BW 23: Personal Financial Habits for Widows - with Seth Connell

industry interview Feb 28, 2023
 

 

In today's episode we talk about finance basics. How to get started with finances, how to create a budget, how to start thinking about getting out of debt, when to work with a financial coach and more.

Our guest speaker is financial coach, Seth Connell (@coach_connell) who has been a financial coach since 2018. In his time coaching, he has helped his clients pay off over 2 million dollars of debt. He also earned his law degree completely debt free in 2022. Using the practices and principles he teaches, he is passionate about helping people achieve financial freedom and create the lives they want to have.

 

We talk about:

~ Learning to be okay with discomfort because that is where growth happens.

~ There's no biological growth into personal financial knowledge.

~ How to see budgeting in a good way.

~ When it would be a good time to talk to financial coach

~ A budget being our way to freedom, not a way of just being restricted in life.

 

Quotes:

~ "...money and the way that we handle it is a reflection of the disposition of our heart. It shows the things that matter to us. It shows what we value, it shows our priorities, and it can be uncomfortable really taking an honest look at that and saying, well, this is the way I'm handling my money now, and it just isn't that great."

~ "We don't know the things that we were never taught, and there's no financial puberty. We don't just grow into this knowledge. It doesn't just happen to us, like the changes that happens with our minds and our bodies. There's no biological growth into personal financial knowledge."

~ "Ultimately what matters is not where we've come from. It's where we're going to."

 

You can find Seth at:

Website: https://coachconnell.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CoachConnellPage/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coach_connell/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/87812420/

 

Things mentioned:

~ Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey

~ The Ramsey show podcast

~ John Deloney podcast

~ Rachel Cruze Show

~ The Clark Howard Podcast

~ Grief Recovery Method book

~ Every Dollar app

~ YNAB app

 

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The Brave Widow Community is a place where you can connect with other widows, find hope and healing, and begin to dream again for the future.  Learn more at bravewidow.com.  

 

Hey guys, I’m Emily Jones

I was widowed at age 37, one month shy of our 20 year wedding anniversary.  Nathan and I have four beautiful children together.  My world was turned completely upside down when I lost him.  With faith, community, and wisdom from others, I’ve been able to find hope, joy, and dream again for the future.  I want to help others do the same, too!

 

 

FOLLOW me on SOCIAL:

Twitter @brave_widow

Instagram @brave_widow

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bravewidow

YouTube@bravewidow

 

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 Transcription:

Welcome to episode number 23 of The Brave Widow Show. Today we're gonna talk about finance basics, so how to get started with finances, how to create a budget, how to start thinking about getting out of debt, when to work with a financial coach and more. This was a really great conversation that I had with Seth, who's our guest speaker on the episode today.

And even if you're feeling overwhelmed, you're not sure where to start, you think your finances are a mess. Seth has some great insights and guidance for you. I think you're really gonna enjoy the episode today. And if you are already pretty savvy with finances, I think you're gonna learn at least a thing or two with what he has to share.

So let me introduce Seth. Seth Connell has been a financial coach since 2018. In his time coaching, he has helped his clients pay off over 2 million dollars of debt. [00:01:00] He also earned his law degree completely debt free in 2022. Using the practices and principles he teaches, he is passionate about helping people achieve financial freedom and create the lives they want to have.

You can find [email protected] or on various social media platforms, and the website is coach connell.com, coach C O N N E L L.com, and we will have all of the links here in the show notes for you. All right, let's dive in.

Emily Jones: All right guys. I am here with Seth to talk about personal finance. And Seth, I have not shared this with you, but I think you deserve a special award for all of the thought and ideas that you've brought to some of the, the things for content here on the show today. You and I started talking, I think a few months ago on potentially some topics that would be really helpful for this audience and [00:02:00] come through a lens that resonates with them.

And I just really appreciate, all of your effort and thought that you've put into our discussion today. So thank you for that. And if you don't mind, if you'll share with the audience a little bit about you and what you do.

Seth Connell: Yeah, so thanks for having me on, Emily. I'm glad to be here.

I'm a financial coach. I have done this for about four years. A lot of folks confuse me with a financial advisor, financial planner. That's not what I do. I don't do investments, I don't do insurance products and things of that sort. I counsel folks on their everyday personal financial habits. So that's budgeting, that's debt free goals emergency savings, buying a house habits, mentalities, practices, all those types of things we do each and every day.

That's what I focus with folks on and making sure they're doing those things to the best that they can possibly do. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of fun though. I love what I do and I put these things into practice that I teach it as well. And this program that I teach has been very successful for myself, for my clientele.

I'm on a mission to help folks experience financial freedom to the [00:03:00] maximum degree.

Emily Jones: All right, awesome. And as most of us know, finances are one of the top stressors, I think, in life and relationships. And one of those things that's just always at top of mind. And for my personal journey I really focused on finances and avoiding, or staying out of debt as much as possible several years ago, fortunately.

And that has really brought so much peace and security to my life. And I wanna make sure that I share that with our audience here. So today we specifically have a few topics that we'd like to talk through, and I'd asked for, Seth and I to really consider. What do we wanna talk about for the person who's maybe just starting or maybe feels overwhelmed, maybe that this was a task that your spouse handled or took care of for you and you find yourself kinda thrust into this new direction.

Or maybe your finances [00:04:00] have significantly changed now that you've lost that person. Maybe they were the primary breadwinner or maybe they were a significant portion of income, and now you're, you're trying to look at this through a completely new lens and it just feels a little overwhelming. So, I think we really just wanted to start by thinking through how we just start the conversation around finance.

Seth Connell: Yeah, really having this conversation is, is important because the thing is like having conversations is really part of how we process through things and especially if, if we lost loved one, lost the spouse there, there's a lot to go through there, especially to like, like you said, if if your spouse is the one who handled most of the administrative side of doing personal finances, taking that burden on yourself is something that can be really challenging to do.

One of the things here and just thinking about trying to have this conversation is that we don't talk about money all that much in our culture, and it's been that way for really just for [00:05:00] generations. I've got people I've worked with who are in their late teens, 18, 19, 20, who are around my age, around age 30, but going into forties, fifties, sixties, even 70, who said that they were never taught how to handle their money.

And so they've been just kind of bumbling their way through life, bumbling every day, wondering how to do these things. And then at a certain point, they just got to that place where they had to ask somebody for help. And so often I hear just, why wasn't I taught this when I was in my late teens and early twenties?

Why am I only finding out about this now? And things, in order to avoid those types of things, we have to start talking about it and not treat money as a taboo topic. And that's really hard though because things, money and the way that we handle it is a reflection of the disposition of our heart. It shows the things that matter to us.

It shows what we value, it shows our priorities, and it can be uncomfortable really taking an honest look at that and saying, well, [00:06:00] this is the way I'm handling my money now, and it just isn't that great. We have to be okay with that discomfort because the thing is, it's outside of our comfort zone that the growth is gonna happen. So we have to start there at least.

