Text says "Family Financial Feuds: Train Your Brain" with an image of a barbell

In this Family Financial Feuds episode, I had a mind-opening conversation with Karla Belzer about the role mindfulness plays in reducing stress about money. Karla is a Family Life Educator with University of Illinois Extension. She is also now the acting County Director for one of the IL Extension units. Karla has worked for 20 plus years in the health and services field. She has been studying, researching, and writing about mindfulness for many years, and she brings some new perspectives to the discussion on incorporating mindfulness in financial literacy education.

Text says "Family Financial Feuds: Hey, what's for dinner?" with a cartoon image of a plate and silverware

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019), food costs represent about 13% of the average household’s annual expenditures. Food spending continues to increase during the pandemic, and the data shows some distinct patterns among different generations during this period.

Text says "Family Financial Feuds: Thinking long term - kids versus retirement" with an image of a person with two thought bubbles with question marks.

Sasha Grabenstetter led the team into a lively and relevant discussion on whether it was possible to save for your children’s education and simultaneously save for retirement. We discussed our past college experiences, covered research on 529 plans, and explored savings goals. Find us on Sound Cloud to hear the full conversation.

Text says "Family Financial Feuds: Mindfulness and Money" with an image of a heart and a brain

There is growing interest in the personal finance community on mindfulness's effects on our money attitudes and behaviors. The research on mindfulness is continuously evolving. The focus on the relationship between money behaviors and mindfulness is intriguing to many financial professionals who work with different clientele or community members to help support their economic well-being.

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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 protect 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.

"Family Financial Feuds" and "Big Decisions: You might be fatigued" text across top. Below text is a drawing of a shopping cart.

What do you consider a major purchase? When do you think it is the right time to buy a big-ticket item? Responses to these questions may vary based on our interpretations. However, in difficult financial times, our approach may be different. While we are still making money decisions during this economic downturn, we also may be cautious and conscious about how we spend our dollars. A central goal of our podcast is to find ways to address feuds that arise.

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Tomorrow is the last day of our social media campaign, Financial Wellness Checkup! 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 (CFPB).  This week’s theme is financial exploitation, and throughout the week, we will be exploring multiple topics that focus on protecting personally identifiable information.   

Protect your financial information online from identity thieves

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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. The consumer economics team launches a new 5-week social media campaign, Financial Wellness Checkup. The goal of this social media campaign is to promote positive financial behaviors. It also aims to provide practical tips and resources for consumers as they work to manage their finances and improve their overall wellbeing.

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In this podcast episode, Camaya Wallace Bechard, Kathy Sweedler, and Sasha Grabenstetter discuss ways to identify financial stress. They also provided research on coping strategies and resources and shared information on to access federal, state, and community resources. To learn more, listen on Soundcloud.

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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.

climbing stairs

The beginning of the year is typically a time for reflection and goal setting, and I started thinking more about what the concept of financial independence means to us.  This is one of my favorite topics because of what it means for financial well-being (the ability to meet all financial needs, today and over time; feel secure in the financial future; absorb a financial shock; and have the financial freedom to make choices to enjoy life).