MONEY Love and Money

Is Financial Responsibility a Turn-On?

MONEY's millennials talk about the importance of financial fitness in romantic relationships.

We may not put it in our Tinder profile, but millennials do care about a potential mate’s financial fitness. We care about it so much, in fact, we rank financial know-how higher than sexual prowess as an important factor in a long-term relationship. Millennials grew up with the 2008 financial crisis, so we know money doesn’t grow on trees.

 

TIME Innovation

Why Google’s New Unlimited Photo Storage Is Free

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Use Google’s new unlimited photo storage and you — and your data — are the real product.

By Natasha Lomas in TechCrunch

2. Truancy can cost schools millions. Here’s how San Antonio cut it in half.

By Jyoti Thottam in Al Jazeera America

3. Want to contain Putin? Help Russians get real news.

By Kaj Leers in Real Clear World

4. Make the SAT fair by letting everyone prep for free.

By Jason Tanz in Wired

5. Facebook is now America’s top news network — for millennials.

By Amy Mitchell, Jeffrey Gottfried and Katerina Eva Matsa at the Pew Research Center

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Smartphones

This Is What Teens Are Really Doing on Their Phones

New report reveals all

It’s amazing how glued snake people—er, millennials—are to their palm-sized, Internet-connected rectangles. But why?

Mary Meeker, the Morgan Stanley analyst turned venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins, today released her annual report on Internet trends. One section—slides 68 through 70, in particular—digs into the mobile habits of American youth, and it reveals some interesting statistics.

Fortune senior writer Leena Rao has a breakdown of the year’s biggest overall trends here. But for the millennial scrutinizer, here’s what the 2015 slideshow has to say:

First off, 87% of young adults—or those between the ages of 18 and 34—who own smartphones report never separating from their mobile devices: “My smartphone never leaves my side, night or day.” And four-out-of-five of them report that the first thing they do upon waking “is reach for my smartphone.” Good morning, screen-glow.

Nearly as many, 78%, spend more than two hours per day using their smartphones. And three-out-of-five believe that mobile devices will somehow vaguely rule every aspect of the future: “In the next five years, I believe everything will be done on mobile devices.”

So what do teens care about now on their phones? For those who average roughly 16 years, about one third report prioritizing Instagram as the most important social network. That’s about the same as the share that reported Facebook [fortune-stock symbol=”FB”] was the most important in Spring 2013. Today, Facebook’s share of perceived importance has halved among that demographic.

While Zuck’s friend-zone still has the most penetration of any social network—about three-quarters of 12- to 24-year-olds use it—that share is in decline. It dropped from to 74% this year from 80% last year.

Other networks that lost some share include Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. Vine stayed steady at 30% in terms of usage among socially networked 12- to 24-year-olds. And those networks on the rise? Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. (WhatsApp lacks 2014 data, but clocked in at 11% this year.)

Instagram appears to be the king, for now. (Never mind that it’s a Facebook fiefdom.) Which explains why so many—44% of 18- to 24-year-olds, that is—report report using their smartphone camera at least once per day. And an overwhelming majority—about three-quarters of 18- to 34-year-olds—report that they use their cameras to post pictures to social media.

So that’s how teens are mostly using their phones. To take pictures of the world around them, and to inject those photos into and across the screens that consume their mornings, their days, their nights, and a good portion of their present lives. Not to mention the entirety their future lives, as many of them report anticipating.

Unfortunately, the report does not break its numbers out into share of selfies.

MONEY Love and Money

What to Do When Financial Opposites Attract

magnet pulling money
Yamada Taro—Getty Images

Here's how to keep the attraction going strong when money starts to pull you apart.

Ira Cohen and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 34 years, and they are the first to admit that they are financial opposites: “She’s a “let’s live for the moment” person, and I err on the side of caution,” says Ira, a mutual fund executive. That created a conflict when the Sugar Land, Texas, couple remodeled their kitchen several years ago. Lisa was insistent on a $1,500 warming drawer that Ira didn’t think was necessary. The couple bickered over it, then “I overrode him and bought it anyway,” says Lisa, a high school administrator. He wasn’t happy but finally succumbed. “If she is that passionate about this, am I really going to fight and scream over it?” he says.

