Popular opinion portrays Generation Xers as slackers concerned only with cappuccinos and CDs, but two recent studies paint a very different picture of young adults.
In a recent poll conducted by research firm Louis Harris Organization for the Lutheran Brotherhood, about 50 percent of the 18-to-29-year-olds questioned said they "sometimes" or "always" have trouble sleeping or relaxing because of financial worries. Saving for retirement (cited by 59 percent) was their number-one worry, followed by a fear of not being able to afford long-term care (21 percent).
"Their concern about saving for retirement suggests that the confusion and uncertainty about Social Security has impacted them," says Todd Gillingham at the Lutheran Brotherhood, which offers life and health insurance, annuities and other financial products and services.
The good news: Xers are taking steps to deal with their fears. A 1996 study by mutual fund trade association Investment Company Institute (ICI) shows Xers have 38 percent of their household financial assets invested in mutual funds.
Where is the money invested? Seventy percent of the Generation X shareholders participated in equity funds, 44 percent in bond and income funds, and 52 percent in money-market funds. The typical Xer shareholder was a 28-year-old married, employed college graduate with a household income of $50,000 and assets of $16,000.
Many Happy Returns...
Nothing can eliminate the sting of paying taxes, but a new Web site may make the operation a little quicker.
Using SecureTax, created by Rome, Georgia-based Universal Tax Systems Inc., taxpayers can significantly cut the time it takes to do their taxes. According to company CEO Randy Tullos, an uncomplicated 1040 for a family of four with a home and child-care costs could be processed in 30 to 45 minutes.
"When you first go into the site, there is a general
information work sheet where you tell us some basic things about
yourself," explains Tullos. Then after asking you a series of
yes-or-no questions, the site
automatically determines which tax forms you should file, says Tullos.
The site allows users to choose from 950 tax-preparation forms, including 45 state forms. As you fill out the forms on screen, all the calculations are completed for you automatically. Once you're finished, you can copy the information onto your own forms free or print it out for $9.95 per return. Electronic filing is also available for an additional $4.95.
SecureTax bills your credit card for the printouts and electronic filing and, according to Tullos, guarantees the accuracy of all mathematical calculations. For more information and to access SecureTax, visit (http://www.securetax.com).
Computer equipment can be the key to getting a small business on the fast track. Now, IBM Credit Corp. helps entrepreneurs finance or lease a variety of equipment from personal computers and software to mainframes.
The program, called Preferred Rate Financing, offers terms from 12 to 60 months for new or used IBM equipment and support services. Entrepreneurs who qualify can lease or finance selected computer systems, IBM peripherals and services at interest rates ranging from 5.9 percent to 9.9 percent.
"When you lease with someone, you want them to be specialists in what they do. You want people who understand the product, and you want someone who can service you from soup to nuts," says Stephanie Carmel, IBM's director of worldwide general business financing, of the advantages of leasing from the company.
For more information on IBM's Preferred Rate Financing program, call (800) IBM-CALL, or access the IBM Web site at (http://www.financing.IBM.com).
IBM Credit Corp., 1133 Westchester Ave., White Plains, NY 10604, (800) IBM-CALL;
Investment Company Institute, 1401 H St. N.W., #1100, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 326-5800;
Lutheran Brotherhood, 625 Fourth Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415, (800) 365-4012, ext. 6023;
Universal Tax Systems, 6 Mathis Dr. N.W., Rome, GA 30165, firstname.lastname@example.org.