden $39,904 41.5 $580,138
Colbert Tuscumbia $43,057 42.3 $579,064
Washington Chatom $41,321 41.9 $577,840
Cleburne Heflin $40,418 41.9 $565,213
Perry Marion $27,403 37.9 $561,419
Sumter Livingston $25,413 37.2 $555,895
Lawrence Moulton $41,574 42.5 $548,275
Butler Butler $32,512 40.5 $520,527
Hale Greensboro $33,315 40.8 $518,225
Dallas Selma $26,602 38.5 $515,109
Clarke Grove Hill $36,620 41.9 $512,101
Walker Jasper $37,245 42.3 $500,900
Crenshaw Luverne $34,445 41.5 $500,773
Marengo Linden $32,977 41.3 $488,807
Bullock Union Springs $26,580 39.5 $468,199
Monroe Monroeville $34,733 42.3 $467,117
Pickens Carrollton $31,933 41.5 $464,253
Lowndes Hayneville $30,675 41.2 $459,103
Jackson Scottsboro $36,923 43.1 $459,020
Randolph Wedowee $36,939 43.3 $450,225
Chambers LaFayette $34,116 42.5 $449,920
Covington Andalusia $36,149 43.1 $449,398
Henry Abbeville $39,930 44.2 $444,947
Marion Hamilton $37,707 43.9 $432,974
Geneva Geneva $34,425 43.1 $427,965
Fayette Fayette $35,664 43.5 $426,150
Clay Ashland $35,940 43.7 $420,994
Tallapoosa Dadeville $36,779 44.2 $409,835
Wilcox Camden $24,035 40.4 $388,516
Lamar Vernon $34,553 44.4 $377,378
Winston Double Springs $35,528 44.7 $376,476
Cherokee Centre $38,013 45.9 $356,450
Choctaw Butler $35,049 45.3 $349,476
Greene Eutaw $26,504 42.7 $342,737
Conecuh Evergreen $29,101 44.2 $324,277
Coosa Rockford $34,679 46.8 $296,217

Follow Ben on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

Retirement US News

Share Retirement Dreams for Chance to Win Free Book

Let’s dream a little bit.  Most people think more about their next vacation than they ever think about retirement.  But I believe that’s mostly because people get sidetracked by the numbers and forget the dreams.

So leave a comment and share what your retirement dreams are.  For your participation, one lucky commenter will win a free copy of the #1 New York Times Bestselling book, Retired Inspired.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

Retire Inspired Giveaway

Why Fear is Not a Reason to Vote

If you haven’t been paying attention for the past few months, then you’ve missed the selections of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as major party nominees for this year’s Presidential Election.  With those selections have come anxiety, worry, and any other emotions associated with fear.

But why fear? Why is fear the most prevalent emotion presently?  Let’s allow nationally-recognized pastor, Max Lucado, introduce this bewilderment a little more deeply.

There’s an angst in the country, and I think there’s a fear.  I think there’s a fear of we don’t know what’s next.  And I’ve tried, maybe you can help me, I’ve tried to put my finger on the root of this fear.  – Max Lucado

Lucado goes on to say he believes this fear comes from a disconnect with God and a disconnect with fellow man.

I tend to agree with him as Romans 8:15 says, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”

So if you’re a Christian reading this, I plead with you to stop being fearful.  If you knew how much weight has truly been lifted from you, then you would not sweat something as trivial as politics.  However, based on some of the anger that I am seeing displayed, it’s fairly evident that you are in a deep panic.

If you’re anyone else reading this, I plead with you to stop being fearful as well.  Fear just isn’t going to solve your problems.  Fear almost always causes poor decision-making.  And likewise, it’s a terrible reason to vote.

In fact, neuroscience research from a few years ago suggests the following remedy when gripped with fear: neutralize the situation.

This means not being a fearmonger.  It means avoiding people who are overly pessimistic about the economy. It means tuning out media that fan emotional flames.  Unless you are a day-trader, it means closing the web page with the market ticker.  It does mean being prepared, but not being a hypervigilant, everyone-in-the-bunker type.

I don’t know about you, but I hate fear.  It robs me of friendships—new and old.  It robs me of critical-thinking skills.  And it robs me of joy.  Like any thief, I want it out of my life.  It’s my hope that you will eventually want fear out of your life too.

In relation to the current election, kick fear to the curb before you hit the voting booths.  If we keep fear around, it will build up strength and make us believe we have fewer choices than we actually have.

