Credit cards and death

Well, if you can’t believe what you read in a comic book, what can you believe?
Groucho Marx

With all the “informational” and funny e-mails we get these days it’s often hard to tell what to believe. However, one entitled “Cancel your credit cards before you die” got me thinking. Supposedly, when a family member called the bank to say the credit card holder had died the response was basically, too bad but all the charges, late fees and debt still apply.

So, what should we do about credit cards when someone dies? If the deceased person has credit cards in his or her name only, someone should contact the credit card companies to inform them of the death and find out where to send a certified copy of the death certificate.

When sending the death certificate, include a note with the person’s name, account number and a contact person (usually a lawyer or the executor.) Mail it in a way that you will receive delivery confirmation to prove it was mailed and keep a copy for your records.

Whether or not the debt needs to be paid and who is responsible for the debt depends on different factors and the regulations in each state. If there is a balance, paying it off before probate may make a difference in the amount paid, so check with a lawyer before making any assumptions or letting it slide.

Money Saving Tip

saving money If you get calls from a collection agency saying you are responsible for the debts of someone who is deceased, never assume the information you are being told is accurate! Do not give the caller any information (especially not your social security number!). Get the caller’s name and phone number. Contact a lawyer or the United Way in your community to find out what agency can help you. You will need to know if the debt is valid, if it’s within the time limit when agencies can still collect and if you are liable. You can make life easier for your loved ones if you have a list of all your credit cards (with account numbers) and a legal will. Encourage your family members and friends to do the same!

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

What’s Your Set Point?

DSCN9454 You can never earn in the outside world more 
than you earn in your own mind.
Brian Tracy

What is your “set point” when it comes to money? Mine was $100. It came from a childhood memory of learning my father had earned $100 a week. It seemed like an enormous amount of money back then and became my benchmark for being well paid. I also never expected to earn as much as my father and this information was stored somewhere in the back of my brain.

Fast forward many years to a part-time job I had working with parents and young children. My pay was $150 a week. One of my colleagues said we should be making $150 a DAY for the amount of work we were doing. I was shocked! I had never imagined earning that much money. Plus, we worked for a non-profit often struggling to get grants and donations so it seemed callous to demand more money.

Looking back, I realize she was right. Although it was a part-time job, we worked many hours and were drastically underpaid. I just couldn’t imagine earning that much money and didn’t support her efforts on our behalf.

What do you think is a lot of money or a fair salary for the work you do? Is it related to memories or experiences that have nothing to do with the work you do? Is it limiting your ability to stretch for better jobs or negotiate your salary?

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyNeed new appliances? When you’re shopping in any store that sells appliances, ask if they have any “scratch and dent” inventory. Items in perfectly usable condition may have gotten slightly damaged along the way, often the damage isn’t even noticeable, and they are sold for much less. Freight liquidators are also another resource.


What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Keep it simple

Don’t make money – or life – too complicated.
Trent Hamm

I was petrified to can food. It seemed like it was so complicated plus I somehow picked up the fear that if I didn’t do it perfectly people would die from eating my mistakes. Then my friend, Elaine, came over with her makeshift big pot and a bunch of apples and said we were about to make applesauce and can it.

It was fun! No peeling, no coring, no artificial anything and the best applesauce* we had ever eaten. The most exciting part of the process was hearing the “pings” when the lids were sucked down indicating the jar had sealed and the food was safe.

Elaine made it so easy and was so calm, casual and reassuring. Since then we’ve made it a family tradition to make applesauce and can about 100 quarts each fall. Once in a great while a jar doesn’t seal properly and the contents get thrown away and no one has died!

Managing money and investing are like that, too. People who make it sound very complicated should be avoided! If you make a mistake, no one is going to die. You’ll learn from it and move on.

*If you want the fail-proof, super fast and easy way we make applesauce, email me for the directions. You also can freeze it instead of canning it.

Money Saving Tip

saving money If you have leftover candy from a holiday or birthday celebration, use it in place of chocolate chips for baking or mix it in for special ice cream sundaes at home.


What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Seeing Beyond the Imperfections

Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to see beyond the imperfections.

One couple I know is going through that frustrating phase of marriage where the demands of parenting, work, finances and life’s curve balls can stress even the best of relationships making even small imperfections seem impossibly annoying.

In the middle of this trying time they both took a half day off from work to celebrate their anniversary. They spent the afternoon walking on the beach and then went out for dinner in the evening. It was nothing extraordinary, but they did it together and got past the annoyances of each other’s imperfections to remember what’s really important.

Another woman thought of her job and workplace as nothing more than a series of endless problems. Then, a reorganization within her company provided her with the opportunity to leave her department and take a new position.

By having to think through what she would be leaving, it opened her eyes to what was good about her current situation. She decided to stay and, armed with a new attitude, began looking forward to going to work. She was more productive, more appreciative and got along better with her co-workers which, in turn, led to new opportunities.

What’s not perfect in your life? If you step back so you can see beyond the imperfections, could that new perspective open up new approaches that would make you happier?

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyThinking of co-signing on your children’s credit cards? Remember the bills will go directly to them and you will not know if they have paid them or paid them on time. If there is a problem, by the time you find out it may have already negatively affected your credit rating. Consider the option of adding them as an authorized user on your credit card and having them reimburse you for their charges. Some credit card companies will allow authorized users to build credit in their own name. Others don’t, so check it out.

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Are You Willing?

IMG_4841Just knowing that you are willing can energize you. When you are willing, you call upon something inside you that is enormously powerful.
Maria Nemeth

What are you willing to do? Whether it’s becoming a parent, entering a relationship, doing your job differently or speaking up, your willingness to consider and act upon it will move you forward.

When you start thinking about doing something new, a typical reaction is to be a bit anxious, and that’s good! Anxiety (unless it’s too much!) gives you the energy to get on with it. Throwing yourself into making plans, preparing, getting things in order and having positive conversations with yourself help prepare you! That anxiety helps you take the steps to do what you are willing to do. What are you willing to do today to make you smile and be proud of your choices?

Money Saving Tip

saving money Easy shopping can be convenient but it can also lead to unnecessary spending. When you are encouraged to buy in one click, or dial 800-111-2222 and operators are standing by to take your order immediately, it’s easy to get caught up and act. Unless it is something you planned to buy and know that it really is a good deal, put a note on your phone or computer that says WAIT-24 to make you stop and think. Wait at least 24 hours before actually placing that order!

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?