Laptop with hands on the keyboard and holding credit card

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.

Should I do my own tax preparation? title with tax documents and calculator

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.

Teaching Personal Finance 2020 title with image of three educators

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.

Winter checklist: tips for a warm, safe home

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:

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.

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

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.

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.

Desert road

On the financial to-do list, saving for retirement is one of easiest to say, I’ll do that another day! The good news is that two-thirds of Americans are saving for retirement, according to 2019 EBRI/Greenwald Retirement Confidence Survey. If you are one of these people, congratulations!

Podcast Who Should Pay for College?

Do you think the student should pay for their own college expenses?  Or is it the parents’ responsibilities?  This is a tough question!

When I was in graduate school, I remember having conversations with my peers about the length of time it would take us to repay our student loans. For some of us, that meant closer to our proposed retirement years. For some older adults (60 and over), the realities of carrying student loan debt continue to increase.

What summer jobs have you done? Why did you choose those jobs? I have worked many summer jobs over the years to save and pay off debt. This type of seasonal work is important to our economy, and it has important personal financial effects on youth and their families.

July is the summertime peak for youth employment and these opportunities help them gain experience, build confidence, and earn money and have long-term effects on their overall financial well-being.