Have you ever heard someone say “money is just a piece of paper”? I get where they are coming from – it really is just a piece of paper. But what it represents and the power that we give to money can make it so much more (or so much less). Much of how we view and use money is forged in our early years by watching the people we love handle it. We take on the positive behaviors they taught us, but we may also bring with it their fears, anxieties, and blind spots about money as well.
After my husband Tyler’s accident last year, one of my first thoughts was: We don’t have a will. We’re both young and healthy, so it had never risen to the top of our to-do list. As I contemplated how quickly things could have turned out differently, the questions started to pop up. Like, all of our joint-owned property would come to me, but what about the things my spouse owned separately? And, what if we were both killed in a car accident — then what would happen?
Whenever I see the popular hashtag #relationshipgoals on Facebook or Instagram the first thing that comes to mind for me isn’t a celebrity relationship, a beautiful wedding, or even a couple on a dream vacation, it’s my grandparents. Maybe it’s because my grandfather still insists on calling my grandmother his “girlfriend” even after 68 years together? Maybe it’s because they wrote each other EVERY DAY for two years while my grandfather was away for his army service during the Korean war – talk about the definition of old world romance? Maybe it’s because I’ve watched them consistently stand by each other in sickness and in health? There are too many reasons to count.
It’s common for people to think they need to be nearing a specific age threshold or making a certain amount of money to contact a financial planner, but that’s just not true. Financial planners can help you at every stage in life, no matter your income. And the best news? Many employers are now offering a financial planning benefit as part of their benefit suite allowing you to use these services for free or a reduced fee.
A year ago today I woke up in a hospital room. It was the first night where I’d been able to get some sleep for stretches of more than an hour since my husband’s car accident, and despite being woken up multiple times by nurses checking my husband and IV machines that wouldn’t stop beeping, I was grateful.
When money comes your way — whether that’s a paycheck, side hustle income, or an unexpected tax refund — what’s your first instinct? How you answer may say a lot about your money personality. Are you a saver, spender, giver, or acquirer? You may be just one, or a combination of two. No money personality is better than the other; each has strengths and growth areas.
It may help to think back to how you handled money growing up. As a kid, I can still remember the joy I experienced as I gave part or all of my babysitting money away. I know — I was a pretty odd kid! But it always came back to already having all of my needs met and wanting to use my money to help others.
A few weeks ago my husband said, “I’d really like to move. What would you think about moving to Portland?” I’ll admit this announcement did not take me by surprise. When my husband and I visited Portland last year, we fell in love with the landscape and the culture. For the past year we’ve dreamed about what it might look like to retire on the Oregon coast. Seriously, if you’ve never been there, just take a quick gander on Google and I’m guessing you’ll be joining us there, too.
Before I moved in with my husband, I never had cable TV. When I was younger, I only got to watch cable when I went over to a friend’s house or my grandparents’ house — it was such a treat. When I was first out on my own, I couldn’t afford to even think about getting cable, and later on when I had my first job and could afford it, it just wasn’t all that important to me.
This week’s post is a shout out to some of my older readers who’ve begged me to dig into this topic. To my younger readers, I encourage you to keep reading. Knowing the basics of Medicare can help you better understand your parents’ and grandparents’ health plans, but it may also help you better understand some of the issues that come to the surface in the upcoming 2020 election.
You may wonder why a financial educator would cover the topic of Medicare – doesn’t that fall into the health care arena? It does, but health care is also a financial concern especially when you’re nearing retirement age. When I lead retirement seminars, the two biggest questions that come up are: Do I have enough money to retire? How will health care work and how much will it cost? Let’s dig in to learn a little more about that second question.
It’s tax season! Whether you’re still filing your taxes or you’ve already done so, this is a good time of the year to check in with your tax withholdings. In other words, the amount of income tax your employer is withholding from your paycheck. The amount that’s withheld can have a huge impact on whether you receive a refund check or you’re paying in come April 15th.
One of the first things that struck me about my partner was his generosity. It started on our second date when he brought three cupcakes to my apartment — one for me, one for him, and one for my roommate. I mean seriously, who considers getting in with the roommate that early on? Throughout our relationship, my husband has been very generous with his money, his time, and his attention. In our marriage, I have seen it through his willingness to support my ambitious dreams even if that means spending nights alone, picking up the slack around the house, investing some of our shared income, or being the instigator in our social relationships.
My first car broke down one winter a few years ago. I honestly had never considered what I would do when it came to the end of its life. After struggling to get around without a car, I took a week or so to examine my options — buying new, buying used, and leasing — and choose my next vehicle.
Ultimately, I decided to lease. One of the main reasons was because I wasn’t sure if the car I picked was really the one for me. I also was looking for the cheapest monthly payment I could find. Prior to that point, I’d never had a car payment and I didn’t have much wiggle room in my budget.
I’ve heard this question countless times over the last year or so and to be honest, I’ve been nervous to respond because my husband and I don’t have children. So I decided to ask some friends who are parents for their perspective.
One of the things I heard loud and clear: Kids are EXPENSIVE! If you wait to have kids until you can cover every conceivable expense, you will never have them. That being said, if having kids is a high priority for you, it is worth every penny. My friend Jillian put it perfectly: “Having a child is definitely more expensive than I had planned for; however, it is also way more amazing than I ever thought it would be. Being a mama is truly the most incredible experience I have ever had and I wouldn't trade it for anything.”
The health care system can be really confusing — and the costs associated with your health care can be even more confusing. In this week’s post, I want to help you understand some key health insurance terms as well as how different elements work together to pay for some of your health care expenses.
Prior to my husband’s car accident last spring, we rarely used our health insurance. Over the first three years of our marriage, we collectively spent about $1,500 out of our own pocket (if that) on health care — including an ER visit. Since the accident, I’ve become more well-versed in the health care system and seen in action how our insurance has stepped in to cover much of our costs. I can’t say I find the system as a whole any less complicated, but knowing the basic terminology and processes has been invaluable as we’ve sorted through the bills.
If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ve figured out that I absolutely love to travel. And you also know that I’m more of a saver than a spender. Those two practices seem at odds, right? I often talk to people who view travel as completely unaffordable. They end up living vicariously through others who are willing to make it happen. But why shouldn’t those great travel stories and experiences be your own?
Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, it is a great excuse to stop and say “I love you.” Now, some people would say: Shouldn’t you say “I love you” every day? Absolutely! But how often do we take the time to do it properly? That means saying it in the way your loved one will hear (and feel) it best
If you’re feeling a little jaded about the whole experience, I encourage you to think broader than the confines of a partnered relationship. Who in your life needs to know you love and appreciate them today? Is it your parent who you often lean on for support, your best friend who lives across the country, an elderly relative in assisted living, your colleague who is experiencing a tough season of their life? Absolutely include your partner on the list (if you have one), but be sure to widen your circle as well.
I encourage you to take a different approach. Don’t give in to the temptation to overspend or wallow in your singleness. Instead, use this day as an excuse to stop and say: “I love you.” Some would say: shouldn’t you say “I love you every day?” Absolutely! But how often do we stop and take the time to do it properly? If you’ve been in a relationship a long time, it’s easy to let saying the great words “I love you” become so perfunctory that they lose their meaning entirely.
A few weeks ago, the lovely career coach, Lisa Lewis, interviewed me for her blog series about money. During the interview we got to talking about whether or not you can ever have enough in savings. The desperate pursuit of the elusive “enough” too often leads people to live in fear: fear of spending too much, fear of giving away too much, fear of not having enough to support themselves and their family.