What the experts say
Oregon moves on retirement savings
Frustrated at federal inaction, Oregon is tackling the retirement savings crisis on its own, said Elizabeth Olson in The New York Times. By 2020, the state will require that all private-sector employers set up 5 percent payroll deductions for employees who lack access to a workplace retirement savings plan. Workers will be automatically enrolled unless they opt out, with the state acting as a conduit for the savings, directly sending the deductions to OregonSaves, a collection of “privately run, low-cost investment funds.” Oregon’s “heavy concentration” of small businesses means an estimated 1 million workers could benefit. Eight other states have similar programs in the works.
Child care and your employer
Companies are beginning to use child-care benefits to attract and retain top talent, said Stacy Rapacon in USNews.com. Employers are increasingly aware that the cost and accessibility of child care is “top of mind” for working parents. Roughly 85 percent of working parents want employer-offered childcare benefits, and 62 percent would change jobs to receive them, according to online child care resource Care.com. In 2016, having an infant in day care cost an average $213 per week; a nanny was $565. To help ease the financial pain, ask if your employer offers dependent-care flexible spending accounts, which allow you “to save pre-tax money to cover child care.” Another option: flexible scheduling or working from home, which 60 percent of employers now offer for at least a portion of the week.
The danger of deferred interest
Deferred-interest-rate credit cards can seem like an enticing proposition in the midst of holiday shopping, said Sarah O’Brien in CNBC.com, but “you could be in for an unwelcome gift long after the holidays are over.” Most consumers misunderstand how much they will owe on deferred-interest purchases; in a recent survey, just 28 percent were able to correctly identify how these deals are actually applied to their card balance. For instance, if you purchase an item priced at $1,000 with deferred interest, you are given a period— typically 12 months—to pay that amount back in full before any interest applies. However, if you do not pay back the entire amount within that 12-month window, the interest rate is applied on the full $1,000 purchase, no matter how much you have already paid back. ■