Friday, September 7, 2018

Making Money with Affiliate Links

When you read the "How to Make Money Blogging" books that are readily available with a Kindle Unlimited subscription, one source that most mention is affiliate links.  Basically affiliate links allow one customer to earn money by recruiting another customer.  In order to get people to recommend them to their friends, and to get bloggers to write about them, companies offer rewards to those who get other people to sign up via unique links and often give the new customers a bonus as well.  This week I'm going to share my affiliate links with you and let you know what you get for using them, and what I get for referring you.

Robinhood:  Brokerage offering free stock, option and crypto trades.  Use this link and we each get one free share of stock.

Webull:  Another brokerage that offers free stock trades.  Read my review.   They too offer each of us a free share of stock if you use this link.

Motif:  A brokerage that specializes in offering baskets of stocks known as "motifs".  Using this link gets  you three months of their premium service, and I get the same. My review. 

M1 Finance:  This broker also specializes in offering collections of stock or ETFs, which they call "pies".  This link gets both of us $10 to invest.  Read my review of M1 Finance.

Dia&Co:  A styling service for plus-sized woman.  This link gets you your first Dia & Co. box with no styling fee (usually $20), and I get one with no styling fee too.  That's nice because if I don't like what's in the box, back it goes.  I wrote about them here and here.

Stockpile:  Buy stocks by the dollar, not the share.  Each trade is only 99 cents.  This link gets both of us $5.00 to invest. Here is my review. 

Personal Capital:  This robo-advisor offers free investment tracking as well.  Sign up using this link, and then link a qualified investment account and we both get $20.  You don't even have to use their paid services--and I like the way they analyze my investments.  Here is my review. 

Ipsy:  They send you a make-up case every month with five products in it, usually sample-sized.  Its a fun cheap splurge.  I get referral credit, and unfortunately you don't get anything but make-up.

So, which of my links are you going to use today?  Money for  you, money for me, what could be better?


Disease Called Debt

Friday, August 31, 2018

Should I Sue?


According to the ads on late-night television, a car accident could be your path to riches.   See that lawyer and get a big check. Is it really that easy?

This post is not legal advice, and every case is different.  Generally, personal injury attorneys work on contingency fees--they get a portion of the recovery--and they offer free initial consultations during which they evaluate your case and decide whether they want to become involved.  If you are injured in a car accident, it doesn't hurt to see someone.

Still, you may wonder:  "Is it worth it to sue"?  or "How much can I get if I sue?"

Elements that determine the value of a lawsuit

There are three elements that determine the value of a lawsuit:
Liability: Whose fault was the accident?  If the accident was your fault, your health insurance will pay your medical bills, not your automobile insurance (except in a few states).  They don't pay for pain and suffering, lost wages, or losses suffered by other family members because of your injuries. The higher the chance that the accident was the other party (ies)' fault, the higher the value of the lawsuit.
Damages:  What problems did the accident cause you?  Do you have medical bills? Lost wages? Property damage?  Has it affected your ability to fulfill family obligations or to be intimate with your spouse?  Will it keep you from earning a living in the future? Did it cause pain and suffering. Damages are divided into Special Damages which are numbers you can prove with bills (like medical expenses) or  that an economist or other expert can compute (like loss of earning capacity or future medical expenses).   General Damages are things like pain and suffering, inconvenience or aggravation.  Most areas have a range that is considered normal depending on the body part being treated, the length of treatment and the type of treatment.   Around here, $2,000 per month of treatment for sprains and strains is in the range.

Insurance:   While there are a few people who could afford to pay a judgment out-of-pocket, most personal injury judgments or settlements are paid by insurance companies.  Therefore, the size of the policy has a direct effect on the value of your lawsuit. Generally speaking (and there are always exceptions to the rule) people with large insurance policies have lots of money and people with small policies have few assets.  It doesn’t matter if you have $100,000 worth of damages if the policy at issue is only worth $15,000, unless the policy owner happens to have money.

Putting It All Together

When an attorney evaluates a personal injury case, he or she looks at all three elements to determine whether to take a case and how much effort and money to allot to it.  The accident may be the other person’s fault but if the only damages are to your car, it isn’t worth the attorney’s time to take the case. If who is at fault is up for debate, but your injuries are severe and the person who hit you has a big insurance policy, the attorney may be willing to gamble.  Most cases are resolved via settlement.  Both sides look at liability, damages, and available insurance and they negotiate a resolution both attorneys see as reasonable.  Few attorneys really want to try cases. Trials are expensive, time-consuming and unpredictable. They are a last resort when the attorneys have very different ideas of what the case is worth.

What Do I Get?

Not nearly as much as the commercials lead you to believe.  The first person to get paid out of any settlement or judgment is the attorney--funny how that works. Depending on the stage at which the case is settled or judgment paid, and the contract you signed, the attorney can get anywhere from 30% to 50% of the gross proceeds.  Next, the expenses have to be paid. These expenses include medical treatment (often the attorney advances the cost of medical treatment by doctors of his/her choosing, or if a client uses his/her health insurance, the health insurance company may want to be reimbursed).  They also include the costs of litigation including copies, experts, deposition fees or even the attorney’s parking and mileage. In short, the injured party should not expect to walk out of the room with more than about ⅓ of the settlement amount.

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*

Friday, August 24, 2018

What to Do Before Disaster Strikes

Right now there are wildfires in the West and a Hurricane is headed for Hawaii.  The end of August and first half of September is prime time for Hurricanes on the Gulf Coast.  Spring floods hit the river valleys, especially in areas that got more snow than usual.  Earthquakes seem to come out of nowhere.  The reality is that any of us could be hit by some disaster (whether individually, or as a community) at just about any time.


Some of us will have at least a little warning of impending problems.  When hurricane warnings go up, you know that you need to pack up valuables and leave town.  While you may be hoping that wildfire doesn't come your way, you know that if it isn't too far away you need to be on guard--the wind can always change.  On the other hand, earthquakes give little warning and your smoke alarm may be the only warning you get of the fire that destroys only your home.

The better prepared we are before a disaster strikes, the more easily we will recover afterwards.

Remote Preparations:

Remote preparations are the steps you take to prepare for disaster before that disaster is even on the radar.  They may be the the only preparations you have time to make for disasters like fires or earthquakes.

Insurance:

I hate paying insurance premiums but I learned after Hurricane Katrina  that money made the recovery quicker and that insurance companies really do enforce the exclusions in their policies.

