By Dan Caplinger
The Motley Fool
Retirement savings took a huge hit during the financial crisis and market meltdown five years ago, with savers of all ages feeling the brunt of plunging markets. But members of Generation X -- those born between 1966 and 1975 -- suffered the worst declines in their net worth from the crisis and saw the least recovery in the years that followed.
As a result, Gen-Xers are in bad shape when it comes to retirement readiness, as a recent study from the Pew Charitable Trusts concluded. With only enough financial resources to replace half of their pre-retirement income, the key question for Gen-Xers on the whole isn't how financially secure their retirement will be, but rather whether they'll be able to retire at all.
A 2012 Pew Research Center Report, "The Rise of Asian Americans," identified Asian Americans as "the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States." In addition, according to the report, Asian Americans are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances, and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success.
YuKong Zhao (pictured), an expert in China business and strategic development at Siemens, believes the secret to the success of Asian Americans can be found in the enduring messages of Confucius.
Zhao, who grew up in a Confucianism-influenced family in China, moved to the U.S. in 1992. His bicultural experience and deep understanding of Confucianism has led him to conclude that Americans can learn from Confucian values to improve their lives in a variety of ways.
Most noteworthy in the differences between Asians and non-Asian Americans is their outlook on life. "Americans have a short-term view of life and Asians have a long-term view," says Zhao. "This impacts everything about their lives, but is particularly important when it comes to money management."
By Dan Caplinger
My mom passed away 10 years ago. She never had the chance to meet her granddaughter, but she did leave a valuable inheritance for my daughter and our entire family for generations to come.
Before you jump to the wrong conclusion, Mom wasn't rich. Like many people her age, she had a decent-sized nest egg that she fussed and worried over in her retirement years, especially when after her 70th birthday her battle with cancer forced her to stay at home. As it turned out, her savings proved sufficient to cover her own expenses with something left over for my brother and me.
The most valuable thing Mom passed along was not the money, but the lessons she taught us about money and its importance in living a well-balanced life. These are lessons we'll pass along to our children and hopefully they'll do the same.
These are just 15 examples - there are bound to be more. Please share your ideas for more products and services you've gotten for free in the comments, and we'll feature them on WalletPop.
Here are some tips on affording a room renovation you'll actually finish:
The RRSP Home Buyer's Plan (HBP):
This program allows first-time home buyers to withdraw funds from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to pay for a home without incurring the usual tax penalty. An individual is allowed to withdraw up to $25,000 from their RRSP, but must pay it back over 15 years. If that person is purchasing with a spouse, both the individual and the spouse may withdraw up to $25,000 each.
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By Bruce Watson
Summer vacation season is right around the corner, but with sequestration cutting hours and reducing services at many national parks, it's getting harder to find a low-cost, educational place to take the kids during the time off. Museums are a good option, but admission costs can be bruising, especially for large families.
On the bright side, there is a simple, fairly inexpensive trick that your family can use to get free admission at 662 museums -- and counting -- across Canada and the United States. By joining the North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM) at a member museum, you can gain admission to any other museum in the network free of charge.
I found out about the program during a visit to the Norman Rockwell museum in Stockbridge, Mass. One-time admission to the museum for my wife, my daughter and myself cost $37 -- not exactly a punishing fee, but high enough that we would have to think twice before coming back. The thing is, after wandering through the museum a bit, we realized that we definitely wanted to return.