In a poll last year, MONEY found that 70% of couples argue about money, putting it ahead of conflicts over chores, sex, or snoring. What’s more, money fights are the only common spats correlated to divorce: Couples who fight about money weekly are 52% more likely to divorce than those who argue about money monthly, according to a study by Jeffrey Dew, associate professor at Utah State University.

In this year’s Love & Money survey, MONEY identified the No. 1 source of conflict: “spending too much on frivolous purchases.” A partner’s frugality is another major trigger, in the top five for both generations. This classic spender-saver tension can be bad for your marriage, but can also be deleterious for your finances, particularly if the spender gets out of control.

Here’s how to keep each of your opposite tendencies in check to strengthen your union.

Allow bandwidth on smaller stuff. Spenders feel oppressed by savers watching them like hawks (which may explain why American Express found that 33% of men and 40% of women have hidden purchases from their partners). Savers get anxious every time they see their spouses swipe a card. To overcome this tension, automate savings so that those funds are never in question. Also take a cue from the 54% of millennials and 51% of boomers who think spouses should keep some money separate. You’ll both feel freer if you set up his-and-her discretionary spending accounts in which you ask no questions about where the money goes, says Brad Klontz, a financial psychologist and the author of Mind Over Money.

To prevent conflicts on joint accounts, set a spending cap, above which each of you has to clear purchases with the other. Around $150 seems to be a magic number for both boomers and millennials in MONEY’s survey. Or set alerts on your accounts to let you know when you exceed a withdrawal amount or your balance falls below a certain level.

Let numbers drive bigger decisions. Larger purchases will naturally require more back and forth. Ira Cohen offers this advice: To avoid inciting anger, don’t just say no to a spouse who wants something you don’t want. “I tend not to debate the value of the item with Lisa, but be the voice of reason on timing and assessment of need, saying, ‘Can we wait on this?’ ” says Ira. And if she keeps asking, he eventually cedes, recognizing it’s something she cares a lot about.

Asking a spender to prioritize wants within a budget can also help you compromise without breaking the bank. Moving from Florida to Chicago this winter, Patricio Virgili, 29, an airport inspector, and his partner, Edmund Balzer, 23, a library specialist, went from one bedroom to two. “We had a lot of empty space, and I wanted to get furniture to fill it out,” says Balzer. “But Patricio is conservative with money and happy with a spartan lifestyle.” So he made a list of what he wanted, and they ranked items by importance. “Then we negotiated and renegotiated till we were both happy,” he says.

Audit yourselves periodically. Whenever Avik and Shailja Chopra feel as if their budget is getting off track, the Millburn, N.J., couple pick a month to record every expense and then talk about what they found. “You don’t realize how much you spend until you put it all down on paper,” says Shailja, 48, a lawyer. “It always changes the way we handle our finances,” adds Avik, 54, a technology consultant.

Flash-point budgeting like this—whether manual or automatic through Mint or Quicken—can help you uncover spending leaks. One time the Chopras discovered Avik was spending $100 a week on lunch. “When my wife saw that, she thought I should bring food from home,” Avik says. But he wanted time to connect with his colleagues. So they compromised: He now brown bags lunch three days a week.

More from the Love & Money survey:
Poll: How Boomer and Millennial Couples Feel About Love and Money
Why Couples Need to Get Financially Naked
The Single Most Important Money Talk for Couples

MONEY Workplace

Great Career Advice from 2015 College Commencement Speeches

A host of incredibly wealthy and successful commencement speakers told the class of 2015 to follow their passion and not worry about getting rich.

Graduation season is in full swing, and with it come the parades of 20-somethings in flowing gowns, doting families snapping photos, and, of course, star-studded commencement speeches.

Some of the past weeks’ remarks were emotional, others were comical, and a few were just plain terrible (sorry, Duke grads). But many were filled with inspiring life and career lessons from leaders across industries. Here’s a look at a few of the most insightful.

 

  • Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook
    Alex Brandon—AP

    George Washington University

    “You don’t have to choose between doing good and doing well … Work takes on new meaning when you feel you are pointed in the right direction. Otherwise it’s just a job, and life is too short for that.”

