Tag: Resource Management

Health Insurance Considerations

When choosing a health insurance plan there is much to consider. What benefits do you need? Which health care providers do you prefer to use, and which can you use? What costs are you comfortable paying? Do you have an emergency or “rainy day” fund to cover expenses in case of sickness, job loss, or economic downturn?

Many factors should be considered when deciding which policy best suits your needs. The right plan for you will depend on your health and your financial situation.

  • Determine which benefits beyond the essential health benefits covered by all policies are most important to you and your family.
  • Check the drug formulary for your prescription drugs and the list of network pharmacies when looking at your options.
  • Check to make sure the providers you want to use are in the plan’s provider network.
  • Weigh the costs of not only the premium, but also the deductible, coinsurance, and copayments for the plans you are considering.

The University of Maryland Extension has some great tools to help consumers be smart about buying and using health insurance. Contact Nora Rhoades at nrhoades@ksu.edu or 785-346-2521 to access the resources available from K-State and other extension networks.

By:  Nora Rhoades

Dogs, Cats, and Birds, Oh My!

Research backs the claims of the physical, emotional, and mental support pets provide for their families. However, along with the many added benefits of having pets there are the financial expenses for caring for your animal. K-State Research and Extension provides the following fact sheet to help you consider and budget for the expenses surrounding pet ownership.

Dogs, Cats, and Birds, Oh My! ― Factoring Pet Costs into a Family Budget can be accessed online at https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF3368.pdf or by visiting your local Post Rock District Office.

By:  Nora Rhoades

Spend Some, Share Some, Save Some: Family Budgeting

Is your household’s spending, saving, and sharing on track to support your goals and values? It’s time to revisit those guidelines and expectations. K-State Research and Extension has a helpful resource that can assist you as you answer these questions. It is never too late to take a small step toward stronger financial wellness. For additional assistance or to access more resources, contact your local Post Rock District Office.

Spend Some, Share Some, Save Some: Family Budgeting bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF3306.pdf

By:  Nora Rhoades

Are you ready for severe weather and emergencies?

The lion of winter and the lamb of spring often play hide-and-go-seek throughout the month of March making diverse Kansas weather threats hard to predict. The area’s common weather threats include tornadoes, thunderstorms, blizzards, and floods along with extreme heat, cold, and wind. Other emergencies your family may confront could relate to vehicle trouble, medical concerns, fires, and accidents.

Severe weather and emergencies can strike at any moment and will likely affect every family at some point. The best way to work through difficult situations and circumstances is to be prepared before a concern presents itself. It is recommended that every household and family have an emergency plan that is reviewed and practiced at least 2 times each year. In regards to your plan, here are some things to consider:

  • What emergencies could affect my family where we live, work, learn, and play?
  • What special needs (infant, elderly, medical, disability) does my family have?
  • What are each individual’s responsibilities? How will we work together as a team?
  • How will we be alerted and warned (tv, wireless alerts, radio) about potential hazards?
  • Identify a place to meet if separated and the route to get there. How will you shelter-in-place? Where can you shelter away from home?
  • Identify local and out-of-area ‘In Case of Emergency’ contacts. It is a good idea to clearly identify these contacts in your phone and in a wallet or purse.
  • Assemble a basic emergency supply kit and place it somewhere that will be easy to access. Try to include enough supplies to last a minimum of 3 days.

By:  Nora Rhoades

The Key to Farming SUCCESSion Conference

March 20, 2018 │ Newton, KS

Join us for The Key to Farming SUCCESSion Conference on March 20th from 10:00AM-4:00PM. The conference will feature keynote speaker, Roger McEowen! Featured breakout session topics include:  Advanced Health Care Planning; Where Do I Start?; Preparing for the What If; Estate Planning 101; New Tax Laws; and Navigating Family Differences. Attendees will leave with new knowledge and strategies to grow their business and secure farm assets for future generations to come.

Event information is available at http://www.harvey.k-state.edu/agriculture/

View the event flier at http://bit.ly/2FbVevO

By:  Nora Rhoades

The Money That You Keep

For far too many of us, the money we earn is spent almost as soon as we make it. For those managing burdens of debt, it could be argued that the money we earn is already spent before we earn it.

But what if you could pay yourself first, and keep some of those earnings for things you need today, or might need tomorrow?

“We know that Americans for several years — actually some decades, probably — have not saved as much as Americans in the past,” said Elizabeth Kiss, a family resource management specialist for K-State Research and Extension.