So be courageous.  No vote submitted from a position of courage is ever a wasted vote.  Not yesterday. Not now.  Not ever.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

Trump Clinton

Tuscaloosa: A Rally for Peace and Unity in our City

A dear friend of mine, Pastor Fred Schuckert, has diligently and humbly met with several leaders around our city in order to promote peace and unity.  Here is his call to action that he asked people to share:

I met this morning with Schmidt Moore and a handful of other pastors concerning the rising racial tensions related to the deaths of young black men by police officers in various cities and also the senseless killing of policemen in Dallas.  We talked with our mayor and police chief about having a prayer gathering for peace and unity in our city.  They were in favor of this, including the mayor and police chief of Northport.

At 7:00 this Sunday evening, July 10, at Government Plaza downtown, we will be having a “rally for Peace and Unity in our City.”  If it rains, we will meet at Bethel Baptist Church located at 3003 25th St, Tuscaloosa, AL ·

We are inviting the whole church in our city to participate.  Please share this with other Christians you have contact with in the greater Tuscaloosa area.

We are very fortunate to have outstanding governmental officials and law enforcement in our city and county. We want to pray for them as well as for the families of these young black men and police officers who have been killed.

Please help share Pastor Fred’s message.  Like, share, and retweet.

Photo Credit: http://www.harrison-const.com/

Photo Credit: http://www.harrison-const.com/

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or at AL.com here.

How Long-Distance Couples Decide Who Has to Quit

Long-distance emotional stress affects military spouses or newly married spouses quite often.   It also affects couples who have a spouse that has received a dream job offer in a distant city.   If you and your spouse work with employers that are hundreds and thousands of miles apart, then you have a pretty arduous decision ahead of you: determining which one of you has to quit.

This can be very difficult because both spouses may love their jobs; however, spouses need to love each other more than their jobs.  Firstly, seek to see if you can just transfer within your current company.  Secondly, if this is not possible or takes too much lead-time, then you will have to quit.  This does not have to be an immediate resignation, but you definitely need to get the ball rolling in that direction.

It’s been a while, but my wife and I have been in those shoes.  When we got married 5 years ago, I ended up being the spouse that moved.  That certainly wasn’t the only option we had, but it ended up being the best option for us long-term.

Have you and your spouse ever been in this situation?

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or at AL.com here.

Kissing

Originally posted on my LinkedIn back in August 2015.

How Data Can Improve Your Prayer Life

In most areas of life, you would never rush to your leader with a huge request without first collecting data.  There are three reasons for avoiding this.

First, your leader might actually grant your hasty request.  Unfortunately, this can create additional issues if the request doesn’t solve your problem or if it births extra problems.

Second, your leader may deny your request because the results seem unclear or unsafe.

Third, your leader may deny your request simply because you already possess what you need.

Things don’t have to end up this way.  The results of prayer can be so much better than this.

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe prayer is foundational—whether in scarcity or in abundance.  I wholeheartedly believe in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 when it says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

At the same time though, I agree with Matthew 6 when it says, “When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”

Instead, God is a God of data.  A God of information.  And he wants us to be that way too.

This is particularly true when praying for loved ones or for your community.

For example, James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

If God wanted us to pray for one another without information, he would have nixed any recommendation for confession.

Access to personal confession isn’t always available, but prayer is still required.  This is particularly true when praying for large groups of people.  In this situation, you may need to rely on survey data or sampling data to get an idea of what burdens need to be given to the Lord.

Without reliable data, our prayers lack precision.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think God needs our prayers to be precise to answer our prayers.  God is all-powerful and all-knowing even when we don’t communicate well with him.

Instead, the precision is for us.  If we aren’t precise, it makes it difficult for us to know what’s truly going on.  For example, we might feel we have a need for an immediate financial rescue.  If we aren’t precise, we make it difficult to see the possible answers that God may have for us.

Sure, we may notice a pay increase.  That’s fairly obvious and upfront.  But if we aren’t precise, we may not realize that we have a leaky faucet in a guest bathroom.  We may not realize that we have a streak of jealousy that’s causing us to buy unnecessary purchases.  We may not realize that God may simply want us to be patient.

So I plead with everyone who is reading this.  Seek the data in your lives.  It’s the key to deeper communication with each other as well as with the Lord.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

02 Prayer with Text

There Are Only 3 Types of Homeowner Personalities

Every neighborhood has them.  Every friend group has them.  They’re everywhere like gnats in the summer time.  But can you quickly identify the three types of homeowner personalities if you encountered them? Have no fear.  The answers are here.

