Friday, August 28, 2015

Preparing for the BIG Bumps in the Road

Since this weekend is the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina I thought I'd offer some advice about what to do before your belongings end up in a pile like this.

Remote Preparations:

Remote preparations are the steps you take to prepare for disaster before that disaster is even on the radar.  They may the the only preparations you have time to make for disasters like fires or earthquakes.


I hate paying insurance premiums but one thing I learned after Hurricane Katrina was that money made the recovery quicker and that insurance companies really do enforce the exclusions in their policies.  Homeowners' policies and standard renter's insurance do not pay for flood damages.  Mortgage companies require homes in flood zones to purchase flood insurance.  Many other people say that they do not need flood insurance--and they don't, until there is a flood.  My brother's girlfriend lived in a second floor apartment.  She did not "need" flood insurance until the waves of Katrina caused the building to collapse, and her belongings to wash out to sea.  If you are a homeowner, contact your insurance agent about a flood insurance policy.  The are issued by the federal government and cost the same no matter the sales agent.  Consider the cost, consider the risk and if you live anywhere near water, consider buying flood insurance.  

Make sure you know what your homeowner's policy covers and consider supplementary coverage, particularly if you don't have money for substantial out-of-pocket expenses.  On the Mississippi coast now, standard homeowner's policies do not cover wind damage.  I wonder whether wildfire or earthquakes are covered in California?  If you live there, make sure you know.  Make sure you know something about the insurance laws in your state.  While dry as dust your state's department of insurance website may have valuable information for you.  Talk to your agent and confirm your conversation via email--and keep the email.  You need to know under what conditions the insurance company can cancel your policy, and under what conditions it cannot.  Insurance won't pay for hurricane damage if there is a hurricane in the Gulf when you take out the policy, so along the Gulf Coast, don't plan on switching policies during hurricane season.  That's also something to keep in mind if you are buying a house.  In Louisiana, once you have had the policy for three years, your insurance company cannot cancel you except for non-payment, unless it quits writing insurance in the state.  If you have had it for less than three years, there are all sorts of reasons they can cancel, including wanting to lessen their exposure in the area.  Also state insurance departments may have approve before rates on old policies are raised, but not regarding new policies.  After Katrina, many people whose policies were less than three years old found themselves cancelled and forced to buy homeowners' insurance from the state insurer of last resort.  

All of that being said, remember that the purpose of insurance is to protect you from things you cannot afford, not to pay routine bills.  Raising deductibles can lower premiums to allow you to purchase coverage over other perils.  On the other hand, you may want to bet on the government coming to your aid in the case of a mass disaster, particularly one that could not be reasonably predicted.  Earthquake coverage is far more needed in California than in Louisiana and flood insurance is probably overkill in the desert far from the nearest stream.  

How would you describe this to an insurance adjuster?  Isn't it easier to just show a picture?

Photos and Inventories:

Go through your house and your belongings now.  Photograph as much as you can and upload those photos to the cloud.  Use Dropbox, Amazon, Snapfish, Google doesn't really matter.  Get them somewhere you can find them and somewhere that isn't dependent on your local computer.  If you have to make a claim, particularly for a total or almost total loss, you'll be glad you have them.  Scan receipts for major purchase and put them in the same place.  If they are in your filing cabinet, they won't do you any good in a disaster.

If you have family photos scanning at least some of them will protect them from being permanently lost as well.  Also scan important papers--again this may be the only copy you have left and even if it isn't official, having the copy makes it easier to get a new official copy.  Also, make sure the cloud has a list of your credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and copies of your insurance policies (all under secure passwords of course--and yes I know that nothing is absolute and if you are more comfortable spreading the information over several platforms, go for it.

Have a Plan:

Even if you don't want to decide to go to a certain place ahead of time, talk to your spouse and/or family and decide under what circumstances you will evacuate.  Do you stay until the last minute or are you the first out of town?  Does someone have to stay behind because of a job?  Have a packing list, and if there is something portable that it would break your heart to lose, make sure it is on the list.  I know people who now keep their family treasures in Rubbermaid totes which makes it easy to pick up the tote and throw it in the car.  Lesser treasures are also in totes which will hopefully be waterproof and survive a certain amount of water. Know what you will do with your pets.  You may have to pick up and leave quickly; having a plan lets you get the most done in the least time.