America Saves (americasaves.org) provides a list of strategies to help individuals and families grow their nest egg, rather than scramble their finances.

Start With A Plan — The old adage is true: Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Saving money requires some thought, and a plan of action. “Looking at your goals, think about how much money you need, how much you can realistically put aside on a regular basis, and that’s the plan part,” Kiss says. “Without a plan we’re just kind of maneuvering without full information, without direction.”

Automate The Process — Most wage earners are paid by direct deposit. It might be possible to have your paycheck deposited into two or more different accounts, designating one of those accounts for savings. “If you don’t see that money in your checking account, it was never really there, you don’t miss it. And hopefully you’ll think twice before taking it out of savings,” says Kiss.

These things take practice, so don’t be surprised if it takes two or more attempts at finding just the right amount to be set aside — an amount that will still leave you enough for regular expenses.

Expect the Unexpected — Things happen. The car needs a repair, the dishwasher breaks down, your kid knocks a glass of water onto your phone. Saving for those “rainy day” eventualities takes some of the sting out of those surprises when (not “if”) they happen. Kiss advises that health expenses should probably have their own separate column or account, away from the Rainy Day Fund. “Health expenses are a little bit different, so money for deductibles and co-pays should probably keep that money separate from the Rainy Day Fund,” she says.

Saving Shouldn’t Be Boring — We all need to unwind, whether it’s a night at the movies or a weekend at the beach. A good savings plan should have some fun, some discretionary money built into it. “If you’re meeting your basic needs and all of your financial responsibilities, and putting some aside for the future, there’s no reason not to have some fun money, too,” says Kiss.

Saving to Stop Working — Things like Social Security and pension plans can only cover so much. If you plan to stop working in your later years, you’ll need to plan today, for tomorrow. Some employers match contributions to a retirement plan, Kiss says, and that could be the biggest wrench in your toolkit. “If you need to put in a certain amount to get the maximum match from your employer, that’s the ‘free money’ — that’s the no brainer. Do everything you can to put in what you need to, to get the maximum amount of matching funds.”

Save The Extras — Not all of life’s surprises are unpleasant: things like raises at work, tax refunds, gifts and inheritances. Those things don’t necessarily have to be an excuse to splurge. The recent tax reforms signed into law will take effect next year are a good opportunity for savings. “If you see an increase in your actual take home pay, think about putting at least some of that aside for whatever your financial goals are,” Kiss suggests. “Also, consider knocking down any debt you may have, whether its student loans, mortgages, or credit cards.”

Funds For the Whole Family! — Good habits start at home, and they start young. America Saves can help you teach younger members of the family about the importance of saving money and planning ahead. Some might balk at the idea of showing children where all Dad’s money goes, but Kiss says it’s a golden opportunity. “Talking to your children about your savings goals helps them to understand that you can’t always have everything right away. It’s the concepts of deferment, planning and making tradeoffs,” she says. “If the family wants to go on a vacation, ask the kids for ideas to help save money for that. Kids have great ideas and they just might surprise you.”

“If you’re realistic, and start with a small goal, that success can build up,” Kiss says. “One of the organizing principles of America Saves is that when you write it down and then share it with someone, you’re more likely to continue to work toward your goal and to have better success at achieving it.”

By:  Nora Rhoades

Preserving the Family with Estate Planning

Upcoming Workshops in Phillipsburg and Great Bend

Mark your calendars now to attend one of K-State Research and Extension’s “Preserving the Family with Estate Planning” workshops set for two locations in northwest Kansas in February: Phillipsburg and Great Bend.

Thursday, February 22, will be the date for the workshop in Phillipsburg, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Phillips County Fair Building; Monday, February 26, the workshop will be presented in Great Bend, also from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Great Bend Recreation Commission – Burnside Room. A meal and materials are included in the $20 registration fee, and family members can attend for an additional $15 each if registered at the same time. Early registration is due February 16th. Meals and materials cannot be guaranteed if registering late.

The Estate Planning workshops will have sessions with attorneys and experts from K-State as well as a Q & A session at the end. Sessions will cover several topics including Getting Started with Estate Planning, Estate Planning Basics, and Farm & Small Business Succession.

For more information go to www.northwest.ksu.edu under “Events” or call the Phillips-Rooks Extension District – Phillipsburg Office at 785-543-6845 or the Cottonwood Extension District – Great Bend Office at 620-793-1910.

By:  Nora Rhoades