Saving Enough for Retirement?

Actually, financial planners prefer stocks and mutuals over gold eggs in a nest of twigs.

People aren’t saving enough. They are going to find out that they have totally inadequate amounts once they stop working. People need to change how much they are saving, when they start saving, and when then retire. If they don’t change, people will not be able to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living.

Yeah, so, Happy Friday everybody… The nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute says only about 25% of us are confident we have enough money for retirement (or are on the right path to saving it.)

We will need something like 80% of our salary after we retire, and most of us aren’t going to get there just with the 5 to 7% we are putting in our 401k’s.

This article has some interesting things to say about how much to save, when to start, when to retire and everything in between. Check it out!

Sorry to be brief. Flu season!  Have a good weekend!

No Time for Lunch?

The statistics are as depressing as this picture!

Here’s one to ponder over your lunch break…assuming you still TAKE a lunch!

Maybe it’s the pressure to look busy. Maybe there are three of you in the place doing the work that FIVE used to do. But fewer and fewer of us are taking lunch breaks. And those breaks are often shorter, and we tend to work while we eat! Here, according to an article on, are some not-very-appetizing statistics…

  • In a 2011 study, only 35% of US say they almost always take a lunch break. A previous study in 2010 had it at 50%.
  • 65% either eat at their desk or don’t take lunch breaks at all.
  • 40% of corporate executives brownbag their lunches. 19% eat at a sit-down restaurant.  17% get fast food.
  • Among female executives, 57% said they brought their lunch from home, compared to 36% of males.

The article points out a bit of irony – we think we are being more productive this way, when actualy pushing away from the desk would improve our mood, clear our heads and boost energy! How about you? Still doing lunch? Same as always? Shorter? Eating at the computer?  Read the rest of the article here.

Customer Service Online

We saw an interesting article about major banks, and the growing tendency for their customers to use social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to lodge complaints. The question is: is that effective?

(Strategy & Research firm) Javelin analyzed more than 5,000 Tweets between customers and financial institutions to explore just how helpful (or not) the conversations proved to be. It found that only a minority of the conversations successfully resolved customer problems (36 percent for Citigroup, 11 percent for Wells Fargo, and 3 percent for Bank of America.)

So, in other words, your answer is likely to be, “please contact customer service.”

Don’t get us wrong…your issues don’t bug us here at Mindfield Online! If you are not having an efficient, enjoyable experience, we want to know about it! But, here at the blog or the Facebook page, all we can do is to pass along to the helpdesk all the bits of anecdotal details that we can. We can’t actually dig into your account and fix things. So it is much more quick and efficient for you to contact the helpdesk during regular business hours at [email protected] or 800.969.9235

So that’s the scoop. It is an interesting article, and we encourage you to check it out. And have a great weekend!

The Need for Speed!

Take it from Speed Racer, Racer X, Chim-Chim and the gurus at MindField Online – faster is better!

On that note, we have just finalized a major upgrade that increases our bandwith by 15 times our previous speed. (15Mbps down/ 43Mbps up, to be precise.) The major benefit is that we can serve content faster to more people at the same time.

Previously, if we had a large number of respondents taking a media-heavy survey all at once, things could slow down a bit. You may or may not have noticed, but WE did! So it was time to upgrade.

You may not be “the fastest man alive in your powerful Mach 5” but, ideally, this upgrade means we are providing the best services available for our members to ensure an enjoyable experience.

Meanwhile, we think we have the Facebook/MindField link-up procedure licked… for now. This has been frustrating – for you and for us! We had a nice protocol going, and then Facebook made changes. They do that a LOT. It affects everything from their apps to the game interactions and more. And they provide no ongoing support.

So, for now, we believe we have done all we can to fix all of the noticeable problems related to the automated Facebook login…but the next set of changes are always around the corner! We’ll stay on top of it, and your help would be appreciated. When something doesn’t work correctly, drop us a line at [email protected] and give us the details!

Smart Shopping Habits for the New Year

January rolls around and we think about all the ways we can get our acts together when it comes to money. Speaking for myself, I tend to think big, about saving more or paying down debts, and I sometimes neglect the little things like my daily shopping habits.

On that note, here are some smart new shopping habits we can nurture in 2012, courtesy of the money page at US

Comparison Shopping Apps: Comparison shopping has never been easier with your smartphone. Comparison apps can help you choose which store to buy from or, in the case of Amazon, you may find a better deal online.

Facebook Deals: Every retailer and manufacturer these days tells you to “Like us on Facebook!” When you do, you often find Friends-only deals. Yes, it’s all a plot to get demographic info about you, but you might save a few bucks!

Local Daily Deal Sites: We are all familiar with the big deal sites like Groupon. Now, smaller local deal sites are becoming popular. Instead of a fancy meal or spa treatments, you might find deals more specific to your needs.