Emily Jones: Yeah, I think that's a great point. And I don't know why they don't teach this in school. I think we just look at things other people have and we think, oh, I need to put this on the credit card, when I turn 18, I start getting credit card offers and I can make payments on things.

And that seems smart, right? Like why would I go ahead and pay all of my money to have this stereo or iPhone or whatever it is? It's just $20 a month. And that seems like the smart thing to do, but we don't really get educated about how interest can work against us, or in the case of investing, it can work on our behalf.

And I think that is really a, a big challenge that we have just culturally we're trained. Don't talk about how much you make. Don't talk about, how much you spend or what your, your [00:07:00] debt ratio looks like. We just, those things are meant to be private and we just are really uneducated in that.

Seth Connell: Yeah, and there's, there's just been for a long time a de-emphasis on this. It almost seems like schools for many decades have not taught basics of personal finance. Thankfully I think that's starting to change. There are additions to school curriculum now where they're adding in more personal finance topics, thankfully, and some, some states Tennessee is one of them.

A number of them are adding these requirements that you have to take a personal finance class in order to graduate from high school. So at least there is that, but at same time, there's still a lot of gaps that these types of things do not cover. One thing that I like to say is that, we, we, we don't know the things that we were never taught, and there's no financial puberty.

We don't just grow into this knowledge. It doesn't just happen to us, like the changes that happens with our minds and our bodies. There's no biological growth into personal financial knowledge. We have to get that from somewhere. [00:08:00] And if we're not getting it from a place that is healthy, that is knowledgeable, that is looking out for our interests, we're gonna get it from other places that is not really gonna be in our best interest, and we're gonna find ourselves in the bind eventually.

Emily Jones: Oh, that's such a great point. It's very common in the grief community that people will say, time heals all wounds as if magically just through time you're going to heal and progress and grow through pain. And to your point, it's very similar in learning about how to handle finance and, and learning about how to handle money is, time doesn't just magically do anything except make you older. So, mm-hmm. , you have to be proactive in your learning journey, in developing your skills and your knowledge. But if we think about it, there's so many resources out there, right? Like, there's so many different people talking about finances.

There's wildly different opinions about how things need to be handled. And I know for me it just was a [00:09:00] topic early on in my life that just wasn't very fun. Like it sounded really restrictive. So what, what would you recommend from a resource perspective, where should people start in a way that's simple to understand and maybe as least overwhelming as possible?

Seth Connell: Yeah. So there, there are resources out there that, that's the important thing is to, is to keep in mind that this information does exist. The help exists. The key is to be willing to actively search out for it and to honestly search out for it too. Because we can tell ourselves that we're trying to get help but when in reality we're just trying to numb the pain and we're just trying to kind of get distractions, we have to take a courageous step to really look for the help that's actually going to get us to the place that we wanna be.

And again, that's uncomfortable. That means we're gonna have to grow, we're gonna have to be in a place where we're challenged. Our current work views about the world and about money are gonna be challenged in ways that we haven't done before, but that's necessary if we're [00:10:00] going to change the type of reality we have.

If we want to change our reality, we have to change our mentality, and that means busting through some of these myths that we've allowed to reign over our lives. But in terms of specific resources that are out there, there's a few things that, that I recommend. One would be taking a course like Financial Peace University.

Millions and millions of people have gone through that. That's a program created by Dave Ramsey out of Franklin, Tennessee. They've done that for 25, 30 years or so. I think over 10 million people have gone through that now. It's a nine week class where there are virtual and in-person courses they have, and they cover personal finance in a comprehensive manner.

So there's a lot of different things they touch on, including how to pay off debt, how to build emergency savings, insurance, all sorts of different topics that help you to make better decisions each and every day. And the, in the course it's talked about openly. There's no guilt, there's no shame. There's places we've all come from and different things that we've all experienced, but ultimately what matters is [00:11:00] not where we've come from. It's where we're going to. And a course like that will help you chart out the path to the place that you want to be for yourself and for your family. Another one besides taking a course would be just starting to listen to some personal finance podcast. The Ramsey show is one that I often listen to.

They're the folks who created Financial Peace University. John Deloney. He's one of the personalities over there. He does a lot of mental health kind of crossover with personal finance sometimes. He's a mental health and trauma expert. Highly recommend his podcast to. Rachel Peruse Show. She talks about a lot of just living life types of different things how to budget well, how to take a fun view of it as well.

How to see budget in a good way, which we're gonna talk about shortly here. The Clark Howard Podcast is another one. Clark is a really good consumer advocate and he puts a lot of information out there for various things to be aware of. Is there some new scam that's going on? He'll let you know about it.

A lot of very practical things that are out there. And if you're just driving on your way to work you can throw that on whether on the auxiliary or on the Bluetooth, [00:12:00] just listen to it. And some of these episodes have a lot of good content in there. And if you're ready to go even more in depth with that, this is, this is where connecting with an advisor or planner or a coach would help you to really do things in a customized relationship.

Because the thing with the way that I do things is that it's very in depth, very intense, and it's very customized to the circumstances that every person in household is in. So that means having open and honest conversations, trying to really dig down into the roots of where things are. And that would be one of the places to at least identify what's going on, bringing awareness to your situation, and that awareness that you get from those conversations becomes curative over time.

So those are just some initial things that come to mind for where to at least start on your journey.

Emily Jones: Awesome. That's great. I know for me, I think my dad had given me the Total Money Makeover book by Dave Ramsey many years ago and kind of read it and put it on a shelf. But then I started listening to his podcast, which number one, are [00:13:00] highly entertaining, and number two, they're very educational.

And I got to where I could start to anticipate, how the questions were gonna be answered because it was real people calling in live with their questions on what they should do, and you get to hear some raw and real situations. Mm-hmm. . So I, I definitely, highly recommend that as well. I think that's what made it the most relatable for me.

Now when we're thinking about meeting up with a financial coach, right? There's a lot of maybe guilt or a lot of worry people might have in trying to work with someone who does this professionally like yourself. Like they may think, oh, I've gotta have everything all together written down, perfectly outlined before I sit down with someone and I don't really know what where to start, but what would you say is the right time for someone to reach out to a financial coach and get help?

Is it now even as they're just [00:14:00] thinking about getting started, or do you see them as waiting until they're down a certain path, or what are your thoughts on that.

Seth Connell: So I, I sometimes have this where some folks who I initially connect with say they want to get things in order before they start meeting with me.

But one of the ways that I kind of analogize it is say, taking that type of approach is like saying, I wanna get my mental health in order before I start seeking a therapist. The thing is that I'm here to help you process through these things, to bring clarity, to do it more efficiently than it would be done otherwise Independently.

I'm able to see things that individuals are not able to see themselves because I'm outside of your circumstance. I'm a professional, I'm trained to see these things. But the questions that I ask, the knowledge base that I have, and not to mention, there's just the, the emotional separation from your circumstances.

