Financial literacy, financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, Helicopter parent, life skills, motivation, parenting, Parenting humor, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

How to Keep Your Young Adult From Moving Out* *Disregard if you’re ready for an empty nest…

If you’re looking for some ideas to keep your young adult at home forever, I’ve come up with some great tips.  These ideas will be especially helpful for parents of those who have decided that their education is complete or those who have completed college or trade school and are in imminent danger of moving out into the world.

 

  1. Make sure that you perform all of your parental cooking duties with regularity and without complaint. Do NOT trouble them with worrying about where their next meal is coming from and whether or not they have the time, energy or inclination to cook and clean up.  Keep the fridge and pantry full of their favorite snacks and be willing to make a special trip to the store just as soon as a special item has been depleted.

 

  1. Do their laundry regularly. If they don’t put it in the laundry basket, you’ll have to gather it yourself.  No respectable parent would ever allow their young adult offspring to be traumatized by running out of clean underwear!    Be sure that when you clean their sheets you make the bed afterwards.  After all, they didn’t ASK you to tear apart their bed.

 

  1. Don’t ask for any help with chores. After all, it’s YOUR house, so you shouldn’t impose YOUR standards of cleanliness on them.  Even their own room should either be cleaned by you or left untouched.  It’s ok though; since they will always be living with you, they will never need to learn to keep things tidy in order to successfully coexist with a roommate or a significant other.  Besides, they need to use their spare time to play video games and catch up on their favorites shows. 

 

  1. Ensure that they have the freedom to host friends both day and night.  Don’t embarrass them by expecting them to ask you for permission.  After all, they are adults now!  When the boyfriend/girlfriend sleeps over, don’t make them feel awkward.  They have their own room and nobody is bothering you.  Leaving a tray of snacks outside their door is a very kind gesture.

 

  1. Always make sure you provide them with a nice vehicle to drive. Never expect them to be responsible for any aspect of said vehicle. A loving parent would provide a gas card, perform routine maintenance (oil changes) and clean the car regularly.  Be sure you pay the insurance and that you place a valid insurance card inside the vehicle.

 

  1. Continue to pay their personal expenses. You’re expecting far too much if you expect them to buy their clothes, cell phone, car insurance, car expenses or any other cost that is directly attributed to them.  Any parental expectations of this kind will negatively impact the stock prices of such companies as Starbucks, Pink, Apple and Game Stop.  As you can see, if you were to expect financial accountability, you would be unpopular with not only your own family, but a wide range of shareholders as well!

 

  1. Don’t expect them to work at a job that is beneath their dignity. After all, wasn’t YOUR first job in management? Ok, I know, that was probably not the case.  But you shouldn’t expect them to go to a place where the people in charge are mean to them when they do not perform as expected.   Don’t encourage them to stay in such an abusive work environment!

 If you follow all of the suggestions listed above, you can be relatively sure that they will never leave the nest.  Just continue to keep up your part to ensure your reservation in the “good” nursing home!

If, however, your goal is to raise financially competent young adults who are able to move out on their own, check out some other articles by The Launch Lady.    www.the-launch-lady.com/about

Financial literacy, Insurance, life skills, money, parenting, parenting young adults

How to Decide Between PPO or HMO Medical Insurance Plans

Learning about health insurance is like learning a foreign language.   Not knowing the language can cause huge financial mistakes. This article has been requested of me by some of my favorite people.  Here are their stories:

Caitlin had just graduated from college, just had her first child, and had just accepted her first “real” full-time job with benefits.   She found it very confusing to have to read through and select her health care plan.  In the end, she realized it would be smarter to stay on her parents’ plan as long as she was legally allowed to do so.

Kelsey had the benefit of Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) medical plan.  She made an appointment with an in-network doctor.   After the insurance claim was filed, she found out that certain services are excluded from her policy when she was presented with a $400 bill.

Shannon also had insurance through a PPO plan.  She found a doctor near her new home and made an appointment for the purpose of meeting and selecting a primary care physician (PCP).  After the claim was filed, she also received a $400 invoice because it was coded as a preventive exam which is not allowed by her policy.

