HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Join us in our FB private group WhoIsTakingCAreofYou or on IG where we cover one of these topics on a weekly basis.
May we grow together!
Join us in our FB private group WhoIsTakingCAreofYou or on IG where we cover one of these topics on a weekly basis.
May we grow together!
Have you paid off your 2020 Holiday bills?
We are almost a third of the way through 2021 so I want to circle back on how you are going to pay for fixed social expenses moving forward. For those of you new to our group, one of the core topics that we cover is financial literacy. We encourage you to learn all that you can about your personal finances. We want you to develop a budget and ‘social expenses’ is one category that I recommend that you work on. We want you to begin using a budget so that you can always cover the core categories that you need to survive.
Social expenses? What does that mean?
This is my title for those celebrations that are repeated every year; birthdays, Christmas or other religious holidays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. These dates are fixed and you know you are likely going to be paying for something related to these events. A religious holiday is the event that usually involves the most people on one day so focus on that first.
I know that not everyone has the means at this time to do this but start thinking about the process and try to work in small expenses so that you can really focus on this when you are in a better financial state.
Let’s use Christmas for our example. We have 8 months left before we need to have our gifts ready. I have attached a worklist that you can use to pencil in who you need to save money for. Go ahead and pencil in a gift idea as well so that if you see a fantastic sale you can save some money. Think hard and include everyone that you usually share a present with. Family members, friends, work or church events, etc. If the length of the list is scaring you, start removing people from it! It is OK to do this so that you can focus on those that are truly in your gift giving circle.
Let’s say that you have determined that you need to save $400 between now and December. $400/8 months means that you need to setting aside $50/month in a savings account or in a money envelope so that when you see a great sale, you can start buying things on your list. You cannot take money out of this stash unless it is truly for someone on your gift list. This is NOT your emergency fund.
So focus on paying off any remaining amount of 2020’s holiday bills so that you can begin planning for 2021. Start with your holiday celebration but then start working on birthdays and other fixed events. Once you get started, you will see that you will have less stress because you have planned for these events.
Click on the Resources tab and use Holiday Budget Worksheet.
Is there a tax refund or stimulus check coming your way? If so, what plans do you have for this money?
This past year has impacted so many parts of our lives. Many of you lost your jobs, had your hours reduced, you found another job or you found yourself working overtime due to the work that you do. Some of us had to ‘pivot’ and create new jobs to support ourselves.
Many started working from home which brought on many different challenges. Parents and children became common fixtures all day, every day. Technology challenges to be able to work or complete schooling from home created new expenses.
What lessons have you learned about your finances over the last year? If you lost your job, did you have enough money set aside to pay your bills until you started working a side gig, found an online, remote job or began drawing unemployment?
If you kept your job, what savings were you able to see due to reduced family activities, remote work or were your expenses increased due to new expenses?
Regardless of which category you fall into, I hope that you have been able to increase your financial knowledge. Is a tax refund or stimulus check coming your way? If so, consider these four ways for how you can use it to build up a reserve to cover your future expenses.what will you do with your stimulus money or tax refund?
I use Dave Ramsey’s recommendations when I am working one on one with individuals who are working through what to do next. He recommends that you prioritize your expenses with the following four categories.
Groceries–who depends on you for their source of food? Do you have enough money put aside to feed you and those dependent on you for the next 3 months?
Roof over your head–are you current with your rent or mortgage? You need to have a safe place to rest your head.
Electricity, water, gas, internet--you have to keep warm or cool depending on the season. Internet is included here especially if your income depends on being able to work remotely.
Transportation expenses–you have to be able to go to work or school. What does that cost you? Do you need new tires or have you delayed any maintenance work? This is a great time to have work done so that you can extend the life of your vehicle.
As you are anticipating this next round of stimulus money or an upcoming tax refund, consider how you can use it to build up a reserve to cover the four categories listed above. If you don’t need it for these categories, start a savings account so that you have something to fall back on if an emergency comes up. ($500-1000) After that start working down any other expenses that you have not been able to tackle this past year. 2020 was a crazy year and I hope that 2021 brings more stability.