Because when we're in the middle of something ourselves, we all have blind spots because we're, again, we're in the middle of it. But when you have somebody who's a professional, whether it's a mental health counselor, financial counselor, Whoever [00:15:00] happens to be, whatever circumstance you're working through, that person who's outside of it, they don't have the same emotions tied up into things, and they're able to see with greater clarity because they don't have the same the same tie in your circumstances that you do.

So if you're concerned about trying to get everything in perfect order, get your house perfectly in order before reaching out for help, I say that's the opposite perspective to have. And that's, that's obviously not a guilt or a shame thing here, but basically it's just bring your problems, come as you are and say, this is where I'm at. I don't know what to do. And it's perfectly okay to say that because so many folks are in that circumstance right now. There's no shame in seeking out help, whether it's for your mental health, emotional health, or financial health. The resources are out there. We don't have to fix everything before going to get help, but in terms of circumstances when it would be good to talk to financial coach? A few things come to mind for that. So one would be if you just feel completely stuck in your circumstances. You've gone through as many possible things as you can. [00:16:00] All the ideas seem to have run out and there's just, you just don't know where to turn to next because I've got ideas and things that come to mind that some folks have simply never.

One example with a client of mine who I was working with a couple of years ago is they had an income problem where they were short about $1,500 a month. And so as we were working together, I gave them an example for it was like, all right, well what if you did this to try and look for some extra work?

And you know what I said? What I said was, how about you post on social media that your husband is really good with mechanical things and see if there's anybody who needs that job within the next couple of days. He had an extra side job with an extra $2,000 a month coming in, so, wow. And the thing is, they were so tied up in their circumstances that they couldn't see something as simple as that.

But even just based on that simple, that was only five, five minute conversation that we had in that session. But we were able to find 'em $2,000 a month just by breaking through that and giving them an idea that simply had never come to mind before. [00:17:00] So things like that, if you feel stuck odds are, there's some ideas that I've had based on the experience and training that I've, I've had here.

Another circumstance that if you've got a lot of debt to pay off and it feels overwhelming, especially with student loans, that's a really big one in our culture today, just trying to get through this and power through it. It can be really, really hard because the way the interest compounds all the different disbursements we have, it's really hard to pay off student loan debt.

But if you really feel like you're not sure how to do that, that's something where someone like myself is able to assist, to help you power through it and build that perseverance. Another one can be that. You look at your situation and you say, I objectively have enough money, but it still feels like I'm living paycheck to paycheck and I have no idea where it's going.

That's another common one that I see. Even for folks who have no debt, or even if they have their house paid off, their money's disappearing on them. They have no idea where it is. Having a professional in your corner will have you find that money. It's gonna to use a business [00:18:00] terminology, it'll be a revenue recapture, and you're gonna see what you actually have to work with, and it's gonna feel like you got a pay raise because you're thinking and doing things differently.

And then another one here is that. Let's say you're already doing well with your finances, but you want to do even better. That's another time where reaching out to a coach for assistance is a great idea. One of the things I like to say is that the best of the best always work with a coach, whether it's professional athletes, lawyers, doctors, surgeons, corporate executives, the best of the best in any industry always have somebody who is working with them, who is helping them be at the top of their game at all times.

And sometimes, especially for clients of mine who are big sports fans, I'd say, well, what would happen? If, if you're, a favorite football team, whoever they happen to be did not have a head coach. And they always say the same thing. Well, that wouldn't be much of a professional sports team.

I say, exactly, just by having a coach in your corner, it does not [00:19:00] mean that you're failing. It does not mean that you do not know what you're doing. It means that you're doing what the best of the best do, and you're having somebody helping you improve at the margins and do the best you can possible. So those are just, A couple of things that come to mind there, but it's really anybody in any type of circumstance, whether you're really good or really feeling overwhelmed, as long as you're willing to have your mentalities and practices challenged, that's when you're ready to enter into a coaching type relationship.

Emily Jones: Oh, that is so good. And I completely agree with you about having a coach. I, I have a coach from a grief and healing perspective. I have a coach I work with for marketing and building a business and podcasting, and a couple folks I work with for real estate investing. It was something like brand new I wanted to learn.

And so to your point, and those people I know each have coaches and mentors and people that they work with because everyone's trying to learn and grow and develop together. [00:20:00] Ultimately just to continue to be able to develop and. One of the things that I really want people to hear that you said earlier is that you may have ideas and think of things that are possible and simplistic that they've just never really thought of.

And especially for folks that are early on in grieving, there's a lot of brain fog. You're not really thinking clearly, and if you've not had to do this before, you've not thought of different scenarios and seen different things. Whereas, as a coach, Seth, you've seen different situations. You've seen what people are doing and what works for them and what doesn't work for them.

And psychologically, probably the reasons why doing things a certain way really helps people and you would have the ability to bring that experience to them. So I definitely think having. A coach and someone you're working with in some aspect is really beneficial to helping you achieve your goals. [00:21:00] Even if you don't know what unachievable goal is at that point, you're really just trying to get started.

I think that's really helpful. So let's think about, I guess probably the most, one of the first things that comes to people's mind when they think about finances is this word called a budget. And I am probably like a lot of people where I hated the word budget. It felt like the word diet, like it was just a bunch of restriction and like no fun and just the big word. No. But I know you have a different view of budget and certainly now after way too many years. I do too. But tell us your thoughts on how should we think about a budget being our way to freedom, not a way of just being restricted in life.

Seth Connell: Yeah. So again, kind of like you said, this is kind of the prevailing mentality in our culture today about budgeting. It means saying no, it means self deprivation, it means [00:22:00] cruel and unusual punishment, all those types of things. That's kind of what the idea is out there. It's like I don't wanna have anybody telling me, you know what I can and cannot spend.

The thing is though, is that when you're doing a bunch properly, nobody else is telling you where to spend your money. You're the one who's telling your money where to. That's all that it is, and this can be any number of things, any number of things that matter to you. One of the things I, I posted on my social media the other day was that just doing, cutting your spending or just doing budgeting alone doesn't work.

The type of budgeting mentality that I like to guide folks in is making values-based spending decisions. It's starting with the things that are important to you and then letting that flow through each and every day so that you're living in a consistent and integrated fashion and the plan that you make, planning out all of your spending, wherever that happens to be, it ought to reflect those things that matter to you.

And so when you get to the end of your budgeting cycle, you'll [00:23:00] look back and be able to see all the different purchases you've made and say, yes, I followed through. I did the things that I said I was gonna do, or No, I didn't follow through this month. How can I do better next time? Because the thing is, at the end of the day, we're the ones who get the vote and how to spend our money.

Other people don't get to do that. Even for folks that I'm working with, I don't get to vote and how to spend their money. I get to ask them questions. I get to challenge the way that they're doing things, but I really want to draw out of my clientele what things matter to them and help them have an integrated type of lifestyle with their financial decision.