Homeowners' policies and standard renter's insurance do not pay for flood damages.  While mortgage companies require homes in flood zones to purchase flood insurance, many other people say that they do not need flood insurance--and they don't, until there is a flood.  My brother's girlfriend lived in a second floor apartment.  She did not "need" flood insurance until the waves of Katrina caused the building to collapse, and her belongings to wash out to sea.  If you are a homeowner, contact your insurance agent about a flood insurance policy.  The are issued by the federal government and cost the same no matter the sales agent.  Consider the cost, consider the risk and if you live anywhere near water, consider buying flood insurance.

Make sure you know what your homeowner's policy covers and consider supplementary coverage, particularly if you don't have money for substantial out-of-pocket expenses.  On the Mississippi coast now, standard homeowner's policies do not cover wind damage.  I wonder whether wildfire or earthquakes are covered in California?  If you live there, make sure you know.

Make sure you know something about the insurance laws in your state.  While dry as dust your state's department of insurance website may have valuable information for you.  Talk to your agent and confirm your conversation via email--and keep the email.  You need to know under what conditions the insurance company can cancel your policy, and under what conditions it cannot.  Insurance won't pay for hurricane damage if there is a hurricane in the Gulf when you take out the policy, so along the Gulf Coast, don't plan on switching policies during hurricane season.

In Louisiana, once you have had the policy for three years, your insurance company cannot cancel you except for non-payment, unless it quits writing insurance in the state.  If you have had it for less than three years, there are all sorts of reasons they can cancel, including wanting to lessen their exposure in the area.  Also state insurance departments may have approve before rates on old policies are raised, but not regarding new policies.  After Katrina, many people whose policies were less than three years old found themselves cancelled and forced to buy homeowners' insurance from the state insurer of last resort.

All of that being said, remember that the purpose of insurance is to protect you from things you cannot afford, not to pay routine bills.  Raising deductibles can lower premiums to allow you to purchase coverage over other perils.  On the other hand, you may want to bet on the government coming to your aid in the case of a mass disaster, particularly one that could not be reasonably predicted.  Earthquake coverage is far more needed in California than in Louisiana and flood insurance is probably overkill in the desert far from the nearest stream.

Photos and Inventories:

Go through your house and your belongings now.  Photograph as much as you can and upload those photos to the cloud.  Use Dropbox, Amazon, Snapfish, Google Pictures...it doesn't really matter.  Get them somewhere you can find them and somewhere that isn't dependent on your local computer.  If you have to make a claim, particularly for a total or almost total loss, you'll be glad you have them.  Scan receipts for major purchase and put them in the same place.  If they are in your filing cabinet, they won't do you any good in a disaster.

If you have family photos scanning at least some of them will protect them from being permanently lost as well.  Also scan important papers--again this may be the only copy you have left and even if it isn't official, having the copy makes it easier to get a new official copy.  Also, make sure the cloud has a list of your credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and copies of your insurance policies (all under secure passwords of course--and yes I know that nothing is absolute and if you are more comfortable spreading the information over several platforms, go for it.

Have a Plan:

Even if you don't want to decide to go to a certain place ahead of time, talk to your spouse and/or family and decide under what circumstances you will evacuate.  Do you stay until the last minute or are you the first out of town?  Does someone have to stay behind because of a job?

Have a packing list, and if there is something portable that it would break your heart to lose, make sure it is on the list.  I know people who now keep their family treasures in Rubbermaid totes which makes it easy to pick up the tote and throw it in the car.

Lesser treasures are also in totes which will hopefully be waterproof and survive a certain amount of water.

Know what you will do with your pets.

You may have to pick up and leave quickly; having a plan lets you get the most done in the least time.

It Is Time to Leave

Whether you are evacuating voluntarily,  have been told to leave, or were forced out be fire, flood or building collapse, implement as much of your plan as you can; remembering that people are far more important than property, even sentimental property.  Get to a place of safety knowing that you will get through this.

If you have time, do something with the food in your refrigerator and freezer.  If you can't take it with you, either throw it away (outside) or put it all in garbage bags and tie them shut before returning them to the refrigerator or freezer.  Put a couple of ice cubes in a visible spot in both the freezer on top of the refrigerator and in your big freezer if you have one.  If you get back and the ice cubes are ok, then you know the food stayed cold and it is safe to remove from the garbage bags.  If it melted, and you decide to throw away the food, it is easy enough to haul the bags out.  If you've been gone and the power has been off for a couple of weeks, at least the stink goes out in one or two trips.

Now It Is Over--Or So You Had Hoped.


Hopefully, you can go home, put your stuff away, fix some minor damage and go on with your life.  If not, here are the next steps:

People are more important than stuff.

I know you want to get back, I know you want to check on your house.  PLEASE wait until it is safe.  If you don't you put yourself and potential rescuers in danger.

Call your insurance company.

Here is where you have to know your policy.  My homeowner's policy now has a large hurricane deductible and requires me to pay the adjuster.  This means I want to see the house and get an "eyeball" estimate before I call my insurance company.  I don't want to pay an adjuster to look at a couple of broken windows.

On the other hand if you know your house had burned down, get on the phone with your insurance company as soon as possible; you want to give them every chance to do all the investigating they want.

Also, most homeowners policies include "ALE" additional living expenses.  If your home is damaged by a covered peril to the extent that you can't live there, they will pay for your hotel, apartment etc.  ALE usually kicks in if there is a mandatory evacuation.

Allow yourself to mourn but don't focus on the loss.

I know it is easier said than done, but stuff is temporary, we can't take it with us.

Don't be afraid to ask for help, or to accept it.

Americans are wonderful people, and in times of disaster they want to help.  Let friends and family and even strangers help.  If they ask  what they can do, or what you need, tell them.  If you have major losses and you don't think your insurance company is being fair with you, call a lawyer.  They will give you an initial consultation at no cost.  Ask what they think they can do for you and how much it will cost.

While we all pray we never have to face either a natural or man-made disaster, proper planning can keep either from financially devastating you.


*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*

Friday, August 10, 2018

Is Webull a Good Robinhood Alternative?

Is Webull a Good Robinhood Alternative
While some people are fond of online broker Robinhood, which charges no sales commissions, other people are looking for an alternative to Robinhood. One contender is Webull, another commission-free stockbroker.  This article will chronicle my experince with Webull and offer you, my readers, a free share of stock.