It Is Time to Leave

Whether you are evacuating voluntarily,  have been told to leave, or were forced out be fire, flood or building collapse, implement as much of your plan as you can; remembering that people are far more important than property, even sentimental property.  Get to a place of safety knowing that you will get through this.

If you have time, do something with the food in your refrigerator and freezer.  If you can't take it with you, either throw it away (outside) or put it all in garbage bags and tie them shut before returning them to the refrigerator or freezer.  Put a couple of ice cubes in a visible spot in both the freezer on top of the refrigerator and in your big freezer if you have one.  If you get back and the ice cubes are ok, then you know the food stayed cold and it is safe to remove from the garbage bags.  If it melted, and you decide to throw away the food, it is easy enough to haul the bags out.  If you've been gone and the power has been off for a couple of weeks, at least the stink goes out in one or two trips.  

Now It Is Over

Hopefully, you can go home, put your stuff away, fix some minor damage and go on with your life.  If not, here are the next steps:

People are more important than stuff.

I know you want to get back, I know you want to check on your house.  PLEASE wait until it is safe.  If you don't you put yourself and potential rescuers in danger.

Call your insurance company.

Here is where you have to know your policy.  My homeowner's policy now has a large hurricane deductible and requires me to pay the adjuster.  This means I want to see the house and get an "eyeball" estimate before I call my insurance company.  I don't want to pay an adjuster to look at a couple of broken windows.  On the other hand if you know your house had burned down, get on the phone with your insurance company as soon as possible; you want to give them every chance to do all the investigating they want.  Also, most homeowners policies include "ALE" additional living expenses.  If your home is damaged by a covered peril to the extent that you can't live there, they will pay for your hotel, apartment etc.  ALE usually kicks in if there is a mandatory evacuation.  

Allow yourself to mourn but don't focus on the loss.

I know it is easier said than done, but stuff is temporary, we can't take it with us.  

Don't be afraid to ask for help, or to accept it.

Americans are wonderful people, and in times of disaster they want to help.  Let friends and family and even strangers help.  If they ask  what they can do, or what you need, tell them.  If you have major losses and you don't think your insurance company is being fair with you, call a lawyer.  They will give you an initial consultation at no cost.  Ask what they think they can do for you and how much it will cost.  

While we all pray we never have to face either a natural or man-made disaster, proper planning can keep either from financially devastating you.

If you are interested, I've put up several posts this week on my other blog  This That and the Other Thing that show pictures of New Orleans and the Mississippi shortly after Katrina.  

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, A Disease Called Debt and Saving Scotts*

Also linked to Final Friday Finance

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Long Term Care for a Special Needs Child

The handsome young guy in the photo is my son.  He is twenty-three years old, lives at home with us, is handy for getting things off top shelves, does school pick-up for his younger sister, works in food service at the Superdome and is autistic.  In many ways he is twenty-three going on fifteen.  He is perfectly happy with his part-time job.  He has no desire to move out.  He'd rather spend his money on video games than on car repair bills (but then,so would I and I don't play video games).  We don't know what the future holds for him, but realistically, he will be economically dependent on us for the foreseeable future, if not forever.  As we prepare financially for retirement, he has to be considered.


As parents reach their fifties and sixties and retirement becomes more than a far-off dream, special needs children age out of the school system, which up to that time, has been a primary provider of services for many children.  One thing parents quickly learn is that while school-aged children are entitled to services, adults are eligible for them.  The difference is that schools are required to provide needed services; services to adults are provided if there is enough money.  Waiting lists are the rule rather than the exception.  The main take-away from this is that when your child turns eighteen you need to register him/her with all the appropriate agencies, whether or not you need services at that time. Failing to do this probably cost me close to $10,000 for a program that would have been paid for had we gotten on the list a few months earlier than we did.  

Financial Preparations

Social Security and Other Government Programs

Social Security is the foundation upon which other services are built.  Low-income families of special needs children can get payments from SSI while the children are still minors.  Once the child reaches eighteen, his/her eligibility is based on the handicapping condition and its effects on life.  Right now, SSI payments to single adults who were disabled prior to the age of majority are about $700 per month. 


According to the Social Security Administration, in order to qualify for SSI, a young adults must  "have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment (including an emotional or learning problem) which:

  • results in the inability to do any substantial gainful activity; and
  • can be expected to result in death; or
  • has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."
SSI is a means-tested program.  In short, if your child has assets exceeding $2,000, she/he does not qualify for SSI.  This means that, to the extent possible, if you have a child that you have reason to believe may qualify for SSI, you need to keep countable assets out of his/her name.  Assets that the child can have are listed here.  

