The idiom – Hindsight is 20/20 – originated in the early 1900s as a way to “describe the fact that it is easy for one to be knowledgeable about an event after it has happened.” We have a New Year’s Day every year, and with that comes the endless resolutions and promises to make changes in our lives. Birthdays are another reflection time. We are fifteen days into the year 2020 and perhaps making the tweaks now can help the resolutions to be successful.
In our lives we have plenty of ways to be resourceful and organized, yet we all fail to cover all the areas. Some of us thrive at organization in the workplace, but have a stack of papers at our home. Others have a knack for fitting in workouts, but are unable to connect with family and friends. Then when a crisis or need happens – we become frantic and anxiety creeps in.
Making those appointments to have 20/20 in 2020.
- Physical Health Appointments. There is not a one-size fits all doctor for our physical health needs. And in 2020 – we have choices. Where do you want to go – a family practice or a larger organization with multiple providers? Do you have a preference in the type of philosophy they have? The Primary Care physician is the doctor that can hold all your records, but they cannot assist with everything. Dentists, Chiropractors, Optometrists, and the numerous specialists for every ailment exist – but making the appointment, preparing questions for the provider, and actually showing up are achievements. According to a 2016 study, the average yearly no-show rate for primary care and specialty medical appointments is just under 20 percent! Post-appointment, request a copy of your records so you can review the action items.
- Financial Health Appointments. We may receive paper statements in the mail about our accounts, investments and paperwork for tax purposes. Many of these can be converted to online-statements which save the environment and clutter the email box versus the kitchen counter. Consumer Action, revealed that depending on the account category, 45-74 percent of respondents said that they choose paper over electronic notifications for insurance, utilities, medical, mortgages, credit cards and property taxes. Whichever method you select – are you clear about what is happening in your financial health. Are the accounts and investments working towards your 2020 goals? Making an appointment with a financial advisor, stopping into the branch to meet with the banking specialist, or connecting with a resource provided by your workplace will help you review your health in this area.
- Mental Health Appointments. The most common responses to “How are you?” are “Good” “Fine” “Okay” but when we dig deeper there are areas of unrest in our lives. Mental wellness doesn’t have to mean seeing a counselor or therapist. Setting aside time, or making an appointment to do something that “brings you joy” can prevent the need to see a therapist. And if you do need a specialist: phone counseling, online chat, individual, group therapy and medications are available to meet your needs.
- Spiritual Health Appointments. The National Center for Biotechnology Information states that “spiritual health creates a balance between physical, psychological and social aspects of human life” Finding the area or time to create the balance in life is challenging, but the label of religion or spiritual does not need to hinder the opportunity to fulfill this need.
Your calendar will be full from all the preparations and appointments, but your world and your significant others will see a drastic difference in who you are in the year 2020. Resolve to make an appointment this quarter with a provider in each category. After the appointments, consider uploading all your receipts, reports, documents, and memories onto InsureYouKnow.org. It’s a safe place to store all the information in case you need to access it remotely – or from the comforts of your own home. You will have 20/20 vision instead of hindsight.
There was a time when Spring, Summer, Fall or Autumn, and Winter meant something. When there was anticipation for the new season to begin – the atmosphere, air, environment and weather gave us clues that change was coming. Now we hear that Fall is coming, we see the days on the calendar getting closer to the Fall months, we see the signs and promotions in the stores, the Pumpkin flavored beverages are available – but it doesn’t feel like Fall. For those of us living in the northern hemisphere – it’s not easy to know when Summer ends at and Fall begins – it creeps upon us until the day that we need to leave the home with a jacket and we exchange the shorts for long pants.
When we read definitions – the division of the seasons is defined as:
- Spring runs from March 1 to May 31;
- Summer runs from June 1 to August 31;
- Fall (autumn) runs from September 1 to November 30; and.
- Winter runs from December 1 to February 28 (February 29 in a leap year).
For those of us in Texas, there’s hot and there’s heat-advisory hot and we are in October and thought of a jacket hasn’t even crossed our mind. Fall may begin in November and last thru January; Winter may be for 6 weeks – February thru mid-March. For those in the Canadian states, there’s winter and not-quite winter. Jackets are a necessity for the majority of the months. The definitions doesn’t apply for us. But there are some traditions that despite the atmosphere, environment and weather, we continue to embrace such as the Pumpkin Spice Latte (and the other drinks on the secret Starbucks menu), falling leaves and boots.
All joking aside though, in North America – we have also added some seasons to the traditional 4 – Hurricane Season, Wildfire Season, Flood season, Mudslide season, Tornado season. Many of these overlap and occur in different parts of the country.
– Hurricane season is split by geography. “The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th, and the Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15th to November 30th” This is about 6 months of the year.
– Wildfire season in the Western United States – such as California – which can last up to 7 months of the year.
– Flood season – varies across the country and can be throughout the year. In early Spring there is flooding in the northern United States as the snow melts from the Winter months. In Summer and Fall – tropical storms cause flooding in the Southern/Coastal states. Flash flooding can occur during any season.