Become a Hoarder! Not really, but when you find a coupon for toilet paper or toothpaste or ketchup – stuff you use every day – max that sucker out and buy in bulk. You could save a bunch!

Read the Reviews: I don’t buy anything I tend to have for a while, like a camera or vacuum cleaner, without doing a bunch of research online.  Amazon is a good place to find reviews.

Be a receipt hawk: Usually, I can’t get out of Wal-Mart quickly enough. But if you have the patience, take a moment to check your receipt for mistakes or missed discounts before you leave. Sure beats having to make a return trip into the madness!

There are more details in the article, so check it out!

How about you? Any wise shopping habits you care to share?

2012 Prices: the Flip Side

That Art-school Education is Really Paying Off!

Last time we looked at the products and services that will be coming down in price this year, according to Now, the less-good news. They also took a look at a few prices expected to go up in 2012. Here is a (sarcastic) peek:

  • Airfare: Increased demand, fewer seats and new fees and taxes here and in Europe. And don’t count on getting the “whole can” of Sprite anymore, either!
  • New cameras: Specifically, the fully loaded high-end ones. The basic models are being crowded out by smartphones, so the manufacturers are looking elsewhere.
  • Food at home: While eating in is almost always cheaper, the rate of food inflation is higher at home than in the restaurant – because the restaurant can offset inflation with liquor sales without passing the cost on to you. Moral: get a liquor license for your home! J/k
  • Local Fees: Don’t you wish that when you were broke, you could tax everybody around you? Well, the city can!!
  • Gasoline: Here in SC, it was $3.85 in the spring, down to $2.95 before the Holidays. Now, $3.29 and heading higher! Good thing I filled all my milk jugs when it was cheap!
  • Shipping: USPS, FedEx and UPS are all going up, in case you thought you could beat gas prices by mailing yourself to Hawaii.

There are MANY more examples in the article. Check it out! Then, do yourself a favor and re-read about the prices that will go down, just to brighten your mood.

Anyway, how about you? How are these affecting your family? What ways are you cutting back?


End of the World Markdowns!

The consumer site has done some research and found a bunch of items that should actually come down in price in 2012.  End of the World closeouts, I imagine! So, check ‘em out!

  • Apple iPad 2: The 3 is coming, so expect Apple to drop prices on the 2 just to clear the shelves.
  • Wine: Due to the economy, the distributors see all of those $30 bottles gathering dust on the shelf!
  • Desktop Replacement Laptops: Ones that don’t need to take such a beating as the truly on-the-go models, but mostly sit on your desk. Some are as low as $350 right now!
  • Android Tablets: The low price of the Kindle fire is spurring the other guys into action.
  • Car Rentals: Less travel means more cars sitting on the lot and tougher competition.
  • Standalone GPS Units: Smartphones are killing this business, so expect the prices to drop.
  • Media Streamers: Now that Blu-ray players are starting to feature streaming, guys like Roku will have to get more competitive with their pricing.
  • 3D HDTVs: Because they are too dang expensive and nobody wants them!
  • Home Prices: Great for buyers, bad for sellers!

I don’t know about you, but I am going to take advantage of these Apocalyptic savings in 2012. There are more listed in the article, so give it a read. And have a great weekend, MindField-ers!!

Clever Ways to Cut Back in 2012

Looking to cut back? Time Magazine has compiled a list of items and services “You Should Just Stop Buying.” Take a look!

  1. Homeopathic Flu Remedies: the CDC says they don’t work.
  2. Credit-Card Payment Insurance: expensive and with a bunch of restrictions and exclusions.
  3. Dirt-Cheap Paper Towels: they don’t work and you end up using more of them
  4. Bottled Water: expensive and often misleading, i.e., it’s NOT real spring water.
  5. Premium Gasoline: unless you drive a really high-performance car, it’s a waste of money.
  6. Super-High SPF Sunscreen: unless you are prone to skin cancer. SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays.
  7. Auto Service Warranties: Again, expensive and contain many restrictions and exclusions.
  8. 100-Calorie Packs of Snack Foods: Portion control is a great idea, but buy the big box and some baggies, and save a bunch of money!
  9. Lottery Tickets: you are 3 times more likely to be hit by a meteor than to win the lottery.
  10. Unlimited Cell Phone Minutes: these plans are one reason why our cell bills have gone up $20 in the past 5 years, even though we aren’t really talking any longer.
  11. Brand New College Textbooks: Grrr! I am still resentful about this one after 20 years!
  12. Extended Warranties: A lot of the time, these are redundant, and you can get similar coverage from your credit card for free.  Exception: your laptop. Every one I ever owned broke down after the warranty expired!

Much more info in the article…check it out!