    Cook also offered some wisdom from his former boss, the late Steve Jobs: “I always figured that work was work. Steve didn’t see it that way … He was an idealist … He convinced me that if we worked hard and made great products, we, too, could help change the world.”

    “Your challenge is to find work that pays the rent, puts food on the table, and lets you do what is right and good and just,” Cook advised.

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Tyson
    Don Treeger—The Republican via AP

    University of Massachusetts Amherst

    “Your grades, whatever is your GPA, rapidly becomes irrelevant in your life… I cannot begin to impress upon you how irrelevant it becomes. Because in life, they aren’t going to ask you your GPA.”

    “I think on some level, role models are overrated … Growing up in the Bronx, had I required, as a prerequisite, that another black man from the Bronx had become an astrophysicist for me to become one, I’d still be in the Bronx.”

  • Former President George W. Bush

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Bush
    Clayton T. Smith—Southern Methodist University

    Southern Methodist University

    “Those of you who are graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done … And, as I like to tell the C-students, you too can be president.”

  • Mary Karr, Poet

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Karr2
    Stephen Sartori—Syracuse University

    Syracuse University

    “If you can get curious about what scares or infuriates you, especially if it’s part of yourself, you can get way less scared.”

  • Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Powell
    LaVergne

    Rice University

    “Leadership is all about followership. Leaders put followers in the best possible environment to accomplish a unit mission or an organizational mission. It works in the Army; it works in the university; it works in any endeavor in the world where humans come together to achieve a purpose.”

  • First Lady Michelle Obama

    Michelle Obama150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Obama
    Brynn Anderson—AP

    Tuskegee University

    “Throughout this journey I have learned to block everything out and focus on my truth. I had to answer some basic questions for myself: Who am I? No, really, who am I? What do I care about?”

  • Tom Brokaw, Journalist

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Brokaw
    Laura Greene—AP

    High Point University

    “Don’t be afraid to be disruptive; find new ways to do the conventional and the useful; and don’t run from big and bold challenges.”

  • Mellody Hobson, Chair, DreamWorks Animation

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Hobson
    Gus Ruelas—Unversity of Southern California

    University of Southern California

    “A lot of graduation speeches will encourage you to be passionate about something. I’m here to encourage you to be passionate about someone … For me, it was career. Business. Those were my priorities. It took me a long time to be as brave in my personal life as I was in my professional life.”

  • Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of State

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Rice
    Stephen Salpukas—College of William & Mary

    College of William and Mary

    “You’re headed into a world where optimists are too often told to keep their ideals to themselves. Don’t do it. Believe in the possibility of human progress and act to advance it.”

    “Your passion may be hard to spot, so keep an open mind and keep searching,” Rice said. “And when you find your passion, it is yours, not what someone else thinks it should be. Don’t let anyone else define your passion for you because of your gender or the color of your skin.”

TIME Depression

These are the Most Depressed Workers

businessman-working-late-office
Getty Images

One in five young workers have been depressed, according to the survey.

One in five millennials said they have been depressed on the job, the most of any age group, a new survey found.

That’s compared with 16% of Baby Boomers and 16% of Gen Xers, according to Mashable.

Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, a firm that provides employee drug testing and assistance for problems like gambling, published the survey, Depression and Work: The Impact of Depression on Different Generations of Employees, to coincide with National Mental Health Awareness Month. The study said that depressed employees are more likely to function poorly at work.

There was no word on why millennials, born from 1978 to 1999, are more depressed than other groups. Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 while Gen Xers were from 1965 to 1977.

The article continued:

Other impacts of depression in the workplace include absenteeism (missing work), tense work relationships or conflicts, and receiving verbal or written disciplinary action as a result of depression.

“While major depression affects 10% of [American employees], an overwhelming 75% of people with depression don’t receive formal treatment,” Marie Apke, chief operating officer for Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, said in a statement. “Depression costs the economy more than $23 billion annually due to absenteeism. While recent public health initiatives continue to enhance and expand our understanding of the social and economic costs of depression, it’s clear more work is needed to combat depression in the workplace.”

MONEY 401(k)s

How the New-Model 401(k) Can Help Boost Your Retirement Savings

150521_RET_NewModel401k
Betsie Van Der Meer—Getty Images

As old-style pensions disappear, today's hands-off 401(k)s are starting to look more like them. And that's working for millennials.

