Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Preparing the Kids Financially

A discussion came up two days ago with our kids about how they feel they aren't prepared to handle things financially and are afraid they will make mistakes. They are 17 and 13. The thirteen year old seemed the most concerned. The first thing I said was "You are lucky you have me for a mom because I am glad to help you along the way." I think they knew that already. :)

Here is what my girls know already:

  • You have to work for money.
  • How to make change for transactions.
  • How to use a debit card for payment at a store and online.They each have their own.
  • How to write a check, although they do not have a checking account.
  • It is good to save your money.
  • It is okay to spend some of your money.
  • They know credit cards charge interest if you don't pay it off right away
  • They know you can borrow money for a house or a car, which they have seen us do.
  • They know we can compare different options at a store to find the best price.
  • They know coupons can lower the amount you pay out of pocket for an item.
  • You can sell your used items to get cash.
  • They know you need to set money aside for retirement.
  • They have heard of insurance; health, auto and home.
  • The oldest daughter knows how to track her money in a check register.
  • That income it taxed and those tax dollars go to the government to decide how to use.
What the likely don't know yet:
  • How to open a bank account.
  • File income taxes.
  • How to determine withholding for taxes.
  • Where to save their money for retirement.
  • Different investment vehicles, such as CDs and mutual funds.
  • How to pay loans off quickly.
  • How to complete a budget (actually they have had a little experience with this in school).
  • How to chose insurance and what a premium and deductible are.
  • How credit scores affect interest rates on loans.
These lists are by no means comprehensive, but writing them out helps me realize they do know quite a bit, but clearly there are things they will need to learn. I sure don't think my 13 year old needs to know how to buy insurance just yet! I do plan to help them along the way. I also will try to bring up more topics at dinner to explain financial terms like 'deductible' and 'premium'. It sure won't hurt them one bit to have more information. 

Do you systematically teach your kids or grand kids about finances? Are they aware of quite a few things or nearly clueless when it comes to money and personal finance? Any good financial advice you learned when you were young that really stuck with you into adulthood?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Still Saving...Really!

I know you aren't reading much on this blog lately. It seems I have been hit with the fitness bug and I'm spending more of my free time contemplating better health than I am finances. This sure isn't a bad thing. I look at staying healthy an investment in my future health. I fell off the wagon in the last year, so it was time to get started tracking calories, and getting exercise in.

The good news is that our finances are on auto pilot in so many areas that I don't have to spend much time working on finances. Part of me is sad about that, but the other part is happy with the freedom that comes with it. Our Roth contributions and college investments are all automatically withdrawn from our checking account. Several of our utilities are auto withdrawn as well. I'm even saving for that 52 Week Saving Challenge automatically, which I now have $409 saved there!

I still have several things I need to go online manually to pay or check on, but I have found that once a week is plenty to check on any credit card transactions and due dates, or any upcoming bills that need to be paid. I usually do this on a Friday or Monday depending on the time I have available. I do hope to keep coming back here to cheer you on and give you new ideas, so keep checking in!

Are you able to keep your finances on autopilot? Are you on a fitness or diet regimen since the new year?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dental Insurance

Just returned from our six month dental check ups. All is good. No cavities. They are still watching the wisdom teeth for my oldest daughter. They are sure acting like they need to be done, and since she is my daughter and I had to have mine removed, they are probably right. So we need to start planning on WHEN would be a good time to have that done.

The bad news from the dentist is they are no longer accepting our insurance as full payment. They have attempted to negotiate better payment without success. As a result, we will now have to pay out of our pocket for the difference between what our insurance pays and the dentists charge. For all I know this is $20 each. I didn't take the time today to find out since they are still accepting full payment from the insurer for this visit since this decision was just made and our appointment was already schedule. They will also provide 10% off the difference if we stay with them. I think they are being reasonable. I know our last dentist in our old town made this same decision about this company two years ago when the military switched insurance carriers. They are getting sufficient coverage for their costs. How can they be expected to do business that way? I may look for another dentist, but so far I do like them, so I don't feel like changing, especially since we may be moving in another year or so. To be clear, the insurance company will still provide some compensation, but the dentist no longer agrees that the compensation is fair or justified and we will be charged more above that amount. 

Have you had a dental provider reject your insurance company? Would you be looking for a new dentist if you were in my situation? Did you have your wisdom teeth removed? Do you remember anything about that experience?