Tag Archives: Safety net

Mending Your #SafetyNet

Edwin Harris - Mending The Nets
Edwin Harris – Mending The Nets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)At the end of the season, it’s a good time to mend your nets.

Updated Jan 2019.
Originally posted 2013.
Given today’s lengthy, record-setting US government shutdown and the hashtag #shutdownstories, this post needed an update. As a friend told me when we hit 40; “Exercise is no longer a luxury.” A safety net and emergency funds are no longer a luxury. This shutdown illustrates with stories the numbers about Americans living paycheck to paycheck.



When we reach the financial adult stage (your chronological age may vary); you may wish to mend or create a safety net. Safety nets are different from person to person; so feel free to select the pieces that match your own situation. 

Security Risk management: often solved with insurance products. Car, renters, condo, house, flood, fire and theft, cell phone, jewelry, business continuation etc. Even if you think you don’t have expensive things, you probably do. How much were your electronic gizmos? Can you afford being without [insert category here]? Many rental complexes now require renters to have insurance, which will also shield you from many liabilities (kitchen or electrical fire, water heater or tub overflow, leaky toilet, disposal failure, to name a few.) Check your specific policies for new exclusions based on the sharing economy, such as AirBNB or or using your car for ridesharing.

Savings (also known as cash these days due to barely visible interest). Rates are rising and one can earn more than whisper of interest One person’s emergency fund is $500, another’s is $10,000 and I have met someone whose security needs are met by one year’s income in the bank ($65,000). I like to suggest thinking of this fund in terms of months of income or expenses (whichever is greater). There’s a joke in there, sort of. What should be the minimum? My audiences are well informed and I hear 3-6 months from many when I ask this question. I suggest making the fund real by linking it to your insurance deductibles, the cost of 4 new tires, or even your family OOP, out of pocket limit for annual health care costs.

Residence  Home is where the heart is (and the bills) and your fridge. (see my earlier post called Clean One Refrigerator Shelf at a Time here)

Friends and Family Shoulders to cry on or celebrate with. Who can help you stay accountable to yourself? Who will understand and support your goals? Which of your friends or other loved ones can give you an assist with tangible or intangible help? Do you need to move into someone’s spare bedroom for three months while you save up for XYZ goal? (Tip: set a deadline for being in-residence-the relationship is something you don’t want to lose).

The Future What does your future hold? What’s on your bucket list?

Tools
Education, knowledge or wisdom (not to be confused with advertising, too many data points, endless supply of new products, Squirrel!),
Wisdom comes from mistakes, mistakes come from experience.  Or,

There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience.  ~Laurence J. Peter

Emotional IQ  Know yourself. Are you a DIY (do it yourself) person? How resilient are you? Can you reframe an experience and move forward? Do you want to bury the memories? What makes you feel shame (if anything) ? What are your money values ? Status or security, self fulfillment or self indulgence? Are you a planner, spontaneous spender, or celebrator?

How do you like to learn new information? Are you a lifelong learner? I have always enjoyed the opportunities I have had in my career to ask other people about their questions, or to consider what the important questions are for me when making a decision. Getting help with the right questions can be better than only searching for the answers.

Before You Quit Your Job-Five Factors to Consider

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Filed under Be Prepared, Family Lessons About Money, Financial Wellness

Obamacare and You: Subsidies

A special section on the ACA (Obamacare) was published in my local newspaper on September 22nd and has valuable information for Washingtonians and others.

For the moment, let’s set aside the economics debate about whether subsidies create disincentives or not. That is not my concern now, nor does it need to be yours. This post is aimed at people who have waited for Obamacare so they can use it! (not discuss it in a theoretical fashion) 

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...

English: Barack Obama the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This post wants to share the facts and then you can make an     informed decision, get health  coverage, and maybe save some money along the way.

One valuable section of the ACA allows for subsidies:

If you make up to $45,950 ($94,200 for a family of four) you may get a subsidy that will decrease your premiums, or even allow you to trade up for better coverage while using the subsidy.

Some of us will just be happy to save a few bucks per month to apply to our increased deductibles. I’m not blaming the ACA for that change -the $250 annual deductible (as recently as 5 years ago and fondly recalled by me) is insurance history. Good news: there is dental coverage for children under 19. Bad news:  adult dental coverage was excluded  from the ACA, so those of us with previously bundled dental coverage will have to shop outside the exchange for dental (will it be more expensive?)

However, people who earn less than a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI)  of $45,950 per year may very well immediately reallocate any savings  to other parts of their budget. Deductibles, groceries, retirement savings.  This could be good for our collective economy.
Here is one link to a subsidy calculator that anyone from across the country can use. The calculator shows prices for a ‘Silver’ plan, there are also Bronze, Gold and Platinum plans. I didn’t see a Platinum plan for my state yet, but that may change.

If you receive a subsidy how will you use the money you save? Will you trade up in coverage? Will you be getting coverage for the first time?
Please tell us in the comments.

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Filed under Be Prepared, Everyday Financial Tasks