What do you think, tell or don’t tell? Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name, city and state. Put “Baby on Board” in the subject line.
The Dollars Add Up
Financial experts often tell people to cut their expenses by watching what they spend on lunch or snacks at work. It’s an easy place to cut, but it might be even easier after you see the total annual savings from a recent survey by Accounting Principals, reported by Ruth Mantell of Market Watch.com:
-- Half of the people polled spend about $1,000 a year to buy coffee regularly at work.
-- About two-thirds of workers spend almost $2,000 a year buying lunch.
Think about what some of that coffee and lunch money can do for your retirement savings, Mantell wrote.
“By saving $3,000 every year — that’s $250 a month — you’ll have a nest egg of $90,000 in three decades,” she points out. “You’ll have to spend some cash on coffee- and lunch-makings at home. But the rest can be used to fund, say, a grandchild’s college education.”
So, consider giving yourself a raise by watching what you spend at work.
Celebrity Cash: Family Feud
Comedian Tracy Morgan has been criticized recently after his mother, Alicia Warden, said her son was not helping to save her Ohio home from foreclosure. Warden owes less than $25,000 on the home and said she reached out to Morgan for help, but to no avail.
Morgan released a statement about his mother’s financial situation saying, “I am saddened that these untrue stories about me have people questioning my commitment to my family.”
For last week’s Color of Money questions, I asked: “Have you been in a situation similar to Morgan, and if so, what happened?”
“It’s nice to be able to help your family, but it’s also draining and frustrating to watch them make the same or similar mistakes with the expectation that you or someone will bail them out,” wrote Adrienne Washington of Oxon Hill, Md.
Her story: “My mother is medically retired and lives with me. Growing up, and even as an adult, I’ve watched her squander money over the years. She’s overdrawn bank accounts, closed them and opened others with the same results. Prior to her living with me, I’ve had to bail her out several times, moved in with her to ensure she would not be evicted from a rental home, and on and on. She received a credit card in December, and she promptly went over the $2,000 limit within a month. Its unfortunate that Morgan’s mother is in that situation. But, rich relative or not, at what point does the individual take true responsibility for their bad money management choices?”
B. Edwards of Odenton, Md., said: “My extended family knows I will not give them money, so they no longer ask. However, this wasn’t always the case, but I learned the hard way that ‘I’ll pay you back’ has no deadline.”
“I’ve recently faced a similar situation with my nephew who is 20 years old,” said Kia Ray of Washington. “He and his girlfriend can barely pay their bills since they are in [poorly paid] jobs due to lack of education and focus. During Christmas time, my nephew asked me to cover his rent to the tune of $700. I had to decline. I’m not sure why he’d assume I’d have that type of money lying around, especially during the holidays, but he needs to understand rent should be paid before anything else. The other stuff can be worked out.”
Robin Ann Horner of Strasburg, Pa., said she helps family with food and other necessities.
“I don’t know if it was ever really appreciated but it was something I felt I had to do,” she wrote. “Family member or not I feel we are on this earth to help each other. But I never would bow to a demand for money. What is given should be given willingly.”
--On Wednesday, Feb. 29, I will be moderating The Washington Post’s Behind the Headlines discussion “Peeling Backs the Labels: Black Women in America.” The event will be held at Howard University in the Armour J. Blackburn University Center, 2397 Sixth Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20059. The program will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free, but seating is limited. To RSVP, e-mail email@example.com.
Panelists include Tricia Bent-Goodley, professor at Howard University; Cara V. James, director of the Disparities Policy Project for Kaiser Family Foundation; Rahiel Tesfamariam, founder and editorial director of UrbanCusp.com; and Krissah Thompson, national news staff writer for The Washington Post.
I had a blast playing a judge recently during one of my regular personal finance segments on the new ABC daytime program
“The Revolution.” Take a look at Michelle’s Money Court.
If you have a financial issue and you’re interested in being part of the show, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Parents Finance” in the subject line. You can also e-mail me at email@example.com. Put “The Revolution” in the subject line.
Tia Lewis contributed to this e-letter.
You are welcome to e-mail comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and hometown; your comments may be used in a future column or newsletter unless otherwise requested.