Money Monday

posted by Brian Thomas -




Topic A

Jobs, jobs, jobs! The latest jobs report came out on Friday for December, and employers added 148,000 jobs which is well below the 190,000 expectation. Our economy is jogging, not sprinting along. 

The unemployement rate held steady at 4.1%, matching a 17-year low.

The broader number of unemployed, the "U-6," which includes part-time workers who want to work full-time and discouraged workers ticked up from 8% to 8.1%. This number is down from 9.1% a year ago.

One reason the jobs number did not reach expectations is retail. Retailers actually lost 20,000 jobs in their busiest time of the year! It's not just Macy's that is hurting! The biggest job gains came from health care (31,000 jobs), construction (30,000 jobs), and manufacturing (25,000 jobs).

Jobs are moving away from retail why re-training is so critically important. There is someone in the world trying to do your job cheaper, faster, and better.

While this jobs number is being trotted out as "disappointing," read beyond the headlines. Our economy is chugging along and in 2017 the United States added 2 million jobs. 

2014: 3 million jobs added. 2015: 2.7 million jobs added. 2016: 2.2 million jobs added.

We expect a slowdown in jobs being added. 1) Long-term: As unemployment moves to historic lows, job gains eventually slow down. 2) Short-term: the Bomb-Cyclone. The January job survey takes place during next week's pay period. With the east coast getting slammed by storms we could see higher than normal absences from jobs.


Even though the jobs data for December didn't meet expectations, it does nothing to change Simply Money's positive view of the economy.


#2: Enquirer

Every Sunday, Simply Money is answering your money questions in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Kenny and Debra in West Chester: We’re both 57 and both hoping to retire within the next five years or so. What are some things we should be doing now to make sure we’re ready?



#3: Social Security

As you think about retirement and plan for retirement, Social Security should still be a part of your personalized financial plan. After all, even if nothing is changed over the next 16 years and the program has to cut benefits, you'll still get about 79% of what you were promised.

With that said, however, the decisions you make about when to retire and when to claim Social Security make a huge difference in your retirement income, so be sure to avoid these top three Social Security mistakes.

Claiming at the wrong time: The age at which you claim Social Security benefits will determine how much you receive throughout the entirety of your retirement. The key thing to know is your Full Retirement Age (FRA), which is 67 if you were born after 1960.

If you claim before your FRA, you'll get a reduced benefit throughout your ENTIRE retirement (it doesn't increase when you hit your FRA)

Ideally, you want to wait as long as you can to claim your benefit - preferably 70. Why? You need to think of SS as an INSURANCE program protect you from outliving your money. If you wait, you get a bigger benefit, which will help you as you age in retirement.

Not working long enough: SS calculates benefits based on your highest 35 years of earnings, with wages adjusted to reflect wage growth. If you haven't worked for 35 years, Social Security will factor in zeros for each year missed.

Any wage is better than "0" in this calculation, so at least try to always be participating in some kind of part-time work

Not coordinating with your spouse: Social Security is much more complicated for married couples than for singles because a person who's single must claim benefits on their own work record. Those who are married -- or individuals married for at least 10 years before divorcing -- may be eligible to claim benefits on a spouse's work record.

This is where working with a Certified Financial Planner can be very helpful. He or she can look at different Social Security scenarios as you're developing your personalized financial plan.


Social Security can be complicated, so educate yourself before you start claiming so you can get the most out of your benefit.




Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more


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