Once you retire or die, your disabled child can collect Social Security Disability benefits, and, after doing so for two years, will qualify for Medicare.


People who qualify for SSI also qualify for Medicaid, the state medical insurance program for the poor.  In Louisiana, Medicaid pays for dental work for people under twenty-one, but not for those over twenty-one, so we made sure the wisdom teeth were removed prior to age twenty-one and made sure he saw the dentist right before his birthday that year.  If your child is covered on a family insurance plan, Medicaid may help with the premiums, but if your child has ongoing expensive medical needs,  you may want to compare the costs you would pay out-of-pocket with the amount they would pay toward your premiums and decide which is better.  Generally, private insurance gives you a wider choice of physicians and facilities.  

Ticket to Work:

Qualifying for SSI also qualifies a person for "Ticket to Work", a program designed to help the disabled find a job and acclimate to it.  At least in Louisiana, once a young adult has qualifed for SSI, and indicates (or has a parent that indicates) an interest in obtaining a job, he or she is referred to the state Department of Rehabilitation.  A case worker is assigned and the young adult and his/her parents formulate an employment goal, which can be a regular job, a job in a sheltered workshop (a job in a facility that caters to hiring the disabled and which has permission to pay them less than minimum wage) or further education.  If employment is the goal, the next step is selecting a vendor from the list.  This vendor can be for-profit or non-profit and its job is to evaluate the young person, help him/her apply for appropriate jobs and to interview for them.  Once hired, the employment vendor interfaces with the employer to make sure everything is going well.  Generally a job coach is sent to work with client during the first days or weeks on the job.  The job coach is there to make sure the client knows how to do the job, as well as how to follow workplace procedures and rules.  As the client gains more experience, the job coach fades out.  People who are receiving SSI can work and continue to receive SSI; however once an SSI recipient earns more than $85 in a month, his/her SSI is cut $1 for every $2 earned.  

SNAP (Food Stamps)

If the parents do not qualify for SNAP, the young adult does not qualify, at least in Louisiana.  If she/he is living at home, until s/he is 22, the parents' income is used to determine eligibility; after age 22, the young adult's income is used. 

Waiver Services:

At one time, not too many years ago, there were basically two choices in the care of the disabled:  they were either instituionalized or they were cared for by family members at home.  In the last twenty years or so, the emphasis has been on keeping the disabled, even the severely disabled, with family or in the community, much as the school systems are now required to provide the least restrictive environment.  Many of the services needed to accomplish this are provided through pots of money called "waiver services" (don't ask me, I didn't name them).  State waiver services can provide a certain number of hours of a Personal Care Attendent per week, respite services or vocational training.  

That $10,000 mentioned above?  One of the employement vendors with whom we worked stated that my son was not ready for a regular job and explained his deficits (which I had to admit were there).  She wanted to put him into a program run by a local school for those with cognitive impairments.  In that program, my son worked at a local health club under the supervison of a job coach.  Instead of him being paid, I paid about $450 per month for him to participate in that program. While the employment vendor sent me to apply for waiver services to pay for the training, our timing was terrible.  At at time we applied, there was a three month waiting list.  Due to problems with the state budget, that waiting list did not move at all for the entire time he was in that program.  Since I did not want my son sitting home doing nothing, I used his SSI money to pay for the training.  Had I applied for waiver services when he turned eighteen (I called them then but he was still in school and I did not think I needed the services they listed), that training would have been paid for by the state.  Today the employment vendor who finally found my son a job gets some waiver money for regularly following up with him and his employer to make sure everything continues to go well.

Besides the state waiver, there is a federal waiver.  The waiting list for this waiver is over ten years.  I've been told that the purponse of that waiver is to replace financially what the child is getting from parents.  It can provide housing and other services such as supervision necessary to keep the handicapped individual in the community.  A social worker told me that once people get this waiver, they stay on it until they die, and that she has seen some plans that cost over $100,000 per year.  The plans are developed with the client and family to meet the needs of that client.  They are administered by companies that provide that service and each client has a case worker.  One day when we reach the top of the waiting list, I'll let you know what services are available.  Luckily, at this time we do not have need of any services which we are not receiving.  My son is able to drive himself to work, do chores around the house and take care of his personal needs.  Our main concern is his long-term financial security.