So that's what it's about. But budgeting here, it really is about financial freedom. It's not about self deprivation. It's not about constantly saying, no, no, no, no, no. That's not what this is about. This is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. We're bossing our money around.

We're saying, you're not controlling me. I'm controlling you, and I'm taking control of my destiny through this plan here. [00:24:00] That's what it's about. And this plan that you make, every single paycheck cycle, every single month, is something that propels you towards financial freedom. When you have your basics covered, which we're gonna talk about in a little bit here, just kind of some of those things to cover in a budget.

When you have the basics covered, when you're not worried about bills falling behind and when you see that you have somebody left over as discretionary funds, each month you have more options and especially if you, as you use your budget to pay off debt, to build savings, to eventually pay off your house, to put more into retirement planning, you increase your freedom and your options over time.

And that's what alleviates a lot of the stress and anxiety that folks are feeling right now. But having that budget, Is foundational, and it doesn't matter if you make $20,000 a year, a hundred thousand dollars a year, 20 million dollars a year. Every good householder business will have some type of budget, some sort of revenue and expense projection to plan things out so that they know where [00:25:00] everything is going, and in that structure is going to be freedom.

It's kind of paradoxical, but it's kind of like, and analogize it to, to having a house, what would you call a house without walls? It wouldn't really be much of a house, but by having a structure and by having certain things in place that may otherwise quote unquote inhibit your freedom of movement, that's where the freedom and enjoyment of the house comes from, is within the confines of that structure.

Emily Jones: Yeah, I completely agree. And I remember probably close to 10 years ago now, I just looked at my husband at the time and said, how do I make really good money? And I felt broke all the time. Like it's a constant, I'm just spending everything that comes in. And you really have no idea how much you're spending.

I mean, even just looking to see where our money was going routinely, subscriptions that we weren't even using. Things that we could quickly [00:26:00] save money on, but then budget to do fun things or get new furniture or go on trips or whatever that is. Just to your point, having that structure and having the awareness of the pieces on the game board that you can move around really is really, really helpful.

So, as we think about a budget, people probably tend to think, I just, I don't have enough money, or, I'm trying to pay all the bills and then I get a shutoff notice. Or the cable gets turned off or whatever. How do you really prioritize how you think about creating a budget? What's the most important?

And if people really are stretched, then if they have to let something go or lapse, what do they pick?

Seth Connell: Yeah, so when making a budget, there's kind of an order of operations, so to say. If we remember back from middle and high school, order of operations, pemdas, things like that. There's a, there's a pemdas for personal finance as well.

So there's certain things that we cover first where [00:27:00] there's no negotiation on and no compromise. And then we go to a second set of priorities where there's gonna be maybe a little bit more wiggle room, but still important things. And then we go into the discretionary types of expenses, the things that we can say yes or no to.

And there's a lot more flexibility there. But the first things to cover in any budget, regardless of how much you make, is something that I like to call the four walls. And the four walls. These are the things, again, they get paid before anybody else, before your car payment, before your credit card, before anything like that.

No compromise, no negotiation on these things. So I really want to emphasize that. And those four things here are gonna be food, utilities, housing and transportation, especially if, if you're a recently widowed woman with young kids, you guys gotta eat. Make sure that you and those kids are eating properly.

Do not go without food. If it means you have to skip a credit card payment or a student loan payment, or [00:28:00] whatever it happens to be, they can wait. You and your kids need to be eating. You need to be well, you need to have energy. No compromise on that. Once you have food planned out for the second one's gonna be your utilities.

It's gonna be things like your electric, water, gas, sewer, and other things like that that are connected to the core operating expenses of your household. Because if your electric goes off, then you can't cook or your food's gonna go bad in the fridge. A whole bunch of things spiraled downward from there.

So the second of the four walls is going to be those utilities, keep those paid and on time, and if you're behind on them, get caught up as quickly as possible. The third one's gonna be housing. It's gonna be making sure that if you're renting, that your landlord's paid on time, and that if you're homeowner, that the mortgage is paid on time.

 With homeowners, it's a little bit harder on a lot of states to do a foreclosure than it is for an eviction. And even for an eviction though, it still can take a couple months to do, but we don't even want to get to that point. We just want to make sure that you have a secure roof [00:29:00] over your head and with your housing situation secure, that's gonna take a big stressor off your plate and free up mental energy to do other things too.

And then the fourth of the four walls here, it's gonna be transportation, making sure there's gas in your tank and that your car is functioning properly so that you can get to and from work cuz that's how you're gonna pay for everything else. If you work from home, that would be great because you don't have to worry as much about transportation.

I know there's a lot of work from home folks, myself and my wife included. We love our work from home lifestyle, but if you still are having to commute to work, make sure that you can get to and from there and that your car is functioning properly. So those, there are the core things to take care of before anything else in your hassle budget.

Emily Jones: That's good. So, I had this person. We had a financial assistance program here at work and someone had applied for it and they were paying, to get their nails done every week or every other week. And yet they had a shutoff notice for their electric bill. [00:30:00] And, I just kind of asked how she was thinking about prioritizing some of those funds.

And she said, well, , it's my self-care and stress relief care to do my nails and, go do this and go do that. And, I just said, well, it's gonna be very stressful if your electric bill get shut off too. So how do you view some of the other expenses that people have and if they're really having a difficult time paying their core bills, at what point do they start thinking about things that are nice, but not necessarily a necessity?

Seth Connell: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. So things like going and getting your nails done. I mean, I'm, I'm no expert on that. I'm no expert on hair either, so, so don't ask me anything about that.

I, I like to always use that line here. But for, for things like that, there's basic things that can keep our expenses low, especially if money is really, really tight. And I've of, I've often seen this before where self-care be sometimes becomes an excuse to make reckless decisions, and we wanna be very clear about that because there's self-care [00:31:00] and then there is retail therapy and things and reckless spending decisions that are really just self-medicating.

And those types of things are not going to help us. We can say because somebody who has an alcohol addiction, they can say they're doing self-care by going and getting the bottle, but in the process of that, they're compromising other things that their household needs to function and only lasts for so long.

So we need to be really clear about that, and that means having an uncomfortable conversation with yourself. But if it's important enough to you, you'll confront those things and say, this is not helping me and my family out. And I'm gonna say no to those things for now so that I can say yes to something that is more important.

That's a big part of this. But in terms of the other work recurring things that we have to cover in our household, because there's, there's our four walls, there's basic things, but we have lots of other important things that we may have to cover in in a month. Some of them may be recurring, some of them may be on and off here and there.

But these are some of the things to think about once you have your four walls taken [00:32:00] care of. So your phone and internet bill most folks who are, let's say my generation, millennial generation, we've pretty much skipped out on cable. We're pretty much mostly done with that. I don't, I can't think of any friends of mine in my age category who have cable tv.

So I think we're gonna kill cable TV off once and for all here. But we do have our cell phones, we do have internet bills. Landline maybe, maybe not. We might kill those off too. Eventually, we'll see how the next couple decades goes. But that will be something to, to plan out, to make sure that you can communicate and that, especially if you're working from home, that you have internet access to do things that you gotta do.

