Tag Archives: Americans

LegalZoom.com National Survey Finds Americans Still Lack Basic Protection; Three out of Four Parents Have Not Prepared a Last Will, Leaving Children Unprotected: One in Five Families Cites Guardianship Disagreements as a Deterrent to Preparing a Will

LOS ANGELES (PRWEB) April 19, 2007

HelpMeSue.com Launches Service Helping Americans Find Attorneys and File Lawsuits

San Francisco (PRWEB) April 14, 2008

Today HelpMeSue.com (http://www.HelpMeSue.com) announced the commercial launch of its new service to quickly connect Americans with legal disputes to concerned citizens and lawyers who can help. Officially launching on April 14th, 2008, HelpMeSue.com is designed to help average Americans test the merits of potential lawsuits easily and anonymously, while driving high-quality leads to partner law firms.

New Study: Americans Say Recession, Declining Stocks and Soft Home Values Less Financially Disastrous Than Death of Spouse

Windsor, Conn. (Vocus) May 15, 2008

While current headlines and political rhetoric focus on the publics fears of broad financial challenges such as economic recession and Social Security going broke, Americans in every demographic group say that their death or the death of their spouse would be a much greater threat to their familys future financial situation, according to a new survey from ING, one of the nations leading financial services and life insurance companies.

The new survey further clarifies the savings and wealth protection needs of Americans. The insight into consumers perceptions about their financial future and the wide-ranging reasons for saving money and having adequate life insurance may even seem contrary to popular assumptions about people and their money, said Catherine Smith, CEO, ING U.S. Insurance. The wide-ranging survey by Ipsos Public Affairs of more than 1,000 adults revealed Americans contemporary attitudes and thinking on protecting their financial future and on life insurance, traditionally part of working peoples financial plan.

The survey demonstrates the central role life insurance plays in a comprehensive financial plan, including the important role of wealth protection. Financial-planning experts say that inadequate life insurance can be swiftly disastrous to families that dont properly anticipate and assess the impact death of a spouse or partner can have on short- and long-term finances.

As Baby Boomers financial needs have evolved, we see the heightened importance of risk protection combined with wealth creation, Smith said. Insurance products can help provide an important protective wrapper around retirement savings. This insurance wrapper effectively manages a diversity of risks and allows consumers to enter their retirement years with more confidence. Bottom line life insurance has become the forgotten foundation of a long-term, comprehensive financial plan.

Among the most interesting findings of the survey:

ING Survey: Finds Many Americans Missing Opportunity to Maximize the Value of Workplace Retirement Plans

Atlanta, GA (Vocus) November 9, 2010

Preparing for retirement is like training for a marathon. It takes dedication, determination and a long-term commitment, along with the right support and resources to complete the race. The ING family of companies in the U.S. (ING), today released the results of a nationwide survey of retirement plan participants that underscores how Americans are at a disadvantage when it comes to their own financial marathon.

Research Reveals Most Workers Under-Estimate the Potential Long-Term Power of a Modest Retirement Raise as They Save for Retirement
Nearly 6 in 10 Say They Could Increase Their Annual Contribution Rate Today by Up to 3% of Salary
More than 1 in 5 Set Contribution Rate Based on Gut Feel
ING Rolls Out Easy-to-Use Contribution Rate Calculator to Encourage Greater Retirement Savings

The survey, commissioned by the ING Retirement Research Institute, confirmed that employer-sponsored retirement plans are incredibly important to the workers who participate in them, but most are not maximizing the savings power of these plans to their full potential. The research found that plan investors often fail to recognize the potential long-term benefits that even a small contribution rate increase can produce in helping them successfully reach their retirement goals.

Americans Admit They Can, Should Be Saving More

INGs survey clearly indicates that Americans know they are responsible for their retirement, and admit they could be saving more.