Special Needs Trusts

As noted above, those with monetary assets above a certain level are not eligible for SSI, Medicaid, or the services that use SSI eligibility as the criterion for inclusion.  While that may not be a problem when parents are alive and providing a home, food, and other financial support; once the parents die, often money will be needed if the disabled individual is to maintain the standard of living to which he or she is accustomed.  The Special Needs Trust is a way parents can leave money for the support of a child without the assets belonging to the child and disqualifying him/her for government aid.  The special needs trust for my son is created in our wills and basically they say that his share of our assets will go into a special needs trust, and that if he does not exhaust that trust before he dies, the remaining money will go to our daughters or their heirs.  You need to get an attorney to create the trust and you will need someone (either a family member or a finanical institution) to manage the trust once you are gone.  

Able Accounts

Congress recently passed a law allowing Able Accounts.  Like Coverdale college savings plans, Able accounts allow for tax-deferred savings.  Just as importantly, Able accounts do not count toward the asset limits for needs tested aid.  According to Autism Speaks, Able accounts can be up to $100,000 and may be spent on  "Expenses made for the benefit of a disabled individual for education; housing; transportation; employment training and support; assistive technology and personal support services; health, prevention, and wellness; financial management and administrative services; legal fees; expenses for oversight and monitoring; funeral and burial expenses; and any other expenses approved under regulations."  While the US Congress has authorized Able Accounts, each state must pass appropriate laws before they are available in that state.  According to Disability Scoop, it may be 2016 before these accounts can be opened.  Nevertheless, they are something to keep in mind.  

Living Arrangments

Right now my son lives with us.  The arrangement works for all concerned, and since he does not have the financial ability to afford his own place, it is a good thing he is happy here, and that we are happy with having him here.  The question is "How long should he stay?"  What is best for him?  Right now, having him here is the least expensive choice.  I get a little work out of him; I collect the majority of his SSI/earnings for his room and board.  He has regular interaction with people who love him.  If moving out was financially feasible, I think he'd spend far too much time alone, interacting only with a computer screen.  On the other hand, we aren't going to be here forever.  Our house is a 2000 square foot, 3 bedroom, 2 bath suburban home.  It is much more house than he needs by himself.  It is better for him to lose his parents and his home in relatively short succession, or is it better for him to establish a home of his own long before our deaths?  Or should we do all we can to assure that he can stay in this house for his entire life?  With my son's disability, those are the questions that go through our minds.  My son would be capable of living alone in this house with relatively minimal oversight, if the money was there to pay the bills.  Many disabled people would not be capable of this level of self-care and the questions of continuing care become more important.  Here are some options:

Living with a Family Member

Depending on family dynamics and the severity of the handicapping condition, this may be the best solution.  If one of his sisters and her husband (if in picture) is willing to have him live with her, this would put him in a position much like he is in at our house.  However, that is not an option in many families, either because of a lack of siblings, the lack of cooperation of siblings and/or in-laws or because of the high level of care needed by the disabled person. 

Other Options:

 This page from the National Down Syndrome Society lists some of the housing choices available for the disabled.  The money to pay for them comes from a variety of sources including Waiver funds.  Factors to consider are what types of services are available in your hometown (like more other things, more variety is offered in larger towns than in smaller ones), the amount of supervision needed, and the preferences of the disabled adult.

While parents of normal children have every reason to believe that those children will outgrow their financial dependence on their parents, many parents of special needs children realize that financial independence is not in their child's future.  Hopefully this article has gotten you thinking about your options and possible resources.

Do any parents of special needs adults have any advice for those whose kids are reaching adulthood?

This post was linked to Love That Max Special Needs Blogger Link-up.

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, A Disease Called Debt and Shoeaholic No More*
Also linked to Final Friday Finance

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Paying for College Without Massive Debt

Every day it seems I am seeing yet another article about poor young adults who are drowning in student loan debt. That debt, they complain, is keeping them from achieving the American Dream. It keeps them living with Mom and Dad, it keeps them from taking jobs they want, it keeps them from having kids. As the mother of a college student, I have some advice to those contemplating large (or any) student loans.

If you can't afford it,  don't buy it. 

