The Care We Share

Category: Finance (page 1 of 1)

Personal Finance Tips for Pet Owners

This article was originally written by Susan Doktor

Pet lovers are a different breed in some respects. Our Facebook reels are chock full of cute kitty videos. We can’t help but stop and say hello when a beautiful Golden Retriever crosses our path. 

But successfully managing our personal finances is a goal that cuts across all kinds of people. Pet parents just have another wrinkle to consider: being prepared to give our furry dependents the happy, healthy lives they deserve. And that means managing veterinary care bills. On average, pet owners spend between $374 and $980 every year on routine vet care. Cat owners have it a little bit easier than dog owners but, either way, vet costs can take a chunk out of your budget. Does that figure surprise you? You’re not alone. Most pet parents underestimate the cost of pet ownership. Consequently, they are often ill-prepared to manage pet expenses. And that can result in pets not getting the health care they need. Sadly, affordability is a factor in pets being given up for adoption or even euthanized. If you care deeply about animals, going into pet ownership with your eyes wide open is essential.

So how can you be sure you’re able to manage the cost of healthcare for your beloved companion? It comes down to being smart about personal finance. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can guarantee that you’re financially prepared to maintain your pet’s health and even manage the emergencies we often face as pet parents.

Tip Number One: Start an Emergency Pet Fund

It’s fairly easy to estimate the cost of routine pet care. Most pets should have two well visits with their vets per year. These visits involve exam fees, which, depending on where you live, can run between $50 and $250. Many vets recommend annual fecal exams and heartworm testing, which adds to the cost of preventive care. Periodic vaccinations for such life-threatening diseases as rabies and distemper increase the cost of routine care by between $80 and $250 per year, depending on which vaccines your pet is due for.

All of those costs fall within the realm of expected and you may be able to manage them as part of your monthly budget. What often creates havoc in pet owners’ lives are the unexpected costs that come with serious illnesses and accidents. That’s why the first financial step pet owners should take is creating an emergency pet fund. We recommend setting up a separate savings account for this purpose. Ideally, you should set up monthly deposits to your pet emergency account. The easiest way to do it is to time deposits to coincide with your monthly or bi-monthly paychecks. That’s easy to do when you do your banking online. At a minimum, we recommend you maintain a $1000 balance in your emergency pet fund. Depositing just $20 per month in your account will get you to that goal quickly. It’s best to have your fund in place before you bring a new pet into your home. But to cover all your bases, don’t stop there. Some veterinary treatments are very costly: cancer care and orthopedic surgery are among them and are more common than we like to think, particularly in certain breeds. Almost half of all dogs will develop cancer after the age of ten. It’s a grim statistic, but it’s something to take into account when saving for pet expenses.

Tip Number Two: Earn Money by Investing Conservatively

Once you’ve established an emergency fund, you may want to consider putting any additional money you can save into conservative investments. A financial advisor can point you in the right direction by recommending investment vehicles that have history of reliable performance. Conservative investments won’t make you rich overnight. Higher returns on investment are associated with more risky assets. But there are plenty of investment options that balance risk and reward. 

You can start by visiting TreasuryDirect.gov. Treasury bills and treasury notes. Treasury bills are sold for less than their face value and you can buy bills that mature in a very short time: between just a few days and 52 weeks. Treasury notes have longer maturity times—they’re available for 2-, 3-, 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms. They pay interest every six months. But both T-bills and T-notes are considered exceptionally safe investments because they are backed by the US government.

Certificates of deposit and money market accounts, available through your local bank or credit union, are also considered sure bets. Assuming you follow the requirements for the type of account you open, such as maintaining a minimum balance and limiting the number of transactions you make using your account, CDs and money market accounts can’t lose money because they are insured for up to $250,000 by either the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or, in the case of credit union accounts, the National Credit Union Association (NCUA). CDs are more like bonds: they have longer maturity dates. Funds deposited in a money market account are more liquid—you can use them as you would a checking account. You can make periodic withdrawals from them without incurring any fees. Again, CDs and money market accounts don’t return a lot on your investment. And given the high inflation rates we’re experiencing now, they may not offer much return at all. Be sure to compare the interest rates offered by these accounts to the current rate of inflation and economists’ inflation predictions to find out whether investing in CDs or the money market makes sense right now.

