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Archive for May, 2011

There are many ways you can save for retirement.  The majority of articles out there are based on investments, but there really are some simple ways to save money towards your retirement.  In an article by David Ning, he discusses 9 ways to save.

One example is:

Eliminate a few little expenses. Lattes are not the only small expenses you can cut out of your budget. Look at all the fees that you’ve paid in the last 6 months. Were they really necessary? Can you do anything to minimize fees and investment costs? A few dollars per fee won’t seem like much, but add in a few years of these fees and you can be looking at a pretty big balance.

Click here to read the rest of David Ning’s tips. is now available for mobile users on the go – and its free!  The app enables users to pick and choose from 10 editorial sections, from Technology to Small Business for a customized news feed. It also offers individual stock quote tracking, and displays video of top news and feature stories.

Get this new, free app for your iPhone or Blackberry here.

Interesting! CNN reports today that the internet uses more electricity in America than the auto industry uses to make cars and trucks.

This article takes a look at the just how much power is being used by our internet grid, the growing demand, and an argument for renewal energy:  “This is the largest demand growth in the United States,” said Greenpeace tech analyst Casey Harrell. “Is it going to be connected to old, dirty power, or will it be incentivising renewable energy?”

Google expects to see solid returns on their new foray into energy investments. “The electricity needed to power and cool the millions of servers that make the Internet hum has grown by more than 10% a year for the last decade, Rosenstock said. It now accounts for about 2% of all the electricity consumed in the United States.”

Click above to see an interview with Bill Weihl, head of Google’s Sustainability EFforts, and read the full story here.

A couple new rules may affect you if you are receiving Social Security Benefits:

First, if you owe an unpaid debt, federal law says your Social Security benefits, in most cases, can’t be garnished to pay the bill. But despite the law, some older people have seen their bank accounts frozen including their benefits.

Andrea Coombs of Market Watch reports that “before the new rule, when debt collectors pursuing an unpaid debt secured a court-ordered garnishment, the bank often would simply freeze the money in the debtor’s account, whether or not it included federal payments, such as Social Security benefits, said Margot Saunders, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center.”

Secondly, Andrea goes on to also explain that under the new law using Pre-Paid cards (like Direct Express) soon won’t be an option. “The Treasury Department also announced that anyone signing up for Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, veterans or some other federal benefits on or after May 1 can no longer get paper checks mailed to them. Instead. they will get their money electronically deposited in their bank account, or they can opt for a prepaid debit card.

Are you currently receiving or planning to receive paper Social Security Checks?  You should read up on the new laws.  This Market Watch Article is a good place to start.

Please feel free to contact us at RF Financial Solutions if you have any questions.

Market Watch reports  “Like it or not, in the short run there is a trade-off between unemployment and inflation. To keep inflation low, you need high unemployment; if you favor low unemployment you have to accept high inflation.”

Check out this informative article by Irwin Keliner, Market Watch’s chief economist, about how the Fed works and the challenges its balancing in today’s economic environment.

We’d love to hear your comments below. Given this bit of chicken and egg syndrome, which do scenario do you favor?  Higher unemployment or higher inflation?  Which do you think will get our economy back on track the fastest?

We found an interesting article on Morningstar today to share.  In spite of positive news recently in the markets and signs of renewed consumer spending, inflation continues to take its toll on consumer’s and businesses.  Consumer spending is line with positive projections, but Reports show that while “Consumer income reports continue to show healthy top-line growth, but when adjusted for inflation, incomes grew at a weak 1.2% annualized rate during the month of March”.


“The big news this week was Thursday’s GDP report. While the headline growth rate of 1.8% was in line with expectations (and below the fourth quarter’s 3.1%), there was a lot of positive news imbedded in the report.

The slowing was due largely due to shifts in government defense spending and weather-related construction spending. Meanwhile, consumer spending fell far less than expected, and growth in business spending on equipment and software actually accelerated in the first quarter.”

You can read the full article, by Robert Johnson, CFA, and detailed report analysis here.

Robert Johnson, CFA, is associate director of economic analysis with Morningstar.