– Mudslide season is another season that impacts the Californians. Usually post wildfire, or after storms, the mudslides cause multiple casualties and destruction due to the quick, unpredictable timeline. In 2018, the news was focused on the Southern California mudslides.
The world is changing, our environment and weather is changing. But there are ways to keep the memories and documents safe and consistent. Insureyouknow has a tool to uncomplicate life – that is available in any season. It that can be utilized to digitally store all the information in case you need to access it remotely – or from the comforts of your own home. Whether it’s too cold outside to access your safe-deposit box, or too hot to venture into the garage – an insureyouknow subscription will allow you remember the seasons past.
Until next time – Here’s a song from the Netflix studio about the standard seasons – a jingle to keep in your head as you wonder where the seasons are.
Happy Independence Day America. As the red, white and blue combinations emerge in our clothing and décor, marketing and sales galore treat our senses – It is a time for enjoyment in America. Fireworks, BBQ, Baseball, time with the family and friends – and for most of us – time off from work and the normal routine. Who doesn’t enjoy a birthday and time to celebrate, a time to kick-back and accept that the summer season is here – heat and all.
The 4th of July celebrations have been diversifying since the first official celebrations in 1777, when “Philadelphians remembered the 4th of July. Bells were rung, guns fired, candles lighted, and firecrackers set off.” Though we have introduced the summertime aspects of sports and outdoor foods to our traditions the fireworks remain!
Here are some facts about America that we can introduce into our own traditions:
- There are 126x more people in the United States than in 1776. There is a reason that the American population continues to grow. With the 2020 Census coming up – we’ll be able to have a more accurate count of who and where everyone lives. “In July 1776 there were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the Colonial United States. Currently there are approximately 316 million Americans.” Do you have such colossal growth or debt during your lifetime that you haven’t accounted for? Looking at all our accounts, the 401k accounts from our first place of employment, and checking with family members to see if there are any assets lurking out there. There may be more than you know.
- We started celebrating the 4th of July holiday 100 years after the Declaration was signed. If we waited that long to formalize the important things in our lives we would be in trouble. Power of Attorney, Wills, Healthcare directives, your birthday wish list, the Bucket List, – the family and friends may know what your wishes are – but have they changed over the years. Document and act upon the things that are important to you – before 100 years pass. Americans were so busy creating their young nation that they forgot to enjoy and recognize national holidays until 1870.
- We have a Declaration of Independence How many of us have read the declaration of Independence since we left school? There are lot of words, and a lot of fine print – and it’s the fine print that defines the why – why our military continues to fight for America. The British rules and regulations were stifling the growth of America, and the 13 states came together to put together a document to publicly declare freedom The full Declaration of Independence can be found in many books and the original lies in National Archives in Washington DC. Where is the history of your life, your family and the why?
As a proud American, with access to life, liberty and justice, the access we have to continue to keep our belongings safe is easy. With InsureYouKnow.org – an American based-company –our online information is safe. The ability to access documents, and files remotely – or from the comforts of your own home can be taken for granted, just like so many other things. An annual plan is also available for cost-savings.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, fathers, papas, grandfathers and father-figures in our lives. The world would not be the same without them. Since 1910, the USA has honored the third Sunday in June to remember the “contribution that fathers and father figures make to the lives of their children.” As other countries have adopted this custom, some in August, September or December, the celebrations usually involve gifts and food.
Although the role of the father as being the breadwinner in the family, the one with the full-time job, or the one that leaves to go to work every day is not always the norm – there is still popular public opinion that this is the case. According to the Pew Research Center, in the United States only a quarter of families with children under the age of 18 have a father that is the breadwinner. That means that men are connecting with children in a different way to the 1970s, when almost half of these couples (47%) were in families where only the dad worked.
Do we have more money now than in our father’s generation? Where do my resources go? Father’s Day, like so many events, can often be a time of reflection. Does our habitual nature with finances stem from our father-figures’ habits?
- Spending. Work hard, play hard. For so many of us, the money is a means to an end. After the bills are paid – what makes us and our families happy? Is it the latest gadget or home improvement, the presents for the children, or the holidays and excursions? If your father-figure showed love and excitement spending on summer vacations with ice-creams and beach time, it is likely you will be doing a similar thing.
- Saving. Keep the money for a rainy-day – or for large events. The price of college, weddings, first-homes are skyrocketing. It’s not just a phrase about the good ol’ days – the dollar used to go much further. According to the CPI Calculator in 1910 $100 would buy the same as $2500 would buy today. With unemployment rates high and pay for jobs low, it is pretty difficult to cross the threshold from poverty to middle class, from middle class to rich, and rich to wealthy. Foregoing the restaurants and the international travel for 529 plans and down-payments on homes are options we can provide our children.
- Scaling Back. As we are encouraged to look ahead and plan for retirement and downsize – do we need the large home, the extra vehicles, the tax-rate for the school districts that we are currently in? Some current trends involve the KonMari method in finding joy in our possessions and discarding or rehousing others. Are our loved ones living in different states or countries that we don’t get to connect with because of distance. Perhaps owning a smaller property or finding a space in a favorite location is the best use of the resources now.
