Dollar Bits: America is richer than ever

Saving Bits

America is richer than ever — but you’re probably not
If you measure America’s well-being by the nation’s overall wealth, these are the best days ever. But does it feel that way? Obviously not. Disaffected working- and middle-class voters just sent a bomb-thrower at the White House, to dismantle institutions they feel are failing. Economic alienation fuels white supremacists who feel everybody’s getting ahead but them. Roughly 10 million working-age men who ought to be in the labor force are sitting at home instead. An astonishing 60% of Americans feel the nation is on the wrong track.

13 US states where a $1 million cash nest egg won’t last you more than 20 years in retirement
Depending on how much money you plan to spend each year in retirement, a seven-figure net worth may be all you need to retire comfortably. But unfortunately for those living in high-price states, like California and New York, it may not be wise to depend on a million-dollar nest egg. Especially if you keep your money out of the stock market completely. In a new report, GOBankingRates calculated how long $1 million in cash would last the average retiree in each US state, assuming a retirement age of 65.

Can I deduct the life-insurance premiums that I pay as alimony?
This divorced man has a marital and tax conundrum.

Health Savings Accounts Proving to Be a Valuable Tool in Retirement Planning
While health savings accounts and retirement may not have the same ring to it as peanut butter and jelly or milk and cookies, the unique, tax-advantaged structure of an HSA makes it a valuable complement to retirement planning.

How to Check Your Social Security Statement – And Why You Should
If you’re investing for your retirement, you shouldn’t forget about the income you’ll earn from Social Security. Even though it may be decades away, it’s possible to get an estimate as to what your retirement benefits will be. All you have to do is get a copy of your Social Security Statement. It’s easy to do, and it’s an absolutely necessary step in planning for your retirement.

Now that you’re finished paying for college, you might want to boost your kid’s retirement, too
An expert does the math on how a parental contribution could help jump-start a young worker’s retirement.

Spending Bits

Buying a New Car? Check the Resale Value
Even people who hold cars forever should pay attention to this metric.

Four New US Cities Are Getting $100 Flights to Iceland
It’s about to get easier for many Americans to fly directly to Iceland for less than $100. WOW Air, the discount airline famous for its $99 flights, announced Wednesday that it is adding four U.S. cities to its lineup, including St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Detroit.

Real Estate Bits

Low-commission real estate site Open Listings expands to Seattle
Real estate agents only come into the process when it’s time to make an offer on the home. Therefore, the company can offer a rebate on the buying agent commission.

Millennial Americans Are Moving to the ‘Burbs, Buying Big SUVs
It was just a matter of time. You knew it had to start happening sooner or later. Millennials are finally starting their own baby boom and heading for the suburbs in big sport utility vehicles, much like their parents did. Americans aged about 18 to 34 have become the largest group of homebuyers, and almost half live in the suburbs, according to Zillow Group data. As they shop for bigger homes to accommodate growing families, they’re upsizing their vehicles to match. U.S. industry sales of large SUVs have jumped 11 percent in the first half of the year, Ford Motor Co. estimates, compared with increases of 9 percent for midsize and 4 percent for small SUVs.

Frivolous spending bits

People who bought a Powerball lottery ticket prove a basic truth about money
The bigger the jackpot, the more people who are willing to buy a ticket — and the worse your odds of taking home the full prize. Still, the appeal of achieving multimillionaire status overnight is worth it to many.

10 tragic lottery stories prove money doesn’t buy happiness
But Harrell spent and loaned money at a rate that put a strain on his marriage, and he and his wife separated. Just 20 months after winning the lottery, Harrell committed suicide.

Misc. Bits

Netflix loves to pick hits for each subscriber _ but how?
Netflix wants subscribers to know it’s looking out for them. For instance, the average Netflix subscriber might never guess that its dark superhero drama “Jessica Jones” might strike similar chords as the zany hijinks of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Netflix is happy to help you make the connection. Much of the attention showered on this streaming-video giant in recent years has dwelled on its insatiable appetite for original content and for creators to produce it.

Lock Down Your Smartphone to Prevent Data Breaches
That phone in your pocket isn’t just a phone. It’s a computer. And it’s got a lot of data on it that thieves would love to get ahold of, so be smart and protect yourself.

Image credit Eric Lumsden via Flickr

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