Money Lessons During Tough Economic Times

By
Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

 

 

Shortly after first becoming a licensed Realtor in 1981, I knew I was fortunate I had wisely chosen my first office, and Pat Meredith was there. Pat was instrumental in taking me under her wing from the moment I walked into that little Century 21 office we shared.  She quietly guided me over to a file cabinet while helping assemble Buyer and Seller packages of documents needed.  She acted as my mentor.

Not only was Pat a great Realtor, she also was a tax professional.  I often watched as Pat’s young clients came to her, hoping to buy homes.  Many were a tad shy on qualifying, but she would sit with them, and plan financially for a time when they would be able to do so.  Pat never charged for this service, but because of it, many returned to her downwind, ultimately able to buy their first homes. 


Due to the pandemic, it’s no secret money matters haven’t been as easy to manage for many folks these past several months.  I often think financial woes experienced now, emanate from lax money habits and the menacing Shopocalyse during exuberant financial times.  The practice of tapping home equity, and using homes, as a sort of bottomless ATM machine, can come back to bite, when unforeseen events come into play.  Ditto for accumulated credit card debt!

 

However, the gray cloud has a silver lining – a real opportunity to view money and spending in a different light.  Perhaps a chance to revisit some old tried and true ways our parent’s generation practiced. 

For example, when I was a girl of about 7, my roller skates were stolen from the front lawn, because I had been careless in their care.  The skates were new, and I had acquired them as a birthday gift.   My parents weren’t going to replace them because I had been negligent.

Not long after, I figured out spending a little less lunch money in the school cafeteria, would allow savings for a new pair of skates.  I also learned it was amazing how many kids didn’t eat all their lunch and were willing to share:-)

Americans are often critically deficient in what they have as an emergency fund.  And they often owe more in credit card debt than they could cover from savings.  This fact puts individuals and family households in a vulnerable position.  


There are money practices, which you could consider to better your position financially. 
This current business cycle won’t last forever.  And belt-tightening methods learned and practiced now, could pay dividends in the future.


I am not a financial planner.  But here are some methods, which seem tried and true, and they have worked for me.  You might consider giving them a try.

(1) Put saving money at the top of your priorities.  So many folks wait to see what they have left over, after everything else.  Consider putting money directly into savings when your salary and paychecks come in, before you become accustomed to seeing it in a checking account available for expenditures.  And save regularly, so it becomes a habit!  

(2) Create a budget.  It is vitally important to sit down with your bills, your checkbook and credit card statements to assess where your money is coming from, and how it is being spent.  Plan a budget on the outcome of your appraisal of those figures.  It is vitally important to realistically understand what you can afford!

(3) Not all credit cards are created equal.  For example, some banks charge an annual fee.  Interest rates vary widely among the banks issuing them.  But more importantly, try not to use a credit card you don’t plan on paying off at the end of the month. 

(4) Learning to assess which debt should be paid first can save money.  When you look through your debt, it is more beneficial to pay off the high interest credit cards first, than the debt, which may be riding with very low or zero interest rates - For example, some cars, appliances, or furniture.  Study the interest you have going out each month on debt owing.  If you are paying the minimum each month on credit cards, you will feel forever in debt.  Pay as much extra on those payments each month, as you can handle.

 

Comments (9)

Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Myrl,

This is a wonderful post, chockfull of great advice.  I remember years ago in reading Noble House, one of the characters talking about having a "drop dead" fund.  This was referring to not compromising because you did not have enough $$$.  We applied that.  A

Jul 14, 2020 08:13 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Ron and Alexandra Seigel - I like that term, "Drop Dead Fund."  I've used a similar method over the years!  

Jul 14, 2020 08:21 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Myrl - you may not be a financial planner but you bring forth a great deal of common sense which can turn cents into a greater bounty.   

I especially liked the story of how as a child you turned that "loss" into something far greater.  Some excellent lessons.  

Jul 14, 2020 09:25 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Myrl- What a wise woman you are. This post is filled with much wisdom. 

Jul 14, 2020 10:15 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Myrl great suggestions.  Money management should be a required course in school.

Jul 14, 2020 10:34 AM
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire

Myrl

Your wise words sure sound like great financial planning and even though you aren't adviser, you sure sound like one. Nice post, cheers cvc

Jul 14, 2020 11:25 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Myrl,  Great blog and one that we can all take lots away from.  Make it a Great day!

 

Jul 14, 2020 11:56 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Myrl Jeffcoat - Sage advice for all to heed. 

Nobody knows when they may need that rainy day fund.  I remember in the '70s, we were getting 6 checks a month.  My husband went on a salary and got paid once a month and I got pregnant!  All of a sudden, we actually had no choice but to budget our money on one check a month. 

Jul 14, 2020 12:54 PM
Barbara Michaluk
Weichert Realtors | Silver Spring, MD Phone Direct 240-506-2434 - Silver Spring, MD
Leisure World Specialist / Full Service REALTOR

Myrl, This for sharing all this great financial info. I'm sure anyone can take away something for your post.  

Jul 28, 2020 06:45 AM