That's a rule that not only applies to college but to most things in life.  Just because other people have it doesn't mean you have to have it too.  Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't go to college; simply that if you can't afford your choice of schools without loans, then it may be time to pick a different school.

Life isn't fair. Get over it. 

I know that your friend is going to school xyz and her dad is paying all the bills.  I understand that you'd love to go to xyz too but your parents can't afford to pay for it.  Yes, you could get a loan, but when you finished school, you would be in debt and the whole idea is not to be, right?

Aim low. 

I know, you've always been told to reach for the stars.  You are top student with great extra-curricular and leadership activities.   You've volunteered throughout high school and had a job during the summer.  Your ACT score is over 30.  You have what it takes to get into a great school, the kind that charge upwards of $30,000/year for tuition (plus room and board and don't forget you'll want a little spending money too).  You also have what it takes to get into any number of universities in your state, universities that  would consider you a real catch rather than just the average student on their campus.  Many of those schools have honors programs where you would be surrounded by other bright motivated students.  Many of those schools have generous scholarship programs to motivate students who would not otherwise consider the school to attend. In Louisiana our major state school is LSU.  From talking to other parents it sounds like few freshman receive academic scholarships other than the TOPS award from the state.  However, LSU is the school "everyone" wants to attend.  The smaller schools in the state all offer a few thousand a year in scholarships to superior students, money that is on top of the state award that  pays tuition.  It also appears to me that less "name" private schools use their scholarship aid packages to compete for students who could choose "better" schools.  So, even if you think you stand a chance of being admitted to Harvard, apply to a range of types of schools, including smaller state schools.  You college experience has a lot more to do with the effort you put forth than it does with the name on the gate.

Go ahead and dream, but make sure the dream doesn't turn out to be a nightmare. 

Many private schools will tell you to go ahead and apply; that money shouldn't determine whether you apply. They promise financial aid is available to meet need.  What they don't mention up front is that the aid is often in the form of loans.  So, go ahead and apply, see what is offered, but don't let your heart become set on a school until you see if you really can afford it.

Consider your goals when choosing a school.  

If you want to be an elementary school teacher, paying big money for a degree that can be obtained at any state university doesn't make cents (misspelling intentional).  If you aspire toward a financial career on Wall Street, attending the "right" school can be a real asset (even if you don't  know anything more about finance than the state university graduate).  While an engineering degree will allow you to comfortably make student loan payments to cover the cost of a dream school, a social work degree  probably won't.  It is also possible that the specialized private art college has a better track record of obtaining lucrative employment for its graduates than the less expensive school does.  That proprietary school that will train you to be a legal assistant in only two years for $30,000 per year probably isn't a good idea, considering the average wage of legal assistants.  Ask the schools for placement/salary data on recent graduates and if you know people in the industry/location in which you want to work, ask them whether your planned school and majors are  good ideas.

Remember you are going to have to get a job when school is done, and plan your studies accordingly. 

It seems to me that those screaming most loudly about student loan payments are liberal arts majors from expensive schools.  I'm really thrilled they got to spend four  years studying gender constructs in film or some other such foolishness,  but why should I hire them?  What can they do for me?  I have no problem with you majoring in history,but make sure you have some business courses or education courses to go with it.  I realize you haven't started college yet, and that lots of folks change career paths along the way, but by the time you are picking classes your junior year you should keep in mind the question "What can I offer an employer?" Also, keep in mind all your life goals when selecting a major.  If you don't want to move more than 100 miles from Mom and Dad, don't pick a major that focuses on an industry based across the country.

There is more than one way to skin a cat.  

Yes, I know, you want the four  year residential experience on the idyllic campus with the great professors, top athletic program and extra-curricular activities to add breadth and depth to your experience.  But back to Rule Number One and Rule Number Two. You can get a college degree, one that will prepare you for just about any employment, by starting at your local community college while living with your parents and holding down a part-time job.  You can then transfer to the four year college of choice.  You can join the military and use their college aid program.  You can work while attending college.  I'll be the first to say I'm glad that I did not have use this approach.  I'll be the first to say I'm glad my daughter will not have to do this. However, as I said in Rule Number Two, life isn't fair.  With few exceptions, people who have large student loans have those loans because they bought an education they couldn't afford when there were less expensive alternatives.