I first found Robinhood alternative Webull when I was perusing Google Play for more apps for my phone and Webull was listed as a free online broker.  I hit Google to see what folks had to say about it, and found that it was an alternative to Robinhood if you were looking for a free online broker.  I also saw that you got a free share of stock for trying it, so I did.

Getting Started with Webull


I downloaded the app, and installed it on my phone.  Easy enough.  It came up with all sorts of graphs and with lists of American and Canadian stocks. The app uses English/Canadian spelling so I assumed it was from Canada but the website lists a Wall Street address in New York City.

Deposting Money with Webull


After poking around a bit I found out how to link my bank account, and doing so only took a few minutes.  Then it told me about the micro-deposits.  Of course, whatever.  A couple of days later my bank called--I guess not everyone makes a hobby of opening new brokerage accounts and writing about them.  They just wanted to make sure the microdeposits were legit, as I'd had some just last month with M1 Finance.

I then returned to the app, verified that the account was mine, and deposited $100.  Next, I claimed my free share of stock. Amazingly, it wasn't Amazon, or Alphabet or Google, but some $5.00 stock I'd never heard of (AMBEV--a Brazilian beverage distributor).  Still, free is free, and I didn't have to deposit money to get it, I just had to open the account.

Buying Stock with Webull


I had my eye on shares of  Iron Mountain  and so I pushed what I thought were the right buttons to buy it.  I got a message about site maintenance.  Ok, it was midnight Saturday night; if you are going to maintain a site, that's as good a time as any.

Monday morning I tried again and found out that my deposit hadn't made it there (no big surprise).  While Robinhood allows me to deposit money and immediately invest it, Webull wants the deposit to clear the bank first.

Today, Thursday,  my bank website said that the money had left my bank account, so I fired up Webull to see if they had it yet.  I had to dig for a while before I determined that I needed to push "Trade" to see if my money was there yet (nope). The money left my bank account on Tuesday August 7 and as of Friday August 10 at 12:36 p.m., it is not in my Webull account.  My take-away on that is that if I plan to invest via Webull, I either need to keep a cash balance in my account or I need to accept that Webull is not for making moves due to (perhaps temporary) market moves.

Information Available on Webull


I am not a financial expert; I don't know what half the information I read about companies really means.  I've learned more in the last few years and I'm still learning, but as I've said before, investing in individual stocks is a hobby for me.  Statistically speaking most people are likely to do better for a lot less work investing in index funds.  My behavior mirrors that belief because most of my assets are in index mutal funds.  Still, I like to play the stock market and I've accepted that this is a toy that can make money or lose it.

I say all of that because the one area where Webull clearly outshines Robinhood is information.  Here is a screenshot of what you see if you look up Apple:

and if you scroll down a bit you'll see
followed by

If you want numbers, Webull has numbers, numbers and more numbers, along with a variety of graphs--and that's just the "overview".  If you want to know what analysts think:
and there are several more screens of information.  Yes, if you are an information junkie, Webull may be just your thing.

Trading Stocks with Webull


I'll come back and update this article once my money clears the bank and is in my account.  

Is Webull a Good Robinhood Alternative?


It depends.  Both offer free stock trading and that's a good thing.  Robinhood makes it easier to invest money NOW but Webull offers more information.  

Have you tried a low-fee/no-fee online broker?  What are  your thoughts?



Disease Called Debt

Friday, August 3, 2018

Visiting New York City: Should You Buy an Attraction Pass?

When you start planning a trip to New York City, after a search or two, Google will start showing you ads for attraction passes.  I don't control the AdSense ads on this page but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if one of them is for an attraction pass.  So, should you buy one?  If so, which one?  How should you decide?

Plan Your Ideal Trip

How long to do plan to stay, and if money was no object, what would you during those days?  In order to determine if you should by a New York Pass, a City Pass or Sightseeing Pass, you need to consider what you want to do, and how long it takes to do it.  

If your ideal trip to New York City includes sleeping late, a leisurely lunch, shopping on Fifth Avenue, a Broadway show daily followed by dinner and drinks, you aren't going to get much use from an attraction pass.  On the other hand, if your goal is to see as many of the sights as possible in as short a time as possible, they may be just what you need.

Compare Your Ideal Trip With Your Real Budget and the Attraction Passes

Once you have a rough schedule of what you would like to do, if money permits, look at the attraction pass options and find the one that is right for you.  

We recently took a group of Girl Scouts to New York City.  We knew we wanted to fly in on Wednesday and out on Tuesday, which would give is five full days and two relatively short days.  We wanted to see the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Empire State Building and/or the Top of the Rock, the 911 Museum and the Natural History Museum.  Other big attractions that were interesting were Radio City Music Hall, and NBC Studios.  We also knew there were a lot of free attractions, and of course, we wanted to shop.  So, what should we do?

The New York Pass would allow us to see all those attractions, and more.  Hypothetically, looking at our list, we could do the Empire State Building early one morning, the 911 Museum later that morning, Radio City in the afternoon and the Empire State Building at night.  The next day We could do the Statute of Liberty in the morning and the Metropolitan Museum in the afternoon.  A third day could be the Natural History Museum and NBC Studios.  We would then have two full days and two small days to cover the free attractions, or we could add two more days to the New York Pass and see more.  A three day pass is $199 for anyone over 12.  A five day pass is $242 (there is no four day option).  

The Sightseeing Pass can be purchased by the day or by the number of attractions.  While it does not include the Empire State Building, we could see the rest of our preferred attractions.  A three day pass is $199, four days sell for $229 and five days for $244.00.  If we preferred, we could have chosen to buy by the attraction.  Seven attractions would be $165.00, or, if we wanted to spend $199, we could get twelve attractions.  

The New York Explorer Pass is purchased by the attraction. Their list of 82 attractions included everything on the list but NBC Studios.  A seven attraction pass is $169 for anyone over 12.  

The New York City Pass offers a much smaller list of attractions--but most of the biggies are on there.  For $126 per adult, and $104 for each child under eighteen, you can see:  
  • The Empire State Building
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Top of the Rock Observation Deck   OR   Guggenheim Museum
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island   OR   Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum   OR   Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Be Realistic

Most of these passes offer far more attractions than you can reasonably see in a few days.  They offer boat cruises, art museums galore, tours on foot, and bus tours as well. The thing to realize is that you can't be in two places at one time. 