There are many ways to move forward. Visit Dave Ramey’s website for more information on this topic and to read about his approach to reducing debt so that you can create wealth.
Are your personal affairs in order? January is a great time to review your ‘official paperwork’ to see if anything needs to be updated. If you find that you do have some time on your hands this weekend, let’s revisit our discussion on how important it is to have a Last Will and Testament in place alongside other important documents. Part of taking care of yourself is making sure you ease the mental burden that comes from losing a loved one.
The Caring Hub website is a great source of information and by signing up for their newsletter, you get a daily assignment that will assist you in getting things in order. There is even a chapter dealing with pets. At the end of 30 days, you and your family will have everything in place.
If you have already done this, use this time to update any information that is outdated. If you are newly married or divorced, make sure to see what changes need to be made.
By visiting the website, you will get a step-by-step plan to do this. Keep this information in a binder, folder or on an excel spreadsheet and make sure that someone else in your family knows where this information is.
Start with collecting this information for anyone that you are caring for. Make this a family event so that you all can share stories as you review birth certificates, marriage licenses, armed forces documents and any other historical document that you need to have on file.
If you are not ready to do this for yourself, do this for your kids.
Points to consider:
January is a great time to get your personal affairs in order. Go ahead, take a deep breathe and get started. It may take a few weeks or months to get it all in order but get started.
‘Me’ time, self care and self reliance…
These are the three core topics that we focus on in this group. We covered the overview of ‘me’ time and self-care the last two Mondays so be sure to go back and read them again.
You may question why self reliance is in this group but did you know that financial stress is one of the top conditions that can impact your physical and mental health? Financial stress is one of the conditions that can impact your health and can cause relationship issues. Being self reliant will improve your overall health. A few examples of how it impacts your health are listed below.
Over the last 30 years, I have spoken to so many women who are at a loss when it comes to their own finances. Not because they are being lazy but because they either rely or relied on their partner to ‘take care of all of that’ or they feel overwhelmed about how to get the financial information that they need.
One of the many things that 2020 showed us was that we cannot rely on one stream of income. Things beyond our control can impact that one paycheck. We have also seen how relying on the government to bail us out is NOT an option.
I am going to ask that you take a hard look at where you are financially. Do you have a consistent stream of income? Do you have multiple streams of income? Do you know how much debt you are in? Do you have a plan for how you are going to reduce and eliminate your debt? Do you know how to access all of your accounts? The list of questions is a long one but we will cover them in January.
I feel that it is crucial for all of you to become financially literate and financially independent so that you can be in a position to walk away from a toxic work environment or a toxic relationship. You should NEVER stay in either situation because you cannot afford to leave.
Let’s flip the situation. Are you the person in your family who is in charge of the finances? Are you responsible for overseeing your parent’s finances? If so, do others know where you keep all of your information so that if something happens to you, they will know where to look?
So I have a homework assignment for you for this next month. Gather all of your banking account information, pay stubs, and all of your bills. Yes, the holiday damage will take a month to sort through if you put your purchases on a credit card.
Put it all in one stack and we will begin working our way through a simple process so that you can organize the information and make a plan for how to ensure that you fully understand what is in front of you.
If your partner usually does this in your family, explain what you are doing and why. Ask them to teach you what they know. This may a tough conversation to have so prepare for some pushback.
My goal? Develop one more stream of income that brings in $1000/month.
What does one financial goal for 2021 look like for you?
Happy anniversary to us!!!
I started this blog in a private Facebook group one year ago today in anticipation that I was moving to a new city and wanted to maintain the friendships and support group that I was leaving behind. I love the fact that we have social media to help us keep and renew friendships.
The Who Is Taking Care of You? FB group celebrates a milestone today in that we hit our one year mark and it has grown to over 400 members from the US and 14 different countries. I have shared 277 blog posts focusing on the intersection of women’s and public health and created a website for housing our Resource information. I love the unique perspectives we all bring to this group and I hope to see you engage even more.