As you place yourself in the category that best fits you – and there is no-one that stays stagnant in their mindset – each requires monitoring of your assets to fit the lifestyle that you desire. This takes time and work, but there are tools out there that are designed to simplify your life, and give your family the visibility into your world.
As you reach to contact the father-figures in your world, or are considering a Father’s Day gift to remember – InsureYouKnow.org product offerings may be your answer. It’s a safe place to store all the information in case you need to access it remotely – or from the comforts of your own home. Taking stock of your memories and your current resources with an annual plan.
Can you believe it’s already June. Where did the first 5 months of the year go? And have you already planned out your summer, or has that been on the to-do list for the umpteenth week? Whether you have every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day booked, or you are planning to enjoy the lazy, lengthy days of summer – your money is usually a factor.
Summer vacations can be crowded and expensive. Nearly 100 million Americans are planning to take a family vacation in 2019, per AAA data, and 38 million traveled during Memorial Weekend alone. The tourism industry is ramping up pricing on accommodation, transportation, food, gas and admission fees to attractions. In 2016, 58 percent of Americans spent over $1,300 on travel. This statistic is increasing 30% year over year
How to reduce Summer spending – and increase your Personal savings.
- Travel. Where do you want to go? Do you have a destination in mind? There are peak destinations that four out of 10 U.S. adults are hoping to travel to in the summer. However there are hundreds of articles with off-peak options. Try to book your flights 45 days in advance, and avoid the US National Holidays and early-August if possible. Schools in the US and Europe are off for summer break and families are taking advantage of the last few weeks off.
- Accommodations You probably already have experience with hotel chains or bed and breakfast establishments, but now there are many other options. The explosion of home rentals priding themselves as vacation experiences, are catering to all types of travelers. There are 1 night rentals to multiple week possibilities. Resorts are also affordable with lodging-only options instead of all-inclusive.
- Attractions and Activities. From amusement parks to museums to waterparks – every location has activities to enjoy. Coupons and online discounts are available for most of the top attractions and there may even be reduced rates for visiting on weekdays vs. weekends. Some banks and credit cards also have affiliations – Museums on Us is an example.
- Time. Can you mentally and physically afford to take the break out of your routine? Your workplace may have vacation policies around when you can use your time-off. Consider if you would like to save some time for DIY at the home or local excursions.
At the end of the day – take the vacation that works for your budget and time circumstances. If you only have a weekend – a staycation may be much more enjoyable than spending multiple hours on planes trains and automobiles to reach your destination for just a few hours. If you have a limited budget – create a list of the must-haves and ignore the advertising, social media and recommendations that you may encounter.
Bon Voyage! or Enjoy your couch! Before you enjoy your summer break, don’t forget to upload all your documents onto InsureYouKnow.org. It’s a safe place to store all the information in case you need to access it remotely – or from the comforts of your own home.
Most individual have a budget that is well crafted for other things except for a family budget. This is one of the many budgets that individuals are ignorant to dedicate time to keenly analyze them and come up with something that works for them alone. They rush to put something together that does not fit their budget and requirements and hope their financial goals will be sorted out.
Later on, in the middle of the month, they realize that they were wrong because they have exhausted all the cash and most probably, they end up borrowing from various sources around, to make it to the end of the month. This is likely to happen every other month and here is how to prepare a family budget to counter that.
Choose your style
You can either opt for pen and paper or the electronic form of budgeting programs. Pen and paper may be okay and you will also need a calculator if you opt for this, but there is the challenge of making errors. So be careful as you opt for that. Budgeting software is best when it comes to avoiding errors and in addition to this; it makes your work a lot easier.
Lay everything plain
The next step for setting up a family budget is to bring all documents that relate to your earnings and spending together and have a category for each. Once you separate the two, calculate the total of each and you will probably realize that what comes in may be less than what is going out. That is where a family budget becomes instrumental because it will help you control expenses and set precise financial goals.
Analyze your spending
Your monthly expenses should be the main focus thereafter because that is what will help you realize the areas you need to cut spending on. Fixed costs will not change which means you will incur that every other month but when it comes to discretionary spending on food and clothing, you may realize that is where most of your money goes. Surprisingly, the latter expenditure might outweigh your fixed costs.
Feed the details into the budget software
Now this is where you will be able to track your finances much more closely and better. That will include your expenses and incomes and the goal in this case will be to reduce on your expenditures.
Though discretionary spending may be more than your fixed expenditures, these are the same expenses you can divert to savings. To control that kind of spending, you need to put the cash you spend daily in some envelop, because this will make you more conscious of the consequences of exceeding your budget.
Pay your debts
This obviously should be part of your priorities and making minimal payments every month will help you bring down your debt significantly. The idea of paying more than the minimum amount is also a great idea, because it will help you clear your debt faster. Where possible, this will also save you on interest charges.