Archives for June 2020

How to Survive Working from Home with Kids this Summer

Summer is coming.

The summer season usually brings warm thoughts of beach or lake outings, playground dates, outdoor sports, and lots of sunshine. But not this year. Summer camps, playdates, babysitting, and summer school sessions are cancelled until further notice. This looming summer season is instead sending chills down the spines of many unemployed and furloughed parents of school-aged children as they realize that their kids will be home with NOTHING TO DO, ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, until further notice. And if you’re one of these parents, you’ll soon have to add “summer activities director” to your list of responsibilities.

Managing your kids’ day can become even more challenging once the structure of their remote school activities is gone. And although it may be somewhat difficult at first, the following tips can help you deal with the impending changes that lie ahead, and make the coming summer weeks a bit more manageable.

SCHEDULE, SCHEDULE, SCHEDULE

Kids thrive on predictability and regularity. Planning your day in advance the night before will be your greatest tool for success. Try to mimic the current remote school schedule as much as possible. Nap times, lunch breaks, and other activities can continue as planned, but with you leading the way. Seek help from teachers now, while they’re still available, and most of all, keep the next tip in mind at all times.

BEND EXPECTATIONS

When the wheels fall off the bus and the toddler’s tantrum rears its ugly head, when the young child cannot sit still for another minute, when the tween’s eyes are glazed over and they keep saying that they’re bored, TAKE A BREAK. Play a quick card/board game, throw a ball outside if you have a yard, or go take a short walk around your building if you don’t; maybe all they want is your company for a few minutes. Don’t be too hard on yourself when things get out of control, and remember that your mental health and happiness are ultimately the keys to everyone’s wellbeing at home.

TECHNOLOGY IS YOUR FRIEND

Sitting your kids in front of a device for long stretches each day would normally be considered “lazy” parenting. But these are far-from-normal times, and not all TV shows and Internet offerings are created equal. It’s ok to loosen the reins a bit right now. With a little searching, you’ll find a wide variety of (mostly free!) content out there that will educate and entertain children simultaneously. We’ve all heard the phrase, “there’s an app for that,” and now more than ever, that’s certainly the case.

AUDIOBOOKS!

Yes, good old-fashioned audiobooks are a great way to keep kids entertained for hours. A good narrator who really acts out the material can grab anyone’s attention quickly, including kids. Many leading audiobook companies are offering free titles for kids while social distancing guidelines remain in place, which makes this a great activity to try at no cost. (Grab one for yourself while you’re at it. Doing dishes while “reading” is so much more fun!)

MAKE SOME MONEY WHILE THE KIDS ARE ENTERTAINED

Now that the kids are busy thanks to your outstanding summer activities management, do something truly productive and make money from the comfort of your home. With the Arise® Platform you can generate income on your terms. You can be your own boss, set your own hours, and decide how much or how little you want to work as you juggle other responsibilities.

The Arise® Platform connects small call center companies, run by people like you, to prestigious Fortune 500 clients through a virtual platform. Arise provides the clients, you provide the service. Client opportunities include:

  • Cruise lines
  • Roadside assistance
  • Home improvement suppliers
  • Grocery delivery
  • Cable and Internet providers
  • Major theme parks
  • Healthcare
  • Sporting goods providers

This is not your average business startup; when you use the Arise® Platform, there are minimal startup costs. You can start your own business and work from home without a huge investment in infrastructure. It’s easy to get started and you can be up and running quickly. In other words, anyone can work from home, even with the kids in the next room.

How Can Working From Home Save You Money?

You Can Save Big on WFH Opportunities! Here’s How…

We are all anxiously tracking the spread of the coronavirus as the global outbreak has caused a disruption in day-to-day operations for many, with companies sending their employees to work from home until the spread of the virus is under control.

What this unprecedented time illustrates is that quite a bit of work can be done from home – in fact, Kate Lister, a researcher for the Telework Research Network, says that about 40% of Americans hold jobs that could be easily be done from home.

 #WFH Can Save You Major Cash

Research says that people who work from home typically save anywhere between $2,000 and $7,000 a year.  This means if you’re working from home now, you’re able to save more for the future, and when the world normalizes – you’ll be faced with a decision about whether you want to step back into the office.

Child Care. The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies found that a family making the state median income spends an average of 18% of their salaries on after-school childcare. By working from home, you can eliminate the substantial cost of after-school care. That means more money in your pocket.