Today’s article should be useful for those individuals who get to choose between employee sponsored, managed care plans.   Many employers provide their employees with medical benefits.  They usually pay for part of the premium.   The premium is a fixed payment which is usually deducted from each paycheck regardless of whether the employee receives any medical care or not.   Here’s an example to show what that means:

Austin works for a company which offers medical insurance with a premium of $500 per month which is the group rate negotiated by his employer for each employee who chooses to participate in the medical plan.  Austin’s company is very generous, so they subsidize, or cover the cost of, his premium by 80%.  That means Austin pays only $100 per month (20%X$500) for his medical insurance plan which would be worth $500 if he didn’t work for such a great company.  His share of the premium would be deducted directly from his paycheck with pre-tax dollars.  In other words, the premium would be deducted from his gross wages, and then, taxes would be calculated on the balance (gross wages minus insurance premium) X tax multiplier).  Austin was confused when he saw his first paycheck because his deduction was not $100 as he expected it to be.  When he called his payroll department, they explained that his premiums would be pro-rated, or divided up equally between all his paychecks.  Austin’s medical premium for the year would be $1,200, so if he was paid only once per month, then his paycheck would have showed a $100 deduction for his medical premium.  But lucky Austin was paid every other Friday, so he had a biweekly pay schedule.  52 weeks in a year divided into 2-week periods assured Austin of 26 pay checks in a year.  His premium of $1,200 pro-rated equally between 26 paychecks created a deduction of $46.15 on each paycheck.  Congratulations to Austin.  He now has medical insurance, so if he gets sick, will all his medical care be free?  Far from it!  If he never gets sick or goes to the doctor, he must still pay the premiums.

Now that you’re familiar with how a premium works, we’re going to backtrack and talk about the two most common types of managed care plans, specifically PPO (preferred provider organization) and HMO (health maintenance organization).

PPO’s offer more choices, but the premiums are higher. Most services are subject to a deductible and a coinsurance must be paid by the person who receives service.  You can choose between a service provider who is in the network or one who is outside the network.  The difference is that the plan will pay a higher percentage of expenses if you choose an in-network provider. You are not required to choose a (PCP) primary care physician and you can usually go directly to any specialist (eg. dermatologist) that you choose without having to see your primary care doctor first to get permission to do so.

HMO’s offer fewer choices but lower premiums. You must choose a PCP to coordinate your medical care. For example, if you want to go to a dermatologist, you first need an appointment with your PCP to ask for a referral.  If your referral is given, you will need to select a dermatologist from a limited network.  HMO’s have a tidy, predictable co-pay(ment) schedule and lower premiums, but is offset by fewer choices.

If you look at the table and see blah, blah, blah insurance, just skip to the example after the table…

Coverage Comments PPO In Network PPO Out of Network HMO
Preventive Care 100%, no deductible Services paid at 70% after deductible $0 co-pay
Deductible First $400 of medical care each year is paid by Austin before the insurance will reimburse any expenses. $400 single, $800 family $400 single, $800 family None
Co-Insurance/Co-pay Co-Pay (HMO only) is a fixed predetermined amount for service 85%* of eligible charges**after deductible*** 70% of eligible charges after deductible Co-Pay based on service
Out of Pocket Max $2,800 Single, $8,100 family $3,100 single,

$9,000 family

$1,800 single, $3,600 family
Primary Care Visit

 

85% of eligible charge after deductible 70% of eligible charge after deductible $25 Co-Pay
Specialist Care Visit 85% of eligible charge after deductible 70% of eligible charge after deductible $40 Co-Pay
Hospital Care/Surgery 85% of eligible charge after deductible 70% of eligible charge after deductible $200 day/max $1,000 year
Outpatient Surgery

 

85% of eligible charge after deductible 70% of eligible charge after deductible $150 Co-Pay
Emergency Room (ER) 85% of eligible charge after deductible 70% of eligible charge after deductible $150 Co-Pay
Diagnostic Tests 85% of eligible charge after deductible 70% of eligible charge after deductible $0.  Co-Pay

*Percentage figure in the entire chart shows the percentage of the eligible charges which will be covered after deductible.