The Nit Picker Personality

NaggingThis is your former roommate.  Don’t you remember him?  He was always complaining about how your apartment was not as good as someone else’s.  It was quite annoying while you were in a lease together, but now you’re stuck together in the same poker group.

Things haven’t changed too much except the item of ridicule isn’t an apartment anymore—it’s a house.  Ironically, your old buddy is in the house of his dreams—from two months ago.  Ever since moving into the house, he hasn’t said a positive word about the place.

End Result: He will take the negative-equity hit and move into a “better” house.

The Delusional Personality

DenialThis is the lady that sits next to you at work.  She and her husband live in a house with a mortgage that consumes way too much of their monthly take-home pay.  And that’s not including electricity, maintenance, and other house-related things that cost money.

Unfortunately, they won’t sell the house because they are holding on to hope the husband will get another high-paying job again.  He got laid off 3 years ago and has never really fully-recovered.  Don’t worry though.  That doesn’t keep them from using debt to give off the impression that everything is still okay.  After all, the kids are in amazing school district where they are now.

End Result: She will eventually be punished with a foreclosure.  To make matters worse, her husband cheated on her with a neighbor down the street.

The Contented Personality

contentmentThis personality is rare.  It is so rare and silent that you simply may not have noticed it.  The person is the assistant manager of your favorite local fast food restaurant.  In fact, he or she comes home smelling like fries every single day.

Despite the smells, this person makes the best of every situation.  He or she may not have all the perks imaginable, but that doesn’t stop creativity from happening.  He or she is quietly becoming a millionaire right in front of your eyes.

End Result: This person will not move very often, but when he or she does move, it’s with a purpose.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

While Family Sleeps, Increase Your Skills and Abilities

night-owlChances are very likely that if you are reading this, you are not doing so right after midnight.  If you look at the time stamp of this posting though, you will notice that, in fact, it was posted right after midnight.

That strange time frame is not by accident.  I intentionally try to get postings like this done while my family is asleep and doesn’t care what I’m doing.  That’s no slight on my family, but they primarily want me to care about them while I’m with them.  And deservedly so.  However, many major things for my family and for myself would never get done if I didn’t make the best use of the inconvenient times of the day.

For example, my entire household is asleep by 8:30pm central.  In most places, that’s still considered early, and it is considered early for me too.  So when the family sleeps, I get to work.

  • Business school homework and assignments
  • Church projects that can be done from home
  • Literature of the non-fiction , uplifting variety
  • Family budgeting and long-range planning
  • Catching back up with missed emails and calls
  • Decluttering, reorganizing, and doing laundry
  • Laughing aloud with friends on social media
  • Heroically rocking our toddler back to sleep
  • The list goes on, and on, and on, and on

While it may seem a bit overwhelming, I’ve naturally become more effective at the above activities simply because I perform them regularly.  As the old adage goes, “we become what we practice.”

So that’s my story.  What are some tasks that you would like to become better at or more intentional about?

Leave a reply in the comments section, and please hit subscribe.

Follow Ben on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or AL.com.

Debunking daylight savings time myths

Well, it is that time of year again.  Daylight Savings Time (DST) starts this Sunday morning and along with it starts the hysteria of DST myths.

For people who are easily frustrated by nonsensical behaviors, this is a particularly tough time of year.  However, with a little bit of myth-busting, this time of year can be a very refreshing change of pace.  Let’s review the following to see just how little effect DST has on the environment around us.

 “Makes the Days Are Longer”

This is wrong, wrong, and wrong.  In both connotations of the word “days,” this is an incorrect statement.  Firstly, a day is always 24 hours no matter how you slice it.  Secondly, daylight hours in our region flex from minimum of 10 hours at winter solstice to a maximum of 14 hours at summer solstice.  This is dependent on position relative to the North Pole not on whether the clocks are set a certain way.

“Makes Bedtime Shorter”

This has less to do with the time change and more to do with the fact that you just simply more active in the warmer months than the colder months.  For instance, going to the movies is much more popular in the warm months than the colder months.  Going to the movies takes up time that you would normally be at home sleeping.  So blame the movie theater not your clock.

“Makes More Difficult to Wake Up”

Well, if you’re getting less sleep in the summer, then likewise, it will be more difficult to wake up when you need to wake up.

“Makes People Crazy”

Again, people are not sleeping due to lifestyle decisions not the clock.

Those are just a few of the oft quoted wives’ tales that spread like wildfire this time of year.  Hopefully, this list gives you enough info to extinguish that wildfire in your life for good.

Follow Ben on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or AL.com.

Sunrise by Alex Indigo (Flickr)