Medical copays would be another thing that's in there. Let's say you have doctor visits that you gotta cover or you have a co-insurance that you have to cover for whatever it happens to be. Those things need to be taken care of because you and your family need to be well, especially if you're in a time of grieving and if you're going through trauma and grief counseling, need to make sure that if there's copays or if you have to pay out of pocket, that those folks are getting paid for their service because those are professionals.

[00:33:00] They have to eat as well, they have their bills, and we need to make sure that you are well too. So make sure that those things are planned for too, so that you get the care you need and you're not falling behind on those expenses. Another one would be insurance coverages. So making sure your car insurance is paid.

If you have life insurance, which would be a very good idea for everybody, especially if you have young dependents. Make sure you have good life insurance coverage. Term life insurance is what I suggest for that. But other things too, like if you have to pay for health insurance out of pocket let's say it's not provided at your work.

That's something to make sure is paid on time so that you can have that coverage going too. So that's another core recurring thing to make sure is paid out. If there are core subscriptions, certain things that you have to have that are really important to the functioning of your household, whatever that may happen to be, there's a little more flexibility in that.

But sometimes some of those things we may need to have in our budget and then we, we simply make a lie for it. We plan it out, whatever it happens to be, the due dates and then we pay for those things. And [00:34:00] then, but really in this core recurring bill type of group, these are really just the things that are core functioning aspects of your household and there's gonna be some, some differences. Household to household, a lot of overlap, but this is where we need to really reflect on the things that are really necessary and ordinary for the functioning of our household. We say yes to some things that we really need and no to the other things that maybe we feel like they're in need, but they're really a want and we need to put those aside temporarily, especially if we're in a season where we're in financial crisis or where things are really strapped.

Emily Jones: When you were mentioning like retail therapy and some of the things, the excuses that we make really with our spending habits, it made me think about, I think I shared on an earlier episode that in the Grief Recovery Method book, it talks about how we have these short-term energy relieving behaviors, and it talks specifically about retail therapy and how we rationalize to ourselves what we're doing because we say it makes us feel [00:35:00] better when in reality it's detracting away from the quality of life and really distracting ourselves from grief and from being able to heal through that.

All right, so we want to be able to have money to do fun stuff, and we wanna, as women, we wanna get our nails done or hair done, or we wanna go clothes shopping or do other things that are fun. And it's easier to do that when we don't have a lot of unnecessary payments like debt. So talk to us about, How you think about about debt?

Sometimes I hear people say there's good debt and bad debt. Pretty much everyone I know carries a significant amount of debt or makes payments on a lot of different things. But I'd love to hear your thoughts on debt and what what our audience could learn about that.

Seth Connell: Yeah, so the perspective that that I take is that if there's something attached to an asset or responsibility you have where if you don't make a payment, something bad can happen to you.

It's [00:36:00] not something that's good or is a blessing. There are certain types of debt that I think are less problematic than others and that have some mixed mix of good and bad at best, but there's still an added responsibility and added risk to your household whenever you finance something, whenever you use a certain type of payment method, whenever you stretch payments out, whenever you put off the pain of a transaction into the future, there is a corresponding unintended consequence and a corresponding response to that and the way that we process through our spending.

So I don't take the perspective of there's good debt, good debt and bad debt. Debt is something that tends to make other people wealthy by paying them interest over time. And the sooner that we are out of debt, we are able to make that interest back. That's our immediate rate of return by paying off our debts.

But we also are able to use the power of compound interest in our favor instead of letting it work against us. One of the things, Albert Einstein had said that compounding interest is the eighth [00:37:00] wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who does not pays it. So what I try to help folks do is to use compound interest in your favor rather than letting the banks and these various credit card issuers use that to their advantage.

Because credit card interest rates even a low one, it's like 14 or 15%, but most mutual and index funds, they're not earning 14 to 15% per year. Imagine if we were able to earn that. So we need to turn the equation around. And not to mention the fact too, that if some adverse situation happens to your family and you have a bunch of debt, it seems way, way worse than it would be otherwise if you did not have any debt.

I'll give, I'll give an example from, from my own life. In 2017, the Monday after Thanksgiving, I got let go for my job. And our household income was slashed by two-thirds at that time. And what my wife was making was not enough to cover our basic bills. It simply was not. We had student loan debt and vehicle debt at that time.

We were in the [00:38:00] middle of doing our debt-free journey, and it was really concerning. I was really concerned about how we were gonna do things and I spent the next six months or so underemployed doing miscellaneous jobs, but we, we made it happen, thankfully. So, But we got out of that. But it was really stressful and really hard to do that.

Fast forward a couple of years later, we had no debt. We had a fully funded emergency fund and we were, we were pretty much set. I was on my way. I had started my coaching practice. I was doing that part-time. I was also on a journey going to law school as well. And that's, that's another part of what I've, what I've done here.

But that was in early 2019. I got laid off from another job, but at that time we had no debt. We had that emergency fund. I had my coaching business that was started and the difference was radical because yes, although it was disappointing and it was saddening to be losing that job, I knew that we were not gonna potentially lose a vehicle.

We were not gonna get a wage [00:39:00] garnishment or a bank levy from falling behind on federal student loans. And that we had savings in there to pay our bills for a few months if we needed to. So there's the math aspect of it, but not all financial decisions ultimately come down to math because there's emotional and mental things that come into it.

So that's, that's the perspective that I take on debt, not just as a coach, but also personally too. And I let the personal experiences that my wife and I have had come through the way that I coach, because I've, I've seen the thing or two over the years here.

Emily Jones: Yeah. And there's so much. I think especially about the grieving process and losing someone.

For me personally, there was a lot of emotion, even though I was the main breadwinner and nothing changed about our income. For me, I just second guessed a lot of decisions and I wanted as much cash as possible just stashed up somewhere. Like just in case. Like it was just this fear of, I thought I knew how life [00:40:00] was gonna be, or I thought I would feel secure about something and it could just be snatched away.

And we know in life that things are gonna happen. A car's gonna break down. You need to get new tires, your water heater's gonna go out. Like those are normal things in life that happen. But for most people, it's like a big surprise. And then we get into a frenzy and we've gotta find a credit card and finance it.

And it just causes a lot of that additional stress. Mm-hmm. where if you have that emergency fund to your point, then ugh. Yeah, sometimes it, it happens and we have to use those funds, but thank goodness the funds are there and we can breathe a little bit easier. I, I remember at one point we had, my husband and I, we had, two car payments.

We had the house payment going on. We had, several little credit cards here and there, and student loans. It was just a lot. How do people really prioritize which ones to pay off first? And, and do you have a, a process that you recommend for them to think [00:41:00] about doing that?

Seth Connell: Yeah, so there's, there's three common plans that are, that are out there for paying off debt systematically.

