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Americans Are Saving More … Or Are They?

It's getting harder and harder to climb the savings ladder. | Phil Ashley/Photodisc/Thinkstock

The average U.S. household savings rate increased from about 5 percent in 2013 to 6 percent in 2014, according to a new study by Hearts & Wallets. But that savings rate may be misleading. A quarter of Americans, after all, saved nothing in 2014, the study found. “People with less assets are struggling,” said Laura Varas, Hearts & Wallets partner and co-founder. “It’s impossible to ‘save for retirement’ without first getting out from under debt.” For households with $500,000 to $2 million in assets, the savings rate increased to 10 percent, up from 9.5 percent in 2013. Mid-career Americans (ages 40-52) saved an average 6 percent of income, up from 4.6 percent in 2013.

How to Tame the Status Quo

Whatever works. | Copyright Robert Cianflone, Getty Images

Whoever said the status quo was boring? Not right now it's not. The Federal Reserve's policy of keeping things just as they are is the impetus for the market volatility of late, writes D. David Jilek on Natixis' blog. He has three strategies for investors to help insure they meet their long term goals: favor stocks over bonds, lighten up on, but don't short fixed income and sell stock options to take advantage of the equity volatility.

Washington Report

Don't mess with FINRA.

It’s been a big week in Washington, D.C., for the financial industry. Besides President Barack Obama’s call for a fiduciary standard and Janet Yellen’s tour through Congress, the Supreme Court also heard arguments Tuesday that could effect how companies run 401(k) plans. If a decision is made in favor of the plaintiffs, it could extend the time period of ERISA liability and increase lawsuits related to retirement plan choices. FINRA also made headlines with new analysis showing that the regulatory body slammed reps in 2014 with $135 million in fines, more than double the amount it issued in 2013. 

Security Through Technology

It's that easy. | Copyright Rob Carr, Getty Images

As cybersecurity rages as one of the biggest concerns in the financial services industry, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is making an effort to bolster account access while still maintaining security. Clients will now be able to add their debit cards to Apple Pay to pay for purchases in stores. According to the brokerage, Morgan Stanley card information remains safeguarded because Apple Pay does not share the actual debit card number with the merchants or transmit it with payments. “Offering our wealth management clients the opportunity to use Apple Pay complements our full suite of cash management solutions,” said Eric Heaton, Head of Morgan Stanley’s Private Banking Group, in a statement.

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