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Pay Yourself First

Each month, you settle down to pay bills. You pay your mortgage lender. You pay the electric company. You pay the trash collector. But do you pay yourself? One of the most basic tenets of sound investing involves the simple habit of “paying yourself first” – in other words, making your first payment of each month a deposit into your savings account. The saving patterns of Americans vary widely. And too often, short-term economic trends can interrupt long-term savings programs. For example, the U.S. Personal Savings Rate jumped from 3.5% to nearly 8% in May 2008 during the housing and banking crisis. It then rose and fell sporadically as the economic environment appeared to stabilize. It peaked in December 2012 at 12%. As of 2021, the average rate has once again varied widely between about 15% to 28%, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.1

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Unlocking the Treasures of Financial Wellness

While finances and health may seem unrelated, the two are often closely intertwined, especially in America's bustling, free-flowing marketplace. Let's examine two of the largest lifetime expenditures: retirement and health care. The general rule for retirement income is to have 70-80% of your working income available. However, some analysts say you should hit 100% of your annual working income levels during at least the first few years of retirement. Generally, spending habits don't significantly change during retirement. Some expenses may decline while others, such as traveling costs, may increase.1·2 While the average retirement lasts 19 years for men and 21.6 years for women, married couples may fare better: at least one person, on average, is likely to make it to age 93. That could be 30 years or more, depending on the age at which you and your spouse retire.3

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Pullbacks, Corrections, and Bear Markets

When the market drops, some investors lose perspective that downtrends and uptrends are part of the investing cycle. When stock prices break lower, it's a good time to review common terms that are used to describe the market's downward momentum.

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