Look at All the Options

Money was a major concern on our trip, so we chose the City Pass and didn't see Radio City Music Hall or NBC Studios.  However, if those really were on a "must see" list, we could have added Radio City Music Hall for their regular price of $30, and the NBC Studio Tour is $33.00, giving our adults attraction costs of $192 and the girls $167, which is still substantially less than the other passes.  

On the other hand, if you have a bigger "must see" list, or if your list included a substantial number of things not on the lower-price pass, a higher-priced pass might be right for you.  

While all these passes tout how much you save but using them, don't forget to consider other ways to accomplish your goal, especially if you prefer a leisurely paced trip and/or want to do a lot things that are not included on these passes--things like seeing shows or dining out.  New York City also has a lot of fun free things to do; don't forget to leave room in your schedule for some of them.  mans

Also, as noted on my post about free attractions, many of the major attractions offer "pay what you wish" times.  

Enjoy Your Trip

Besides our paid attractions, we saw Grand Central Terminal, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, The High Line, the Cheslea Market, St. Patrick's, the graveyards of Trinity Episcopal (Alexander Hamilton is buried there) and St. Paul's Chapel.  We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, visited Federal Hall, and took pictures with the Wall Street Bull and the Mighty Girl.  We explored the New York Public Library and enjoyed lunch in Bryant Park while listening to Broadway songs. Times Square is fun too. 



Disease Called Debt

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Free Things to Do in New York City

New York City is one of those places on many people's bucket list.  Its high cost of living means that it can be an expensive place to visit.  However, if you mix a few freebies in with your paid attractions, it can reduce the price of your visit substantially.  Let's take a look at some freebies:

Broadway in Bryant Park


No, it's not the same as sitting in a Broadway theater watching your favorite show, but the singers at this free lunchtime event do a good job, so grab some lunch, a sunhat, and a blanket and join a few hundred of your best friends and enjoy a free treat.  

Even if it is the season for Broadway in Bryant Park, check the calendar; they offer a variety of performances throughout the year.  See what's on tap when you are in town and enjoy what the locals enjoy.

Walk Through Central Park

When you say "park" and "New York City" in the same sentence, most people think "Central Park".

You can spend the day walking through the park, admiring the statues, and watching the people.  Central Park also offers numerous free performances from Shakespeare to Praise and Worship music. 

Churches

Trinity Episcopalian
Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine

St. Patrick's Cathedral
The tomb of Alexander Hamilton is in the
churchyard of Trinity Episcopal Church
 Before you say that you aren't religious, or that you attend services in a school auditorium, realize that churches, particularly Catholic and Episcopalian churches from the 1800's and early 1900's, are full of artwork such as stained glass, statues and reliefs, and murals.  Many are open during working hours and do not charge an entrance fee (though donations are appreciated). The Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine does charge an admission fee but the gardens can be toured at no cost. 

Staten Island Ferry

Ok, technically the Staten Island Ferry isn't free.  However, it is part of the city transit system and if you have purchased a week-long Metro Card transit pass for $32, you have purchased a ferry ticket. 



These two photos were taken with a point-and-shoot digital camera from the Staten Island Ferry.  While you don't get the expert commentary a tour boat would provide, and while you do not actually get onto Liberty Island or Ellis Island, this isn't bad for a drive-by. 

New York City has other ferries that charge $2.75 per ride,  which is still a bargain way to see the waterfront.

Your Metro Card transit pass also gets you on the Roosevelt Island Tram, an overhead gondola system that travels between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island, which is in the East River.

National Museum of the American Indian


In the old Alexander Hamilton Customs House, the National Museum of the American Indian is run by the Smithsonian.  Seeing the interior of the building is worth the admission price (free).  There are displays of Native American artifacts, art created by Native Americans and artwork by others featuring Native Americans. 



 It features both a substantial permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions.

New York Public Library

Yes, a library is on the list of things to see in NYC.  First, go visit the original Winnie the Pooh and friends in the children's section.  You can also see Mary Poppins' umbrella.


Then, head to the special exhibits.  Last week there was a big display on the 1960's.  While I was alive, I'm too young to remember this time but the library had newspaper clippings, magazine covers and artifacts to tell the story of this time that is so much like today.  They also had a display of sacred books from Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  The books are beautiful, even if you aren't a believer.  


Nope, not another church.  This ceiling is inside the library.  Yes,  you need to see it for yourself.





Oh, and don't leave without taking a picture with a lion.


Federal Hall

Federal Hall is where George Washington took the oath of office for the first time.  It is a small building with steep steps but is worth a few minutes if you haven't seen it.  


The Major Attractions

Most of the big things "everyone" goes to New York City to see charge admission--often $25 per person and up. Still, even the budget-challenged can see many of them, with good planning:

The 911 Memorial offers free admission from 5:00 p.m. to closing at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesdays.  Tickets are distributed starting at 4:00 p.m. 

The American Museum of Natural History offers pay what you wish admission.  

Friday nights from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. are pay what you wish at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Many other attractions offer free or pay what you wish at certain times.  While the Metropolitan Museum of Art is on the list, it currently only offers "pay what you wish" to local residents, not to tourists.  

Do you have any free favorites in New York City?



*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*

Friday, July 13, 2018

Review of M1 Finance--You Can Get $10 of Free Stock

As an investor, minimizing fees is one of my goals.  Most research has shown that paying more investing fees does not result in better outcomes for the investor.

The internet and computerized trading have made it possible to buy and sell securities for no or low fees.  I've written previously about Robinhood, Motif, and Stockpile.  None of those companies would have been economically viable twenty years ago.  Recently, another competitor to them has emerged, M1 Finance.

What is M1 Finance?


M1 Finance is an on-line stockbroker whose specialty is "Pies"--portfolios of multiple stocks and/or ETFs, which can be purchased for no commission or trading fee.  When you open your account, you decide what percent of your money you want allocated to what security.  You can decide whether you want one "pie" (proportionately divided portfolio)  or several.

For example, you could decide that you want your money invested 25% in Amazon, 25% in CVS, 10% in AT%T, and 40% in Vanguard's Total Bond Market ETF.  You would design a "pie" with those percentages and then send M1 some money--$100 minimum to start--and it will be invested that way.  M1 allows investment in fractional shares, and only invests at the first morning opening price.

