TIP OF THE WEEK

October is Financial Planning Month, so there is no better time to face your financial fears and make actionable changes to get yourself on track when it comes to managing your money. While nearly half of Americans (47 percent) find the prospect of financial planning scary, it doesn’t have to be.

If you find yourself constantly postponing a review of your finances and feel your current money situation is more out of order than ever, turns out you are not alone. In fact, according to a new survey by Marcus by Goldman Sachs(R), the overwhelming majority of Americans (82 percent) wish they felt more in control of their finances. By following a simple checklist and exploring options that fit your specific circumstances, you’ll be well on your way to making the most out of your money.

1. Get out of credit card debt. First and foremost, be conscious of any revolving credit card debt you are currently carrying, and the fees, variable rates and payment terms that may be draining your bank account. A debt consolidation loan allows you to combine your debts into one consistent, easy-to-manage monthly statement.

2. Conduct an assessment of your service providers. Take a look at your monthly expenses and see if there are ways you can lower them by switching to different providers or calling your current provider to re-examine your rates. Whether it is your car insurance or your cable and internet bill, a quick search online and a call to lower your rates could limit your monthly expenses.

3. Get ready for tax season. With changes to the tax law, you should take the time to prepare for next year’s taxes by analyzing potential benefits you may be able to take advantage of and figuring out what deductions you might no longer be able to claim. By getting out in front of tax season early, you can be ready for the impacts it may have and be able to file earlier, which could lead to receiving any refund earlier as well.

4. Maximize your 401(k). If your company matches employee contributions to a 401(k) account, it’s a good idea to take advantage of this and make sure you are doing everything you can to build up your 401(k). Consider making changes that could put yourself in a better place to have a nest egg ready for retirement, like increasing your contributions by 1 percent a year.

5. Check your APY. Lastly, make sure you are saving (and growing) your money strategically by checking the annual percentage yield (APY) on your savings account. Make your money work for you by exploring savings account options with higher returns, rather than storing your money in accounts with interest rates near zero.

— Brandpoint

THE LIST

According to Forbes, the top-10 wealthiest Americans for 2018 are:

1. Jeff Bezos, Amazon ($160 billion)

2. Bill Gates, Microsoft ($97 billion)

3. Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway ($88.3 billion)

4. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook ($61 billion)

5. Larry Ellison, software ($58.4 billion)

6. Larry Page, Google ($53.8 billion)

7. Charles Koch, Koch Industries ($53.5 billion)

7. David Koch, Koch Industries ($53.5 billion)

9. Sergey Brin, Google ($52.4 billion)

10. Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg LP ($51.8 billion)

NUMBER TO KNOW

$900 million: Investor Bill Ackman recently announced his hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital, acquired 15.2 million shares of the coffee company Starbucks for $900 million.

TECH TALK

Instagram to use machine to help curb cyberbullying

Social media platform Instagram recently announced that it will use machine learning technology to proactively detect bullying in photos and their captions. Currently, Instagram allows users to report accounts that contain the intent of bullying or harassment but not all bullying or harassment gets reported. Instagram’s new head Adam Mosseri said the technology — along with user reporting — will help its Community Operations team to “identify and remove significantly more bullying.” A bullying comment filter will also be added and will hide comments containing attacks on a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well being or health.”

— More Content Now