Invest Financial Planning

This Week In Your Wallet: Leftovers

Jean Chatzky  |  November 27, 2018

What do you do with all that extra turkey?

Make a stellar sandwich (perhaps with a moist maker), a turkey pot pie, or a big vat of turkey soup? So many choices to ponder. That turned out to be a good thing because maybe it took your mind off the markets which didn’t have a particularly good Thanksgiving week. They bounced back yesterday (thanks to all of the shopping ), but there are forces at work that will likely continue to rattle. Trade tensions with China, the Fed raising interest rates, tech stocks taking a hit and oil prices nosediving. As this Washington Post piece points out, these are small fires that could spread into something bigger — but despite the negativity, the short-term future is looking positive. Longer term, however, some smart people are starting to worry that some of America’s leading corporations — CVS, GE, AT&T — have bit off more debt than they can chew. Bottom line: As we often say in this space, your long-term investments deserve a check-up to make sure they’re properly allocated for your life-stage and tolerance to risk. And money you need in the shorter term doesn’t belong in place where it’s subjected to the continued volatility we’re likely to see. Where does it belong?

Shopping Syndrome

For many of us, our money has been right at our fingertips over the last couple of days, where it could do some holiday damage. But we want you to stay on budget! Of course if you did indulge in a little online shopping over the weekend — or yes, yesterday — you’re not alone. Cyber Monday was a record breaker, with nearly $8 billion in sales, the largest online shopping day in US history.

Cyber Monday was a record breaker, with nearly $8 billion in sales, the largest online shopping day in US history.

Since ’tis the season of shopping, it seems like a good time to offer up a reminder that a lot of small spending could add up to larger spending that might (or might not) have a greater impact on your happiness — and your life. In an editorial on the new (and controversial) Monopoly for Millennials game, The Wall Street Journal pointed out:  “More than Baby Boomers or Gen Xers, millennials spend their money on events, activities and travel instead of goods or houses, McKinsey reported last year. If they’d kept pace with these two earlier generations, 3.7 million more millennials would own homes, the Urban Institute found last summer.” That’s not the only research on the subject.  According to a Chase Slate survey, 77 percent of millennials made purchases that they would then Instagram, including food, vacations and clothing. They were also willing to spend nearly twice as much money to achieve the perfect post as the general population. We’re not judging — just nudging. Make sure no matter how you’re spending this season (or heading into 2019) that you’re doing it in a way that lines up with what you value most. (And if what you value most is an airline ticket you’re going to use for upcoming travel, the day to buy it is today.)

The Stress Gap

For some, the holidays are a time of joy. For others? Stressssss. And in case you’re wondering who gets the brunt of it, it’s women. What’s the deal? Research from The Journal of Brain & Behavior notes that women are twice as likely to suffer from severe stress and anxiety as men. The research points the finger at the fact that women do more unpaid domestic work than men, and are often also under the stress of the sort of “emotional labor” that comes from trying to do so many things at once. The tangible way to close this gap? First, welcome self-care — and don’t write it off as selfish. Practicing self-care could be as simple as exercising, getting adequate sleep and fueling your body with nourishing foods. For more tips on managing stress — whether you’re a man or a woman — keep reading here.

Merry Marriage

A survey by WeddingWire found that December is the preferred month for proposals (yes, that’s why you’re seeing all those unconventional poppings of the question on social media). And when the answer is yes, the next question is: Well, who’s going to be paying for the nuptials? According to a survey by The Knot, the average cost of a wedding was $33,391 in 2017. A number that large calls for being very clear and specific about how much you can contribute to a wedding (just like you should be about college) and figuring out where that money is going to come from before you tee up the conversation. What you absolutely don’t want to do is follow the lead of more than a third of the parents surveyed by WeddingWire — 20 percent floated the wedding on a credit card, 9 percent raided retirement, and 10 percent took out loans. Think about it this way: If you put your own financial security in peril to do this for your kids, how many years will it be until you have to turn around and ask them to do the same for you?

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