The spirit of giving is part of what makes the holiday season so special. Too often, however, outsized expectations create financial and emotional stress. Read on for some ideas about how to remain generous without breaking the bank.
Holiday Financial Stress
Even before the pandemic, 61% of Americans said they dreaded the holidays because of the financial strain, according to a 2019 Holiday Spending Survey by LendingTree. And yet, according to the consulting firm BRG, 76% of people expect to spend the same or more this holiday season.
Data from the LendingTree survey show that the pressure to overspend is leading to significant stress:
- Seven in 10 people feel pressured to buy gifts.
- One in three people lose sleep over financial concerns during the holidays.
- About one in four people expect to go into debt to purchase presents.
- Almost one in five individuals are still paying off debt from 2020 holiday purchases.
Presence Instead of Presents
For many people, the social distancing aspect of the global pandemic has increased the importance of being together. This could be a great year to reset expectations and create new traditions around time instead of money.
There are countless ways to give of your time, but here are some ideas to get you started:
- As you prepare meals, make extras and then share them with family, friends or neighbors.
- Provide transportation to medical or other appointments for an acquaintance in need. It can save them money and provide you with opportunities to talk.
- For friends or family with children, offer to babysit so they can have an evening to prepare for the holidays or just take time for themselves.
- Decorate, hang holiday lights or offer to do yardwork for a neighbor who needs an extra hand.
- Get a group together and volunteer at a food bank or another community organization.
Giving of your time is always a wonderful option. But, realistically, you’ll also be making some monetary purchases. As you prepare for the holiday season, keep these tips in mind:
- Share financial limitations with family and friends. It may be a relief to them, too, if they are also facing financial limitations. Being transparent about finances can be mutually beneficial, and together you can find low-cost gifts for the holidays.
- Limit the number of gifts you buy. Tell friends that you’ll have to meet for coffee instead of exchanging gifts this year. If you have a large family, draw names so that each person only buys for one other family member.
- Ask people what they need. Providing funds for rent, utilities, groceries or car repairs could mean more than any store-bought gift.
Be Aware of Your Needs
As you look to make the holidays special for those around you, keep your own financial and emotional needs in mind. For additional help, talk to your employer about financial education, mental health offerings or other benefits that could make a difference this holiday season.
Personal Umbrella insurance is a way to keep you out of trouble in the case of an extreme situation. It goes above and beyond your current policies to provide you with additional liability protection. It’s often the only way of staying financially solvent even when expenses begin to mount in claims against you.
Unfortunately, many people who should have personal umbrella insurance don’t carry it because they don’t understand very much about it.
It’s not required by law, and it’s not often spoken about outside of certain circles. If you’re wondering why now is the right time for umbrella insurance in Massachusetts, it’s time to consider how this precaution can protect you and your family from a worst-case scenario.
Personal Umbrella Insurance Facts
Personal Umbrella insurance is meant to serve as a supplement to other kinds of insurance, such as rental, home, or auto. Standard insurance carries liability limits, and umbrella insurance can extend those limits in the case of a particularly nasty claim against you. It can also go toward indirect financial matters that may arise during a claim (or even after a claim has been settled.) For instance, a lawsuit against you after an auto collision may not only cost you legal fees; it may also result in having to pay the medical bills for a chronic injury. If your auto insurance policy only carries bodily injury limits of $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident umbrella insurance takes care of any fees that surpass the $250,000/$500,00 limit.
Home insurance to homeowners is sometimes seen as just another expense that needs to be dealt with. It’s easy to forget that you’re taking precautions to protect what is likely to be the biggest investment you’ll ever make. Use this as your guide to homeowners insurance, so you can get a policy that works for you.
Home Insurance Basics
If homeowners have a mortgage, they’re generally required to cover the structure. However, the rest of the policy is largely left up to the homeowner. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t have the protection they need if their home and property suffered a natural disaster or criminal encounter. It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to consider their priorities before determining how much coverage they need. Home insurance can also cover legal fees or liability claims against the owner.
The federal law that authorizes the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is due to expire on September 30th of this year. It is unknown at this point exactly what the program will look like on October 1st. With a number of major loss events in 2016, including Hurricane Matthew, it is not hard to imagine that rate increases and or additional surcharges may be part of any re-authorization legislation.
The uncertainty surrounding the NFIP is all the more reason for you to find an alternative for your flood insurance. Waiting to see what happens with the NFIP could leave you scrambling for solutions and nervous about your coverage.
The good news is we have several alternative markets that write flood insurance that is not under the NFIP/FEMA mandate. Better yet, we are seeing 25-50% savings!
We also have several homeowners markets that will write coastal insurance with NO wind deductible.
Give us a call to quote your flood insurance. (508) 997-3321
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