That, that's one of the important things is to find a plan and to follow through on it. Cuz if we're just throwing money out, kind of just, haphazardly saying, oh, I'm gonna make a big payment over here, a big payment over there. And if we're not doing it according to some process, that's something that can often frustrate our efforts because we're not doing it intentionally.

So whatever plan you that resonates with you it's important to follow it through to completion. A lot of folks will start on a debt-free journey, but a few months in they'll fizzle out and then they'll give up and then things go worse than when they were, when they first started because of the discouragement and some of the things we talked about for things like some retail therapy, some self-medicating because of that discouragement.

So, Three plans that, that I'm, I'm gonna mention here, these are common ones. One of these I prefer because I find it to be the most effective one, and that's usually what I advocate for. That first one is gonna be the death [00:42:00] snowball. And I'm sure that you have some familiarity with this because of your familiarity with the, with the program that I teach and that Financial Vision University teaches.

So the snowball method is something. Financial Peace University, and if you work with me, it's the same program I teach. It teaches you to pay off your debts in order from smallest to largest. It doesn't focus on the math of the equation. It more focuses on the behavior and the psychology, and it tries to give you little victories along the way so that you build your confidence and you build momentum on your financial journey.

So let's say you've got 10 different debts and they range from $500 to $25,000. What you would do is you would line up those debts in order from smallest to largest, regardless of interest amount, regardless of payment amount. It's based on what you actually owe. You would line those up from smallest to largest, make minimum payments on all of those debts except the smallest one, and attack that smallest debt with a vengeance until it is paid off.[00:43:00]

When that debt is paid off, you roll that extra payment into the second smallest debt, go after it with a vengeance until that's paid off, and you go right on down the line until all your deaths are done. And the idea here is that you are creating psychological momentum. You get one victory, and then you get another one and you get another one.

Especially with larger debts, amounts that may take you 6, 8, 9 months payoff. If you have all those victories with you in your mind and in your heart going into that, you're gonna be able to go after that more effectively. But if you start with a large amount and you're not seeing anything moving after three months, that can be very frustrating.

So the snowball method, it focuses on behavior and on psychology. Not as much emphasis on the math part of it, but the thing is that the math will work out if you actually follow through on it. So that's the big part with the snowball here. The avalanche method is one that focuses more on the math especially if you're a super math nerd which I'm [00:44:00] not ironically that's why I went to law school is because I'm not a math person. But most of the personal finance is actually not about math. It's about behavior more than it is about head knowledge. So that, that's the good news. If you're not a math person, you're, you're still fully able to do this well.

But the Avalanche method focuses on interest rate. So what you would do is you would list out all of your debts in order from smallest to largest based on the interest rate. And you would attack the one with the largest interest rate first and get that one paid off. And the idea is that by paying less an interest over time, you're able to attack the principle more on other debts and you're paying less to creditors.

One of my critiques on this though, is that frequently larger debts tend to have a higher interest rate. I've had some folks with personal loans of $20,000 at like a 10, 12, 15% interest rate, and it can be really, really hard To pay that off, especially when it feels like two thirds of your payment each month is going just to interest.

So there can be some [00:45:00] circumstances where I suggest that really more an exception to the rule because the snowball method, again, it's what I have followed when we were on our debt free journey and what millions of people have followed. But if the math is what really gets you motivated, and if that's what you can use to propel yourself forward, then try the avalanche method.

The third plan that's common out there. This one doesn't look at momentum or psychology at all. This one focuses on your emotions, and that's the tsunami method. And what you would do is you would look at the various debts that you have, and you would think about the one that weighs on you most heavily.

Which one of all of these debts is causing you the most amount of stress, the most amount of grief and anxiety, and attack that one first. So if there's a way for you to do it, I know it's a little hard to kind of, to, to put it into numbers, exactly what the stress and anxiety is, but try to list those things out from smallest to largest in terms of how stressful they are to you, and then you attack the one that is the most [00:46:00] stressful first. I had somebody this is actually my first client back in 20 2019 and they had a significant amount of student loan debt, but they also had a debt that was owed to a member of a church staff where they used to work at. And this was kind of in the middle of their debts in terms of the amount that they had.

They had a few that were really a lot smaller than that, but this was weighing on them so heavily and they were just not able to focus on the other things because of the stress of that. And it was affecting their relationships with this church as well. So I advised them to attack that one first, get that stress and anxiety and the relational pressure out, and then once that was gone, then go into the death snowball method.

So sometimes you can make a little bit of a hybrid plan too, but the key thing with any of these plans is to find the one that resonates with you the most and then actually follow through on it to completion. That's how you're gonna be able to pay it off.

Emily Jones: I haven't heard the term tsunami method, but I [00:47:00] think that makes a lot of sense.

And as you were talking through it, I thought about, debts you may owe to family or friends or people that you really wish you didn't owe anything to , that's always top of mind and in our instant gratification world and in our ability to want to see progress right away, I think you're so spot on with the snowball method being that plan that lets you see very visibly the progress that you're making month over month with being able to roll those payments over and getting some of those debts paid off.

And I'm a checklist person. Like, I like to scratch things off the list and know like, yep, I'm here, here, and here. So, I think those are, are really good methods. Now what if you are just really like, everything's behind, or maybe you're going to get behind on some to get some other ones current.

Any tips for communicating that to the people we owe the money [00:48:00] to, or I, I know a lot of us tend to kind of hide from from the phone calls and emails and messages we may get from creditors, but any tips there?

Seth Connell: Yeah. So, so I'm gonna, I'm gonna. Say something that that Jordan Peterson has said.

Clinical psychologist. He says, do not hide unwanted things in the fog. That's one of his rules for life. And these creditors, these deaths, these things that are coming after us, it can be easy to delete those emails, to ignore the calls, to throw the collection letters out. By ignoring these problems, they don't go away.

And for those of us who are agreeable in our personality disposition, we don't like conflict. Conflict delayed is conflict multiplied. If we just let these things build up over time, there will be a snowball of bad things. We talked about the snowball method for paying off your debt.

That's something that you're gonna be building. You're building financial freedom with that. But if you ignore these things and you let 'em constantly go, you're gonna have a snowball of problems that [00:49:00] are getting worse and worse and worse over time. And the only way out of it is to voluntarily confront it on your terms.

Because if you do not voluntarily confront it, those problems will confront you on its terms involuntarily at a time when it is least opportune. There's. There's a term in, in psychology, if we have a bunch of emotional things that are going on, especially a lot of grief and trauma, and if we stuff it all down seepage is the term where it tends to come out regardless of our efforts to push it down.

And so we have to process through, we have to confront it because otherwise it's going to come out somewhere. The same principle applies in personal finance. These issues that we have, we have to work through them. We have to go, go through it, and it's gonna be uncomfortable, it's gonna be hard, it's gonna push us to our limits.

