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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Holiday Spending to Hit All-Time High

November 11, 2015 12:54 am

The most wonderful time of year is around the corner—and this year, Americans celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa will spend more than ever on holiday decorations, food, gifts and more, according to a recent National Retail Federation (NRF) survey. The magic number this holiday season? $805.65, on average.

“Despite the challenges that still exist in our economy, it looks as if consumers are eager to celebrate the holidays with friends and family this year,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We expect consumers to tackle their holiday shopping lists with a healthy dose of optimism, tempered by a hint of caution as they look for ways to find the perfect, practical gift.”

Family members top the “nice” list this year, according to the survey, with holiday shoppers planning to spend an average of $462.95 on gifts for members of their families. Shoppers will also spend an average of $77.85 on gifts for friends, an average of $28.05 on gifts for babysitters, pets and others, and an average of $25.95 on gifts for co-workers.

The majority of holiday shoppers will space out their spending to accommodate their budgets, the survey finds, with many opting to shop before Halloween.

And if you’re struggling to find the perfect present, look no further than gift cards—again the most popular item on holiday wish lists, the survey reports.

Source: NRF

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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6 Budget Management Tips for Military Families

November 11, 2015 12:54 am

As we honor our military heroes, we are reminded of the many sacrifices service members and their families make to protect our nation – at home and on the front lines.

“Military families do an amazing service for this country,” says American Bankers Association (ABA) President and CEO Frank Keating. “The nature of their jobs is inherently stressful – but financial stress shouldn’t be part of it.”

Servicemembers and their families can pave the way to a strong financial future by taking steps to cement their finances. The ABA advises:

Meeting with Your Banker before Active Duty

The Servicemember Civil Relief Act offers all military personnel entering active duty a variety of financial protections. The SCRA covers issues ranging from interest rate reductions to limits on debt accrual. Ask your banker about the key provisions of this law and how it can help you. 

Considering Housing Options

Frequent relocations and deployments can make owning a home challenging and expensive. Renting may be a smart option for short-term assignments. Decide what’s best for your family and your finances.

Planning for Deployment

Before deploying, have a conversation with your family about managing the household budget. Consider granting power of attorney to your spouse should they need to make any urgent financial decisions while you are gone. Check with your bank to see if they have pre-printed forms you can use for bank accounts. Military personnel also receive additional funds while deployed, so decide on the best use for that extra cash.

Budgeting for a Single-Income Household

Frequent moves are an inevitable part of military life and can make it difficult for spouses to establish stable careers. As a precaution, make plans to operate on a single-income household budget. That way, should your spouse’s employment status change, your family will be prepared.

Setting Up Automatic Bill Pay

Whether you’re stationed stateside or overseas, automatic bill pay will give you and your family one less thing to worry about each month. It can be particularly helpful during deployments in regions where Internet access is unreliable and mobile banking isn’t an option.

Contributing to a Thrift Savings Plan

Military members have access to the Federal Thrift Savings Program, which offers the lowest-cost retirement-savings plan available. Have automatic contributions withdrawn from your paycheck.

Source: ABA.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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