Finances

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 What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” — Vern McLellan

For the new year, many of us resolve to make changes in our life.  Forty to 45% of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year's resolutions and early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year.   As 2017 begins, we may resolve to make changes in our life.

Here are the statistics on how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:

- 75% of new resolutions get past the first week:   - past 2 weeks: 71%; - after one month: 64%; and - after 6 months: 46%.

If you are among the 25% that have already forgotten your resolutions or pushed them aside in the past, you are not alone. At least you tried to make a difference somewhere in your lifestyle. Some of us feel badly or defeated when we haven't 'stayed with it'.   Make it simple and don't try to change everything at once...some suggestions:

Try to Save Money

Saving money requires two things – planning and willpower. Even if it's a small amount, try to put some in a savings account. Don't misuse your credit or debit cards - paying the 'minimum' on your monthly bills is running up the interest and costs you more in the long run. Try to manage your credit cards so you can pay off the amount due each month.

Lose some weight

Weight loss is probably the most common resolution in history. Shedding anywhere from a couple pounds to a hundred pounds has frustrated people for years. Go slow - no quick fixes - watch your calories and portions and eat nutritious meals. Do an exercise you really enjoy; walking and dancing are great weight watchers. The only way to lose weight sensibly is to take in less calories and exercise calories out.   And portion control.

Quit smoking

Easily one of the hardest resolutions to keep is quitting smoking. You’re fighting an addiction, which is never easy. There are many methods to help you do this.  Yes, it can be done.

Read more books

While it might not be a common resolution, it is one that can help a lot. Reading is beneficial for anyone of any age. It might be hard to find time in a busy schedule for reading, but not as hard as one might think. Find a good book and read ~ one chapter a day.   [*Reading the Bible is a super plus].

Go green

Going green not only helps the earth, it also can save you some money. There's lots of ways to cut down on unnecessary items or include new habits to offset the bad.

Stay informed

In this era of immediate information it’s surprising how few people actually watch the news and make the effort to stay informed.  Listen to the news ~ watch more than one news outlet - watch unbiased news outlets, or at least watch a little bit from every angle. Read a newspaper - and make sure that you don’t only utilize one source for your news.  Bias is rampant. The more sources you get your information from, the more complete a picture you will get or the truth.  Find as many sources as you can from as many viewpoints as you can, and make informed choices based on all the information you take in.

Eat less fast food

Fast food is unhealthy especially if you eat it every day. Pack healthy snacks or find healthy snack bars. Taking a little time in the morning to prepare some food for the day ahead can save you money at the fast food place and at the doctor’s office.  And benefit your waistline.

Manage your stress

Some tips:  Move around doing cardio exercise;  stationary bikes while watching TV; or sign up at for an exercise program at a salon or gym. Get a hobby - something you like to do.  Writing, reading, volunteering or join a social group. Talk it out with a friend or confidante. It relieves stress.  So does going to your place of faith or re-connecting with God.

Managing your debt

Use a debt management service which can be available online and over the phone, but do research to find out which ones are reliable and trustworthy. Paying bills on time and paying as much on the principal as possible is a good way to slowly reduce your debt. There’s no quick and easy way, but try not to get overwhelmed, and attack it head on.   Cut down on credit cards.

Be charitable

Charity has a plethora of benefits, including tax deductions, a sense of pride, and of course the fact that you have just made someone else’s life better. There are literally millions of charities, and a myriad of ways to be charitable.  Find something you can get emotionally involved in. Like animals? Look into wildlife conservation groups. Have a soft spot for kids? There are plenty in other countries that could use some support. Find something you can get involved in and stick with it. If it means something to you, then your work for the charity will be that much more rewarding.  (Ref: CafePress)

Another aspect of charity is extending yourself for the good of others.  It is truly rewarding to both giver and recipient by reading to a shut-in, sending cards of encouragement to those in need, taking a widow or widower to lunch or volunteering in outreach programs.  Look around, there's many good works you can do.

Have a happy and blessed New Year!

© Marie Coppola Revised December 2016

It's always amazing to me how many people do not take advantage of two important benefits offered at many workplaces.