But the good news is that by doing it voluntarily, you are more in control of things and you're gonna build your confidence by having one little victory at a time. And many times, when you [00:50:00] actually choose to voluntarily confront it, it doesn't seem as scary once you actually take up the torch and then go after it.

So that's, that's really one of the first things is to, is to not hide it, not ignore it, because it's not going away. So we need to go after it. That's really the key thing here. If you are, if you're dealing with creditors and you're behind on payments, communicate, communicate, communicate, work with them as much as possible.

Show them that you are trying to pay it off. You are trying to get current, you want to get out from under this, you know the responsibility that you have. Overcommunicate with them, arrange with them payment methods, arrange with them settlement offers, whatever it happens to be. The important thing is that you are consistently speaking with them.

I advise folks calling into these centers. All those calls are recorded. They have a record of it, but take notes on that conversation. Take down the agent's name if they have any sort of employee ID [00:51:00] number. Note down all those things about who you spoke with. Come to an arrangement about what it could be.

If you're significantly behind on something, you've got a bill in collections and you want to send up a payment arrangement. Get all the details of that in writing and then set that up so that you can be consistently doing that. But the key thing is to talk to them, acknowledge the responsibility that you have, but at the same time, ask for some flexibility.

Explain the circumstances that you're in, especially if you're recently dealing with loss of a spouse, they may be willing to work with you in light of that. Because these as oftentimes, as I say, these are not your enemies. These, these, these are not your friends. These are folks who are kind of out to get us.

They are still human at the end of the day. And if we explain our circumstances, but we acknowledge the responsibility that we have, we may be able to get a little bit more. We're gonna attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's kind of that whole saying and goes. So communicate, acknowledge, responsibility, ask for flexibility, and also ask too if they [00:52:00] have any sort of programs for folks who are falling behind.

See if there's anything that they may have to assist you along the way. That would be some of the recommendations and some of the things that I've found have worked over the years. If you are behind on up on payments to your creditors.

Emily Jones: Great point. And I know for some people they may have thoughts coming up about, what, if it's a bill that my spouse who passed owed, do I owe it?

Do I not? And I think all of the state laws are so different for those types of questions, they probably need to consult with a local attorney or someone who's familiar with what the state specifics are there. And I'll just attest that I, in the past was a real habitual procrastinator. I would put things off and put things off and I would just build it up in my mind, like it was gonna be this big, horrible thing.

But when I would go to do it, it would be like 10% of the effort I thought it would be so, if you're listening and you're that kind of person that's really been avoiding having these conversations and [00:53:00] trying to address the budget or the debt, or dealing with the creditors, I'll definitely attest that handling it and doing it is gonna be much less painful than what you've built it up to be in your mind and the sense of relief that you'll feel and just having that done and having that conversation is most likely going to to be way outweigh the effort it took to actually contact them. Then Seth, what are your thoughts on, worst case scenario, I can't make all the payments, something's gonna have to go. How do I prioritize that?

Seth Connell: Yeah, that's a, it's a hard place to be. I've had, I've had folks who have been in those circumstances and it's not fun. One, one client who particularly comes to mind, who I started working with almost three years ago now, they had $180,000 worth of unsecured debts, so credit cards and personal loans.

And they were at a point where they had $15,000 of minimum [00:54:00] payments every month, and they were making about $8,000 a month. So they were, it was almost twice what their take home pay was. That's kind of an extreme example, but sometimes we can still be over a few hundred dollars or a thousand dollars. It still feels very, very heavy. In those types of circumstances don't compromise on the four walls. Don't pay a credit card if you are worried about being able to feed your kids. And I really want emphasize this, especially if you're a very agreeable personality type. All the pressure from creditors can be something that pressures you into making that payment instead of feeding your kids, you and your kids have to eat. You have to make sure the utilities are paid. You have to make sure your house, your rent is paid, and you gotta make sure that you're getting to and from work. Again no compromise on the four walls. That's setting up a boundary that's enforcing it strongly with vigor and making sure that those things are always covered, no matter.

If we're going into your debt, and we're talking about maybe having to make partial payments on something, prioritize [00:55:00] secure debts over unsecured debts. And here's, here's what I mean by by the difference between those two. A secure debt is any debt you owe where there is some asset that is connected to it.

Usually the most common type of secure debt we have is gonna be a car payment. So we're gonna have a note that's the promissory note that's on the vehicle, but there's also going to be a security interest in the vehicle. And if we don't make those payments, The car can be repossessed. Somebody we know had their car repossessed a while back.

It was not a fun time getting it back. It was really a difficult ordeal. Very, very hard to do. Not to mention this back too, that a repossession shows a significant there's a negative effect on your credit report and especially if you're trying to get into a new place to rent or buy a house, having secure debts falling behind or repossessed can be something that they would see and ding you for.

So that's something to be really careful about. So make sure that secure debts. Anything with an asset attached to it that could be repossessed. [00:56:00] Prioritize those first. And then for unsecured debts, that's typically going to be personal loans and credit cards, things of that nature. Make sure that those things if you cannot pay those, try to create some sort of pro rate of plan where you can make partial payments on them.

If you have to skip one payment one month and come back to it later, again, communicating with the creditors, explaining the situation, you may be able to get a little bit of assistance with that. One exception that I will have for that is gonna be two specific types of debt for unsecure. One of those is gonna be federal student loan debt, and the other is tax debt with federal student loans and tax debt.

Those agencies, whether state or federal, are able to put a. Or get a bank levy without having to first sue you. That's the way that the law works on it. So be very careful with those things because there's not something they'd repossess. But if you fall behind on those things, if you default on student loans, or if you have a tax bill and you're not paying on it, the consequences can be more [00:57:00] immediate and more severe than they would be otherwise.

Cause normally a creditor would have to sue you and take you to court. If it's unsecured, they'd have to get a judgment and then they would have to do a second action in order to do a remedy that would be that garnishment or a bank levy or quitting a lien on your house or some property. But with federal student loans and tax debt, very different.

They can be much more aggressive as soon as you default. They technically can go and do a garnishment or bank levy if they want to. So be careful with those things. And then also too, just if you're falling behind on these, ask about assistance programs. I, I kind of alluded to that before. See if there's any sort of help that they have, any sort of things that can reduce your payments for a while, any sort of forbearance or deferment, just to give you a little bit of grace.

Ask and maybe you'll be able to receive. The answer that we have to every question that we don't ask is always no. So we might as well ask, see what they have. If the answer is no, then we'll find another solution and we'll think about that even more.

Emily Jones: All right, so [00:58:00] I know we're at about time and we had folks submit some questions.

I think we've answered most of 'em through what we've talked about. We just have a few left. But before we jump into that, do you want to just remind everyone where they can find you, the best place to reach out to you if they wanna learn more, or if they wanna work with you directly?

Seth Connell: Sure. So you can look me up on Google duck dot, go, whatever your preferred search engine is.

