Debt is the ultimate killjoy. It can destroy a budget, make long-term financial planning impossible, and shadow every purchase you make with guilt. No one wants to live with that debt burden. But how do you kiss your debt goodbye?
Crawling out from under this mountain won’t be easy, but if you’re ready to realign your priorities and do what it takes, you can shake off debt no matter how large.
Let’s take a look at two popular approaches for paying down debt and explore the pros and cons of each.
Fall has arrived! Cozy up with a big bowl of delicious soup.
Yield: 4 servings
Hands-on prep time: 8 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Price per serving: $1.85
When disaster strikes, so do the scams. It’s the season of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and more. If you live in an area that’s prone to storms and flooding, or you volunteer to help the victims of natural disasters, beware of these four post-disaster scams so you’re not taken for a ride.
Tens of millions of Americans have found themselves out of work as the economy reels from the impact of COVID-19. A record 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance in the four weeks leading up to April 11.
Unfortunately, when there’s bad news, the scammers aren’t far behind. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Americans have lost a collective $13.4 million to coronavirus-related fraud since the beginning of 2020, and unemployment scams have contributed their fair share to the loss.
The panicked rush to fill out claims, along with the overloaded unemployment websites and phone lines, provide the perfect cover for con artists. In light of the pandemic, the federal government has also waived some regulations of unemployment insurance, including the requirement to actively be seeking work in order to be eligible for benefits. The looser criteria have only made it easier for scammers to pull off their schemes without getting caught.
Has a financial meteorite hit your budget? How will you cope? Of course, you should have an emergencyfund, but if you don’t (or it’s not big enough), you have some options. Credit cards will handle the emergency, but the interest is a killer. Personal loans are also high (although GreenState Credit Union has the best rates). Borrowing from friends can kill a friendship, and borrowing from your 401(k) can kill your retirement. But if your back is against the wall, pick the one that best fits your needs, THEN get your emergency fund set up! Do you have a secure plan in place for emergencies?
Whether your child is going back to school in person or virtually, this year will require preparation like no other. For in-person schooling, talk to your child about what to expect like temperature checks and mask wearing. Be sure your child understands that masks will likely be worn all day, and let them have input on picking out the style that works best for them. Be sure to model positive attitudes about mask wearing, talking about their benefits. For kids learning remotely, be sure to help them stay organized and get some movement frequently during the day. Reduce distractions, and be sure to give them lots of positive feedback during their lessons. Before you know it, they’ll be back to school for “real!”
Q: The last few months have been really tough on my finances, and I’ve been forced to use my savings for getting by. My emergency fund and savings account are basically zero. Now that my financial situation is starting to improve, I’d like to start building these up again, but it’s all so overwhelming. Where do I begin?
A: Watching savings that took you years to build up disappear in just a few months can be disheartening, but it’s important to remember that you’ve made the right choice. Using emergency funds to survive prolonged unemployment, an unexpected large expense or a medical emergency is the best way to make it through a financial hardship. If your savings are depleted, though, you’ll want to start rebuilding as soon as possible to ensure you have the funds to cover a future financial challenge without falling deeply into debt.
As society begins to reopen, scammers aren’t keeping 6 feet away from your personal information. Watch out for these trending scams as the country reopens:
Account takeovers, where they’ll find a retail account you no longer use, hack it and make large purchases.
Job offers that demand a fee up front to “process” an application or ask for personal information too early.
Overpayment scams where you’ll get a big check, then be told you’ve been overpaid and need to pay back some of the money.
Summer 2020 will be different from any other. We’ll be packing face masks along with our sunscreen and picking up our favorite takeout dinners to go instead of eating in restaurants. Lots of summertime attractions will only allow a limited number of guests on the premises at any one time, while others may not even open this summer.
Things may be different this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an awesome summer. Check out these seven free apps for a truly sensational summer
You’re probably well into planning for your financial year to come, and we’ve come up with some ideas to help you get ahead of the game. Check out these simple tips to save now, so you can play later!