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!

Adulting, military, money, mother love, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, Veterans Day

Lessons From A Veteran-You Can Never Go Home Again (Or Can You?)

waimea bay

Just 32 short years ago, I was finishing up my 6-year enlistment.  I couldn’t WAIT to get out!   I was ready to break out of my shackles and take on all the vast opportunities that this big world had to offer.  I thought I would never set foot on a military base again but it’s funny how life works.   As the mom of two young adult daughters, I have long had a dream of taking them back to the place where it all ended for me.  I wanted them to see the place ”that will live in infamy”…a place that became grander in my mind with each passing year that I didn’t return.  The very gates that I begrudgingly crossed each day for years had become inaccessible to me.  Finally, with the help of a friend and no less than a half dozen phone calls to coordinate, I was able to infiltrate the secure fortress where I had once roamed freely.  It was both magical and disappointing at the same time.   Magical because I got to relive a piece of my youth and disappointing because I had to face the fact that nothing stays the same.    Back then, I was a member of a team but now I was an outsider just trying to relive a part of her past.    On my stroll down memory lane, below is what I learned and hope to impart to my daughters:

Continue reading “Lessons From A Veteran-You Can Never Go Home Again (Or Can You?)”

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”

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


img_0027-1

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”

college, financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, life skills, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, Veterans Day

Launch Lady Veteran’s Day Edition

flag (2)

Today is a special day, and for me, it is a day of introspection and gratitude.   It has been more than three decades since I last wore the uniform, but my time as an active duty military service member helped to shape me into the person that I am today.   When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to get out.  Now that I’m older, I feel more pride with each passing year.  I’m a huge proponent of raising independent young adults and my own experience assures me that it is possible.  Military service is a viable option for all healthy young adults, both male and female.   Today, I had an epiphany about my personal fears which led to deeper gratitude.  I wanted to go the Veteran’s Day ceremony today, but had decided not to because my husband was working and I didn’t want to go alone.  Then I remembered that when I went to boot camp, I didn’t have a husband.  Each time I checked into a new command (6 times), I did so without a husband or a parent. That realization was all I needed to spur me to action.  Within an hour, I was standing tall with my brothers and sisters.  I spent a good part of the rest of the day talking to people I didn’t know at the local American Legion post.  It was a very good day!  I’d like to talk a little about how you can encourage your kids to make the best of the opportunities that are presented to them.  Here are some of the things I learned from my personal experience: Continue reading “Launch Lady Veteran’s Day Edition”

Adulting, financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, life skills, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

You’re Ready for Little Johnny to Move Out But He Can’t Find a Roommate?

Little Johnny

A few decades ago in a state far, far away there were two young ladies dispatched to the same military base at the same time.  Because they were coming from the same school, arriving at the new base within a short time AND they were both female, they were OBVIOUSLY meant to be roommates.  They accepted this belief without question.  The young sailors looked at a couple of apartments before they finally settled into a quiet, two bedroom, two bath, first floor unit.    The older and wiser of the two was a very sweet young lady with a thick Alabama accent which so intrigued the younger and far more obnoxious one of the mismatched duo.  The sweet one could scarcely utter a sentence without having a few of her southernisms regurgitated back to her with a poorly imitated accent.  The southern belle was far too kind to smack her roommate so she politely resigned herself to six months of dysfunctional living.   Continue reading “You’re Ready for Little Johnny to Move Out But He Can’t Find a Roommate?”

Adulting, life skills, mother love, parenting, parenting young adults, wedding

A Tale of Two Weddings- (But Mostly About One)

Kelsey and Matt

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  But this story is mostly about the best!  2018 was a pretty big year in Launch Lady Land.  For the second time in 85 days, there was another wedding.   The same week my youngest daughter got married in June, her older sister announced her engagement.  Being the frugal one that I am, I suggested that she just step right on up to the priest when her sister was done (don’t worry, my perfectionist younger one, I wasn’t serious).  It didn’t happen.

Just as in daily life, their wedding choices highlighted their extreme personality differences.  They both received the same wedding stipend but used it so differently.  My traditional youngest daughter spent all of hers, and then some, on a more formal event that took a whole year to plan.  She scoured the etiquette books to do everything “correctly” according to tradition.  Her very practical sister, who had just bought a new home, took the much more frugal route and chose her dad’s and stepmom’s back yard as the venue for the wedding and reception.  She couldn’t see the point of having a large, one-time party when she could buy a fence for her newly purchased back yard!  The thought of watching her wedding guests ingest surf and turf did not give her as much pleasure as imagining her two large dogs sprinting freely around her fenced back yard.   I suggested she treat her guests to a nice ramen noodle buffet or peanut butter and jelly bar, but in the end, the fajita bar was a tasty, yet non-traditional choice.   Gluten-free macaroons graced the dessert table which would normally contain a wickedly gluten filled wedding cake. Though it was a small afternoon affair, the tee totaling bride and groom did not deprive their guests of adult beverages. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Weddings- (But Mostly About One)”