If you want evidence that the 401(k) plan has been a failed experiment, consider how they’re starting to resemble the traditional pensions they’ve largely replaced. Plan by plan, employers are moving away from the do-it-yourself free-for-all of the early 401(k)s toward a focus on secure retirement income, with investment pros back in charge of making that happen.

We haven’t come full circle—and likely never will. The days of employer-funded, defined-benefit plans with guaranteed lifetime income will continue their three-decade fade to black. But the latest 401(k) plan innovations have all been geared at restoring the best of what traditional pensions offered.

Wall Street wizards are hard at work on the lifetime income question. Nearly all workers believe their 401(k) plan should have a guaranteed income option and three-in-four employers believe it is their responsibility to provide one, according to a BlackRock survey. So annuities are creeping into the investment mix, and plan sponsors are exploring ways to help workers seamlessly convert some 401(k) assets to an income stream upon retiring.

Meanwhile, like old-style pensions, today’s 401(k) plans are often a no-decision benefit with age-appropriate asset allocation and professionally managed investment diversification to get you to the promised land of retirement. Gone are confusing sign-up forms and weighty decisions about where to invest and how much to defer. Enrollment is automatic at a new job, where you may also automatically escalate contributions (unless you prefer to handle things yourself and opt out).

More than anything, the break-neck growth of target-date funds has brought about the change. Some $500 billion is invested in these funds, up from $71 billion a decade ago. Much of that money has poured in through 401(k) accounts, especially among our newest workers—millennials. They want to invest and generally know they don’t know how to go about it. Simplicity on this front appeals to them. Partly because of this appeal, 40% of millennials are saving a higher percentage of their income this year than they did last year—the highest rate of improvement of any generation, according to a T. Rowe Price study.

With a single target-date fund a saver can get an appropriate portfolio for their age, and it will adjust as they near retirement and may keep adjusting through retirement. About 70% of 401(k) plans offer target-date funds and 75% of plan participants invest in them, according to T. Rowe Price. The vast majority of investors in target-date funds have all their retirement assets in just one fund.

“This is a good thing,” says Jerome Clark, who oversees target funds for T. Rowe Price. Keeping it simple is what attracts workers and leads them to defer more pay. “Don’t worry about the other stuff,” Clark says. “We’ve got that. All you need do is focus on your savings rate.”

Even as 401(k) plans add features like auto enrollment and annuities to better replace traditional pensions, target-date funds are morphing too and speeding the makeover of the 401(k). These funds began life as simple balanced funds with a basic mix of stocks, bonds and cash. Since then, they have widened their mix to include alternative assets like gold and commodities.

The next wave of target-date funds will incorporate a small dose of illiquid assets like private equity, hedge funds, and currencies, Clark says. They will further diversify with complicated long-short strategies and merger arbitrage—thus looking even more like the portfolios that stand behind traditional pensions.

This is not to say that target-date funds are perfect. These funds invest robotically, based on your age not market conditions, so your fund might move money at an inopportune moment. Target-date funds may backfire on millennials, who have taken to them in the highest numbers. Because of their age, millennials have the greatest exposure to stocks in their target-date funds and yet this generation is most likely to tap their retirement savings in an emergency. What if that happens when stock prices are down? Among still more concerns, one size does not fit all when it comes to investing. You may still be working at age 65 while others are not. That calls for two different portfolios.

But the overriding issue is that Americans just don’t save enough and a reasonably inexpensive and relatively safe investment product that boosts savings must be seen as a positive. With far less income, millennials are stashing away about the same percentage of their earnings as Gen X and boomers, according to T. Rowe Price. That’s at least partly thanks to new-look 401(k)s and the target-date funds they offer.

Read next: 3 Ways to Build a $1 Million Nest Egg Despite Lower Investment Returns

MONEY Love + Money

The Single Most Important Money Talk for Couples

The Voorhes

A new MONEY poll of millennial and boomer couples suggests that getting on the same page about your biggest money goal —retirement— leads to a happier and stronger union.