Financial coach Seth Connell, L L C. I am based out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. But I'm able to work with folks all across the states because of Zoom video conferencing, just like we're doing here today. So very grateful that we have this. If you are local, I can do in person deployments. I do like that dynamic, but the remote video conferencing is pretty common for what I do for folks.

So Financial Coach Seth Connell LLC is the name of my business. You can reach out to me by calling my cell number 7 5 7 5 1 5 9 8 2 5. Or you can visit my website and that's gonna be coach connell.com. Coach [00:59:00] c o n n e l l .com

Emily Jones: awesome. And we'll make sure that we have all the links in the show notes. So if you're driving or you can't write that down we'll be sure to have links in there available for you.

All right, so we've got three questions here to run through. The first one I have for you, Seth, is what do you recommend if, if people did have life insurance on a spouse or a person of their family what do you recommend that people do?

Seth Connell: So if you received a life insurance payout from a, a recently deceased spouse, the first thing that I suggest is just let it sit for a little while.

Take 2, 3, 4 months and just let it sit in a savings account and don't make any immediate impulse decisions with it. Because if it, because life insurance can be paid out fairly quickly within just a couple of weeks after you submitted a death certificate, you're still in the middle of that circumstance where you can barely breathe and barely process things, letting it just sit for a little while.

If you need to take some, some draws outta that to pay some basic [01:00:00] bills, that's perfectly fine. But don't make any major decisions, at least for a couple of months until you have some time to get your bearings a little bit and you can clear out some of the fog and it's gonna take a little bit, but don't make quick, big decisions immediately in light of something like that happening.

But there's a number of, of things that you can do if you do have a life insurance payout. One would be paying off all the non-mortgage debt that you have. Just being completely free of that. Free and clear of it if there is enough and there is remaining. And if you are a homeowner you could possibly pay off your house.

That would be another option. Another option might be to put some of it into five 20 nines for kids for saving for college trade or technical school depending on what their age is. You could also put some of this into mutual or index funds to try to save more for retirement. You can put it into tax advantage accounts as well.

There's a number of different things that you can do with it. I'm not gonna say you should do this over other things cuz there's a number of different factors that are gonna [01:01:00] come up for an individualized circumstance. But those are just some examples of things that you can do if you have had a life insurance pay outcome through.

Emily Jones: All right, great. And then what apps do you recommend that people, for people to use who are starting to do some budgeting?

Seth Connell: So the main one that I like to use is called Every Dollar. It's one of the most common ones that's on the App Store and on Google Play there is a free version where you manually input your transactions incomes and expenses.

You plan things out. It's very future minded, so you're looking ahead at the next month and are seeing all the income sources you're gonna have, and you're aiming to plan out every dollar, hence the name of the app. Every dollar of your income has some assignment and some job to do. There is a paid version which comes with all sorts of nerdy geeky data and reporting, and then it connects to your bank as well to import transactions where you can just drag and drop into those lines.

But the free version initially, especially if you're really strapped for cash, that can be one of the places to start out. A second one that's very [01:02:00] common. It functions very differently. It focuses on all the cash that you have right now is gonna be YNAB. You need a budget. That one has an annual plan.

I think it's about $90 a year or so. I think they recently increased the price a little bit. But they give you a 30 day free trial. That one, a lot of folks have some difficulty with that, so you may have to do some videos, get some tutorials online to learn it. Every dollar I've found has an easier learning curve, but YNAB has a lot of cool features that are in there as well.

So those are two of the common ones that I see and that I'd recommend folks check out. But the important thing is to make sure that whichever program it's gonna be, whether it's those two or another one, that you connect with it and you fully understand where your money is going.

Emily Jones: All right. Those are some good recommendations.

And then lastly what, what considerations should people have for estate planning with young children?

Seth Connell: Yeah, so this is, this is where it's really important. If you're a surviving spouse and you still have minor [01:03:00] children, updating your estate plan's gonna be really, really important because if something happens to you while your kids are still minors, there can be some significant issues that happen after that.

Cuz normally the default rule's gonna be, married to your spouse. If one of he passes away early, the surviving spouse will be the legal guardian for those kids. But if you pass away and if you don't have a specific nomination for a guardian in your will there's going to be somebody else that the court, the probate court is gonna name as the guardian.

There's gonna be a lot of fees that are involved. Attorneys are gonna get involved. There may have to be a guardianship estate for the kids to to handle the assets. They can actually get it when they turn 18 or whichever age it happens to be. So there's a lot of things that happen in the event that there's not a plan that you've already set up, especially if you have young children.

Having a revocable living trust is a very good idea where there's somebody who you are the initial trustee, you name a successor trustee. And you can set terms up into that trust and then say, if I happen to pass [01:04:00] away while they're still minors, then the successor trustee will manage this for my kids' benefit.

And it will be distributed in any number of ways based on what your values are and what you would like to do for them. But having nothing in place at least nothing that you've actively set up. And that's very hazardous, especially if you're a single surviving parent. And it's important to consult with an estate planning attorney who is licensed in your state to talk through that.

So usually that'll involve if you're gonna do a revocable living trust, that would be the trust instrument itself. There would be a poor over will that's gonna come alongside that to catch any other things that are not in that trust. But also other documents too, like a durable power of attorney healthcare healthcare power of attorney, and a living will as well.

So those types of things are really important to think about if you're in this type of seasonal of life.

Emily Jones: Oh, that's great. Like so much to think about. And if you've not put a trust together before, that may sound really overwhelming and like you not really familiar with a lot of those terms. But [01:05:00] I'll just encourage you for those of you that are listening, that if you work with an attorney who is, has the, a heart of an educator and is willing to walk you through the process, it's very doable and doesn't have to be a big, complicated thing.

As most of you probably know, if you don't have a will or a trust, depending on the state, they can have some pretty pretty harsh reciprocity for not having that in place and some ramifications for not having done that due diligence with how your estate then has to be handled and who has access to what and how long that takes.

So, strongly advise that you get that in place if you don't have it already. Well, Seth, you've shared a lot of really great information with our audience today. Really appreciate you doing that. And for our audience members, please go check Seth out. He would love to be able to help coach you or answer questions or work with you, even if you're just getting started and you feel really overwhelmed.

So thanks again for coming on the show today. I really [01:06:00] appreciate it.

Seth Connell: Thanks for having me. I had a good time in our conversation.

Emily Jones: Hey guys. Thank you so much for listening to the Brave Widow Podcast. I would love to help you take your next step, whether that's healing your heart, binding hope, or achieving your dreams for the future.

Do you need a safe space to connect with other like-minded widows? Do you wish you had how-tos for getting through the next steps in your journey, organizing your life or moving through grief? What about live calls where you get answers to your burning questions? The Brave Widow Membership Community is just what you need.

Inside you'll find courses to help guide you, a community of other widows to connect with, live coaching and q and a calls, and small group coaching where you can work on what matters most to you. Learn how to heal your heart, find hope, [01:07:00] reclaim joy, and dream again for the future. It is possible. Head on over to brave widow.com to learn more.

 

 

 

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