One is the employer matching plan for a 401k distribution. Some companies are shying away from this form of savings but many still implement them and have replaced their pension plans with them. Briefly, participants of an employer-match program will receive a dollar for dollar match on money taken out of each of their paychecks up to a certain percentage that is then placed into a sponsored retirement plan (401k or 403b). Sometimes it is matched up to 12 or 20% of their pay. You can't beat the compound interest these plans generate.

Working in human resouorces, I found there were many employees who lamented that they could not afford to take even 2% out of their salary - they were on such strict budgets. In truth, they cannot afford to miss this opportunity to save and compound their nest egg for retirement. It is difficult for the first month or so to allocate this percentage in one's budget, but it usually is compromised swiftly, especially if a later bonus or merit raise or cost of living raise equals it and offsets the contribution.  I've written about 401ks before, but, my focus here is on tuition reimbursement from your employer.

Even in these economy-challenged times, most employers want to invest in the employees they have and increase their investment in them by increasing their skills and value to the company. Many employees do not investigate or take advantage of this generous benefit either because they 'don't have the time to continue their education' or they 'don't think their supervisor would approve it'. And again I say, they cannot afford not to participate in this truly gifting program.

Having done this myself, I can vouch that although the company does benefit from an employee learning and increasing their knowledge in the relative discipline subjects and also in other subjects that round out their learning curve and experience, the benefit for the company can terminate if the employee moves on to another company.  For the employee, the benefit is with him or her for their entire lives. Please repeat that last sentence - it is that important. Continuing education, especially if it results in a degree or certification, is equal to getting a raise at work - it puts dollars in your pocket and represents a life-long achievement.

If your company provides tuition reimbursement, and you have not pursued this avenue, make an appointment with Human Resources (HR) today and find out what you have to do to participate. Generally, I can offer some provisions although they might differ among different companies and disciplines. Investigate - but here is some legwork you can do beforehand.

1] Decide what discipline you would like to be specialized in. If you want to pursue legal, look into paralegal or business law courses. If you are in technology, perhaps you would like to take courses for the next level - routing, international analyst, technology engineer or site administration. If you work in accounting, perhaps you would have an interest in CPA or payroll administration.

2] Look into the different courses and colleges that offer these courses and what their entrance requirements may be. You should find this all online or at the library. Also, you can check on in-house courses (traditional classroom) or on-line or distancing courses that you can take at home. Find out if the school offers them.  On-line education is very popular today; some even get masters and/or doctorate degrees on them.

3] It's important to have a plan of what you want to do and a possible avenue of options. This will give you more credibility of ambition with both your supervisor and HR when you approach them that you would like to take advantage of this opportunity.

It is helpful if you list the reasons why you want the additional learning and what courses you feel would accomplish it. Do this if you want just one course or if you have a degree in mind.  Your ambitions may change midstream.

4] Approach your supervisor first. He or she has to approve your application. Appeal your case, explain your justification of how it will help both you and the company.

**Keep in mind, that companies rarely turn down requests for continuing education. This includes a one-course class or a specified degree. This is a benefit that they offer. You are responding - not asking for special favors.

5] With your supervisor in agreement, submit your approved application to HR. I always suggest making an appointment with an HR rep to do this; their job is to help you in your career development and they may have good suggestions on courses and schools. Check out your HR website; a good one will have suggestions and instructions under 'Continuing Education' or 'Tuition Reimbursement'.'

6] When your application is approved, you are either ready to sign up for the one-time course, certification, or call the college of your choice for an interview and plan your curriculum.

There are some qualifications and guidelines that your employer may require for you to be eligible for tuition reimbursement:

• You may have to be a full-time employee; (some offer to permanent part-time employees).

• have completed a year of service; and

• Be on the payroll when the course is completed. (if you are let go or outsourced by the company during that time, they usually reimburse for that semester but not if you quit or leave the company on your own).

  • Most companies will reimburse employees for all tuition expenses - most include entrance fees, books, and supplies).
  • There usually is a maximum of how many credits a year for which they will reimburse (anywhere from 3 to 6 courses a year - some companies will allow 3 courses a semester or 12 total courses for the year including summer couses). *NOTE: Credit fees are the highest costs associated with returning to school and vary according to college. This is where you are getting a big 'raise'.

I recommend no more than 3 courses a semester if you are working a full-time job. I also recommend one heavy-duty course (Statistics) and a required medium-duty course (Psychology) and an elective (something you like that is included in your requirements, ie, Art, Music, Philosophy, Poetry). It is important to keep in mind that you don't want to be overwhelmed or overworked; you have to PASS the course to be reimbursed.