Married for 38 years, San Jose couple Carol and Ron Beck started getting serious about retirement in their mid-thirties. By that time, they had two kids and realized they needed to be thinking about their family’s future. So they set some savings goals, and continued talking about their plans in the years and decades that followed. Ron planned to retire around 65, and did. Carol is expecting to quit in the next two years. “We’re still deciding where we’d like to retire to,” Ron says. But even on that they have a good idea: a home near their daughter in Monterey, Calif.

There’s no question that couples need to plan together for retirement. In fact, since amassing the requisite amount of money will take time, retirement should typically be first on the list of priorities. “When it comes to goals, everything else comes next,” says Elizabeth Grahsl, a financial planner in Dallas.

A new MONEY poll of boomer and millennial couples suggests that we may need a little more help with this goal then we think. Some 79% of millennials and 91% of boomers surveyed say they are in agreement with their partners on saving for retirement. But MONEY also found that, among people who are married or living with a significant other, one in 10 boomers and four in 10 millennials don’t know their partner’s retirement account balance, while 14% of boomers and 40% of millennials don’t know when their partner plans to retire. That backs up a 2013 Fidelity poll that found that 38% of couples disagree on the lifestyle they expect, 36% on where they will live, and 32% on whether they will work. The costs of not being aligned are substantial: You could end up with less than you need at the finish line.

Here’s how you can avoid such a fate while strengthening your union and your finances.

Know your retirement wish lists. Since the amount of savings you need depends on your wants, create a “vision plan” together, says Brad Klontz, a financial psychologist and the author of Mind Over Money. Both of you should write down at what age you want to retire, where you want to live, and what you expect your life to look like. Do you want to stay put, downsize … sail around the world? “Come to the table with your dreams,” Klontz says. “Where you agree, it will be easy to adjust your finances because you are excited.”

Do a reality check. First, are you saving enough for the life you want? Check what your nest egg is on track to produce in annual income with T. Rowe Price’s Retirement Income Calculator, and see if that squares with your vision.

Second, keep in mind that retiring at the same time as your spouse typically isn’t the best move. Wives are often younger than their husbands, and women have longer life spans, so if a wife retires with her hubby, she’ll probably need to draw from their retirement savings for longer.

Also figuring into the equation are Social Security benefits, which make up 38% of income for the average retiree and which you’ll also want to coordinate with your spouse. One way to maximize benefits is to “file and suspend.” The higher earner files, then immediately defers benefits to let them grow (they rise 8% for every year you delay between full retirement age and 70). Assuming the lower earner is at full retirement age, he or she can then claim a spousal benefit, deferring his or her own benefit, which will also rise in the meantime. As you near retirement, run this and other basic scenarios using the benefits planner at ssa.gov or more detailed ones at maximizemysocialsecurity.com ($40).

Create a holistic plan. Make sure you’re acting as a team when it comes to saving and investing. If you’re a two-income household, you probably have access to two 401(k)s, for total annual tax-deferred savings of $36,000, or $48,000 if you’re both 50-plus. Stash at least enough in each to get the full company matches. If you can’t max out, sign up for automatic increases as your pay rises. “This is so basic it’s like breathing,” says O’Kurley, “yet a lot of couples don’t talk about it.”

You also want to think of your portfolio as one, and make sure you don’t have overlap or overexposure in your overall mix. The Instant X-Ray tool at Morningstar.com can help you figure this out. As a general rule, the percentage of your portfolio in stocks should be equal to 110 minus your age; the rest should be primarily in bonds. But if one or both of you have a traditional pension, you could adjust the bond allocation lower, since the guaranteed income allows you to take more risk.

Got several years between you or different tastes for risk? A UBS survey found that half of couples have divergent risk tolerances, but among them, those who choose an allocation between their preferences tended to be most satisfied. It’s also okay for the more risk-averse partner’s plan to be tilted toward bonds and the other’s to serve as a counterbalance in stocks, if that keeps the nervous one from overreacting to volatility. Another reason to split the baby: If your plan has lousy bond fund options, say, you could use your spouse’s plan to fulfill that allocation while using your 401(k) for stocks.

More from Love & Money:
Poll: How Boomer and Millennial Couples Feel About Love and Money
Why Couples Need to Get Financially Naked
This Is the Magic Number That Can Help Couples Avoid Money Fights

 

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