**Eligible charges exclude certain procedures or services which should be called out in your policy document.

***Deductible example-Austin breaks his arm and ends up in the emergency room (ER) at the hospital which is in his PPO network.   His eligible medical expenses total $2,500.  A claim is filed by the hospital with his insurance company so they can pay the hospital directly for Austin’s medical care.  We’re going to assume here that Austin had chosen the PPO plan and we can see in the table that an emergency room trip is subject to a deductible.  Because this is the first time this year that Austin has incurred any medical expenses, he hasn’t met his deductible.  Once the insurance company reviewed the claim and determined that all the expenses were eligible, they paid the hospital $1,785.   The hospital then sent a bill to Austin for the additional $715.  He reviewed his Explanation of Benefits (EOB) to see the claim details from the insurance company to make sure that he was being billed the right amount.  This is how the insurance claim was calculated:

  • $2,500 for hospital services less his $400 deductible (Austin was single) left $2,100 of eligible expenses
  • $1,785 ($2,100 X 85%) is the amount the insurance company paid to the hospital
  • $715 is the total of the deductible ($400) plus Austin’s 15% coinsurance (2,100 X 15%=$315)
  • $200 is charged by his orthopedic surgeon for a follow up visit
    • The EOB shows that the insurance paid $170 (85%) and Austin owes $30 (15%) since the deductible has already been met for the year

The emergency room bill is just one component of the medical treatment.  Austin could be billed separately by the physician who treated him in the ER as well as for any diagnostic tests, such as x-rays, that needed to be done.

Austin pays the hospital for his share of the ER visit.  If he didn’t have insurance, he would have owed the entire $2,500.  Austin sits at home with a broken arm, wishing he had chosen an HMO since his ER trip would have cost him only $150!  Since he doesn’t get to go back to work for a while, he has plenty of time to read about his insurance plan.  He learns that dental insurance and vision insurance are covered in separate policies and he did not select them. He is relieved to discover that his company has Open Enrollment once per year, so he will have the option of switching to an HMO for next year and adding both dental and vision insurances.

How does each story end? Caitlin takes the money she saves on premiums and starts an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.  Both Kelsey and Shannon have worked with their doctors to ask if there is another appropriate medical code that can be used to resubmit the claim to the insurance company.  If the insurance company will still not pay the medical claim, they’ve learned that they may be able to negotiate a fee reduction for charges not covered by insurance.  And Austin?  Well, he takes his good arm and pats himself on the back for choosing to purchase the insurance even though he didn’t really think he needed to!

financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, life skills, money, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, stay at home mom, teaching financial responsibility, Uncategorized, wants and needs

Wants vs. Needs-Cutting the Food Budget

 

Wants Vs Needs Food budgetHello Fellow Parents,

I don’t know about you, but I’m here trying to make the best of my incarceration bonus time at home.  During the day, I change into my day pajamas and make the lengthy commute to my day computer.  When I am thoroughly sick of my work location, I retrace my steps.  I end the day in my reclining office chair with my night pajamas and my tablet.  The days are starting to run together.  I fear that I will work on a Saturday because I think it is still Friday.  Can anyone relate?

I’ve been trying to think of topics that would be helpful to discuss with your kids while so many people are spending extra time at home.  The topic today is very basic, but I think it might be time to bring it up again no matter whether your children are in grade school, middle school, high school or young adults.

Wants versus needs is a relevant discussion at any age.  It is especially relevant now with the current state of our economy.  Parents may need to make choices which will affect their dependent children and young adults.  I am writing to help get the conversation started which is the first step in making necessary budget cuts.