The company will reimburse employees at the conclusion of a successfully completed course; sometimes they reimburse as long as you pass the course; others have a stipulation similar to this:

• For an "A" grade, the Company will reimburse 100% of the tuition cost;

• For a "B" grade, the Company will reimburse 75% of the tuition cost;

• For a "C" grade, the Company will reimburse 50% of the tuition cost;

No reimbursements will be made for grades lower than a "C" grade and no reimbursement for Fail.

Certifications, Associates, Bachelors and Masters degree programs are part of reimbursement if they are business or job related. All courses, required and elective, which are related to an employee’s work or which lead to a business-related or job-related degree will be reimbursed. Most companies will reimburse as long as you PASS with ANY GRADE.

*Note: Many employees start with courses related to their present discipline or department they are working. Sometimes they are courses offered at a certification seminar or at a community college or even online. As the 'student' seeks additional courses, they may seek courses at a university or college. Once they matriculate, (admitted or accepted by a college or university for a defined degree course), the employer WILL accept variety of courses. The major will usually be business; and the minor may not be business-related, but part of the overall courses needed for the degree. Most companies do accept these unrelated courses as part of the degree program and reimburse for them.

Upon completion of the pre-approved course, the employee must submit a copy of the "Request for Tuition Reimbursement" form to the Human Resources Department, along with an official transcript of grades and proof of payment.   Requirements vary among companies.

I hope I have encouraged you to jump-start on your continuing education program. It is one of the best deals your company is offering you. Personally, I took advantage of this opportunity and completed two degrees in 8 years; the cost to the company was $50,000. The out-of-pocket cost to me was reimbursed upon completion. It's free education and you can't get better than that. This is an offer you simply can't refuse.   Here is a partial list of well-known entities that offer tuition reimbursement opportunities:   http://www.businessinsider.com/companies-that-will-pay-for-your-tuition-2014-6

Marie Coppola © Revised July 2016


"Before borrowing money from a friend, decide which you need more."  A. Hallock

Desperate times call for desperate measures and borrowing money can be one of those measures. Most people do not like to be in the position of asking a friend or family member for a loan, but in these economy-challenged times, the prospect of making a loan looms as a possibility due to shortage of funds. Banks are now reluctant to make loans and many families are experiencing job loss or foreclosures. To meet monetary responsibilities, some may look to their families or friends to 'make a loan'.

It has been said that if you decide to lend money to family or friends for whatever reason, to treat such a loan as a gift. Part of your decision to lend it, should carry the mentality that many people will simply not repay you. It is fair to assume that everyone reading this has borrowed some amount of money to a friend or relative, and never been repaid. Sometimes it's a ten dollar amount and sometimes it is in the thousands.

It has also been said that all loans to relatives should be considered that it is indeed a gift. Since it is a close relationship and you may be aware of the personal circumstances surrounding the request for a loan, the relative may find relief in that it is money that does not have to be paid back quickly because you know what a bind they are in and will have patience until they 'get on their feet' to pay you back. It the repayment is put on the 'back burner' of the recipient for a long period of time, they may either 'forget' about the loan or simply feel that since it is in the family, it need not be paid back soon..... or ever.

It's difficult to refuse to help a relative money-wise when times are going rough for them. If you prefer not to lend money, perhaps you could offer to help them out in some way -- to pay for an expense that is due, or aid them in paying a household expense or other outstanding charges they may have. Again, because of the relationship with family, and also with close friends, it may be uncomfortable to ask them for an IOU [I Owe You] stating the amount and date of the loan.

An IOU is a written statement of a borrower's obligation to pay back a loan or a debt, but makes no promises on how or when the loan will be repaid. If the IOU has the borrower's name, signature, address, date, amount stated, it could considered a contract that could be enforceable by a court of law to be repaid. Note that State laws and statutes of limitations may vary on the conditions to do so. IOUs are not usually notarized, but it wouldn't hurt if it is a sizeable amount and if something happened to the borrower and you needed to make a claim against his/her estate.

IOU SAMPLE:

I, [Borrower Name] , residing at ________________________________________________, borrowed $____________ [amount]

from [Lender's Printed Name] ______________________________ on [Date:____________________] and promise to repay the loan.