For those new to this blog, WELCOME! I am an ob/gyn that has advocated for women for the last thirty years. I have worked in public health for the last 16 years and am passionate about the intersection of women’s and public health. I can speak and write on this topic for hours.
As I work with women, the common theme I see is that you all do a great job taking care of others but you are not as good when it comes to caring for yourself. I am a firm believer that you need to be knowledgable about these three core factors; mental, physical and financial health. In order to focus on these items, I try to limit our posts to the following topics:
‘Me time’ is important for your mental health. I want for you to find at least 30 minutes a day to focus internally so that you can quiet your mind. This will enable you to develop tools so that you can handle your daily mini-crisis without increasing your anxiety levels.
Self Care is necessary to ensure that you are in charge of your physical health. You, and only you, are responsible for your health. We use the Well Woman Chart as a foundation so that you are armed with the tools and knowledge that you need to take charge of your health journey.
Self Reliancy is the topic that most of you are surprised by. Why do I think this is important? I believe that all of you need to acquire a skill to support yourselves and then you need to educate yourselves about your personal finances. I do not want you to work or live in a hostile environment because you cannot afford to leave. I do not want you to be lost if you lose your loved one because they always took care of your family’s finances.
Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you. I am grateful for each and every one of you!
It is Money Monday!
We will continue to destress by having you work on decreasing your financial stressors. Worrying about how to pay for all of your bills can make you physically sick so we want to work on decreasing the amount of money that you owe. You can simplify your holiday gift giving and gain financial health.
For those of you that are new to this group, I believe that each one of you needs to be financially literate. I don’t want you to stay in a toxic home or relationship because you cannot afford to leave. I do not have any special certifications in this field. I am just sharing my thoughts with you like I share with my kids.
We began our conversation about how to pay for Christmas on September 25th. Three months before Christmas. I asked if you preplan, budget and prepay for your holiday gifts and expenses or do you spend what you want and worry about it the following year? If you are in the latter group, I want for you to take the next 18 months to convert to a plan where you prepay for all of your holiday gifts and expenses. Yes, a good old fashion Christmas Savings account!
Although the MarketPlace article is from 2018, the average Christmas debt was $1054 and half paid it off within 3 months. Another 29% paid it off in 5 months. Some were still paying on the debt when the next holiday season rolled around.
Let’s walk through an example using my immediate family to see what kind of money we are talking about.
I have 2 parents, 1 mother-in-law, 1 spouse, 3 children and 2 boy/girl friends, 5 brothers + spouses, 4 in-laws + spouses, and 20 nieces and nephews. That is 47 individuals. If I gave each of them a gift and limited my costs to the following this is how much it would cost me.
$10 apiece = $470
$20 apiece = $940
$25 apiece = $1175
$50 apiece = $2350
I will have to decide if I am going to give everyone a gift or do we draw names to limit how many gifts we will exchange. You know that I am going to give my spouse and kids more than one gift. What kind of limits will I place on myself? Maybe I can gift them my time or talents instead.
What about the other special people in your life? Do you factor in your co-workers, employees, friends, church family members, angel trees, mailman, newspaper carrier, sports team coaches, teachers, housekeeper, lawn service, Christmas family donations, etc. When we add them in, it gets scary really quickly. Where does it end? Which of these things can you remove from your list? Again, maybe your time or talents would be a better way to show them you care. Maybe you spread your gifts out over the year instead of all in one month?
What about decorations, holiday outfits, pjs, holiday cards, special meals and drinks? What else can you add to this list?
If it is too stressful to think about prepaying (saving) for this in 2020, then use this year to keep strict records so that you can use 6-9 months of 2021 to save up for the 2021 holidays.
This year is so different for all of us. You have 5 weeks before Thanksgiving week. Your financial situation may or may not be different this year but I am going to challenge you to use this time to make a promise to yourself that you will limit holiday spending in some way this year. Sit down for dinner with your family and talk about it openly. Talk about it at work. I guarantee you that someone will be grateful to hear that you will not have a gift exchange this year.
You can make this decision for yourself and can just announce that you are taking a break this year. You are allowed to do this!