It’s painful to disappoint our children, teenagers and even young adults, but while we are going through periods of (hopefully temporary) unemployment, some tough decisions will need to be made.  The following list is a good place to start the discussion (only #1 will be discussed in this post):

  Basic Needs Wants
1 Healthy Food & Water Eating (or drinking) out, extravagant grocery purchases
2 Shelter Entertainment
3 Utilities Cell phone with Data Plan
4 Clothing New, designer clothing
5 Personal Care-haircuts, etc. Personal care-professional mani/pedi, color treatments
6 Transportation expenses Car-sometimes (with insurance, gas, repairs)
7 Basic Educational Expenses Private School Tuition
8 Debt Payments-existing Extracurricular and enrichment activities
9 Internet-sometimes Internet-sometimes
10   Subscriptions
11   Vacations
12   Gifts
  Other topics to be discussed in subsequent posts

 The basic needs require no discussion as I think we are all familiar with them.  It’s worth a family discussion to pull together and figure out where costs can be cut, if necessary.  I was a stay at home mom for many years.  I offer you my many years of personal experience in extreme cost cutting while still living an abundant life.  I have trained my whole life for this!

Grocery shopping is a discretionary expense where we can cut a lot of “fat” from the budget, quite literally!  Just for an experiment, take a look at your last couple of grocery receipts, and add up the amount that was spent on beverages.  Include pop, coffee, tea, milk, juice, alcohol, bottled water, sugared powdered drink mixes and anything else I may have forgotten.  If all those items were stricken from the shopping list, you would still have plain old tap water.  Sound exciting?  Not exactly, but right now this discussion is about differentiating between wants and needs!   Next, add up anything that would be eaten as a snack outside of a regular meal.  Include chips, dips, desserts, pastries, snack bars, pudding, sugary yogurts, candy, nuts and anything else you see on your receipt that I didn’t think of.  How much would you save if you cut out all of them?  Next item under scrutiny is meat.  How much was spent on meat?   Can you cut out some meat and replace with beans for protein?  Can you buy less expensive cuts that are just as good after marinating?  How about cereal and other breakfast items?  A big container of oatmeal is a much more economical alternative than sugary cereal. Donuts and pastries are not an actual food group.    How is this a family discussion, you ask?  Well, once you have figured out what areas can be cut out of your food budget, add in a few of your family’s most important luxury items to your next shopping trip.  If you keep a bag of apples on hand, no one will go hungry, but they may decide that they were not actually hungry enough to eat an apple!   Also important is meal planning, leftover management, and where you shop.  You can get a lot more food at Aldi than you can at Whole Foods.  Buying generic, at least sometimes, shopping sales and clipping coupons will go a long way as well. Buying a large sized yogurt and adding your own fruit is more economical than buying individual serving sized containers.  Since most of us have nowhere to go right now, why pay extra for convenience?

Now that you’ve had a chance to evaluate and cut your grocery budget, now you can look at how much is spent eating out.  I recommend downloading your bank statement and credit card statements for the past few months.  If you download everything into an Excel format, it will be easy to see how much was spent on restaurant meals, coffee, bars, etc.  You might be absolutely stunned when you see the numbers in front of you in black and white.  Does your family eat out twice per week, or 8-9 times per month?  How much would save if you ate all your meals at home?  What if, instead, you splurged once or twice per month with moderately priced meals?  Could pizza night out turn into frozen pizza night  at home (feel free to splurge on the electricity to bake it) with a movie in your very own, virus -free living room with your delicious hot, almost free popcorn with real, actual butter?  How much was spent on coffee, craft beer and wine tastings?  How much could be saved if those indulgences turned into occasional treats rather than daily or weekly occurrences?  Open the restaurant discussion with your kids.  What if they could only choose one or two special meals per month?  Where would they choose?  There’s no reason that their carryout choice must be the same as yours.

Take this as an opportunity to talk to your kids about money. They’re resilient.  It’s not like they don’t already know something is amiss.    There is no shame in having to make cuts when necessary.  The biggest mistake would be denying that financial sacrifices need to be made and jeopardizing the long-term welfare of your family.

Let me know whether you did this exercise and how much money you found in your budget that could be used on fixed budget items such as rent or mortgage.  In addition to freeing up resources in the budget, this activity should also contribute to the health and wellness of your family.  Happy hunting!