Lender's Printed Name & Signature __________________________________________

The difference between an IOU and a promissory note is that an IOU only states an amount that is owed to another party. A promissory note states the amount as well as the steps necessary to pay back the debt and the consequences if it is not. It may also be called a loan agreement or personal loan agreement.

A promissory note is a written promise to repay a loan or debt under specific terms. These notes could exist between any relationship consisting of two persons: parent and child, friends, co-workers, etc. This is usually defined by date, and specified series of payments, or simply paid back upon demand. It also verifies the borrower's obligation to repay a debt [with or without interest].

As a note here: Interest is regulated by the state and there are laws regulating it (Usury is defined as the act of lending money at an unreasonably high interest rate, this rate is defined at the state level. Repayment of loans at a usurious rate makes repayment excessively difficult to impossible for borrowers. This is also called "loan sharking" or "predatory lending". Ref: UsuryLaw.com)

The note contains the amount of the loan, terms of the loan, the interest rate - if applicable, the payment schedule and the rights and obligations of the lender and borrower. Promissory notes, like IOUs, do not have to be notarized in order to be considered valid. But again, it wouldn't hurt and could ensure repayment.

Typically, promissory notes are kept by the lender until the amount of money has been paid in full, at which time the payee can request the right to retrieve the promissory note for his or her records along with a written and signed receipt. This should consider the debt paid in full.

Information that should be included in Promissory notes are: Full legal names of both parties, Address to which payment will be sent ;

Interest rate if applicable (see Usury note above); Due dates for payments of both principal and interest; Signatures of both borrower and lender.

There are persons who genuinely honor their obligations and repay their loans. They will keep you up-to-date on their ability to pay amounts and when and how the payments will be made. These persons are very appreciative of the trust you offered and are eternally grateful.

Sadly there are more of the other variety, who make excuses, sometimes end friendships before they repay their debt or simply seem to forget about the loan.

Marie Coppola © Revised January 2014

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. The reader should seek and employ qualified legal counsel and not rely on information presented here for any purpose.

 

 

 

 

Which gives the best results in a neighborhood, a POA (Property Owner Association) or an HOA (Homeowner Association) ?  The differences are very minor and very difficult to separate. Some people credit POA's over HOA's but, in the end, the results are the same and so is the importance of maintenance. 

Many states have developments that are governed by HOA's or a POA . An HOA is put in place to protect property values and improve the neighborhood. There are some HOAs that may seem picky in their restrictions and rules, but the bottom line is -- they are trying to maintain good appearances in the neighborhood and uphold the covenants that home buyers sign and agree to uphold when they buy a house with an HOA attached. 

People complain about HOAs if they receive letters saying their lawn needs to be cut or you can't park a boat on your lawn, but these are rules that are agreed to when you buy your home. Some neighbors get incited when they are informed to uphold these contractual agreements, and harass the board members who are volunteers and not personally trying to get you to do what they want to. They spend their unpaid-time to keep your property in good shape as well as their own. 

If a neighborhood allows subletting or renting a home in the development, the owner, not the renter, is responsible to abide by the rules and restrictions. If the renter does not mow the law, or breaks the rules, the owner will get the letter and subsequent fine if it is not remedied. Unpaid fines can cause a lien on the owner's property. 

You can usually tell where there is an HOA in a development. It will be well maintained with pleasant surroundings. There won't be any shocking green homes with hot pink shutters. It may be that some HOAs go overboard with their restrictions and rules, but it is meant for the good of the appearance of the development. If a shocking green house with hot pink shutters hurts your eyes, it will also hurt the eyes of potential buyers; the HOA can help you maintain your investment.

The HOA can also help decide disputes or mediate zoning or structure requirements. And save you money by settling it through mediation or through the management company, if they employ one.

 If you are a free spirit who wants a shocking green home with hot pink shutters and trailers, boats and cars parked on your lawn and knee-high grass to be cut when you feel like it, or let your dogs poop without scooping, you won't want to buy a house in a development with an HOA. 

 

On the other hand, if you like well-maintained lawns and neighbors who have a like interest in keeping their houses mildew-free and kept up with repairs, an HOA development is for you.

©Marie Coppola Revised September 2013


This is it! You are invited back for a 3rd interview and feel confident that the job will be offered. Here are some tips to consider when the subject of salary is mentioned.

