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Monthly Archives

November 2010

Season of giving, spending and being thankful

By | Advice from Julie Murphy Casserly | No Comments

During this season of giving, be mindful of the lesson’s you’ve learned these past three years in the recession. I’ve already talked about saving for right now and the future and investing wisely. On the job front, I stressed to be prepared to look for a new job at a moment’s notice. Still, there are Americans that just didn’t get that chance.

Nationally, there are 14.8 million unemployed workers with over 400,000 of them right here in Chicago. Many of them have turned to temp agencies to find work, and a recent Chicago Tribune article highlighted their plight. Many companies are moving towards temp and part-time workers. And, financially, it makes sense.

“There is no incentive to make permanent jobs, with good job security and good benefits and good pay and good working conditions, (when) you have another 15 people waiting out the door that would take lower than that,” said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute.
To make matters worse, unemployment benefits may run out next month for over two million people. In the first week of December, 800,000 Americans will lose their benefits with the other 1.2 million getting their last checks at the end of the month. And another 3 million may become victim to the cuts in January and February.

This unsettling news really put things into perspective for me. And during this Thanksgiving week, the most valuable lesson I’ve taken away from this rough economic time is to be thankful. The past three years have taught us nothing if not to be humble.

As you know, I’m a firm believer in the connection between our emotions/thoughts and our biology. When we’re stressed out about something, especially finances, we feel the negative pull emotionally. Our thoughts then go to a bad place, and it affects us physically many ways. We eat too much or not at all. Our hair falls out. Or we lash out at those we love.

Instead of letting this rough economic time take over the happiness of this season, focus on what’s good in life. I have a wonderful family with a great husband. I have beautiful child with one on the way very soon. And I wake up every day knowing that I get to do something that I love.
What are you thankful for during this time?

Tags: Thanksgiving, giving, being thankful, recession, unemployment, emotion behind the money, emotion and money, Julie Murphy Casserly

How to Survive Black Friday

By | Advice from Julie Murphy Casserly, Uncategorized | No Comments


In a few short days, Americans get to celebrate the yearly post-holiday holiday known as Black Friday. We hear the stories every year; unruly crowds, aggressivet shoppers and long lines are tradition. So, in honor of the day businesses get back “in the black”, here are seven tips to help you survive and thrive this Black Friday shopping excursion.

1. Don’t go crazy
I know. It’s Black Friday and you want to spend freely. But don’t let the tone of the day dictate your plans. There will be aggressive people roaming the aisles. Try to keep things into perspective when you’re in the midst of the craziness.

2. Steer clear of store credit cards
How many times have you heard this phrase: “You can save an extra 20 percent today if you sign up for our credit card.” Well, get ready to hear it 30 more times on Black Friday. So here’s my advice: Don’t fall for it. I’ve talked about how dangerous store credit cards are before, and I can’t reiterate it enough. Even congressmen are warning us about them. The average interest rate of 35 major retailers is 23.83%, nine points higher than the average bank card. Leave the store credit alone and stick with either your own credit cards or cash.

3. When in doubt, put it back
If you don’t love it, don’t get it. Don’t buy something just to purchase it. Before you make a fast dash to the register, make sure what’s in your hands is something you love. Remember, it’s not a great deal if it you don’t actually like it.

4. Check online
Savvy shoppers out there know this well. Browse the inventory at your favorite stores online. If you see something you like, go to Google Shopping and compare prices. Most likely, you’ll be able to get it somewhere else cheaper and with a good deal on shipping.

5. Stick to your guns
Back in October, I told you to plan your holiday spending ahead. Black Friday is when you really put that budget to the test. But when you’re shopping, remember the other costs like wrapping paper, cards and shipping.

6.  Make a list. Check it twice
Like planning your budget in advance, do the same with where you’ll go. When you hit the malls on Black Friday, know exactly where you’re going and what you’ll get while you’re there. This focus mindset will help you avoid overspending.

7. Beware of ATM card scammers
Be sure to protect yourself by covering up the keypad when you type in your pin or by using the credit option to sign your name instead. You should also try to use an indoor ATM if neccessary since these machines are less likely to be tampered with than outdoor ones.


Money Rules for Kids

By | Exercises, Financial Reality, Uncategorized | No Comments

The holidays are a fantastic way to teach your kids about money. Spending, saving, and giving responsibly are lessons all children need to learn.  Why not start with the holidays?

Introducing concepts of money management and instilling a good sense of fiscal responsibility should start at an early age, and be continued throughout a child’s life.  Below are some of the top money rules parents can teach their children during different life stages.

  1. Pre-School

Yes, money patterns start during the pre-school years.  You can start talking to your child about money when they are two or three by explaining that everything costs money – from the food they eat, the clothes they wear, to the house they live in.  These talks need to go beyond the necessities too.  Explain that new toys, accessories or video games are things your family can live without. Introduce new toys to them a few at a time, rather than showering them with over-abundance.  This will help them get used to the fact that they don’t need a ton of toys to be happy. 

  1. Elementary School

By the time your child is six or seven, you can start teaching them about prioritizing their money.  For example, when you are at the toy store, instead of letting them pick anything off the shelf, try giving your child five dollars and letting them choose something that fits within this price range.  For parents who buy their children anything and everything, the child will expect this later on in life too, giving them a sense of entitlement.  Ask yourself, “is this the reality I want for my child 15 years from now?”   

This is also the point to show your child that money is the result of hard work.  Work out a plan with a family friend or neighbor where your child will do housework or yard work for $5-$10 cash. Then give them the power to choose how they want to spend or save their hard-earned money. 

  1. High School

At this point in life, it is critical to create a financial collaboration with your child.  Encourage them to get a part-time job to help pay for their car insurance, their gas or portions of the monthly car payment.   Children should be held accountable for sharing some of these costs with their parents.  Once they get that paycheck, show them how it should be dispersed — 1/3 goes towards that car payment, 1/3 goes towards their future college fund and 1/3 can be spent on whatever they choose. 

During this age, it’s also important to highlight the importance of living a quality life, rather than the quality of things that you own.  Help your children understand that material things like a brand new car when they turn 16, are often a source of immediate happiness, but sooner or later, this happiness fades and they will be left searching for deeper self-fulfillment.

  1. College

Your child is an adult now. Have an adult conversation with them about their finances and make sure they understand how credit works.  Tell them about your experiences with credit card use – the good, bad and the ugly.  Once children are on their own, temptations will always arise and children in this age bracket will more than likely try to open a credit card to fund some of these temptations.  Explain how credit cards can bring a false sense of financial reality.  They make us less conscious of where our money is flowing.  Talk about how the constant struggle to earn cash to pay off debt can take a physical and emotional toll.