1. Published

    I had a few conversations with a friend who decided to add a loved one to his credit card as an authorized user. Over the years, we had many discussions about some of the challenges he faced building his credit history as an immigrant with a thin credit file. He had been a joint account holder in previous situations, and now he was in a position to help someone else. Like my friend, I have been a primary account holder, joint account holder, and an authorized user, which lead me down this path to talk more to colleagues, do research, and write about piggybacking credit.

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    Travel is the spice of life!  Travel is an opportunity to see and do things differently from our daily lives, connect with family and friends, and re-energize ourselves. Whether you choose to out of the county, across the country, or around the world, thinking about ways to decrease costs can be helpful – maybe it’ll even mean you can do more travel!

  3. Published

    Every year people gather up all their tax documents, organize them and then think about their options: do their income tax filing themselves, pay someone else do it, or find another option! Today, let’s explore these options.

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    Attending conferences is one of the best ways that I get to learn new ideas and research, as well as getting to network/brainstorm with other professionals. This year at the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education’s annual symposium the constant theme from the conference we heard was hope and empathy. Here are a few takeaways from this year’s AFCPE conference:

    More Research is being done with couples and money

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    One of the best parts about attending professional conferences is the chance to update and reset my thinking about teaching personal finance. While teaching about money might sound like the same old, same old, there’s always something new to learn and share! Three topics stand out in my mind as I reflect on sessions I attended during the AFCPE Symposium.

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    With the way 2020 has been going, I wanted to get a head start on preparing my home for cold temperatures before old man winter makes a full appearance. Taking steps to get your house ready for colder weather can save you money and help you and your family stay safe and warm. Each year, I start with this checklist list of tips for winter home prep to keep the cold out and the heat in:

  7. Published

    Sasha, Kathy, and I attended three virtual conferences in the span of a week (November 13-20)! As personal finance educators, we find opportunities each year to attend, present, and exhibit our work at national conferences.

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    I grew up in Jamaica, where one of the seasons is fondly referred to as the “rainy season,” which seemed like most of the year. Hurricanes, flash floods, earthquakes, and tropical storms are prevalent in the Caribbean. As a young child, I remember the adjustments my dad would make to our house. He would buy construction materials to batten down the windows and protected his workshop. I also can picture my mum securing essential documents such as our birth certificates, bank account information, medical information, and other necessary documentation as we brace for a storm.

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    Kathy Sweedler: This blog post was originally posted in 2013 by Karen Chan, CFP, retired Extension educator. A reader recently requested it. This is a timeless topic, still helpful today, and I’m happy to repost it.

    When our father, died, I think my sister and I both felt like we were wading through a sea of details.

    Individually, most of them weren’t a big deal. But the volume and speed with which they had to be handled made it stressful.

  10. Published

    I hate to pay bills and I’m always looking for ways to make it less painful. I used to be able to pay bills just once a month – after payday – and this seemed to work to keep my bills on time. However, that doesn’t work for me now. Now I don’t have a good system – especially in terms of when to pay the bills, and I’m looking for new options.

  11. Published

    As we move through our lives, different challenges and needs rise. In my own family, our needs have changed over time. When my children were young, I was concerned with finding quality childcare and used clothing and toys. As family members aged, we needed home delivery of meals, medical care support, and transportation services. Sometimes we can handle these challenges on our own, and sometimes community resources are helpful. It’s not until a specific, personal need comes up that we tend to ask, “Who do I call to get help with fill-in-the-blank?”

  12. Published

    Tomorrow is the last day of our social media campaign, Financial Wellness Checkup! Over the past five weeks. Over the past five weeks, we have covered several of your favorite personal finance topics, credit management, estate planning, back-to-school planning, and financial exploitation. We are closing out with a focus on ways to grow your savings. We understand that this is a hard topic during an economic downturn, and encourage you to consider some small ways you can still build or rebuild your savings.

     

    Protect your rainy day fund

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    Anyone can become a victim of fraud. Losing money or property through scams and frauds can have a lasting and devastating effect on your financial well-being, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  This week’s theme is financial exploitation, and throughout the week, we will be exploring multiple topics that focus on protecting personally identifiable information.                 

  14. Published

    Back-to-school excitement – with a little spice of apprehension – is in the air! As the back-to-school season approaches, financial challenges and opportunities abound.

    One opportunity is to help youth grow their money skills. It’s easier to engage people in money conversations and decision-making when it relates to them. No one cares more about which school folder, backpack, or school clothes is purchased than the child or young adult that will use them! Take advantage of the moment and include children in back-to-school decision making.

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    Estate Planning is one of the most overlooked pieces of a holistic financial plan. It could be because we’re not only discussing money, but also death. Two of the most unfriendly topics in finances. With, estate planning is a really important part of finances, without a will, your estate can end up in probate with your possessions and assets in limbo.

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    Choosing someone to raise your child in the event you die is a daunting task.  While godparents can be a potential choice for a guardian, without documentation from your will to nominate a personal guardian, your wishes may not be honored. Below are a few pieces of information I gathered from my research into the topic of guardianship:

    Finding a Personal Guardian

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    Over the past few months, the economic climate has shifted dramatically with high unemployment rates and other levels of financial instability. To help us all sort through the implications of this era, the consumer economics team has launched a new campaign, Financial Wellness Checkup to discuss and promote positive financial behaviors. Our goal is to provide practical tips and resources for consumers as they work to manage their finances and improve their overall well-being. 

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    For as long as I can remember, we’ve always had a furry companion in my household. Whether it was a cat, dog, bird, or fish, having a pet as a companion can make many people happier. Having said that, pets have expenses to keep a pet healthy, happy, and safe.

  19. Published

    My family had been waiting to see the movie, Onward since we saw the first trailer in 2019. One of the local theaters is about a mile from our house, and we love to walk (when the weather permits) or take a short drive to see some of our favorite new movies. Since we couldn’t go to the theater when it was released, we were happy it was available to stream. Each year, we go through the motions of subscribing to or canceling streaming services based on changes to the service or the time of year when our favorite shows are available.

  20. Published

    At different times in our life, seasons can get tough financially. If you find that you’re unable to make ends meet, you may have to make some tough decisions about which bills get paid before others. If you’re in this situation, here are some choices to consider.

    Pay Basic Essentials