high water with pedestrian sign show flooded

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.

Woman looking puzzled and stressed

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.

Women holding her head and looking at table with bills

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.

Who to call? image of hands touching

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?”

hot air balloons

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

Financial Wellness Checkup Campaign

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.                 

Financial Wellness Checkup Campaign Back-to-school planning

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.

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.

minor child walking down the sidewalk

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

Financial Wellness Checkup Campaign

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. 

dog and cat cuddling

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.

Woman streaming television eating popcorn

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.

Bills piling up

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

Grocery bag filled with vegetables, eggs, and fruit

Recently grocery stores have started offering a variety of services to help you shop. You can choose to shop online, pay online, have the grocery items delivered to your house and/or pick up your groceries at the store. Who knew you didn’t have to trek up and down the aisles to buy groceries! Here are some options to consider when deciding between services.

Cost –

What to do with $1200? Hand holding $20 dollar bills.

Stop! Before you go too far planning your spending of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act payment, let’s take a look at the big picture. Unfortunately, the current economic downturn will be a reality for many months. Now is the time to strategize how best to manage this financially.

The first priority is to keep you and your family safe. Safety includes items like shelter and food. You may need the government relief payment to provide for these needs.

Picture of young woman staring at piggy bank with word, coping, next to her.

We all interpret and react differently to changes. In my extended family, some people have “what to do in a disaster plan,” and others prefer to take steps one day at a time. Whatever your approach to the new challenges that we are currently facing, the financial strains that may emerge could cause distress within us. We also know that money is a hard topic to discuss, therefore, finding ways to reduce anxiety about money conversations or accessing resources during this time is essential and can help resiliency in all of us.

You

In August 2019, I wrote about transferring money to loved ones safely domestically and internationally through banks and financial companies on my Fearless Financial Future blog. I received a reader’s request to write about some of the other ways consumers are repaying each other or transferring money using mobile devices. In this article, I explore the relationship between banking and technology by focusing on peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payment apps.

woman, stressed, credit cards

2019 was a year that most of us seemed to want to forget… but you know the one thing you can’t forget from last year. That debt you may have racked up.

Debt, it feels like such a nasty word. For a lot of us, debt seems to follow us around like a bad habit. Debt defined is the money you owe to another person or business. For our January podcast – Camaya and I tackled this topic and wanted to give our listeners (and readers) some timely tips to help you make a debt in your debt.

lipsticks all red, pink colors

Cosmetics may seem like a great gift for a teen, tween, sister, wife, girlfriend or any woman in your life, but with the rise of counterfeit cosmetics, a low price for a typically high end product may end up hurting a loved one or yourself. The beauty industry was valued at $532 billion dollars in 2017 with an expected market value of $805 billion dollars by 2023.

Pick a Debt, Pay it Down! Happy New Year background of glitter and fireworks

Happy New Year’s!  Now is the time to think about resolutions for 2020 and many people ponder which financial goal to choose. Sometimes I tend to make setting resolutions complicated and involved, and then I’m not likely to stick with the resolution.