Articles Posted in financial wellness

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People will make bad decisions and financial wellness suffers. They decide to use forbearance to manage a college loan or pay a medical bill before the health insurer has paid its share. It is unfair to say those with debt are frivolous spenders. However, it is safe to assume they don’t know what to do. Access to the right information is important.

So Many Options

Unreliable sources of information and online “experts” will give ideas that may not be good. Trouble arises when an individual is financially illiterate. His or her choices can be the result of believing the wrong money guru or a poorly written financial blog. No relationship develops. The online advisor addresses a general audience and rarely works with an individual. It is easy to make financial mistakes when there is a lot of information and no one to help sort the good from the bad. Continue reading

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The start of the new school year reminds many recent college graduates of an obligation they must meet. They financed their education through a series of loans that met the cost of tuition and other expenses, but that left them in a mess. The financial wellness of many is under a burden of payments which can last for decades.

An Educational Experience That Is Stressful

College is the first time many young people are away from home. Regrettably, it is also the first time these people confront a major, life-changing, debt. The FAFSA forms were tough enough to complete. Loan papers that were signed and perhaps cosigned by parents committed the students to a payment plan that would start in a few years.

You can’t blame a person for taking out a student loan. It is the only way to pay for the required college education for many. Not all the students understood what was required of them in the loan applications. As graduates, with the six-month grace time now over, they need to find ways to stretch their budget. Continue reading

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Consumers enjoy using credit cards. It is certainly convenient to buy with plastic and it is much safer than carrying a lot of cash. Nevertheless, credit cards can be dangerous in the hands of the wrong person. Even though credit cards make shopping easier, they pose a serious threat to anyone’s financial wellness. Here is how it happens.

  1. Retailers Want You to Use Your Credit Card

The reason is very simple: you are going to spend more with a credit card at the store than if you use cash. People are nowhere near as thrifty if there’s a special sale which encourages you to use your credit cards. While this ordinarily happens at Christmas time, consumers can run up a hefty balance on their cards with just a few shopping trips. The balances must be paid and the minimum monthly payment can become substantial.

  1. Forgetting to Pay the Monthly Bill Has Consequences

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 has reduced some of the negative impact of not paying your credit card bill on time. However, the credit card company can still charge a penalty for a late payment and impose a penalty APR (Annual Percentage Rate) that can be as much as 29.99% for an indefinite period. Continue reading

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Financial wellness is elusive for some of us. It seems as if as soon the books are balanced, there is a major medical bill or credit card invoice in the mailbox. Unexpected debt will cause carefully made financial plans to go out the window.

No one wants to lose control over their finances but breaking even every month isn’t easy. There is a secret to maintaining financial wellness. It is twofold and hidden in plain sight.

  1. Financial Information

Countrywide Pre-Paid Legal Services has a benefit which is committed to establishing financial wellness. Collecting data is the first step on the road to healthy finances. Our network of certified counselors performs that task for a plan member. Continue reading

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The Los Angeles Times recently reported about a growing dissatisfaction with medical deductibles. Middle-class families are being squeezed by deductibles of $5000 or more. These costs can result in financial wellness emergencies as people struggle to pay a sizable bill.

The Increasing Debt Load

Deductibles are reinstated annually. If you paid all the deductible of your insurance policy in 2018, you started 2019 with the entire deductible required payment once again. This renewal will impact treatment and therapy which crosses over into the new year. It explains why the cost of a medical procedure can be thousands of dollars despite existing health insurance.

People get nervous when the final medical bill shows up. The stress level increases if  bill collectors start calling. Hasty decisions about paying can damage anyone’s financial wellness. Countrywide Pre-Paid Legal Services appreciates how desperate some folks might become. We have a benefit that can ease a person’s troubled mind and prevent the wrong choices from being made. Continue reading

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Sudden expenses can cause anxiety and panic. The emotions lead to poor decisions which will cause even greater problems. Those who do not understand how to manage their money can be in a state of confusion and stress. Their financial wellness can be in trouble.

Countrywide Pre-Paid Legal Services wants to help people maintain control of their money. We believe most cash problems can be resolved with proper advice and guidance. We have a Financial Wellness benefit that allows people to resolve those financial emergencies which arise.

The Use of Experienced Counselor.

It is not enough to post advice on a webpage. Those who do not know what to do will appreciate personal contact. Countrywide will use its network of certified counselors to help reduce the stress and regain financial wellness. Continue reading

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Understanding cash flow is a major part of financial wellness. Being aware of where the money is coming from and where it is going to will prevent many emergencies. It is amazing how many people do not appreciate this simple budgeting fact.

Budgeting isn’t rocket science, but many employees do not know how to do it. They will live from paycheck to paycheck without fully covering expenses. It can lead to financial trouble that hits without warning and creates serious domestic problems.

Countrywide Pre-Paid Legal Services helps people deal with routine financial problems and advises how our Financial Wellness Plan helps employees organize their money more efficiently. Continue reading

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Employees want to have a comprehensive benefits program for their employees. Benefits that complement each other are more cost-effective and people are more likely to take advantage of what their managers offer. Millennials and those just graduating from college need help with their college debt. Furthermore, they need to find ways to prevent college costs from overwhelming their financial wellness.

There Is a Need to Stretch Educational Assistance

Management understands that employees in school need a helping hand with their college expenses. It is why educational assistance programs were developed in the first place. Such assistance is appreciated but it doesn’t go as far as it could.

The cost of higher education has skyrocketed in recent years. The cost of tuition is often more than what companies can provide as education assistance. Employers can still provide needed support and it doesn’t mean increasing the educational assistance budget. Continue reading

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Credit cards are a major part of American commerce. People try to use credit cards as little as possible and some will try to do without credit completely. This is almost impossible. Emergencies arise that require the use of credit and retailers encourage the use of credit cards with special deals. Some of the special deals are traps that will threaten an innocent victim’s financial wellness.

The Nature of the Beast

Retail stores want people to use credit cards for a very simple reason: consumers will purchase more with plastic than if they had cash in their pocket. Some of the deals include offering credit cards at zero interest rate for a specific period. Other deals involve substantially reduced credit costs. Some credit card companies attempt to persuade people to consider a consolidation loan through the credit card. That latter one is deceptive because it permits a person to put a large amount of debt onto a single credit card in return for a significantly reduced rate of interest.

This all sounds attractive, but the devil is in the details. Not everyone is willing to read the fine print of some of the offers. For example, failure to make a payment on a consolidation loan will result in a significant interest charge. Other deals require that a given amount of money must be charged on the card or the lower interest rates will not apply. People get in trouble when they don’t understand the terms and conditions of a credit card. A person can end up in deeper trouble. Continue reading

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A major threat to financial wellness is panic. A person gets a sizable bill in the mail and his or her anxiety spikes. A hasty decision is made that only makes matters worse. One source of alarm is medical bills.

A One-Two Punch

Healthcare costs are not going down despite efforts to control the inflation. Deductibles are growing as employers try to reign in premium costs and new therapies are expensive. These pose a serious challenge to any individual.

People will get upset when they see the bill. Hasty decisions include paying off the entire bill (which can drain life savings}, taking out a loan(which might not be necessary), or using a credit card to pay the debt(generating sizable interest charges each month). The main problem is not knowing the best way to deal with medical debt. Countrywide Pre-Paid Legal Services knows how medical bills harm financial wellness. We offer a benefit to help manage those medical costs. Continue reading