Tip Number Three: Dip Your Toes in the Stock Market

Financial advisors recommend that clients develop a diversified portfolio of investments. That often means buying a mix or low-risk and higher-risk assets. It also means investing across a wide range of industries or commodities—just in case one of them hits hard times. 

Once upon a time, stock market investing used to present a lot of obstacles for small investors who didn’t have enough to invest to attract a stockbroker or pay the commissions associated with trading. But the market is different today, due in large part to technology. The advent of low-fee and no-fee stock trading apps has leveled the investing playing field. 

Investment apps make use of artificial intelligence and the same sophisticated data that real live stockbrokers use to make investment recommendations. Beginning investors can rely on them to build diversified portfolios for them. You can tailor your investments to suit your risk profile now and make changes as your needs and attitude change. Experienced investors can easily chart their own investment courses using these apps, as well. Most apps offer commission-free trading nowadays and are free to download.

Some investment apps integrate other personal finance features, such as automatic savings and budgeting assistance. If you’re trying to set aside funds to ensure your pets’ health and wellbeing, those features can certainly get you on the right track.

Tip Number Four: Consider Investing in Non-Traditional Assets

If you follow the news with any regularity, you’ve no doubt heard about investing in cryptocurrency. Many people—call them trailblazers—who invested in crypto when it was first invented, have seen their fortunes rise at a phenomenal rate. But crypto ownership has become more mainstream. By 2021, about 16% of Americans reported they’d purchased cryptocurrency. For those who can manage the volatility of the cryptocurrency markets, experts say there’s still money to be made. All you need is a cryptocurrency exchange—a place where you can buy crypto-assets—and a crypto wallet, which makes it possible to transact crypto business. Some exchanges are like crypto supermarkets, where you can choose among dozens of crypto brands, and others are more like boutiques, where all the crypto available is under the same label. While the number of businesses that accept cryptocurrency for payment is relatively small, it’s growing. Cryptocurrency may soon be coming to a veterinary clinic near you.

Tip Number Five: Join a Pet Expense Sharing Plan

Eusoh is a unique community-based organization that helps pet owners pay for the inevitable veterinary expenses they’ll incur. It’s based on pet owners helping pet owners. Members pay two fees: a monthly membership fee and another fee that goes toward sharing the overall veterinary costs all members incur. It’s different than pet insurance and, in most cases, is less costly. Many pet owners find Eusoh a no-brainer. The easiest way to manage large veterinary expenses is to have someone else pay for them, right? For pet parents, Eusoh membership can serve as the foundation of a smart financial strategy. Eusoh membership stands out as an investment choice because it’s no risk and puts our pets’ health first. It pays for itself when your pet falls seriously ill and you have expenses to share. But it also pays us back in peace of mind, knowing we’ll always be able to provide our pets with the care they need.

Author Bio:

Susan Doktor is a journalist, business strategist, and lifelong pet owner. Her contribution comes to us courtesy of Money.com.

5 Common Resume Gaps (And How to Explain Them)

A gap in your resume is always stressful to explain, even if it’s out of your control. Whether you’re unemployed due to the pandemic or took time off to take care of your family, explaining your employment gap during an interview is enough to make anyone nervous. 

However, explaining your resume gap doesn’t have to be that stressful. If you do it right, you can focus on what you learned and the positives that you took away from the experience. Keep reading to learn how to explain the 5  most common types of resume gaps

First, it’s important to understand what a resume gap is. Taking three months in between jobs is considered a job searching period, not an employment gap. Taking nine months, however, would likely be considered an employment gap.