So, is a college education worth the cost?  Statistically, the answer is yes.  Statistically, overall, people with college degrees make more money than those without them.  Individually, the answer is often yes--yes, the college degree prepares you for a better job, the college experience introduces you to people and ideas that make you a better person and enrich your life long after those four  years are done.  However, an expensive degree in a subject that does not have a clear path to a high-paying job is not a good financial investment and  if you are going to borrow money for college, it needs to be considered, to some extent, a financial investment. *Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, Disease Called Debt and Friday Night Shenanigans*

Also linked to Final Friday Finance

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Why Are You Saving Money Anyway?

In picking investments, I believe it is important to keep your goals in mind.  While most of us would define our goal as "retirement", even those of us in our 50's and 60's have other goals as well.  Here is a description of my financial accounts, why I have them and what I expect to achieve:

Checking Account:

Used with Permission
This pays the bills day in and day out.  It is a no-fee account at a local bank where my family has five accounts.  While it pays a smidgen of interest my only real expectation from this account is that it doesn't cost me money.  If it get "too big" (a problem we haven't had in a while) the excess is transferred to a savings account. We do not run this account down every month and rarely to we have a routine expense (and I call replacing appliances and fixing cars routine expenses) that cannot be paid from this account.

Savings Account:

This is at the bank too, and while it pays more than the checking account does, the money is here for safety and accessibility.  This is where our next car is kept.  It is where the rest of the money for our bathroom renovations is sitting.  We are dollar-cost averaging some money from my inheritance into our Roth IRAs, and that money is in this account.  It is as close to an emergency fund as we have.

Peer-to-Peer Lending Accounts:

Our goals for these two accounts (I have one with Lending Club and one with Prosper) are both liquidity and growth.  We started with Lending Club about a year ago with a small investment to "kick the tires" and you can read some post I wrote about it.  To some extent, I am still "kicking the tires", trying different strategies to determine the results.  At one point I bought a bunch of notes with relatively few payments left, with a goal of getting some interest (I aimed for about 6%) with high monthly turnover of funds.  I figured that if we needed money, the payments could be withdrawn, and if not, they could be reinvested, but that the account would earn more than the bank pays.  Yes, there is more risk but so far I've had very few resale noted default as compared to those bought new.  In short, I am hoping to make money on these accounts, but I believe they are more stable than the stock market as a place to put money I may need in the next couple of years, though not immediately. If you want to invest $10,000 or more, use this link and get a bonus $50.00.


Right now, this is my financial toy.  I have $1,000 invested and the plan is to invest another $100 per month for the next year, and then re-evaluate its place in our financial future.  Kickfurther crowd-funds inventory purchases for small businesses.  Once the inventory sells, investors are paid back their investment, plus an agreed-upon percentage, whether that payback takes more or less time than anticipated.  The risk of course is that the inventory doesn't sell.  The risk is mitigated by the fact that the investors own the inventory, and if the vendors do not sell it, the investors decide as a group what to do with the inventory. Backers are also offered to opportunity to help sell the products for a commission. Here is one I'm backing and helping to sell:
Click here to go to my store to purchase
  Kickfurther is new and I have no idea what the default risk will turn out to be.  Returns vary depending on product and term but seem to be averaging about 1.5% per expected month until full payback. If this pans out, it could be a great place for both growth and liquidity as companies pay investors monthly.  The real question is what returns can the platform maintain and keep the supply of businesses and lenders in balance.  If you'd like to trying investing with Kickfurther, the minimum investment is $20.00 and if you use this link, you get a $5.00 credit, so your first investment could have quite an upside.  Also, if you have a business that sells a tangible product (as opposed to a service or intellectual property) you can use this link to see if Kickfurther makes sense for you.  According to things I've read, their rates are lower than On Deck or Kabbage.

Tax-Advantaged Retirement Accounts:

Our IRA's, Roth IRA's and 401(k)s are in this category.  They are invested in a diversified portfolio of mutual funds appropriate to our age and risk tolerance.  The goal is long-term growth moving toward income/stability in a few years.  We invest regularly in these accounts via payroll deductions and they are the bulk of our assets.  While some of the funds generate dividends, they are not our focus.  This is the money we expect to support us in our old age and to help support my son, who has autism, after we are gone.  Right now this money is about 80% in stock funds; about 20% in bond funds, but we will need to move to a more conservative allocation soon (my husband is 59, I am 54).