Is this too much for you? Start small. Make a promise to yourself that you will not buy any new holiday decorations this year. What can you reuse or repurpose? How can you simplify your decor? Do you really need a Christmas tree in each room? If you do, do not buy anything new for any of them this year.
For today, without thinking hard, write down ONE thing you will not buy this holiday season.
Me? Christmas Santas.
What about you? Leave a comment below and share your first thought.
It’s Money Monday!
So I had someone ask why their daughter should start contributing to her retirement plan at age 21.
The answer? Compound interest!
There are all kinds of charts that will show you how investing small amounts consistently over time will give you the returns you need to retire comfortably. Compound interest is your friend.
I wasn’t able to begin investing for my retirement until 15 years after I graduated from high school in 1980. I didn’t pass the poverty threshold of $12,490 until I was 10 years beyond my high school graduation. It was another 5 years before I was employed in a group practice and actually began contributing to something other than social security. A 401K? What is that?
When we first sat down to begin educating ourselves, it was pretty daunting. They gave us the advise of projecting how much we would need if we wanted to live off 80% of our salary. The advice has drastically changed over the last 20 years but most of the financial gurus that I follow now say you are financially independent if you have 20-25X of your projected annual expenses in your savings/retirement accounts.
So I started late, but now, at age 58, I can quit working if I choose to. We choose to live way below our means so we could pay off over $150K in student loans, save for our three kids college expenses and save money for ourselves. We invested in stocks. We used a budget until we didn’t need to.
So my point? It is never too late to begin this process. By starting in your early 20s, you will have time on your side and you can rely on compound interest to help you reach your goals. Compound interest is your friend.
Congratulations to all of our new college grads on beginning their new jobs. I feel like a proud mama watching my daughter and her friends achieve this milestone. They are moving to new cities and establishing new homes. What advice can we share with them? What advice can we share with any of our friends who are returning to the workforce? Let us share their excitement as we begin celebrating a new start after graduating from college.
Here are 12 things that I would tell you if you were my child. Following some or all of these recommendations will ensure that you become financially independent. The goal at the beginning is to keep as much money in your pocket as you can.
• Continue to live like a poor college student for as long as you can.
• Learn how to cook.
• Do not buy a new car or lease a car. If your car needs to be replaced, buy a used car.
• Continue to rent.
• Become financially literate.
• Plan a budget and live below your means.
• Sign up for any employer match retirement programs.
• If allowed, stay on your parent’s health and dental insurance (until you are 26 years old.) Sit down and review what your parent’s premium cost is with and without you. Most plans have a flat ‘family rate’. Figure out what your portion of this is and pay this premium to your parents instead of your company’s plan.
• If your employer’s health insurance cost is zero to you, you may want to take the benefit and use your parent’s plan as your secondary insurance.
• If this is not an option, sign up for an employer HSA if it is offered especially if the employer makes a contribution to help fund it.
• Do not sign up for the ‘extra’ employer benefits during your first year. You do not need long-term care, cancer insurance, whole life insurance, or whatever other ‘benefit’ they are offering. Contain your costs and hoard your money. As you educate yourself, you can decide what other benefits you truly need. Remember that the company representatives are there to sell you something.
• Pick up a side hustle and pay down your college debt as fast as you can.
What advice would you give your 22 year old self? Share your advice in the comments below.
Over the last 30 years, I have spoken to so many women who are at a loss when it comes to their own finances. Not because they are being lazy but because they either relied on their partner to ‘take care of all of that’ or they feel overwhelmed about how to get the financial information that they need. Financial literacy had not been a priority.
Either way, I feel that it is crucial for all of you to become financially literate so that you can take control of your personal finances and have a say in how your money is spent. You need to be in a position so that you can walk away from a toxic work environment or a toxic relationship.
So I have a homework assignment for you for today. Put on your favorite episode of Star Wars and gather all of your banking account information, pay stubs, and all of your bills while you are watching it. Put it all in one stack and we will begin working our way through a simple process so that you can organize the information and make a plan for how to ensure that you fully understand what is in front of you.