If you’ve ever played baseball, then you know that you have to get on base to get in the game. If you hit the ball way out of the park it’s called a home run … but do you have to run the bases? I mean, that ball is not coming back! Well, the answer is yes, you do have to run the bases. Why? Because those are the rules of the game. If you don’t follow the rules, you get benched. Financial literacy is a lot like baseball.
If you don’t play by life’s rules, life can bench you.
To get in the game of life, you have to step up to the plate, hit the ball, and run the bases.
First base is income protection; it’s also known as insurance. Insurance is required for your car, your home, and even your health. That’s because each of them are regarded as valuable assets. So, if something happens to them, insurance will cover its repair or replacement. The question is, what’s your most VALUABLE asset? If you ask your loved ones, they’ll probably say you are. You are very important to them and your income is an important contribution to their well-being. When a loved one dies, no amount of money can bring them back, but should the family also lose your income and way of life it provided? Leave your family a love letter called ‘life insurance’ and give them one less thing to have to adjust to right away.
But what happens if you don’t die? What happens it you suffer from chronic illnesses like stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, lupus, or cancer? Usually you can’t work when these things happen to you and that can add a lot of stress to your life and lengthen or even complicate your healing process. Critical Illness Insurance provides income to you and your family while you live and recover; it gives you peace of mind. You can pay bills, have procedures done that may not be available here in the United States, take a family vacation, and even bring a loved one home to take care of you while you heal. Critical Illness insurance covers a list of chronic and critical illnesses. It pays on each of the diagnoses it covers and even becomes a death benefit should a loved one die as a result of the illness.
On the way to second base is Legal Documents. These are written documents of how you would like your wishes carried out when you’re not around or capable of making decisions on your own.
- A Will spells out how you want things handled regarding your estate. Who do you want your valuables to go to after you pass away? How do you want them distributed?
- Living Wills answer the question of whether or not to remain on life support during a serious health crisis.
- What if you’re out of the country for a few months? Who pays your bills and looks after your home while you’re away? Grant a close family member or friend as your Power of Attorney.
- Do you want drugs or alternative measures and medicines used during your hospital stay or care and treatment? That can be covered in a Five Wishes document.
- If both you and your spouse die in an accident, who gets the children or family pet? They don’t automatically go to family members. You need a Kid’s Protection Plan for that.
You know what’s best for you and your loved ones. Put it in writing and allow your voice to be heard after death.
Second base is called Budgeting. Budgeting is taking 100% of your money and dividing portions of it among five categories:
35% for housing [rent/mortgage and utilities]
20% for personal needs [groceries, hair, nails, life stuff]
20% for transportation [bus passes, Uber, car note, insurance and car repairs]
15% for debt [Credit card, student loan, payday loan, etc..]
10% for savings
To break these numbers out, find the amount of your monthly take home pay (usually two paychecks of income) and multiply the total by each of the above percentages. You will then know how much money you have available to spend in each category monthly. When you divide your money this way, you don’t feel like you work only to pay bills. You will also have money to shop and do things that you enjoy. If you have more month left at the end of your money, start planning how to earn more. One-on-one coaching with one of our qualifiee staff can help put you on the road to financial success.
Credit and Debt
On your way to third base is Credit and Debt. Credit is how much money someone is willing to lend you based on your ability to pay it back, or the likelihood that you will pay your debt on time. Your credit score is a number between 300 – 850 that lending institutions such as banks and credit card companies use to evaluate the potential risk posed by lending money to you.
Debt is the amount of money you owe to someone else. If you’ve taken out a loan to go to school, purchased a home, car, furniture, or have a credit card and you haven’t paid it off or in full, then you have DEBT! Debt affects your credit score and that makes it harder to get things done sometimes. The good news is that Moving Beyond Hope has financial coaches ready to give strategies and assistance to help you improve your credit score and even eliminate debt.
Third Base covers the three categories of Savings and Investments: Emergency fund, short term investments, and long-term investments.
Your emergency fund is for life’s unexpected emergencies such as needing new tires, repairing a washer or dryer, a hot water tank, or even a trip to the emergency room! Most emergencies cost less than $1,000 to repair or replace.
Short term investments are to pay for things you want do or have 3-5 years from now such as dream wedding, purchasing a home, buying a car, or taking a cruise or trip out of the country.
Long term investments are generally for two things; Retirement and college tuition. These investments should be started when you or your kids are younger because they need a lot of time to grow, typically ten years or more. Some investment vehicles are 529 Savings plans, mutual funds, and stocks. Through Moving Beyond Hope, we can help you get your nest egg started for as little as $50/month!
Long Term Care Insurance
On the way to home plate is Long Term Care Insurance. This is insurance for those with a lot of assets ($1 million or more) who want to protect them in the event they end up needing long term nursing home or assisted living care. With medical costs on the rise, a good Long Term Care insurance can help protect you from losing your home and all your savings over a few short years of quality medical care.
Home plate is where you’ve reached financial independence! You have scored! You’ve successfully set yourself up to be financially free to do and go where you want. Continue the strategies you have put in place, because that ball is not coming back!
Everyone will play financial baseball. And like baseball players, each one of you will have an opportunity to step up to the plate, hit the ball, and run the bases. So, why doesn’t everyone play? Because they don’t know the rules and so they bench themselves. Talk to a Hope Warrior today about getting in the game!