Keeping Your Account In Balance


Obviously, your pie is not going to stay perfectly balanced for long.  One of those slices is going to outperform the others, expanding its slice and decreasing theirs.  However, when you deposit more money, M1 uses it to put your pie back in balance.  If stocks have fallen, and the bond ETF is now 50% of your pie, your new money will go into stocks until such time as your ratios are back on track.  If you have basically good securities in your pie, this technique helps you buy low.

Of course the other side of that equation is to "sell high".  If you want to withdraw an amount of money (as opposed to wanting to liquidate a particular position), M1 Finance tries to do so in a way that keeps your pie balanced and is tax-advantageous.  However, it does not offer automatic tax loss harvesting.

Finally, M1 has a button you can push to re-balance your pie.  

Opening an Account


Opening an account with M1 Finance is easy.  Go to their website, create an account, link your bank account and then verify the micro-deposits--nothing you haven't done with any other online financial account.  Make your first deposit, which can be as little as $100.

Adopt a Pie


M1 Finance offers "Expert Pies" designed by their firm, or you can create your own pie.  If you have not already done so, when you log on you'll see a button to create a pie, and once you push it, you'll be taken to a screen called "Add Slices".  From there, you can choose stocks, funds, expert pies,my pies or watchlist.  

If you select an expert pie, you are taken to a screen that briefly describes the types of expert pies.  Two are "Income Earners" and "Hedge Fund Followers".  If you click on one of those it takes you to a list of pies.  The list shows the number of holdings, the dividend yield, a performance graph, performance in the last 1, 3 and 5 years and a risk rating.  Selecting one of the pies takes you to a screen that shows the holdings, a description of the pie and a description of the methodology used to select the holdings.  

Some of the pies use stocks, others use ETFs and still others a combination. 

Target Date pies come in five year increments in conservative, moderate and aggressive flavors.  As the target date nears, the portfolio is automatically moved to a more conservative posture.  

Bake Your Own Pie


I've said it before and I'll say it again, even though I'm not an expert and nothing you read here should be construed as financial advice, the majority of your retirement money should be in a diversified portfolio of index mutual funds and/or ETFs.  However, if you want to put a few dollars into individual stocks of your own picking, M1 allows you to do that as well.

If you select "Stocks" in the "Add Slices" screen, you are taken to a stock screener where you can choose to invest in any of 4,258  companies. To help you narrow your search, there are some basic screens such as market capitalization, P/E Ratio, Dividend Yield and Sector.  

A search for Consumer Defensive companies that pay a 3% dividend or more, got me 28 choices.  Since more is better, I sorted by dividend yield, and then looked at the list.  The highest yielding company was Keurig Dr. Pepper but year to date, it was down 72%.  Continuing down the list, United Guardian was 28.2% ytd, and still pays a 5.07% dividend, so I clicked on it, which took me to a page with basic information about the company.  I learned that though it was up this year, long term, things don't look so good.  

If I want to search for a particular stock, I can do that too.  A nice thing about M1 finance is that you do not have to buy an entire share of stock; if you want to invest $100 in Alphabet (Google) you can buy 0.17 shares.  You do not have to wait  until  you have $1188.82.

In any case, I can select up to 100 different securities per pie, and you can create pies until you have amassed 500 different securities. You can decide the weight you want each to have in your pie.

Types of Accounts


Unlike some other no-fee brokers, M1 Finance offers a variety of types of accounts.  You can open an IRA, a Roth IRA, a SEP IRA or a Trust Account. While you cannot open a Custodial Account now, M1 plans to make them available soon.  

M1 Finance is making a bid to be your main broker. While they do not currently offer options trading, and while they only trade at market open every day, they offer a wide variety of stocks and ETFs.  

Fees


M1 does not charge a sales commission or an account fee, even with IRAs.  They do charge interest on margin accounts (accounts that let you borrow money to buy stock)  There are a few services for which they charge fees and you can see them here. 

Get $10.00 in Fee Stock


M1 Finance is giving $10.00 worth of free stock to anyone who uses this link (or the other links in this post) to open a first account with them--and they'll give me $10 too if you do.  It takes about two weeks for that money to hit your account, but can you tell me another safe investment that will pay you 10% in two weeks (if you invest the minimum of $100)?  


Disease Called Debt

Friday, July 6, 2018

Mid-Year Review of Investments

Like many financial bloggers, I'm taking a little time now that 2018 is half over to look at how things have gone for us so far this year.  Luckily, the answer to that question is "just fine, thank you".  Our net worth is higher than our next worth at the end of the year, plus what we have saved, so we are moving in the right direction, though like most people with money in the stock market, we haven't gotten rich.

About 10% of our income automatically goes into our 401k accounts, and we managed to save 5% of our income beyond that.

On the spending side, we have paid for a beach vacation for me and my husband and for part of a trip to New York for me and my daughter, besides the normal day in and day out bills.

Let's take a look at the investments:

Vanguard:

My husband and I have Roth IRAs and regular IRAs, and a taxable account.  We deposited money in each Roth IRA this quarter and the money was taken from Lending Club and Prosper.   These accounts consist of a variety of mutual funds purchased for us by our ex-financial advisor, along with Vanguard's International Bond Index Fund, Total Stock Market Index Fund, 500 Index Fund, Total Bond Market Index Fund, Dividend Appreciation Fund, Emerging Markets Fund (new this quarter) and REIT Index Fund. In the last year, our rate of return has been 6.3% overall, but year-to-date, our returns are negative. 

One interesting figure Vanguard puts on its statements is your estimated yearly income and estimated yield from each fund, and for your account as a whole. Here are the figures for our accounts:

  • My IRA:  Estimated yield 2.24%
  • My Roth IRA:  Estimated yield 1.99%
  • Husband IRA:  Estimated yield 2.88%
  • Husband Roth IRA:  Estimated yield  2.67%
  • Taxable Joint Account:  Estimated yield 1.6%

My husband's IRA is the largest of these accounts and his return figures are higher than the other accounts because our REIT fund shares are in his accounts and they are high-yielding (4.59%).

MFS:

My 401k has a year to date positive return.   It is invested in Janus Triton,  Oppenheimer Int'L Small Mid Co A, MFS Government Securities Fund-A , Pioneer Fundamental Growth Fd-A,  and Delaware US Growth Fund-A.  My firm contributes 5% of my salary, and I contribute 6%.  Dividends this year totalled about 1/6 of my take-home check.