According to the findings, a majority of workers (87%) said they could be saving more in their employer-sponsored retirement plan, a savings vehicle they deem critically important to reaching a secure retirement and the foundation of most their retirement savings strategy. In fact, of the 1,000 workplace retirement plan participants surveyed, nearly two-thirds (64%) said their employer-sponsored retirement plan accounts for all or most of their retirement portfolio. However, many participants are not stretching to maximize their contributions when they can. Moreover, they tend to rely on guesswork when setting contribution levels, and dont fully understand the importance and long-term impact of small increases in contribution rates.

Americans today understand that they shoulder a greater responsibility for securing their own retirement, said Rob Leary, CEO, ING Insurance U.S. They also recognize that an employer-sponsored retirement plan is the cornerstone of their efforts to save for retirement. Still, the issue for many workers, made even more urgent in shaky economic times and an era of volatile equity markets, is scrubbing household budgets and, when possible, finding more dollars to save for retirement. Being cost-conscious is certainly important and prudent, but at the same time, people must also find ways to contribute more into their retirement accounts.

And its not like theyre confident in the future of Social Security. In fact, more respondents (51%) think its more likely that scientists will clone dinosaurs in their lifetime than it is that Congress will save Social Security, and 77% of those with kids at home say their child is more likely to catch a foul ball in the seats at a baseball game than cash a Social Security check.

INGs findings suggest that even though workers may acknowledge the retirement saving challenge, it has not necessarily resulted in better saving behaviors, at least not in their employer-sponsored retirement plans. Of those participants not contributing the maximum to their retirement plan, an overwhelming majority (87%) admitted they could afford to increase their annual contribution by 1% of their annual salary; almost six in ten (59%) said they could up their contribution by 3% of salary; and nearly one third (32%) said they could afford a 5% increase.

The irony is that Americans love raises, Leary said. In our survey, most respondents (76%) would prefer even just a slight raise over a shorter commute to work. We recognize that the current economic environment is challenging for most everyone and robust salary increases are currently not the norm; nevertheless, Americans cannot delay giving themselves a retirement raise. A modest increase in your workplace retirement plan contribution rate can go a long way toward ensuring a more financially secure retirement.

Most Workers Overlook Long-Term Impact of Modest Contribution Rate Increases

INGs survey also indicated that plan participants lacked a clear understanding of contribution rates and the lifetime value of even small increases.

In fact, for many workers, setting workplace retirement plan contribution rates appeared to be either a guess or a back-of-the-envelope calculation. Very few of those surveyed consulted outside resources in determining their contribution levels. Nearly two-thirds (65%) determined their contribution rate themselves, and one in five (21%) said they go by gut feeling.

When asked to estimate the lifetime value of a 2% increase in their contribution rate, only a small percentage could even come close. More often, people miscalculated. Forty percent of respondents underestimated by 50% or more and just about a third (32%) over-estimated by 50% or more.

After choosing to participate in the plan, the most important decision workers make is setting their contribution rate each year, said Catherine Smith, CEO, ING U.S. Retirement Services. However, for too many, participation and contribution rate elections are just another box to check. We need to be more deliberate and take the time to consider things like tax impact, compounding, and the effects of employer matches in making these elections.

Employer-Sponsored Plans the Cornerstone of Retirement Savings

For most Americans, understanding and maximizing the use of workplace retirement plans is critical since these plans are not only the cornerstone of their retirement portfolios, but the main vehicle through which they are exposed to and learn about investing.

Nearly half of the plan participants polled (44%) admitted that if they didnt have a retirement plan at work, they probably wouldnt be saving for retirement at all. In fact, most respondents (58%) said their employer-sponsored retirement account (401(k), 403(b), or 457) was their first investment and over half (52%) said their plan was the main place they learned about investing.

In addition to offering entry to the investing world, many respondents said that their workplace retirement plan continues to provide critical investment knowledge and insight. Better than two out of five (42%) said all or most of their investment knowledge comes from managing their employer-sponsored retirement account.

