How to Pay for Your Loved One’s Funeral

Your loved one has passed away. If your loved one is like most Americans, you may be left in the dark about his or her final wishes. In addition to the many emotions you are feeling, you have yet another burden–paying for the funeral, a cost that continues to rise in America. Once all funeral-related costs are factored in, the typical traditional funeral service will cost the average family $8,000 – $10,000.

So, what do you do? It may be a good idea to start by speaking with your loved one’s close friends, family members and professional acquaintances. These conversations could uncover whether a life insurance policy is in place, a will exists or if funeral arrangements were funded prior to their departure. [Read more…]

Fox 8 News: 3 Ways to hurricane proof your finances

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On August 29, 2005, who knew an evacuation order would be the last time I would see New Orleans as I knew it. A “hurricane trip” as I referred to it happened frequently, so why would this time be anything different? My “hurricane trips” would usually turn out to be short vacations and time off from work.  So, to be honest, I actually looked forward to it!  But this time would be different. Hurricane Katrina destroyed my home, my personal belongings and left me homeless. More importantly, I was now faced with many financial uncertainties.

With the start of hurricane season, how can you protect yourself financially?

Make a “To Go” System

Using a simple accordion folder, create tabs using a checklist for important financial documents that may be necessary in case of an evacuation order.  Your folder should include the following items:

  • Insurance documents
  • Titles and deeds
  • Birth certificates and social security cards
  • Photographs of personal property
  • Tax returns
  • Irreplaceable items (pictures, rare coins or currency, etc.)
  • Wills

Oftentimes after a disaster, many government agencies and organizations require these documents.  Therefore, it is a great idea to have them on hand.

Review your insurance

Depending where you reside, it is important to make certain you insure against all risks that can affect your area. During Hurricane Katrina, many residents did not have adequate insurance because they only carried homeowners insurance but neglected to carry additional flood insurance policies. Take time to visit with an insurance agent to determine whether you should carry additional insurance beyond your basic homeowner’s policy.

Keep Cash on Hand

Quite often you may hear, save some cash in case of a disaster. But, I am here to tell you not only save cash, but keep cash on hand. I can recall during Hurricane Katrina how difficult it was to access funds from ATMs.

Since I banked locally, not only was I out of pocket, but my financial institution was as well! So make certain you take some cash when you evacuate. It can go a mighty long way.

Remember: your choice, your future!

Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and professor at Dillard University.  Check out her ebook Let your budget inspire you!

Did you make it rain in 2014 but couldn’t afford to make it drizzle? 3 Financial Tips for the New Year!

6679444993Hey, listen! Making it rain doesn’t necessarily have to be in the club! It could be at Macy’s One Day Sale, impressing your friends, or simply spending money that should have been set aside for bills.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible reminds us to consider our ways! Haggai 1:6-7 reminds us that although we make a lot, we are unable to keep any of it.

So, if in 2014 you found yourself “making it rain” in all the wrong places, here are a few tips to get a handle on your finances for 2015. [Read more…]