Relationships, the Coronavirus, and Big Conversations

No matter what stage of life you are in, now is the time for strong communication and mutual respect in your relationship

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA
Monday, 29 June 2020

Relationships, the Coronavirus, and Big Conversations

Disasters often strike with little notice. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria surprised us with their ferocity in 2017, the Equifax security breach caught us by surprise that same year, and so it has been with the COVID-19 pandemic. Although some public health experts had coronavirus on their radar for some time, the general public was caught largely unaware as this worldwide health crisis forced us to abandon our usual way of life. While these three forms of disaster may seem to have little in common, they have all left financial devastation in their wakes, and they all represent periods of great transition for many people.

Right now, people around the globe are facing anxiety about the future, uncertain job situations, loss of income, health concerns, illness and loss, and lives put on hold. The news media reminds us of the major impacts of the coronavirus – nearly ten million confirmed cases worldwide, more than 20 million jobs lost in the United States alone – but there are a great many other consequences of this pandemic that aren’t making the headlines. Our relationships with one another are changing inside homes and within communities. Times of transition are often marked by confusion and feelings of uncertainty, but these difficulties are compounded when our loved ones are experiencing life transitions at the same time. This is particularly true with regard to our spouse or partner. When left untended, these relationships can become strained even in the best of times, let alone during a global health and financial crisis. Below, I will discuss several strategies for successfully moving through a period of transition while supporting and strengthening your relationship at the same time.

Are You Prepared for Unexpected Retirement Costs?

Financial Surprises Can Have Serious Consequences

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA
Monday, 15 June 2020

Are You Prepared for Unexpected Retirement Costs?

Thoughtful retirement planning should always include contingencies for unexpected life events that impact your nest egg. However, even if you’ve planned ahead to weather financial surprises, the following events tend to catch retirees off-guard and cause increased levels of financial disruption.

Death of a Spouse

This health event is difficult for many reasons and will often involve extraordinary expenses that are much greater than what you may have planned for. The death of a spouse can lead to a significant decrease in net worth, especially for women, over a short period of time.

Serious Health Conditions

Most older Americans expect an inevitable decline in health that comes with aging, but there are two health conditions that are most dangerous to a retiree’s finances. According to this study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, strokes and lung disease are of a particular concern financially. One in five older Americans will experience one of these conditions, and Medicare will only provide so much assistance. A stroke reduces the average wealth of a household by $25,000 and lung disease has an even greater average impact of $29,000.

The Pressures and Benefits of Being a Female Breadwinner

Tips for Making this Household Dynamic Work for You

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA
Wednesday, 27 May 2020

The Pressures and Benefits of Being a Female Breadwinner

Recent economic changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have changed the financial balance of power in many households. Even before that, though, a new trend was emerging. Today, more than half of American households are dual income, with the majority featuring the man as the primary breadwinner. However, the number of women outearning their male partners continues to grow. In fact, over the past five years, the number of female breadwinners has grown to four out of ten households.

This is an exciting statistic because it means women are harnessing their financial power in the workplace and taking the lead in their families in a way that hasn’t happened historically. However, it also means women are facing more pressure than ever before to perform at a high level both at work and at home. This can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety, especially if both partners fail to support one another.

Let’s take a look at the pressures and the benefits associated with being a breadwinning woman:

Personal Financial Habits and How the Coronavirus May Have Changed Everything

Here are five areas of finance that may be viewed through a different lens in the aftermath of Covid-19.

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA
Monday, 11 May 2020

Personal Financial Habits and How the Coronavirus May Have Changed Everything

In just two short months the world that we all knew has changed. It is likely to stay changed in many ways for many years to come. As with anything that has a dramatic impact, we try to look at ways we may grow or learn from the upset. When it comes to personal finances, investing, retirement, and our overall attitudes toward money, I wonder what impact this pandemic will have on couples, families, and individuals.

Whether you have a lot or a little, no one was left untouched by this virus and the economic toll that it has taken. This time in our history will leave an indelible mark on our emotions and the way we think about and interact with money. If you’ve just retired, you may have seen a significant drop in your retirement investments that you are counting on to last you several decades. If you’ve just graduated from college and you were on the hunt for your first career job, you may instead find yourself back at home with mom and dad. If you’re an actor or musician your prospects for the moment are nil. If you are fortunate to have a job that is stable and you are working from home you may be fully aware that the raise you were about to ask for is not likely going to happen this year.

So, what does this mean for the role of personal finance in our lives? For each of us, it may be a bit different, but I have identified five areas of finance that may be viewed through a different lens in the aftermath of Covid-19.

Managing Emotional Reactions in a Time of Financial Uncertainty

Don't Make Investment Decisions Based on Fear

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA
Thursday, 16 April 2020

Managing Emotional Reactions in a Time of Financial Uncertainty

One thing we all know for certain is that we are living in uncertain times.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down and we are each feeling it in very personal ways. One shared concern among many people, however, is the financial impact this public health crisis will leave in its wake. Despite the emotional tornado we’re all living through it’s important to remember that managing our emotional reactions is one of the best ways we can contend with times of uncertainty so that we can come out the other side having made smart decisions based on more than our fears.

For many people, fear is magnified at the moment, especially where investments are concerned. We’re living in a scary time. However, we believe turbulent times call for a calm and cool approach to personal finance, reminding ourselves of the lessons learned from prior crises, and getting back to basics. Although there is much we cannot control right now, it’s a great time to refocus on the things you can.

So, if you’re feeling unsettled about money matters at the moment, channel more energy into these five areas of your personal finances:

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