Motif Investing:

I only invested $5,000 in a variety of stocks, split between those oriented toward growth and those that pay dividends.  This is as much toy as investment right now, but it is interesting to see how my picks work out.  I wrote about Motif Investing here, and if you want to try it, click this link; we'll both get $100.00 if you invest via this link.

What type of investments to you have and why?

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, GoldBean Blog and Debt Free Divas*

Also linked to Final Friday Finance

Friday, August 7, 2015

Get Moving Giveaway: Retirement is More Fun When You Are Healthy!

Enter to Win A Prize Package That Will Get You Moving and on Your Way to a Healthy and Fit Life Before It Ends 9/6 #GetMoving
Get Moving Giveaway

This Prize Package Will Get You Moving and on Your Way to a Healthy and Fit Life

Resistance Bands Set by Aurorae Fitness
Resistance Bands Set by Aurorae Fitness
Great for stretching and strengthening muscles for Yoga, Pilates, Cross fit, P90X or general fitness. 

  • Resistance Bands Manufactured with Durable, High-Quality latex rubber
  • Specialized padded handles for maximum comfort during workout
  • Great for business travel and hotel workouts
  • Combine multiple bands for a customized level of resistance
  • Set fits conveniently into zippered carrying case for on-the-go workouts
  • Full 2 Year Warranty
  • Complete set includes 5 exercise bands of increasing resistance, 2 foam padded handles, 1 door anchor, 1 ankle strap, and 1 guidebook. 

Paula's Thoughts:
I used resistance bands as part of therapy at the rehab center when I shattered my wrist and these are just as good as the high quality bands that they had me using. The handles and straps that are included make it a perfect set for home workouts and strength building. I really appreciate the nice bag to keep everything together and ready to pack when traveling for work. Aurorae Fitness has made it easy enough to pack that you would be hard pressed to come up with an excuse not to take it with you and keep up your routine when you are away from home.
Soundpeats Universal Q800 Wireless Music A2dp Headset
Soundpeats Universal Q800 Wireless Music A2dp Headset
  • Compatible with most cellphone and devices with bluetooth capabilities.High quality soud with HD speaker and enhanced BASS effect.
  • Comfortable,flexible and light neckband made of ultra-light shape memory alloy. Easy to handle ear set with magnetic properties.

  • CSR4.0 Bluetooth Stereo Bluetooth chips Extended battery life !-Talk/Standby/Music Play Time : Up to 15 / 500 / 10hours
  • Music play time: Up to 8 Hrs. Charging time: <2.0Hrs. Operation temperature: -10℃ to +60℃. Size: 17cm x 14cm - 6.69inch x 5.51inch.

Paula's Thoughts:
I found these very easy to sync with my phone and table and comfortable to wear. Phone calls were clear and easy to hear. Loving to listen to music while working out to help motivate me the sound of the music from this set was important. I found the quality of the music from the headset to be impressive. I have given previous sets to my boyfriend but this set will be mine. I would highly recommend this Soundpeats Headset to anyone looking for a quality wireless headset to communicate and listen to music while being active. 
Triangular Bike Bag by Red Fox Sports
Triangular Bike Bag by Red Fox Sports
  • DESIGNED TO FIT MOUNTAIN, ROAD AND HYBRID BIKES. Attaches Under the Seat or Below the Handle Bars. Straps Fit Securely Around Top Tube that is Up to 6" in Circumference, Down and Seat Tubes that are Up to 7" in Circumference. Refer to Sizing Chart in the Picture on the Bottom Left to Ensure the Bag Fits Your Bike.
  • LARGE ENOUGH TO CARRY EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR A DAY TRIP. Two Expandable Storage Compartments Easily Fit Basic Tools, Tire, Chain, Shirt or Light Jacket, Snacks, Keys, Wallet and Cell Phone.

  • KEEPS YOUR BELONGINGS DRY. Crafted with High Quality Durable Waterproof Material.
  • REFLECTIVE STRIPS ON BOTH SIDES FOR VISIBILITY. Helps keep you safe while riding at night.
  • EASY ACCESS WHILE RIDING. Perfect for Those Who Like to Reach Down and Check their Phone or Get a Snack Without Having to Get Off Their Bike.