They also gave overwhelming credit to their employer for putting them on the right path. In fact, those polled cited their employers as having the most influence in getting them to start saving for retirement, followed by family and friends. Moreover, their employer match was cited by most participants as the most important reason they contribute to their workplace plan. Still, there is clearly room for progress. Over half (55%) agreed that if their employer provided them with more detailed education, they might contribute more to their plan. In fact, better than 7 in 10 (72%) wished their company customized information for their personal situation.

For many working Americans, an employer-sponsored retirement plan isnt simply a stepping stone into the investment world, its the foundation for their future investing education and financial decision-making, said Smith. The lessons learned in managing a workplace retirement plan are critical, and they can make the difference between a long and comfortable retirement and a retirement that falls well short of their dreams and goals.

ING Retirement Contribution Rate Calculator

Americans Act Quickly to Save Lives in Central Africa

Washington, DC (Vocus/PRWEB) January 24, 2011

Today, the United Nations Foundations Nothing But Nets campaign, PSI (Population Services International), and UNICEF announced the successful delivery of nearly 1 million anti-malaria mosquito nets in the Central African Republic (CAR)providing one net to each family in the country. The families received their nets less than six months after the UN identified an urgent need to protect them against malaria and thousands of Americans rallied to answer the call for help.

To ensure mosquito nets reached homes as quickly as possible, the UN Foundations Nothing But Netsa global, grassroots campaign to prevent malaria in Africa, partnered with PSI to call on its supporters across the country to help fill the need by the end of 2010. Singer, actress, and PSI ambassador Mandy Moore helped the campaign raise awareness and encouraged people to donate. I had the opportunity to meet families, visit clinics, and deliver nets in the Central African Republic, and saw the need first-hand, said Moore of her trip last October. The fact that thousands of people around the country came together so quickly to help protect families on the other side of the world is overwhelming, and so inspiring.

Malaria is prevalent throughout the CAR year-round and is the leading killer of children under the age of five. The high rate of malaria in this country is a severe problem, and using long-lasting, insecticide-treated nets is one of the best, most cost-effective ways for families to protect themselves from the disease, said Tanya Chapuisat, Country Representative for UNICEF in CAR. We are very thankful for the contributions that have helped us distribute nets to save lives.

We reached this goal by working together, said Adrianna Logalbo, director of the Nothing But Nets campaign. We are grateful for the strong partnerships and dedicated supporters who helped send nets to save lives in the Central African Republic, bringing us one step closer to reaching the goal of ending malaria deaths by 2015. Nothing But Nets worked with its UN partners especially UNICEF and the World Health OrganizationPSI, and the CAR Ministry of Health to deliver the nets on the ground.

To date, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $ 35 million to distribute over 4 million nets to families throughout Africa. Every 45 seconds, a child dies from malaria — which is easily prevented through the use of an insecticide-treated net. The nets create a protective barrier against mosquitoes at night, when the vast majority of malaria transmissions occur. One long-lasting, insecticide-treated net can protect a family of four, and lasts up to three years. A net costs just $ 10 to purchase, deliver, and educate the recipient on its proper use. For more information, please visit http://www.NothingButNets.net.

About Nothing But Nets

Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, hundreds of thousands of people have joined the campaign that was created by the United Nations Foundation in 2006. Founding campaign partners include the National Basketball Associations NBA Cares, The people of The United Methodist Church, and Sports Illustrated. It only costs $ 10 to provide an insecticide-treated bed net that can prevent this deadly disease. Visit http://www.NothingButNets.net to send a net and save a life.

About PSI

PSI is a leading global health organization with programs targeting malaria, child survival, HIV and reproductive health. Working in partnership within the public and private sectors, and harnessing the power of the markets, PSI provides life-saving products, clinical services and behavior change communications that empower the world’s most vulnerable populations to lead healthier lives. http://www.psi.org.

