Pre-Order 10 Things $10 + FREE Webinar

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DEADLINE: June 7th

 

Whoo hoo!

I am so excited about the second edition of 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money that I’m doing something I’ve never done before: offering a pre-order. The book will be available on Amazon.com for $15 (you’re saving 30%) so order now to take advantage of this fantastic deal.

Graduation is around the corner for most high school students and I want to make sure that the books you order make it out in time to give as gifts. To that end, if you pre-order your copies of 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money on June 7th or before, you can buy each book for $10 and you’ll be invited to a special Thank You Webinar! I’ll solicit questions through an email survey after you purchase and then make the webinar about the topics you want to cover.

If you order before May 27th, your books will ship Saturday, May 28th. Don’t worry, you’ll have your copy in time to participate in the virtual book launch.

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Don’t forget to share this post! We want everyone to know about this great resource.

The 5 Documents Every Family Needs

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I am NOT an attorney or a CPA. Please, please, please consult an attorney licensed in your state to get everything done legally. What I’m sharing here are things that I learned after my grandmother died.

 

Death.

No one likes to think about it but it’s going to happen. The questions is: Will your family know what to do when it happens to you? If you have assets (checking accounts, retirement accounts, a car, etc.) you need to figure out what you want to happen to those things after you’re gone. What if you don’t die? What if you are injured and/or become incapacitated? If you’re not sure, this is the list for you! Time to get it done and most of it can be done for free with a little bit of time. So, without further ado ….. here’s a list of family documents that every parent needs to have:

A will. Simply put, a will is a document that tells people what you want to happen to your things (bank accounts, investments, home, jewelry, car, etc.) after  you die. There are companies that will provide them to you for free. Some states will accept handwritten wills (aka holographic wills). Having a will does not mean that your estate will avoid probate.

A living trust. A living trust is a trust that is in effect while you are alive and can manage it. You get to put things that you want to avoid probate into the trust and manage those things while you’re alive. While you’re alive, you get to choose who will manager the trust after you’re dead. Once you die, whomever you said gets to manage it takes over. Probate is generally not needed.

A healthcare directive. This document tells people what you’d like to happen in the event of a terrible health event. For example, would you want to have extraordinary life-saving measures taken? How long should they let  you be in a coma before your family decides to pull the plug? These aren’t fun decisions but they are necessary. You can download your state’s form and register it for free in most states.

A healthcare power of attorney. This document tells the hospital, or whomever, who you want making medical decisions for you. Consider who will do what you want versus who will do what they think is best. Who will have a clear head and be willing to go to bat for you. This multi-state form from the American Bar Association should do the trick.

A durable power of attorney. This is a document that gives someone the power to make legal decisions for you. You want to have a document that becomes valid once an event occurs (accidents, death, etc.), not a document that is always valid. You don’t want someone to sell your house and clean out your bank accounts. Hopefully, the person that you put in this role wouldn’t do that anyway but one can never be too sure. Get a “springing” durable power of attorney just in case. Here is a bit about powers of attorney.

 

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Create a Legal Will Using Willing

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Image is from MyMoneyBlog.com

 

I came across a website called Willing. It claims to make a simple, free legal will with a few clicks of your mouse. I read reviews here and here to see if it made sense to use. The site came out of the tech start-up incubator Y-Combinator.

The reviews I read seem to agree that it is really easy to use the website and it doesn’t ask for any social security numbers or credit card numbers. They also agree that it will create a simple will. They are not sure how legal it will be after time passes. Like most legal documents, they have to be updated periodically to adhere to laws that may have changed over time.

Prince just died without a will and the money to worked so hard to earn will be distributed among people as the judge sees fit. Since Prince left no will, the judge has no idea what he would have done. You don’t want this to happen to you.

I encourage people to have a legal will (what will happen to your things), a living trust (you will manage your things when you’re gone), and a living will (what will happen to you if you are incapacitated or die). There are attorneys that can set these things up for you, but sometimes the costs are a bit much. If you have few assets (car, house, checking accounts, personal items) and want to make sure that everyone knows what you want to happen after you pass, this might be a great free solution.

Here’s a bit about why Willing was created and how it works:

Willing is divided into two main products. The first is an online tool that helps users create a will or living will (a document that outlines their wishes for end-of-life care) in minutes. The second, which Medina and Dyson are currently fine-tuning, is a platform that lets users find and compare costs for funeral homes and cemeteries.

At the very least, going through the site will help you think about what your family might need to make decisions about. Take it for whirl and let me know what you think.

 

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Invest for Retirement NOW

broke“Twenty-one percent of those surveyed who have not retired have saved nothing for retirement and 44 percent have saved less than 10 percent of their salary.”

This quote is from Financial Advisor Magazine talking about a survey done by TIAA-CREF. How do people think that they are going to live in retirement? Do they plan on retiring?

Regardless of how old you are, it’s better to have something rather than nothing. Take a look at how much the Social Security Administration will pay you in retirement and you tell me if you can afford NOT to invest an extra $50 per month in your 401k, 403b or IRA.

Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we?

Start Investing  Per Month  % Return   Value at 67

18                      $50                      9%          $536,841.50

21                     $50                      9%         $408,642.74

30                     $50                      9%         $178,618.62

40                     $50                      9%         $68,888.51

50                      $50                       9%         $24,125.50

It’s pretty simple:

  • If you have a 401k or 403b at your job you probably have a match. Investing a few dollars every pay period lowers your tax base (instead of paying Uncle Sam you invest in yourself) and your company will contribute a few coins to every dollar you invest. Start early. Invest often. Check and see how much contributing $50 or $100 each pay period will change your take home pay. There won’t be much change in how your check looks every two weeks, but it could change how your retirement looks.
  • If you don’t have access to a 401k or 403b then open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) at a brokerage house that you trust. You have to fill out a two page application and send over a voided out check. You can open many accounts by promising to contribute at least $50 per month. That $600 per year could grow into 5 or 6 figures using compound interest. Start early. Invest often.

If you are thinking about investing and you’re not sure where to start:

  • If you are a member of a credit union: contact Balance for FREE help.
  • If you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at your job: contact the EAP for FREE help.
  • If you do not have access to these: find a fee-only financial advisor for help.

You can create the life you want.

You are powerful.

Go get it.

PEACE,

Shay

Order Money Matters on Amazon.com

Order Money Matters on Amazon.com

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com

ReasonCode.org

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This Sunday I read about ReasonCode.org in the LA Times. Reason Code is a website powered by the new Vantage Score that aims to help people understand their credit reports a bit better. The name Vantage Score might ring a bell because I wrote about the new Vantage scoring system over at Black Voice News a few years ago.

When you visit the website, you can enter the code that was given to you by a lender that refused to give you a loan and you’ll be provided with an explanation of what the code means. From what I understand, the codes don’t always align with the codes from the FICO scoring system that Equifax, TransUnion and Experian use however if you type in a word or two with the code you’ll more than likely be able to get a reason.

This is a new service so I can’t say how well it works, but when I put in a few codes to test it they all came back correct. Give it a whirl yourself and let me know what you think of it.