Before the meeting, do your homework on market data for the salary you can expect for the position. You can use one of my favorites - www.salary.com and make sure you use your zip code, city and state.

Let the interviewer mention salary first.

Try to find out as much as you can what the job actually entails; ie, overtime, travel, benefits. It's to your benefit to know exactly what requirements and responsibilities will be expected in the position. Be confident of your strengths and achievements. Offer documented value of what you can bring to the job. Bring along a previous performance appraisal.

The interviewer or employer should make the first salary offer. If you are asked, say that you expect a competitive market value salary or you can give him/her a range that you find acceptable. Don't be too aggressive in negotiating what you expected. An offer is an offer and you can say no.

You do NOT have to accept the first salary offer. If you feel it is inadequate or less than you desire, you CAN negotiate salary. Try to focus on the employer's total compensation offer.

If the company offers excellent 401k, savings, insurance, wellness, bonuses, vacations, etc., you may want to take that into consideration in lieu of a higher salary. You may also negotiate extra vacation or extra personal or sick days or bonuses in lieu of salary.

Thank the employer for the offer when it is made, but don't try to negotiate right after the offer is made. Ask for some time to think it over.

Salary negotiations is not a game or status to see how well you can do. Never inflate your current or previous earnings to try to get a higher offer. Human resource departments share this information with other companies and it is likely they already know what you are or were making. You should consider where the company is located, how they are doing (check out their annual report), what the turnover of employees is, travel time to and from work, working conditions, and what your title will be. A Vice-President in one company may be a Director or Manager in another company. Some may have offices but many have cubicles. Decide what is most important to you before the meeting.

If you find the offer acceptable either at that meeting or a subsequent one, ask for the offer in writing. Most companies supply them without asking, but inquire to make sure they do.

Good luck - I hope the job is the one you want and the salary, too!

Marie Coppola February 2011

Ref: Quintessential Careers http://quintcareers.com/index.html 

 

 

 

 

In these lean times, your savings account may be decreasing and you may need some extra cash. Loans are hard to come by with banks and lending institutions.  Borrowing money from friends and family may not be an option for you. Your retirement funds are nestled away in your 401k plan but it’s always been advised that you don’t touch it unless it’s a hardship.

If you are still working, your company may have some restrictions about borrowing or withdrawing from it, and if you are retiring or retired, your options will differ. The following are standard options for you if you are still working: There are usually two ways to withdraw from your 401K.

You can withdraw money as [1] a loan to yourself or you can withdraw money by [2] claiming a hardship.

[1] Withdrawing monies as a LOAN.   You are ‘borrowing’ on your own money according to the rules of your plan and pay yourself back with interest (usually the going prime rate plus 1%). You can take up to five years to repay the amount borrowed. In a loan to yourself, there are no restrictions on why you are withdrawing: it could be a large personal purchase, wedding expenses, a new car or anything you may want to buy. There are no tax penalties involved in this type of withdrawal. Repayment of loans are taken out automatically from your payroll check. You may repay back the entire amount of the loan without any penalties. Some 401k plans require a spouse’s approval for any loan amount.

Disadvantages of Loan Withdrawal:

[a] the money you withdraw will hamper your retirement funds with the loss of five years of compound interest - the "golden egg" of 401ks. Compound interest charts will give you an idea of what you may be giving up by losing all the compounding interest that you could have earned, therefore diminishing your future earnings.

[b] If you leave the company or are terminated before the loan is paid off then you have to repay the loan upon your termination or it will be considered as an ‘early withdrawal’ and the penalties that come with it — plus taxes.

We all know that there are life events that could force you to withdraw from your 401k if there are no other financial sources, such as a home equity loan. The only other way to withdraw on your 401k is to claim a ‘hardship’.

[2] Withdrawing monies as a HARDSHIP.   Hardships are defined as : overdue medical expenses; avoiding foreclosure (stipulations vary), funeral expenses, and college tuition. These hardships require documentation to prove that you have no other assets to draw on before the hardship is allowed.

Disadvantages of Hardship Withdrawal:

[a] Not only will you pay income taxes on the withdrawal amount (as added income), but also a 10% federal penalty for early withdrawal.

[b] You will be suspended from contributing into your account for six months, losing any company matching funds; a big loss that is hard to recoup, again, by losing all the compounding interest that you could have earned, therefore diminishing your future earnings.

