Blog   Tagged ‘advice’

Sometimes it’s good to be cheap: money-saving tips from a “cheap” family

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Be Cheap!

Steve and Annette Economides are known as America’s cheapest family, and they didn’t get that label by stiffing waiters or bringing cheap bottles of wine to house parties. The Economides (yes, that’s their real last name, but it’s pronounced econo-mee dis)have developed a method to save money as a family, and they shared a few tips with CBS Arizona affiliate KPHO to help every family around the country cut back on spending.

Teach kids the value of money at a young age
The Economides wrote a book called “the MoneySmart family system,” and one of the main points is about teaching children the right way to go about learning and saving money. The couple believes that if parents show their children smart money-saving habits at a young age, it can help set the right mood for the entire family.

“We would normally spend money on them,” Steve said of his children. “I mean how many parents would normally give their kids $20 to go to the mall? So what we said was, okay, we’re going to give them money anyway, let’s have them earn it.”

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Setting up a point system is one way the Economides got their kids excited about earning and saving money. Their children would earn a set amount of points for completing a chore around the house. At the end of the week, they could turn those points in for money.

The family found a reward-based system helps children learn to budget at an early age. Steve also said their goal is by the time their children turn 11, they should be able to afford to buy their own clothes. By the time they turn 16 and are ready to drive, they should be able to pay for their own car and insurance.

“Remember we’re slowly transferring the weight of adult responsibilities to the kids so that by the time they’re 18, they’re ready to go to college and they know how to manage larger amounts of money,” Steve said.

The Economides understand that not every 16-year-old will be able to afford their own car. Annette said that even if they can’t purchase vehicles when they get their licenses, it’s wise to have them pay their own car insurance for accountability reasons.

“It’s real important that kids pay for their car insurance because then if they decide to speed and they get a ticket, their car insurance goes up and they bear the consequences for those decisions,” she said.

Paying off debt
The interesting take on savings doesn’t end there for this family. When managing debt, they told ABC affiliate KNXV to write down every person or establishment they owe money to, no matter the amount. They disagree with the many financial experts say to pay off high-interest debt first.

“Don’t worry about interest rates because you have more success if you simply knock off the smallest balance,” Annette said.

Steve suggests getting a second job, working overtime or looking around the house for unused items that you might be able to sell in order to help pay off debt. He said the family recently sold a 3-year-old textbook for $30.

Saving on daily costs
The average family of four spends $800 per month on food, or roughly $9,600 per year, according to WTVM.

Annette told KPHO that one simple way to trim a family’s food bill is to take inventory of what is already stocked in the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets before heading to the grocery store. She said most people have more in their house than they realize, so searching through their pantries reveals a lot of forgotten items.

Remember, adopting even one of these money-saving tips could make a big impact on you budget. Try adding one at a time, and be sure to track the difference it makes each month.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Ms. Seeger is a VP/Financial Center Manager for UMB Arizona. She is responsible for leading the sales and client experience teams in the financial center as well as business development. She has 14 years of experience in the financial services industry. She is a member of the Young Professionals Scottsdale Cultural Council Committee and is takes an active leadership role in the Scottsdale community.

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Fiduciaries: what are they and why do you need them?

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One of the most important items in your estate planning process is naming the fiduciaries who will execute your wishes and manage your assets when needed. First, you may be wondering what exactly is a fiduciary. Very simply, a fiduciary is a third-party representative who is appointed to act on behalf of someone else.

Two of the most common fiduciaries in estate planning are the personal representative, the person who handles the assets that are included in someone’s last will and testament; and a trustee, someone who handles the assets that have been placed in a trust.

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So, why do you need a fiduciary and how do you choose the right one? Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Carefully select a fiduciary that you trust to execute your plans.

    Handling an estate may seem like a simple process that anyone can easily manage. However, don’t underestimate both the amount of work and the expertise needed to carry out required duties.

    First, there are a variety of laws that must be navigated, including complicated probate laws. Additionally, accounting for estates and trusts can be extremely technical and require excellent record keeping and tracking. Your fiduciaries must be able to show through proper accounting that they have handled and managed the estate and its assets in an accurate, fair and unbiased manner. If you pick someone who is lacking in knowledge or organizational skills they are at risk for liability and personal fines.

    Tax planning is also a necessary expertise—it’s imperative that an estate is run in a tax-efficient manner. Fiduciaries must understand how their actions affect the estate or trust as well as the beneficiaries. This includes how assets are invested and distributed since trusts are subject to different tax rates and laws than individuals or corporations.

  • There may be disagreements.

    Secondly, you may truly believe that your family members and friends will easily work together and agree on how your assets should be handled. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Appointing a family member or friend frequently causes tension or distress that may not have existed before. If not handled properly, this can easily result in stress, damaged relations or, in some cases, legal action between or against your loved ones.

  • You don’t have to be wealthy to use a professional fiduciary.

    Employing a professional fiduciary is cost-effective, and something you should think about even if you do not consider yourself to be a high-net-worth individual. Your immediate reaction may be that it’s more expensive to hire a fiduciary to handle everything, rather than seeking individual counsel from different experts as needed. However, in many cases, a fiduciary’s cost will be equal to or less expensive.

At the end of the day, it’s in your best interest to carefully research your options to select the appropriate fiduciary for your own unique situation. Designating the right person to efficiently and quickly handle these details in a difficult time is truly one of the best gifts you can leave behind.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Tjaden serves as executive vice president and chief fiduciary officer. He is responsible for supervising all fiduciary activities and staff for UMB, including offices in Kansas City, St. Louis, Denver, Phoenix and Salina, as well as the Trust Company in South Dakota. Mr. Tjaden oversees Personal Trust, Custody, Foundations, Trust Legal and Business Support Services within the Private Wealth Management division. He joined UMB in 1977. Mr. Tjaden earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and political science from Kansas State University. He also earned a Juris Doctor and a master’s in business administration from the University of Kansas. Additionally, Mr. Tjaden is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor and a member of the Estate Planning Society, the Johnson County Bar Association and the Kansas Bar Association.

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