Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the last Thursday of November every year since 1863, and as we all know, it’s a time to take a moment and express gratitude for all our many things that we’re thankful for. The holiday can be traced back to a shared meal between the Native Americans and the pilgrims, and it is traditionally celebrated with a bountiful feast among friends and family.
But in financial terms, as with most holidays, there is a lot of commerce that goes along with it. Here are some fun financial Turkey Day facts: Americans spend $670 million on turkeys each year. The average cost of a Thanksgiving 10-person meal is around $50, and approximately $300 is spent by the average Thanksgiving shopper. $28 million is the average amount of property losses due to home cooking fires.
Completely aside from the nationwide numbers and more in keeping with the spirit of the holiday, here are some ways to express thanks and take stock of your own personal financial landscape:
Give thanks for your retirement planning. If you’re one of the smart Americans who have been following a strategy and planning for your retirement, then pat yourself on the back, and be grateful that you’re not one of the many who are behind the curve in that regard.
Many Americans are not properly prepared for retirement. Over a third of Americans are completely reliant on Social Security (in other words they don’t have any retirement savings), and a full two-thirds of American retirees are dependent (although not completely reliant) on it. So, if you are one of those with the foresight to have a retirement savings account (401k or IRA), and let’s include emergency funds and general savings accounts in this category as well, be thankful. Saving your money is a smart thing to do, no matter which way you look at it.
Whether we’re talking about an HSA (Health Savings Account) or Long-Term Care Insurance, having a savings account dedicated to one’s health expenses is most certainly something to be grateful for. For 2019, the Internal Revenue Service raised the maximum contribution to HSAs by $50 to $3,500 for individuals and $100 to $7,000 for families. Maximum catch-up contributions for people over age 55 remain at $1,000.
With regard to Long-Term Care Insurance, nearly 70 percent of Americans 65 and older need Long-Term Care at some point, so having it would certainly be something to put on your 'thankful for' list.
“Ten out of ten Americans will die at some point in their lives.”
Jokes aside though, life insurance is unlike other types of insurance. The policyholder is guaranteed to need it at one time or another. “This distinction is important to understand,” notes Dan Gardella, vice president of Insurance Services for David Lerner and Associates. “When viewed through this lens, life insurance isn’t an expense, it’s an asset that will eventually provide a return on your investment. As long as you pay the premiums and maintain the policy, your beneficiaries will eventually receive the death benefit.”
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