1. Being unemployed

If you were let go due to COVID-19, know you are not alone. The world is facing record levels of unemployment, so explaining this to an employer likely won’t be an uncommon hurdle. However, it’s important to work through your COVID anxiety and frame your unemployment gap as time you spent learning new skills that are relevant to your career. 

2. Taking time off to travel

A travel-related resume gap is pretty common, but can be stressful to explain since most of the time it wasn’t a “necessary” resume gap. Whether you spent time backpacking through the Alps or road tripping around your country, explaining a travel gap is all about framing it positively to focus on what you learned. 

Pick up a new language? Learn to use a different currency? These are all skills that contribute to cultural literacy, which can help you have a more holistic understanding of the world around you. 

Article: 25 Best Jobs for Introverts to Feel Most Fulfilled

Source: Intuit.com – https://mint.intuit.com/blog/early-career/best-jobs-for-introverts/

3. Going back to school

Going back to school is another common reason for a resume gap, and luckily it’s usually not that difficult to explain. If you went to pursue higher education in your career, you should highlight what makes you different than another applicant who doesn’t have that new level of education and focus on your positives rather than what you missed during your time away from the office. 

4. Taking a job outside your career path

If you took a job that wasn’t relevant to your career, it can be a struggle to decide whether to include it on your resume. However, a great way to circumvent this is to highlight it on your cover letter instead. Mention how you took a job in a different field to make ends meet, but that you’re ready to get back on your feet and dive back into your career.

5. Taking time off for family

Family-related leave is one of the most common reasons for a gap in employment. Whether you went on maternity leave or took time to take care of a sick family member, family-related leave can be explained by focusing on how you took care of your family and kept your skills up during your time off. 

When explaining a gap in your resume to potential employers, it’s important to be transparent. Employers can see right through candidates that are clearly trying to hide something, and will usually respect you more for being straightforward and honest about your resume gap. 

However, while you are being transparent, you should also assure the interviewer that this employment gap is not a pattern. They want to know you aren’t going to work at their company for a few months and leave, so it’s important to give them peace of mind that you want to stay and build your career there.

No matter what type of resume gap you have, being honest about it is always the best policy. For a complete guide to structuring a gap in your resume, check out the infographic below.

Resume-Gaps-Infographic

Infographic source: https://www.resume-now.com/job-resources/resumes/how-to-explain-gaps-in-employment

Eusoh is a community health sharing plan that reimburses you for your pet’s medical, wellness, illness and routine care expenses. We publish articles like this to help all people with their finances, careers, and of course, health (and the health of their pets too!)

Eusoh – What’s That?

I want to start out with two statements that I’m sure will shock you: 

  • Healthcare costs are out of control. The system is broken.
  • 93% of people surveyed do not fully trust insurance companies.

We live in a strange time when, quite often, it’s more cost-effective to pay cash for healthcare services rather than run them through insurance. Trouble is, you don’t know which is the better deal until after you’ve had to make the decision.

The incentives that drive insurance companies are grossly misaligned with the best interest of their customers.

Insurance companies spend massive amounts of money to collect and hold massive amounts of money to pay for something that might never happen. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a system that only paid for things that actually did happen?

Let’s take a quick look at how the Eusoh platform works.

  • A group of 20 people have individual contracts with each other to share an uncertain future expense. That’s 380 contracts in all.
  • The monthly platform fee is $10.
  • By contract, each member of the group maintains a deposit account of $40. There are stop-losses built into the system that guarantees that their monthly cost will never exceed $40.
  • In November; Jane submits $50 of expenses, John submits $25 and the remaining members submit -0-.
  • Each member contributes $3.75 for the losses. Distributions are made to Jane and John for their losses. The monthly fee is deducted, and drafts are made from member bank accounts or credit cards to replenish their deposit accounts to the determined level.