Paula's Thoughts:
This bag from Red Fox Sports is made from a nice heavy canvas and is well stitched. With the four straps you can put it in the front or back of the frame. I put this bag on her beach cruiser for my Mom in just a few seconds. Mom likes it in the front on the frame just behind the handlebars and it was nice that I could put it were she wanted it. With this bag she has someplace that she can put items that she needs to keep with her. It is essential that she keep her emergency diabetic kit close by at all times and it fit perfectly in the bag. There was even room for her credit card holder, keys, and a few other small items. She is very happy with her new bag. 
Groove Socks Performance Compression Socks
Groove Socks Performance Compression Socks
  • FIGHTS LEG AND FOOT FATIGUE - Graduated compression design increases pressure gradually helping blood to recirculate to the heart. You'll be able to power through the most grueling workouts or intense game play with less muscle soreness and heaviness in these athletic compression socks.
  • FEWER BLISTERS AND INJURIES - Selective cushioning absorbs shocks with your movements, reducing strain on the legs and joints. The padding also limits sliding in your footwear to decrease the risk of painful blisters.

  • DRIER, HEALTHIER FEET - Unique moisture-wicking fabric draws sweat away from the skin. Drier feet means less risk of foot odor and infections like athlete's foot.
  • STRONG AND COMFORTABLE - Reinforced stitching in the toe and heel helps our compression socks stand up to frequent laundering. The large toe box gives you plenty of room to ensure comfort with every step.
  • FITS YOUR FEET AND YOUR SENSE OF STYLE - Available in Men's and Women's sizes.
Paula's Thoughts:
I got a size medium for my boyfriend who wears a size 10 shoe and they fit perfectly. He has wanted a pair of compression socks to wear while doing his twenty mile bike rides for a while now. When they arrived he wore them around the house and they felt so good he thought about wearing them to bed. The first day he wore these from Groove Socks on his ride he was thrilled with their performance. He has also wore them on his runs and has found that they help prevent some of the pain from his shin splints. Because I wash his workout clothes by hand after each use I have had the opportunity to check the stitching and material of these socks out very closely. I am very happy with the quality of these socks. I have found that they are very well made. 
Neocell Collagen Sport Whey Protein
Neocell Collagen Sport Whey Protein 47.6 Ounce
  • 15 grams pure ion-exchange whey protein isolate
  • 15 grams super collagen
  • bioavailable peptides rich in bcaas
  • good source of l-glutamine
  • Enhanced with exogenous amino acids
  • Multi-vitamin fortification
  • doctor formulated

NeoCell has been developing and manufacturing all natural, premium anti-aging formulas for over 20 years and is the leading collagen brand in the world. Their products are naturally based, not synthetic, and are designed to promote youthful health, beauty and total body wellness. They manufacture their our own products using carefully sourced food-grade raw materials and their facility exceeds all GMP standards. They strive to continuously bring the best products to their customers. Products that are made with Nutrients You Can Trust®.

This is a great recovery product since it meets so many of your needs post workout. Whey protein isolate which this product contains is the preferred and best form of whey for recovery. Collagen sport also is a good source of daily vitamins and minerals. You can feel a difference in your recovery time as well as a lower incidence in fatigue when you start taking the Neocell Sport regularly. Just add a scoop or two to milk or water and mix well. I put mine in almond milk with some peanut butter powder, too.
Enter to Win A Prize Package That Will Get You Moving and on Your Way to a Healthy and Fit Life Before It Ends 9/6 #GetMoving

Welcome To The

Get Moving Giveaway

Hosted By
PaulaMS' Giveaways, Reviews, & Freebies

Co-Hosted By
Michigan Saving and More
Deliciously Savvy
Comeback Momma

Contest Patti

August 7th 9 AM - September 6th 11:59 PM Eastern Time

Prize Package
Resistance Bands Set by Aurorae Fitness
Soundpeats Universal Q800 Wireless Music A2dp Headset
Triangular Bike Bagby Red Fox Sports
Groove Socks Performance Compression Socks
NeoCell Sport Ultimate Recovery Health Collagen Powder

RV $250

Get Moving Giveaway

Disclaimer: PaulaMS' Giveaways, Reviews, and Freebies nor any blog promoting this giveaway, is not responsible for the awarding of the prize. Sponsors are responsible for prize fulfillment. Any Questions about this giveaway? Email Paula At paula_stewart (at) ymail (dot) com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: PaulaMS received the products mentioned above for free to facilitate the writing of the reviews. Some of the links on this blog post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, she only recommend products or services that she uses personally and believe will add value to readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.