AXA:

My husband's 401K is with AXA and it has increased in value, though not a lot.  He puts in the minimum necessary for employer match.

Motif:

It is interesting how changing the fee schedule changes my behavior.  Initially, Motif charged a transaction fee when you purchased stock, and that was it.  I invested via a few large chunks of money and then withdrew my dividends and invested them elsewhere.  Then Motif instituted periodic fees for accounts under $10,000.  I left the dividends in the account and deposited more money to bring the account to $10,000.  Next,  Motif started offering free opening price trades, so I used them to buy individual stocks.  When they instituted fees on Motifs (baskets of stocks) they designed, I looked at the ones I had, and sold the underperformers.  Now my Motif account has the following:

  • Buyback Leaders:  A collection of companies that were buying back their stock.  While it has been pretty flat this year, overall, since 2014, it has increased in value over 90%, mostly because of NVDIA, which is up over 900%.  
  • Growing Dividends:  A collection of dividend paying stocks.  It is up about 27% since purchase, whereas the S&P is up 42%.  However, it yields over 2% in dividends yearly.  Most of the stocks that are down are retail stocks, and they are actually gaining a little ground lately.
  • High Yield Dividend:  Another collection of dividend paying stocks.  It is up 16% vs 39% for the S&P, but the average dividend yield is over 3% per  year.
  • Online Gaming World:  This collection of gaming stocks such as Activision/Blizzard, Weibo, and Cheeta Mobile is up over 148% as opposed to the S&P's 37% gain.
  • Things I Like:  I designed this basket, and a lot of it is retail stocks, which I bought at the wrong time.  It is up 10.4%, as opposed to the S&P being up 38.3%.  My winners were Alibaba and Alphabet and my losers are Lending Club and Ascena (Dress Barn/Ann Taylor etc)
  • Online Video:  Includes Netflix and Adobe.  Up 153% as opposed to 37% for the S&P. 
  • Low Beta:  These companies, including McDonalds, are supposed to have a low correlation to the market as a whole.  They pay really good dividends (average is probably close to 4%).  The Motif is up 10.8% whereas the S&P is up 37%
  • NVDIA:  This is a chip maker whose stock increased tremendously in 2017.  When I sold a couple of motifs, I used some of the money to buy more stock in this company. Unfortunately, it has been flat since then.  
  • Adobe:  Another stock that was great last year, but is down since I bought it.
  • CBL:  Up over 27% since I bought it.  This is a mall REIT and pays a dividend over 17% of current price.  
  • Amazon:  Up 7.4% since I bought it.
  • Energy Transfer Partners:  Owns natural gas pipeline etc.  Up 8.52% since I bought it and the dividend yield is over 12%
  • GOV is a REIT that owns buildings rented to government agencies.  Up 30% since I bought it.  Current dividend yield is over 9%
  • Johnson & Johnson.  Down 2% since purchase.
  • Realty Income:  REIT.  Up 2.52% since purchase. Dividend over 4%.
  • Southern Company:  Power company.  Up 6.82 since purchase.  Dividend over 4%
  • Starwood Propertiess (hotel and resort REIT).  Up 1.48% since purchase.  
  • Visa.  Up 3.04%.  I'm dripping all my Motif dividends into Visa right now.  Current dividend 0.6%. 
  • Weibo:  Chinese company that made me a lot of money last year in the online gaming Motif.  However, since I bought these shares they are down.33.8%  Talk about a hit!
  • Walgreens:  Down 11.4%, but at least it pays a 1.87% dividend.  The company is making money so I'm hoping this turns around.  

Lending Club:

While my returns have been steadily dropping for  months, accounting for expected defaults, Lending Club estimates my return since I began the account at about 4.66%   whereas three months ago I wrote that it was 4.58%.  However, so far this year, I've lost more money to defaults than I've made in interest.  Definitely not what I had in mind.

 As my notes mature I'm moving the money to our Roth IRAs. . The economy on the whole is fine now; if I can't make money with Lending Club under this economy, I'm going to lose it big time if things go downhill.  The profits today do not justify the risk.

Prosper:

My returns here have dropped as well.  Three months ago my annualized net returns were 5.09%, and my "seasoned" returns--the returns on notes that are more than ten months old were 4.39%. Those figures have dropped to 4.08% and 3.93%.  As I receive payments from Prosper, they are going to our Roth IRAs.

Robinhood:

I play with this account.  If I read an article about a stock that catches my eye, I'm likely to buy $50-100 worth for this account.  So far, I've invested a little under $2,000.  I usually set stop losses to I don't lose too much if the market goes down (and a couple of times I've repurchased for less after a stop-loss sell.  I ran the account through an XIRR calculator and I'm beating the S&P though not by much.