Now, expand the concept to 10,000 people. All have individual contracts to share some future uncertain cost. Nothing wrong with that except you’re dealing with millions of contracts and massive transfers and reconciliations of relatively small amounts of funds. It’s only recently that technology has evolved to the point of handling a challenge like this and Eusoh has harnessed that technology.

The resultant technology creates significant savings, transparency and aligned incentives. If you’ve heard of Eusoh, you see Pet care is likely what you’re aware of. As we studied the concept, we realized that the Eusoh model could be applied to an unlimited number of what the insurance industry refers to as “short-term risks.” Rather than tackle human healthcare head-on, we decided to beta another segment.

Why Pet? 

  • We wanted something that mirrored human health but flew under the radar. Nobody is going to get real upset if we disrupt the pet insurance industry.
  • Pet care serves as a proof of concept.
  • There’s room for market penetration. Only 2% of US pet owners have insurance vs. 30-40% in some European countries.
  • We found that there’s potential to make good money in the pet sector while we’re gearing up for the big game of human healthcare.

I want to spend a little time telling you how we’ve spent our capital to date:

  • The idea is worthless if it’s not legal, so we engaged a top law firm and worked with insurance regulators across the country to develop a white paper to prove that Eusoh meets regulatory requirements. A congressman, whose name you would recognize, heard about Eusoh and invited us to Washington because he wanted to learn more about it. He was very knowledgeable about healthcare and asked all the right questions. Evidently, we had all the right answers because, at the end of our meeting he said, “I’m in. You’ve covered all the regulatory issues. This is something that I can support.”
  • Next, we built the product:
  • We have an end-to-end platform that handles the payments, pricing and money transfers on an on-going basis.
  • Perhaps more important, we have armed our members with a comprehensive price list of services. I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that It was through the Eusoh platform that I learned I was paying 4X’s more than I should for my dog’s monthly heart guard medication.
  • We have mitigated the legal risks
  • And removed many of the administrative layers of traditional insurance.

It has been an interesting trip.

  • Actuarial studies by two of the largest reinsurance companies in the world indicate that our model will save the average healthcare consumer >50% a year on insurance premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs.
  • We have been live in the pet care segment for over a year. Our real results indicate that our members are saving 80% vs. traditional pet insurance.
  • We have an LOI with a large online provider of pet products that wants to use the Eusoh platform on a white-label basis to market their own pet care products. The launch is set for the 1st quarter of 2020.
  • We have an RFP from a national manager of multi-family properties for 400,000 units.
  • The trip to DC was surreal.

Unlike insurance, most of Eusoh’s costs are fixed. That means that once we hit scale, additional revenue will carry a gross margin of 80%.

That’s Eusoh: Innovative, Disruptive, a better way.

Medical Crowdfunding on the Global Scale

The world of crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, and crowdsharing expanded with the funding of Waterdrop Company, a China-based medical alternative provider. They closed a 500-million yuan ($74.2 million) Series B financing round to expand their crowdfunding, mutual and insurance products.

Source: https://www.dealstreetasia.com/stories/chinas-waterdrop-completes-74-2m-series-b-round-led-by-tencent-127798/

The round was led by Tencent, joined Banyan Capital, IDG Capital, BlueRun Ventures, Sinovation Ventures, DST Global’s founder Yuri Milner, and former CEO of Tencent’s e-commerce business We Xiaoguang. All are supportive of Waterdrop’s essential crowdfunding business model of offering support of medical services to the poor.

Waterdrop providers members with value-for-money and affordable medical-care protection. Currently, it has over 75 members, paid out over 350 million yuan in mutual aid fund and assisted more than 2500 families. Their insurance arm works with over 50 insurance companies in China that serves to over 10 million users in the country.

Insurance alternatives on the rise

Waterdrop looks to be the catalyst of an insuretech revolution in China. Traditional offerings are now competing with promising startups like Waterdrop. The amount of business the company has been producing is staggering. But with funding coming from Tencent and others in the field, Waterdrop looks to make crowdfunded health care as the new norm.