[Guest article today]
The recent ‘Clever Posts of the Week – July 11th’ post on CleverDude.com immediately caught my eye because of the one post that was entitled “How Saving 50 Cents Cost Me 500 Bucks.” The reason it jostled my attention is that I too have been in a similar situation in which a few bucks turned into a couple hundred that I ended up owing.
From the “50 Cents” article, the financial problem stems from forgetting to fill up the spare tire when it’s needed the most but my mistake goes way beyond this stupidity because it basically sums up what happens when you give a young, inexperienced kid a new credit card and the ability to purchase the video games they love.
It was my fault.
No one forced me to buy a video game I had loved as a kid; I simply let the nostalgia get the best of me, but because I didn’t really understand the weight of missing just one payment. it really snowballed into something that became way bigger than it needed to be.
A Nostalgia Trip
I really started off on the wrong foot because I wanted to buy a video game from my childhood that finally became available online. For me the perfect “entry” into using my new credit card was to buy this cheap $13 game as a way to “test” the waters with credit payments.
Image courtesy of hin255 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I’ve been spending a fair amount of effort recently observing human behavior and really wondering, “What is wrong with people these days?” Although there are exceptions, it seems that most people are content to bury their heads in their phones and deal with their fellow humans through social media. Many of us fail to remember that every single person we encounter during the course of the day has their own unique story that we are completely unaware of. We react to someone’s attitude or tone by only the shallow surface of the situation.
With all the conflict going on in the world recently; an airliner shot down over the Ukraine, strife in Israel, and countless other situations, I had an encounter yesterday that reminded me that there is still good in this world. There are still people out there that do kind acts for no other reason than to help out a fellow person who might be having a bad day.
I had been in Walmart for over an hour grocery shopping, and was anxious to get home. All the checkout lanes were stacked with customers three deep, and my beloved self-checkout lanes were clogged with people who seemingly didn’t know how to operate them efficiently.
“You should have to be certified to use these things,” I thought to myself as I watched someone struggle with what to do with produce that had no UPC symbol.
Have you given much thought to how your funeral costs will be covered?
Are you relying on savings to pay for the service? Do you expect your family to foot the bill? Perhaps you have an “I don’t care, I’ll be pushing up the daisies” attitude?
Whichever way you currently look at it, you’re certainly not alone.
Indeed, this playing it by ear approach is common in people over the age of 50, with research revealing three quarters have yet to make ANY plans for their funeral.
While we understand locking horns with your mortality is hardly an exhilarating way to spend a weekend, this lack of preparation can cause financial and emotional problems for your loved ones.
Gemini Adams, a grief expert and author of Your Legacy of Love: Realise the Gift in Goodbye, has recommended people think ahead.
She said: “When it comes to preparing for the “worst” typically we’re encouraged to write a will to share our financial assets, but what our surviving loved ones really need is a continuing bond.”
However, with the cost of funerals rising at a rate of seven per cent per year, the price of a funeral could be around £25,000 in 30 years, which can be enough to taint even the strongest bond.
When you add in other death-related costs such as probate, headstones and flowers, the price of a funeral now stands at an eye-watering £7,622.
My son has spent a lot of time on the computer this summer playing online games. His friends come over, and he goes over to their houses as well. But their activity almost always revolves around playing online games. So, I was shocked to have my son ask me if he could get a new bike. He has outgrown his previous bike, and apparently he and his friends have been talking about cruising around. Hey, I’m all for him spending some additional time outside, so off we go this weekend to get him a new bike. I think it’s time to re-instate the family bike ride as well!!
Speaking of being outside, one of the things I’ve gotten in the habit of doing to enjoy the Summer air is to take my laptop and my blogging work outdoors to the deck. I can have a cold one or two while crafting the latest Clever Post, or reading other great articles like the ones below! Check ‘em out and give ‘em some love!
What are you doing to get you and your family outside this Summer?
- Emergency funds for people who are not in debt from Money Stepper
- 8 Rules of Splurging: Dos and Don’ts from Avant Credit
- Does Your Career Offer You a Bright Future? from Money Rebound
- 2 Strategies for Following Through on Your Financial Goals from Suburban Finance
Brought to you courtesy of Brock
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First and foremost, there is the importance of having goals.
Without goals, the relationship is doomed. What will end up happening is that you will grow tired of one another. In relationships, you slowly mold the other individual (whether you know it or not), so that eventually you’re both very similar (just look at the synergy in long-time couples).
What I found is that to have a healthy relationship you have to both have goals that are your own along with ones that are shared. These goals can be conflicting (and that’s a good thing) because it’ll create just enough difference between the two of you that you don’t become overly-dependent on each other.
Shared goals are equally important because the relationship needs to progress.
Second is understanding the motives.
Finances, as mentioned, are a big item to take care of when you’re in a serious relationship but there needs to be motivation behind it, otherwise you’ll never get around to the act.
The bigger picture begins to take form and it’s important to have open dialog about the big items:
- Having kids
- Getting married
- Eliminating debt
They may not all apply but should be part of the normal financial discussions because one leads to another. Chances are that if the relationship is going serious the two of you are considering marriage which comes with a myriad of expenses.
Near the top of everyone’s to-do list is getting in a better financial situation. Yet, with each passing year, more and more Americans fall deeper than ever in to debt, foregoing investments, and watching as their net worth remains stagnant – or worse yet – falls. It’s time to change all that.
Here are 7 things you can do in the next 365 days to be in much better financial shape this time next year.
Create a budget.
This is first on the list, as it’s something that’s so simple, yet it’s completely overlooked by most of us. Having a budget allows us to accurately, and predictably know how much money we have going out each month. When paired with consistent income, this makes the personal finance journey a bit more predictable. You’ll know what’s going on, what’s coming in, and where you can make cuts as well as being able to decide an appropriate amount to save each month.
Pay down debt
Consumer debt is expensive. The average interest rate on credit cards is 14.58%. You car loans are probably sitting in the 8-10% range, and your mortgage is likely costing you 4-5% as well. The lifetime cost of carrying this sort of debt is staggering.
Repair your credit
Sometimes consumer debt is necessary, but if you must take it on, take it on with good credit. This should come as a surprise to no one, but as of 2013, the average credit score in the U.S. was sitting around the mid-600′s. This puts you firmly into the “fair” category by most standards.