About the UN Foundation

The United Nations Foundation, a public charity was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turners historic $ 1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. We build and implement public/private partnerships to address the worlds most pressing problems, and work to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through our campaigns and partnerships, we connect people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns we conduct reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. These solutions are helping the UN advance the eight global targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For more information, visit http://www.unfoundation.org.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The worlds largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: http://www.unicef.org


Americans Still Behind Other Countries in Supporting Mothers on Maternity Leave; Don’t Let Credit Cards Become a Crutch

Fort Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) May 23, 2011

In most countries women on maternity leave are guaranteed between 75% and 100% of their salary, according to the International Labor Organizations study Maternity Protection At Work. The United States has no legal requirement for paid maternity leave and lags behind in securing the rights of women who return to work after having children, says the U.N. sponsored report.

If you dont budget your finances and take in account your loss of income due to maternity leave you could be heading for trouble. The birth of a child sends many families into an overwhelming cycle of credit card debt, late payments, and harassing collection calls. Temporary loss of income and unexpected expenses during maternity leave is one of the most common cause people end up in credit counseling. says Howard Dvorkin, the founder of Consolidated Credit Counseling Service, Inc.

Warning Signs For Credit Problems:

— Your credit cards are maxed out and youre only paying the minimum.

— Youre using one card to pay off another. Dont fool yourself into thinking you squaring away your debts. All youre doing is borrowing more money.

— Bills are paid with money intended for other things.

— Money is borrowed or credit cards are being used to pay for items that used to be bought with cash.

— Savings are used to pay current bills.

Under normal circumstance making only minimum payments on your credit cards is unwise. Minimum payments cover mostly interest. For example, if you want to pay off a $ 5,000 debt with minimum payments it can take 7 to 10 years and can end up costing as much $ 15,000 to $ 20,000! During maternity leave making only minimum payments may be necessary evil, but planning to use your credit cards as a safety net for unexpected expenses is foolish.

Money Rules to Follow


What Does the Fiscal Cliff Mean to Most Americans? Podraza CPA Deciphers the Real Meaning of the Fiscal Cliff

Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) December 21, 2012

Tax expert Benjamin Podraza, a Certified Public Accountant and the principal of Podraza CPA, PLLC demystifies the Fiscal Cliff, a one-year $ 494 billion tax increase that could financially impact millions of Americans. With all the rhetoric surrounding the issue, this summary provides a concise overview of the debate:

Because politicians cannot agree on how to deal with the debt ceiling and spending cuts, its uncertain which tax benefits will be extended and which will expire many are scheduled to end in 2013.

Income tax rate increases are scheduled for all taxpayers the 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent brackets will move to 15, 28, 31, 36 and 39.6 percent brackets.

A $ 132 billion Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) inflation adjustment is on the table. According to the Tax Policy Center, if Congress fails to inflation adjust the AMT, 27 million Americans will be subject to an average increase of $ 4,200 in their federal tax liability.

Even if President Obama abandons his campaign to increase income tax rates on the rich, taxpayers making more than $ 250,000 (married filing joint), or $ 200,000 (single), will unquestionably be paying more in taxes. Obamacares 3.8 percent Medicare surtax on net investment income and the additional .9 percent Medicare tax on higher income individuals have already been universally accepted.

While it is widely expected that both the AMT patch and middle class tax rate reductions will pass, the payroll tax holiday which reduces the employees portion of the payroll tax by 2 percent is also going to expire, so its quite likely that everyone will have a smaller paycheck come January.
Capital gains rates will be increasing to 10 and 20 percent and dividends will be taxed at ordinary income tax rates.

The lifetime exemption for gift and estate taxes will be lowered from $ 5.12 million to $ 1 million and top estate tax rates will increase from 35 percent to 55 percent.

In Congress fails to act, many deductions and tax credits will also be reduced or cancelled in their entirety in 2013. These include education deductions / credits, the child tax credit, medical expense deductions, qualified mortgage insurance premiums, state and local sales taxes and energy credits.

