summer kids

Affordable Ways to Keep the Kids Busy This Summer

Regardless of whether you’re a parent who works from home or has a job to go to elsewhere, chances are that you’re already wondering how to keep your kids occupied during the upcoming summer vacation – especially when you start hearing, “Mom, I’m bored.”

If you’re looking for ways to keep your kids occupied without having to spend a lot, the list below will help get you started:

  1. Create an Activity Jar

Although there’s most likely a lot to do around your house, it can sometimes be challenging to come up with ideas at the spur of the moment. Start by writing down a few ideas on separate paper scraps, put them all into a tub or jar and let your kids pick one to do each day. Activities can include ideas such as playing hide and seek, baking cookies, building a blanket fort or even watching a movie at home.

  1. Visit the Library

Nowadays, most neighborhood libraries run various summer reading programs that can often encourage even the most stubborn non-reader to get involved. If possible, schedule a weekly visit to the library and let your kids choose books on topics that they’re keen to learn more about. In many cases, kids who learn to enjoy reading will seldom find the time to be bored.

  1. Search for Free Neighborhood Activities

Nowadays, several neighborhoods offer a number of free or extremely affordable activities for kids and families to take part in. Many blogs and news articles will even offer a calendar list of family- and child-friendly activities that will be available throughout summer vacation.

  1. Explore New Parks

Are your kids tired of the local park? If so, search for other parks that may be in your neighborhood or in other areas that are close by enough to visit for the day. Packing your own snacks and drinks will prevent you from stopping for costly takeout during the day and many parks will allow you to picnic as well.

  1. Let them be Bored

If you intend surviving this summer – and the next few summers – the key is to allow your kids to be bored every so often.

Kids nowadays are more over-scheduled than ever during the school year, meaning that they are hardly ever left to their own devices. This prevents them from learning how to play on their own and be creative, which experts say is a crucial skill to learn.

Providing your kids with some unscheduled down time on a regular basis will help ensure that they can nurture their inner creative skills and spend a little time unsupervised on occasion – which can provide parents with a much-needed break as well!

Keeping your kids occupied this summer need not cost an arm and a leg. In fact, many activities can be enjoyed for free or really cheap if you’re willing to look around and allow them to create some of their own fun from time to time.

Continue reading
credit-retirement

Preserving your Credit Status Now to Stay Financially Sound After Retirement

It’s no secret that hard work and commitment are required if you want to obtain and keep a high credit score, especially if you’re coming close to retirement. Below are some aspects to consider that will go a long way in helping you to preserve your credit score beyond your golden years.

  1. Don’t Close Long-held Accounts

Keeping a good record on any type of open account over a number of years has a highly positive effect on your overall credit score. If you’re close to retirement age, you may have accounts that were opened several years ago that you might be tempted to close out. However, doing this will have a negative effect on your credit score virtually immediately.

Another way your credit score would be negatively affected is by decreasing the amount of credit you have available to you. A large percentage of your credit score depends on the amount of overall credit you have versus the amount you’re actually using, so decreasing your level of available credit will cause a drastic drop in your score.

  1. Don’t Cosign any Loans

After your kids have moved out, it can be tempting to cosign for them to get their first car or obtain a student loan. However, doing this will increase the level of debt that is showing on your personal credit report. Although this won’t necessarily affect your credit score overall, it can negatively impact your ability to secure a loan in future if your credit to debt ration appears to be too high.

  1. Use Old Accounts Occasionally

When considering your credit score, it’s not good enough to just keep older accounts open – they will have to be used from time to time to prevent creditors from closing them unexpectedly. Using your older accounts every now and then is especially important if you’re currently debt-free, because otherwise the credit bureaus would have nothing to base your score on. Unfortunately, a number of retirees have discovered this too late after being denied loans when they’d not carried debt for several years.

There’s no need to accrue large amounts of debt to keep a credit score active. Just making the occasional purchase and repaying it the following month will usually suffice.

  1. Review Existing Debts before Retirement

A fair percentage of your credit score is based on your ability to repay debt installments on time, and this could become a huge worry if your income decreases drastically after retiring, or if an unexpected medical emergency depletes your savings. Before you stop working, ensure that you’ll still be able to save some money each month and repay all outstanding debts ahead of time wherever possible.

Unexpected events can happen even after you retire, which could result in you needing to apply for a loan. Taking the above measures to protect your credit score now already will help ensure that you’ll be financially prepared for anything that may happen in future. If you would like to find out more about planning for your retirement, contact our advisors today.

Continue reading