[c] If your employer goes bankrupt or you’re laid off, the loan automatically becomes due. You will be given a certain amount of time to pay it back. If you fail to do, you will be classified as "default." If you are on default for a 401k loan, you will be charged a 10% penalty fee for the outstanding loan amount as well as pay federal and local state taxes.

These withdrawal options above are for when you are still working on the job. It is advised by financial planners that when you leave your company or retire, you should roll your 401k into an IRA or other stable or fixed fund investments.

Disclaimer:  These materials have been prepared for information purposes only. They are not intended to be nor do they constitute legal advice.

Marie Coppola © Revised November 2012

 Raleigh Frugal Family Examiner

Sharon Cece is a writer and columnist with a background in administrative management. Promoting thrift as an alternative to consumption, Sharon uses simple, common sense approaches to family budgeting and economizing. Her one-income saving solutions have appeared in a number of print and internet...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Outside this fine morning, the sun was shining brightly in a blue sky. There was no evidence whatsoever of clouds, rain or rumble. I deduced, therefore, that I did not need to drag along an umbrella or jacket, that I could spend the day - based on the information I was given sensorily - dry, warm and safe.

Thus, I left the house without aforementioned umbrella or coat, and planned my day with confidence that things would go according to plan.

Five hours later, as blue changed to gray then black, I - drenched and cold, shaking my fist at the sudden foul turn of events, plans ruined - couldn't help but wonder how I could have prepared better for this bitter, unexpected atmospheric shake-up. Even the weatherman let me down!

Our financial skies tend to be as fickle - one day, you're confident that you can pay all your bills into the unseen future, eat at restaurants comfortably a few times a week, buy the latest upgrade in technology (hey I work hard, I deserve it, and I need to keep up with my friends; after all, what will they think?), plan for retirement, put money away for the kids college, pay off my debt, savings...well, if I have money left over, sure, savings.

But life - often stormy and unpredictable - can take a sudden shift: a reduction in income, an equally unexpected increase in expenses, credit card debt, household repairs, childcare issues and medical expenses. Financial climates, like the weather, can change quickly and with little forewarning.

Metaphorically speaking, saving for a rainy day is always a good idea, but one the average American pushes to the back of the equally metaphoric closet. It's the last thing on our growing list. The reason for this is what teens today refer to as "YOLO", You Only Live Once. Most people agree that bills need to be paid, but the consensus gets a bit sketchy when it comes to what and how much. People want to live richly; the thought of being frugal and careful with spending is more frightening than saving for...well, what may not happen. What probably won't happen. Live for today, don't worry about tomorrow. We'll worry about hard times if and when they hit...

Saving for a rainy day. No, not as much fun as living in the moment. Not as much fun, granted, as up-to-the-minute technology and nice cars and new furniture, and Starbucks coffee, loaded, with whipped cream (remember, I deserve it!).

Yet, saving for a rainy day provides a lot more relief when the rain starts to fall and you know you're covered. Just like when you're dragging that umbrella around - inconveniently, no doubt - until the moment you need it, and the drenched are standing there looking at a dry you, relief etched on your smiling face.

At some point, we all have to make tough financial decisions. By saying "No" to expensive items and frivolous purchases, we say "Yes" to our peace of mind and our security. We can't stop rough times from coming, but by preparing financially, we can make those tougher times less stressful and still have good lives. What makes a good life anyway: is it "things"? Living just for today with little thought for tomorrow? Or is it living smart, prepared, comfortable but not excessively, content in the little things, joyful in those moments that don't cost a single penny.

For frugal families, "YOLO" has a much different meaning. It doesn't pertain to a day, a week or even a year. It's a lifelong attitude. It means living within your means so you don't have to worry about how you're going to make mortgage payments (low payments, since you bought a small house with an equally small mortgage). How you're going to get from point A to point B (you own all your cars and have no payments). How you're going to eat (you eat at home, with inexpensive ingredients, learn to cook and bake, buy on sale, freeze, and don't waste). How you're going to make it during a stormy financial climate (you've put away money continuously, kept your debts and purchasing low, lived frugally, and you know you'll be okay). YOLO = You Only Live One (Life), not One (Day)...

...for where will living it up for one day leave you in an unprepared tomorrow?

Sharon L. Cece © 2012