  • AT&T:  10 shares, average price $35.82,  Current price 32.68.  Dividend is $0.50 per share per quarter . No stop loss on this one; I bought it for the dividends.
  • Lending Club:  1 share purchased at $5.51.  Current price $3.74.  No dividends. No stop loss. 
  • Visa:  2 shares purchased at $78.00.  Current price $131.45.  $1.38 in dividends in 2017 and $0.84 so far this year. . I have a stop loss order placed at $125.00.
  • Hormel: 3 shares purchased at $31.80.  Current price 36.82.  2017 dividend was $0,51 per share; current quarterly dividend $0.56 per share.
  • Hanesbrands: 7 shares, average cost $19.20.  Current price $22.12,  Stop loss set at $19.70.  Dividend is $0.15 per share per quarter. 
  • CVS:  4 shares, average cost 70.64.  Current value $64.66.  Dividend is $0.50 per share  per quarter.  No stop loss.  
  • Qualcomm: 1 share purchased October 9 for $52.68.  Collected $1.14 in dividends before stop loss sale for $59.65.  
  • Mattel: 1 share purchased October 30 for $13.87. Current price $16.63. Stop loss sale for $15.00 on January 18. 
  • Ford: 3 shares purchased November 7, 2017 for $12.33.  Stop loss sell for  $11.50 on 1/25/18.  Repuchase for $11.00 on 2/1/18, and another share on August 5 for 11.37.  $0.15 per share in dividends. and then sold (stop loss) 6/25/18 for $11.40.  
  • Cardinal Healthcare.  1 share purchased November 27 for $56.42. Sold 2/5/18 for 64.98.  Repurchased on 2/5 for $64.70.  Stop loss sold again on 3/20 for $67.00, and repurchased for $66.50.  Quarterly dividend is $0.46.  Current price $49.50.
  • Omega Healthcare Investors.  1 share purchased December 6 for $26.75.  Current value $31.70. but my $26.00 stop loss executed on Feb 2 and I did not re-buy.  I did collect $0.66 in dividends so I'm only out a few cents.          
  • Ascena Retail Group. 3 shares purchased December 11 for $2.00.  Current value $3.79.  Stop Loss at $3.50.  
  • Macquarie Infrastructure. 1 share purchased December 26 for $64.18. Sold via stop loss on 2/6/ at $61.85.   Current value $42.82.  
  • Pfizer.  1 share purchased December 26 for $36.17,  Current value $36.35 but I sold on February 5 for $34.15.       
  • Giliad Sciences.  1 share purchased 1/19 for $81.30.  Stop loss sell 2/5 for $80.00. Repurchase for $79.00.  Quarterly dividend is $0.57.  Current value 71,33
  • ProAssurance.  1 Share purchased for $54.98.  Pays a quarterly dividend of $0.31 but its value has fallen to $36.05.  I should have set a stop loss.  
  • Viacom:  2 shares purchased for $33.31 each.  Current value $29.41.  Quarterly dividend of $0.20 per share.  
  • GE:  Another dog.  Purchased 3 shares at average cost of $15.90. Current value $13.41.  Quarterly dividend of $0.12.
  • Altababa:  Purchased 1 share for $80.00.  Current price $73.33.
  • CBL:  Purchased 13 shares for average price of $4.60.  Sold via stop loss at $5.50 on 6/21.  Repurchased at $5.48 (and added two more shares).  Current price $5.76.  Quarterly dividend is $0.20 per share.
  • Gamestop:  Purchased 1 share accidentally.  Decided to see what happened.  Cost was $17.05.  Current price  $14.63. Quarterly dividend is $0.38. 
  • Sprint:  I earned two shares via Robinhood's referral program.  Average value when awarded was $5.37.  Current value is $5.48.  
  • Macys: One share purchased for $24.00.  Current value $36.82. Quarterly dividend is $0.38.
  • GOV:  9 shares, average cost $12.93.  Current value $16.29.  Quarterly dividend is $0.43.  Stop loss set at $15.00.   
  • USA. 18 shares, average cost $6.35.  Current value $6.53.   Quarterly dividend of $0.17 per share.   
  • GLU Mobile:  Trying for a home run here.  20 shares; average cost $5.15.  Current value $6.38.  Stop loss set at $6.00 but I'm hoping for big things.  
  • Zynga:  2 shares awarded via Robinhood's referral program.   Average value when awarded was $4.36.  Current value $4.13.  
  • Delaware Investments Dividend Fund:  5 shares at $11.71.  Current value:  $11.92. 
  • New Residential Investments:  2 shares at $17.58.  Current value:  $18.04.              

 Robinhood is an online broker that now has both an app and a webpage.  They charge no commission and allow you to place limit or market orders.  They also allow you to initiate bank transfers and then invest the money immediately--you do not have to wait for the transfer to complete.  You do have to buy whole shares.

If you use this link to open an account with them, you and I will both receive a free share of stock. Here is a link to my review of Robinhood.

Stockpile:

This is an online broker for whom I wrote a sponsored post.  I invested $100 in Johnson & Johnson through them.  They charge $0.99 per trade, so even though they sell fractional shares, I don't recommend investing less than $100.00 per trade.  Stockpile had a promotion where they were giving away $5.00 worth of Apple stock so I got mine.  At the end of the year this account was worth $100.46--Johnson and Johnson has not done well.

If you use this link, you get $5.00 worth of stock to begin your account with them, and I get $5.00 too. I wrote a full review of Stockpile a few months ago.

The Bottom Line

As I noted earlier, we haven't gained much in terms of increased account value, but we have managed to live on what we make, put money in our 401ks and even put a little more away.  It has been a pretty good six months, all things considered.

One thing many investors track is dividends.  By this time last year my dividends totalled $3,656.82.  This year they are up to $5,349.75.

How was the first half of 2018 for you?

Disease Called Debt

Friday, June 22, 2018

Do You Need Long Term Care Insurance?

Today, the average cost of a nursing home is $82,125 per year for a semi-private room, according to US News and World Report.   Generally speaking, except in limited circumstances, this cost is not paid by Medicare or standard health insurance, so many people, especially as they approach the retirement years, wonder if they should buy insurance to cover the cost.  The answer, of course, is "it depends".

What is a Nursing Home?

For the purpose of this article, we are going to define a "nursing home" as an institution that provides complete custodial nursing care of the elderly or disabled who are not able to live independently because of mental or physical condition. Medicare does not pay for nursing home care.

This is different than a "skilled nursing facility" that is attempting to improve the person's health and/or functioning so as to allow them to return home.  The facility may be the same but the function is different.  Medicare pays for up to 100 days of skilled nursing care in a year. 

Does a Nursing Home REALLY Cost over $82,000 Per Year?

While the $82,000 figure is an average, different facilities have different costs and the average cost in some states is far more than in others.  If you are in a low cost state you may not need as much, and if in a high cost state you'll need more.

How Much Is Long-Term Care Insurance?

According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the average cost of a policy for a single person, age 55, is about $2,000 per year. This policy would pay $150 per day for up to three years.  If purchased at age 55, a couple would pay about $2,500 per year for benefits of $150 per day for three years.  If one member of the couple used all the days, then nothing would be left for the other.  To compare, if the couple waited until they were 60 to purchase that insurance, the premium would be about $3,400 per year. 

Is Long-Term Care Insurance Worth It?

The rule of thumb about ANY insurance is that most people are going to pay more in premiums than they collect in benefits.  If this wasn't the case, insurance companies would not make money and we all know they do.  When you buy insurance, you are paying the insurance company a fee to assume a risk, to turn an unknown into a known.  

I don't know if my husband or I will need nursing home care.  I do know that if we do need it, it will be expensive.  The insurance company knows the odds, ad they are going to look at me and my health history and determine how much time people like me spend, on average, in a nursing home.  They price the policy to make sure that we pay more than that.

The question is whether I need them to turn that unknown risk into a known premium.  Using the figures above, the policy will pay a maximum of $164,000.  If that 55 year old lives to 105, she will pay $100,000 for that insurance.  If she lives to 85, she'll pay $70,000.  Is it worth it?  