 

 

Adulting, college, Financial literacy, financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, life skills, money, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

Bill of Rights For Parents of Young Adults

Bill of rights

The unwritten parental constitution has changed immensely over the last 50 years.  In earlier times, parents had a lot more expectations for their kids.  Maybe it was just the way it was in that era or maybe it was out of sheer necessity.  More recently, parents in general can’t seem to do enough for their kids, even when they are pressed for both time and money.  If we don’t accommodate all of their desires, then we have tremendous guilt.    I get it.  I’ve had plenty of guilt, but not because I didn’t love and care for my kids.  It’s because I said no to many of the things other kids took for granted.  Like smart phones.  Before you judge me too harshly, just know that mine had a flip phone which they got for 8th grade graduation.   I wanted to teach delayed gratification and that trying to “keep up with the Joneses” was neither wise nor sustainable.

Continue reading “Bill of Rights For Parents of Young Adults”

Adulting, career, college, life skills, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults

Helping Them Navigate the Waters When They Go Away to College

huron

Most of us think of college as a place to go earn a degree that will help us demand a higher salary.  There are, however, a few lessons that are not taught in the classroom.   You, as the parent, might be able to lessen the shock by including some of these points in a conversation before move in day.

Food does not magically appear in the refrigerator

Many parents are so thoughtful and efficient that their children have never experienced the catastrophe of pouring a bowl of cereal only to find out that there is no milk.

Continue reading “Helping Them Navigate the Waters When They Go Away to College”

Adulting, career, Financial literacy, life skills, money, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults

Questions To Ponder Before You Decide To Send Your Kid To College

Capture

In earlier generations, college was neither necessary nor expected of every single person who graduated from high school.   However, today it is rare to speak to a parent who isn’t trying to find a way to prep their kid for college and figure out how it will be funded.  While college can be a great tool for many, it is not for everyone.  Here are a few things to think about before making the decision to invest in a college education. Continue reading “Questions To Ponder Before You Decide To Send Your Kid To College”

Financial literacy, life skills, parenting

What Happened To My Little Girl?

Shanny

I loathe goodbyes.  It’s not like she had never been away from home.  For the last two years, she lived in an apartment at college.  But this was different.  She was packing EVERYTHING.  It was moving day and I thought I had everything under control.  Well, actually THEY had everything under control.  I wasn’t exactly sure of my role anymore.  I thought I would be part of a caravan helping to transport all of their collective “stuff” to a neighboring state…until I learned they wanted to do it all themselves.  Why should I have been surprised?  Every parenting decision I had made up until this point had been made with the end in mind.  My goal was to help create young ladies who could successfully navigate life without me.  I suspect his parents subscribed to some of my beliefs as well in order to have created a college-educated, card-carrying adult who assumed the role of husband just after he turned 22.  Continue reading “What Happened To My Little Girl?”

career, job skills, life skills, money, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

The Cash Register Told Me To Do It


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My first REAL job was in a grocery store. At that time, there was at least one register that required the cashier to count back the money. For me, that was the fun part. But I’ve always been a math nerd. I have vivid memories of playing Monopoly when I was 7 and I ALWAYS had to be the banker. Within, the last couple of years when I played Monopoly again, imagine the unspeakable horror I felt when I saw people using a CALCULATOR to count their money! This leads to a pet peeve that many of us have along with a solution to the problem. Continue reading “The Cash Register Told Me To Do It”

Adulting, life skills, military, mother love, motivation, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults

An Open Letter From Drill Sergeant Mom to Her Domestic Platoon

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As I was sorting through some old papers today, I ran across this old gem. While I was in my active parenting phase, I took my job very seriously. It was very important to me that I raised my daughters to be responsible, contributing members of society. I spent a great deal of time and effort planning and thinking of parenting strategies. Given my military background, I am not quick to accept excuses. Though it may sound a bit harsh to some, here is what the letter said: Continue reading “An Open Letter From Drill Sergeant Mom to Her Domestic Platoon”