Spring Cleaning Your Finances

April is National Financial Literacy Month, a 30-day celebration of learning and sharing to promote financial literacy in America. Okay, that sounds good, but what is financial literacy?

Financial literacy is having the ability to understand and effectively use financial skills to manage the money you earn, budget expenses, and invest for the future. These are the basic building blocks of financial wellness and security and can be learned at any age.

Teaching financial skills to your children is as important as teaching a baby not to touch a hot stove, a pre-schooler how to tie a shoe, a grade-schooler how to have good manners, and a teen how to develop and distinguish meaningful personal relationships. Children with strong financial skills will lead happier, more stable lives. A child’s best teacher is your good example.

And have we mentioned that it is April? Yes, we have. And is April spring-cleaning month in Ohio? Yes it is! So we thought we’d share some ideas for spring cleaning your finances.

  1. Organize your financial files, whether paper or electronic. If paper, run through a document scanner; upload the electronic files to 2 separate external hard drives that you then store in separate places, in case you lose one. 
  2. Write down your short- and long-term financial goals. Check your aspirations against your emergency funds, rate of savings, investment returns, and other financial matters until you have a clear, honest appraisal of your financial future.
  3. Make a budget (I know it’s so hard; but it’s really important) and to make it easier, think of it as a “clever method of designing your lifestyle”.
  4. Review all your recurring expenses; include things you might lose track of, like club dues, subscriptions, and anything that you download to a device that resembles a phone, tablet, computer, or TV. Cancel what you don’t need and be sure what you must keep is correctly priced.
  5. Review your retirement planning. No one but you and your family care about this, so you have to take the initiative to verify that you’re on the right track for the future you visualize today.
  6. If you got a tax refund last year, or if you owed more than you were comfortable owing, now is the time to adjust your income tax withholding with your employer or with your tax professional.
  7. We hate to remind you, but you’re a year older and there may have been changes in your family and your health situations. Make sure your health insurance coverage is correct for this phase of your and your family’s life.
  8. Make saving automatic. If you don’t, there’s always a reason not to save (the baby needs new shoes, daddy needs new wheels, mom needs a kitchen makeover). 
  9. Call us if you need help. 

So what about teaching those kids? Forbes Advisor offers an excellent resource for adults who want to help teach kids about family budgets, saving accounts, good money habits, authorizing kids to use your credit card, and teaching teens about borrowing and paying back loans.

DLMoneyMatters wants you to spend more time doing the things you love while still having the basic building blocks of financial wellness and security in place. Let us know how we can help.

Elderly Scams Explode in COVID-19

As daily money managers, we are trusted to keep an eye on what issues might arise for our elderly and the families who love them. Recently, there has been a major uptick in scams involving COVID-19 and issues surrounding seniors and health. It seems that any national, let alone world, disaster brings out the worst of the scammers who want to take advantage of our beloved elders.

It’s been widely reported that those over 65 are the most vulnerable to the virus. For many, these are fearful time full of anxiety and feelings of helplessness. Scammers use this fear against them.

The Federal Trade Commission is trying to stay ahead of the issue with a series of blogs surrounding the Coronavirus. We encourage you and your loved ones to read how scammers are setting up websites to sell bogus products and sending phishing emails, text, and social media posts as a way to swindle us out of our money or give away our personal information. 

Cleverly written and designed to offer safety and prevention, they offer links as “bait” and contain malicious email attachments. We advise that all our DLMM families read the FTC blogs and subscribe to their email updates until this crisis is behind us. Go to the FTC Consumer Information blog here.

If you or a loved one have clicked on a phishing email, read this FTC article and follow their advice. It shows you what a phishing email may look like and what to do if you responded to a phishing attack and are concerned that your identity might have been compromised. Our internal rule is that if you do not know the sender, do not click on any attachments or links. If you get an email from the IRS, it is spam. They will send you an actual letter in the mail. If you are not expecting a package delivery, do not click on any links within the email. If necessary, make a phone call to a known telephone number you have used previously to confirm. And most importantly, delete the email!

Know that we are committed to helping our clients feel safe in these uncertain times. We are but a phone call away if you have any questions about what steps we are taking to assure that our clients’ daily money management and accounting practices are strong and secure.

Daily Money Manager Benefits CPA

Eighty year-old widow Maddy still lives in the Ohio home she shared with her husband Phil for 60 years. Her children live far away—one on the east coast, the other on the west coast. Maddy has mild memory loss, an aging issue that to her seems more annoying that anything else. For Maddy today, money is not the problem—being far from family is.

Before Phil’s death, Maddy had thrived as a typical stay-at-home mom devoted to the raising, education and personal development of her children. Phil, a successful business owner, employed a CPA to handle both their business and household finances. The CPA handled the sale of the business after Phil’s death and continued to handle Maddy’s household finances during monthly visits to her home.

A common filing system

While Phil had kept an impeccable filing system, Maddy was quite the opposite. She habitually used unopened bills as bookmarks. The CPA spent hours rummaging through desk drawers, piles of mail, and old magazines to collect all mail related to her financial affairs.

When the CPA took to the Internet to find a “Maddy” solution, he came across an article about Daily Money Managers. He discovered that these professionals pay bills, balance checkbooks, go through mail, review investment and insurance papers, keep track of assets, and organize financial records needed for the IRS. He calculated that hiring a DMM for Maddy would save both him and Maddy time and money.

Today, Maddy happily continues to use unopened bills as bookmarks, but her DMM knows just where to look. She handles Maddy’s personal finances for a fee much lower than the CPA firm, and the CPA now has more time to manage his other high-net-worth clients.

Some CPA firms who also handle investment management for clients can subject the firm to heavier SEC scrutiny or audits, but adding daily money management services through a partnership with a firm like DLMoneyMatters can solve that problem.

Call us today and let us show you how we can help address these types of challenges for you or your clients.