A rule of thumb is to buy insurance for things you can't afford to have happen.  I can afford to replace my cell phone so I don't insure it.  I can afford to pay $1,000 toward home repairs so I don't insure the first $1,000 worth of damage from storms.  I can't afford a trip to the hospital so I buy insurance to cover it. 

If all indications are that you will be able to pay $85,000 per year out of your assets, then long-term care may not be worth insuring. The thing to realize, especially with single people (whether never-married or widowed) is that by the time you need a nursing home, your other expenses will be minimal.  Your nursing home bill covers room and board, entertainment, transportation and more.  You won't need your car, you won't shop regularly for clothes or toys, and you won't be going out to restaurants.  Your house can be sold or rented out, and you will still get your Social Security and any pensions.  

The average nursing home stay is 835 days though the stay can be considerably longer for people with dementia and few physical problems.  Interestingly though, the average nursing home resident has a life expectancy of about six months when entering care.   Baby Boomers are estimated to have a one in four chance of spending the end of their life in a nursing home.  Those are the risks.  Can you afford them?

What If You Need a Nursing Home But Can't Afford It?

If you have reached the point that you need custodial care and you cannot afford it--there is no money there, then Medicaid will pick up the bill.  In order for Medicaid to pay your nursing home bill, your assets must be gone, or nearly so.  While some can be set aside for a spouse, your kids' inheritance must be spent before Medicaid pays.  Also, Medicaid looks at transfers from your estate in the last five years when determining eligibility, so if you are planning to give the money to the kids and then to let the government take care of you, make sure you get an early start.  

Maybe Your Kid(s) Should Pay for Long Term Care Insurance for You

If you have adult children and are comfortable discussing your finances with them, give them the figures and let them decide it long term care insurance is worth it, particularly if you are single.  If you do not have a spouse to worry about, then your long term care insurance is insuring an inheritance for your kids (assuming you don't outlive the policy). It isn't going to provide any benefit to you, because Medicaid will pay your nursing home bills if necessary.  Since they are benefiting, they can pay. 

On the other hand, if your kids include one with special needs who will be depending on an inheritance, purchasing long term care insurance could be part of your plan of long-term support.  

What do you think?  Is long term care insurance worth it?  Who should pay for it?  


Disease Called Debt

Friday, June 15, 2018

7 Cost Effective Ways to Help an Elderly Relative with Their Spring Clean

Today I'd like to welcome Sam from Moving Babies to Racing Towards Retirement.  Even though her expertise is babies and getting babies from place to place, she knows that babies are part of a family and that families look out for each other.  Today she is sharing with us some ways to help the older members of the family with spring cleaning.



Spring is a season most people enjoy. Additionally, it is the time of year most people thoroughly clean their homes, all because it is not too hot and thus you risk a heat stroke or too cold to throw all your windows open. As you busy yourself tidying your home though, it is essential that you do not forget that your mother or grandparent may also need some help cleaning. It goes a long way into making them feel cared for and helps you get a better understanding of their situation.


A clean environment is a key to good health especially since as people age their immunity weakens. You need to ask yourself, are they living in a clean and safe environment? Is there excess clutter that could be hazardous to their mobility?  Therefore, here are some cost effective tips that you can use when helping that elderly relative of yours tidy their home:

#01. Make A List and Prioritize


This one’s for free! When you get a busy spring cleaning, most people scrub down every corner of their house. However, the rooms and items that you use need to always clean. Instead of starting at a random point sit down and prioritize. Prioritizing is also essential because it allows you to allocate different activities enough time depending on their complexity or sensitivity. Additionally, you find when you have everything written down it is harder to forget one section of the house.


#02. Get Rid Of Clutter


Most houses have an accumulation of things that are not used by anyone but are also never thrown out. Unless something has sentimental value, if it is not being used it should be given away, sold, or thrown out. Decluttering creates more space in the house. Additionally, you will find that most of these knick-knacks were only collecting dust. You also need to keep in mind that the house is not yours and therefore do not get rid of anything without the owner’s permission.
Saving tip: If you can get your relative’s buy-in, you could even make some money by selling items that are in good condition but are no longer used.

#03. Come Up With A Work Plan


To adequately cover every inch of the house you need to have a plan. It will also partially involve allocating time to each activity. For example, if your loved one spends much time in their room, then it will need to be cleaned thoroughly than the places they rarely visit, like the attic. Also, when allocating time, you have to avoid having a rigid work plan. This way, you can comfortably accommodate any changes along the way.

#04. Figure Out Their Likes and Dislikes


People like to clean with certain detergents or in a particular order, and when you ignore this order, they may not be entirely satisfied with the results. Therefore, before you go shopping find out if the homeowner has any preferences. Additionally, do not forget to ask whether they are allergic to anything.
Saving tip: Make a list and buy everything at once, there are often coupons for cleaning products and this can bring the price down significantly.

#05. Consider Getting Help 


Unless you are a superhero, you will not manage to clean surfaces, do laundry, dust the carpets and shine the windows in one day.  On the other hand, you cannot spring clean for two weeks. Therefore, you might need to consider hiring some help or calling in some of your relatives. When choosing the people to help you, make sure you select people who can work around an older person to avoid petty conflicts.

#06. Do Not Exclude Your Grandparents in Your Cleaning Project


Older adults might be a bit slow as they work or they may not have the strength needed for heavy lifting. However, this does not mean you should exclude them.  Keeping in mind that this is their house, you need to involve them in every step of your plan, right from the organizing. You can give them a light task like making tea for the team, or sort the cutlery.

#07. Improve Their Air Quality


Spring cleaning not only leave the surfaces clean it also improves the quality of air in the home. However since you cannot do this every month, you can buy your relation a lightweight, inexpensive canister vacuum cleaner, which will make it easier for them to keep on top of the cleaning going forward. Additionally, if they spend much time indoors, get them an air purifier for mold as aging adults tend to be more susceptible to bronchial infections. With the addition of these two gadgets, you will not need to worry about the accumulation of indoor pollutants and allergens.
Saving tip: Do your homework, there are often specials and discounts offered for items such as purifiers and vacuum cleaners so don’t rush out and buy the first one you see.

Spring is a period of renewal, and a restored commitment to making a sheltered space for your older relative so that they can age at home with pride, independence, and happiness.

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*