There is really no way to know what Washington will accomplish in the coming weeks and fear about the upcoming tax increases is paralyzing business and investment. Many republicans are set against any tax increase, while President Obama insists that any deal has to include tax increases for the wealthy.

The best strategy to minimize your tax bill for 2013 is to continue to exhibit behaviors that have been consistently encouraged through legislation, says Podraza. Incentives for getting married, having children, pursuing higher education, contributing to charity, maintaining employment and opening a business are likely to receive support regardless of who is calling the shots in Washington. Working with a competent tax professional can help keep you abreast of the changes and make sure you take advantage of incentives that are available to you.

To speak with Ben Podraza in more depth about the Fiscal Cliff or to schedule an interview, please contact Mary Garrett at 602-432-2010 or mary(at)mgpublicrelations(dot)com.


Podraza CPA is a Scottsdale, AZ based CPA firm. It offers a wide range of services designed to help its clients reach their long-term financial goals. In addition to preparing personal and business tax returns, they also offer numerous services geared to help individuals and business owners. Individual services include income tax return preparation, tax representation, and estate planning. Business services include tax planning, preparation and representation, development of accounting policies and internal control systems, financial modeling and forecasting, business valuations, loan packaging, as well as, general bookkeeping and payroll services. For more information, contact Podraza CPA at 480-998-3945 or visit their website at http://www.podrazacpa.com.

New Report: Americans Devote 8.1 Billion Hours to Volunteering in 2010

Washington, DC (PRWEB) August 08, 2011

Volunteers provide a powerful economic and social benefit to communities across the nation, with 62.8 million adults serving almost 8.1 billion hours through organizations in 2010, according to research released today by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

The agencys annual Volunteering In America research finds that Americas volunteers provided services valued at nearly $ 173 billion to communities and the nation last year, using Independent Sectors estimate of the dollar value of volunteer time.

Notably, Generation X volunteers (born 1965-1981) devoted more time to service in 2010 than they ever have before, giving more than 2.3 billion hoursan increase of almost 110 million hours over 2009. Generation X members more than doubled their volunteer rate between 1989 and the present day, from 12.3 percent in 1989 to 29.2 percent in 2010. This rise demonstrates a shift that researchers are seeing across the volunteer lifecyclethe arc of civic involvement that tends to increase as citizens feel a deeper connection to their communities through personal networks, their workplace, and their childrens schools.

While the overall national volunteer rate dipped slightly from 26.8 percent in 2009 to 26.3 percent in 2010, the number of hours volunteers served remained approximately the same at 8.1 billion hours, indicating many volunteers committed more hours to service. The proportion of volunteers who serve 100 hours or more appears to have increased between 2009 and 2010 from 33.2 percent to 33.8 percent, and the median number of hours served per volunteer appears to have increased from 50 to 52 per year.

Every day, volunteers of all ages are giving their time and talents to solve problems and make our country stronger, said Robert Velasco II, acting CEO of CNCS. Whether tutoring at-risk students or providing job training to veterans or responding to natural disasters, ordinary Americans are doing extraordinary things to improve the long-term health and vitality of the nation.

CNCS produces the annual Volunteering In America research to provide elected officials and nonprofit leaders with in-depth information on volunteering trends and demographics to help them develop strategies to mobilize more Americans to address local needs through service. Offering the most comprehensive data on volunteering ever assembled, the report includes a volunteer profile for all states, including the District of Columbia, and hundreds of cities, including data on volunteer rates, rankings, area-specific trends, and analysis.

The research is part of the agencys efforts to expand the impact of Americas volunteers on key economic and social challenges facing the nation. CNCS provides critical support to Americas nonprofit and voluntary sector through grants, training, research, coordination, and partnerships with public agencies, nonprofits, and businesses. Last year, CNCS engaged more than five million Americans in results-driven service to help communities tackle local challenges.

Other findings about the volunteer lifecycle include: