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Donna Teaching Crock-Pot Class at YWCA

Donna Blakely recently volunteered with the Junior League of High Point and helped teach a Crock-Pot cooking class at the YWCA to young moms. It was an educational workshop that included healthy eating focused on the nutritional needs of women and children. The JLHP provided each participant with a crock-pot, recipe book, and ingredients to help these moms recreate the meal at home that was demonstrated to them during the class. Anytime there is food and cooking involved, Donna loves to help out!

Donna Blakely Crock-Pot JLHP Junior League of High Point YWCA
Donna Blakely teaching Crock-Pot class with the JLHP Junior League of High Point YWCA
The Truth About Buy Now Pay Later BNPL Blakely Financial

When Buying Is Easy, Paying Later Can Be a Problem

Presented by Emily Promise

If you shop online, you might have noticed a growing number of buy now, pay later (BNPL) services that offer the option to spread out the payments on your purchases. For example, buyers who make one partial payment upfront and agree to several additional interest-free installments can receive their orders immediately. This is a crucial difference from the layaway plans of the past in which shoppers had to wait until they paid the balance in full to take their goods home. Many stores discontinued layaway plans in the 1980s when credit cards became widespread.

BNPL plans are more popular with younger consumers trying to stretch their paychecks, partly because they are more comfortable shopping online (and particularly on smartphones). At first glance, it may seem like a worthwhile convenience, but there are good reasons to think twice before committing to installment purchases.

Credit Is Credit

BNPL plans are essentially point-of-sale loans; applying for financing is quick and easy, which seems like a plus when time is tight.

However, speedy access to credit also provides instant gratification and allows for more impulse buying. As a result, it might tempt you to overspend on things you don’t need and probably wouldn’t buy if you had to save up and/or pay 100% of the cost upfront. And if you make a lot of smaller purchases across multiple services, it may be harder to keep track of how much you are spending.

Too Good To Be True?

One criticism of BNPL services is that they make it easier for consumers to fall into debt. As with credit cards, you would face financial consequences such as late fees and/or high-interest rates if you encounter a financial setback and can’t pay the installments on schedule.

Another point to consider is that credit-card companies report on-time payments to the credit bureaus, so using credit cards responsibly can help you build a positive credit history. In contrast, some BNPL lenders may not bother to report on-time payments — though they will indeed report missed payments and collections. So before you use any BNPL service, read the fine print carefully to make sure you understand the terms and conditions and the company’s credit reporting policies.

 

This material has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute either tax or legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to ensure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a tax preparer, professional tax advisor, or lawyer.

Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals.

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.

Holiday Conversation Topics

Holiday Conversation Topics

The holidays are a time for gathering with family and friends. As we return to in-person gatherings this holiday season, there will be countless opportunities for meaningful conversations with your family.  There are so many important financial planning topics that can and should be discussed.  I’m here to share some topics of conversation to have across all generations of the family.

The Patriarchs & Matriarchs (“Grandparents”) of the family to their grown adult children:

Who will help with medical and end-of-life decisions? Do they know where your financial accounts are? Discuss your estate planning wishes with your adult children; share where to locate vital documents (password books, estate documents).

Adults to their Children:

For Young Children – Talk about the importance of saving and giving back to the community in which you live (holidays are about more than just gifts – teach them this lesson while they are young!)

Teenaged Children – What are their goals for the future? Are they considering going to college? Are they working on making varsity on a sports team next season? Listen to them, hear them out, and then share with them knowledge and lessons you have learned in the past.

Young Adult Children – At this period in their life, they have a lot going on – new jobs, maybe a home purchase, starting families of their own – all major life decisions! Discuss the importance of looking into the future and planning for such goals.

Now, once you work through the serious stuff – and the holiday punch has kicked in – here are some fun, thought-provoking conversations to have as a group:

•             Start a family book club

•             Share family recipes

•             Plan a family reunion

Make the most of the holidays and your time together. Life gets busy, and we often don’t have quality time with family, so take advantage of your time with family and friends – don’t wish it away!

Women Face Challenges in a Post-Pandemic World Emily Promise Blakely Financial

Women Face Challenges in a Post-Pandemic World

By Emily Promise,  CFP®, CDFA®, AIF®, APMA®, CRPC®

The COVID-19 economic crisis tested the mettle of all Americans, mainly working mothers. Research shows that the pandemic’s impacts on women have been far-reaching and potentially long-lasting. Now that the U.S. economy is picking up steam, it may be more important than ever for women to re-examine their retirement planning strategies.

Effects of the COVID-19 Economy

The COVID-19 recession disproportionately impacted working women because sectors that typically employ them — including retail, hospitality, and health care — were hit harder than others. As noted in a paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, “Employment fell more for women compared to men at every stage during the pandemic, with the biggest gender differences estimated for married women with children.” Many women were forced to cut work hours or leave jobs entirely to care for family members and supervise remote schooling activities when daycares and schools shut down.1

In a Pew Research study, 64% of women said they or someone in their household lost a job or took a pay cut during the pandemic, and nearly a quarter took unpaid time off for personal, family, or medical reasons. Half of women ranked their financial situation as “only fair” or “poor.”2

More Than Their Share of Job Losses
Before the pandemic, women made up 52% of the population. Yet, they represented a more significant proportion of the employment decline during the spring, summer, and fall seasons of 2020.
Women’s share of the 2020 employment decline: spring 66%; summer 63%; fall 59%.
Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2021

Retirement at Risk?

When it comes to retirement savings, unmarried women have the most ground to cover, according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute survey. Nearly six in 10 have less than $50,000 set aside for retirement; 31% have saved less than $1,000.3

Couple these statistics with the retirement planning challenges women faced even before the pandemic — longer life spans and lower earnings and Social Security benefits, on average — and it’s apparent that women need a carefully considered retirement strategy that will help them pursue their goals.

Making Up Lost Ground

If you or a loved one need to make up lost ground, consider the following tips.

1. Save as much as possible in tax-advantaged investment vehicles, such as employer-based retirement plans and IRAs. In 2021, you can contribute up to $19,500 to 401(k) and similar plans and $6,000 to IRAs. Those figures jump to $26,000 and $7,000, respectively, if you are 50 or older. If your employer offers a match, be sure to contribute at least enough to take full advantage of it. If you have no income but you’re married and file a joint income tax return, you can still contribute to a spousal IRA in your name, provided your spouse earns at least as much as you contribute.

2. Familiarize yourself with basic investing principles: dollar-cost averaging, diversification, and asset allocation. Dollar-cost averaging involves continuous investments in securities, regardless of fluctuating prices, and can be an effective way to accumulate shares to help meet long-term goals. However, you should consider your financial ability to continue making purchases during periods of low and high price levels. (If you contribute to an employer-based plan, you’re already using dollar-cost averaging.) Diversification and asset allocation are methods to help manage investment risk while building a portfolio appropriate for your needs. Note that all investment involves risk, and none of these strategies guarantees a profit or protects against investment loss.

3. Seek guidance from your financial professional, who can provide an objective opinion during challenging times and may be able to help you find ways to reduce costs and save more. Although there is no assurance that working with a financial professional will improve investment results, a professional can evaluate your objectives and available resources and help you consider appropriate long-term financial strategies.

Sources: 1) National Bureau of Economic Research, 2021; 2) Pew Research Center, 2021; 3) Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2021

This material has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute either tax or legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a tax preparer, professional tax advisor, or lawyer.

Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM to see what other specialized advice we can provide towards your financial well-being.

EMILY PROMISE is a financial advisor with BLAKELY FINANCIAL, INC. located at 1022 Hutton Ln., Suite 109, High Point, NC 27262 and can be reached at (336) 885-2530.

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals.

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.

Prepared by Commonwealth Financial Network®

Traits of a Millionaire Woman

Traits of Millionaire Women

Presented by  Emily Promise

How does a millionaire woman look? Well, millionaires – women and men – come in all shapes and sizes. 

First, we will look at the profile of a millionaire woman. Here are some basic facts:

  • 2/3rds of millionaire women come from a dual-income household
  • 2/3rds have children
  • Only 5% of millionaire women are business owners

Millionaire women and women, in general, all share the following traits: 

  1. Express increased concern, and exhibit more stress, regarding preparing for their financial future versus men
  2. Are more concerned about the future versus the present
  3. Love having a financial plan – women are natural planners

All millionaire women have a plan. Women, in general, love the idea of a financial plan – it serves as a road map to reach their goals, whatever those may be.

Women take on myriad roles in life and, to coordinate everything, planning is a vital component! (Think about trekking the kids around to all their extra activities without a schedule or forethought!)

When it comes to finances, it takes diligent savings to amaze the wealth that women have. As they say, money does not grow on trees.

One final trait that all millionaire women share is that they want their concerns addressed. Whether it’s the financial concern of having enough money, or the personal, such as how will I care for my aging parents, women want someone to go to as a trusted advisor to provide clarity, insight, and guidance to elevate their concerns.

 

Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM to see what other specialized advice we can provide towards your financial well-being.

EMILY PROMISE is a financial advisor with BLAKELY FINANCIAL, INC. located at 1022 Hutton Ln., Suite 109, High Point, NC 27262 and can be reached at (336) 885-2530.

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals.

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.

Prepared by Commonwealth Financial Network®