Transportation. While not top of mind for many at this time, eventually people who transitioned to working from home will be faced with the prospect of commuting to work once again.  The average U.S. commute is about 26.4 minutes one way. This means most commuters spend nearly an hour of driving or riding public transportation each day. Clearly, this can put a large dent in your pocket. Whether you are filling your car up with gas twice a week or recharging your public transportation card. By working from home, you are making the choice to shave a large expense out of your monthly budget.

It is not hard to figure out that you could save a lot on transportation by spending less on gas, vehicle maintenance, parking and tolls.

Food. Research says that the average American worker spends $1,000 a year on coffee and $2,000 a year on lunch. Working from home gives you the option to make that daily cup of coffee in the comfort of your own kitchen and spend a lot less on your caffeine fix. Likewise, when working from home you’re less likely to spend that $15 on a garden salad for lunch!

Office Attire. This may seem like a small savings when thinking of other large-scale items. However, when considering the amount of money you will save long-term when you don’t have to dress for a corporate environment and don’t have to budget the extra monthly bill of maintaining corporate attire through dry-cleaning fees and possible tailoring services, you start to see how you will be able to save money in the long run.

Are You Ready to Make Your WFH Dreams a Reality?

As you can see, there are many advantages associated with working from home including many cost savings. So, what to do? Explore the benefits of the Arise Platform.

The Arise Platform allows you to earn money from the convenience of your own home. Make your own hours and have a flexible schedule while working from home providing inbound support, customer service, or technical support. Arise connects businesses, run by people like you, to prestigious Fortune 500 clients through a virtual platform. Arise provides the clients, your company provides the service.

Sign Up Today!

Are You Making These Work-From-Home Mistakes?

As businesses across the world rethink work-from-home policies beyond the coronavirus pandemic, professionals are entering the work-from-home workforce at record rates.

However, leaving a corporate environment for a home office set-up is harder than you may think. In fact, though the prospect of answering video calls from your couch may sound enticing, working from home can present new and difficult challenges.

Consider yourself a work-from-home pro? Or, perhaps you’re considering a new work-from-home opportunity? Either way, maximize your potential by avoiding these six mistakes.

1. Working from your bed or couch

Sure, working from your bed with the shades closed, or on the couch with Netflix streaming in the background, may sound like a dream. Unfortunately, this type of set-up will hinder productivity and create unnecessary distractions. Instead, create a dedicated office space in a quiet and secluded area of the home. Steer clear of creating an office in the kitchen or living room, as these areas may attract other family members or roommates. In other words, more noise and distractions! A dedicated office space will help you separate the virtual working world from other aspects of your life, which in turn will increase efficiency and work output.

 2. Forgetting to take breaks

Think about how many breaks and pauses you take throughout a single day while working a traditional office job. It’s imperative to take similar breaks while working from home. Working from home should not mean you are working more.

Alternatively, strive to be just as (or even more!) productive within a similar time frame. Stepping away from the computer will give you a chance to clear your head and refocus later, versus burning out after four to five hours of straight screen time. Pro tip: Consider an alarm strategy, in which you set reminders to take a walk around your home, drink some water, and stretch your body before getting back to work.

3. Working seven days a week

Those who work from home know how difficult it is to leave work stress behind after you stop servicing. After all, they live and work under the same roof. Though this may be difficult to put into practice, try your best not to blur the line between your work time and downtime. In addition, keep in mind that working from home should not equate to working more.

Make sure to take various short breaks, as well as at least thirty minutes to an hour for lunch, in which you step away from your computer and into another room – or even outside.

 Never leaving the house

Many believe that those who work from home should not leave the house during the workday. Wrong! If you are accustomed to leaving the office for lunch breaks, consider implementing the practice when you work from home, such as a quick lunch at a nearby restaurant.

 Not creating a schedule

Maybe you feel most productive in the early mornings. Or perhaps you prefer working late into the evening. Those who work from home should create and follow a schedule that works specifically for them. Determine what time to wake up, build a routine, and shape your daily work hours. Establish short breaks throughout the day, as well as a desired lunch hour. Not only will this keep you more organized, it will also allow others to become familiar with your routine.

Now You’re Ready to Be a Work from Home Pro!

With the Arise® Platform you can generate income on your terms. You can be your own boss, set your own hours, and decide how much or how little you want to work as you juggle other responsibilities.

The Arise® Platform connects small call center companies, run by people like you, to prestigious Fortune 500 clients through a virtual platform. Arise provides the clients, you provide the service. Client opportunities include:

Cruise lines

Roadside assistance

Home improvement suppliers

Grocery delivery

Cable and Internet providers

Major theme parks

Healthcare

Sporting goods providers

 

This is not your average business startup; when you use the Arise® Platform, there are minimal startup costs. You can start your own customer support business and work from home without a huge investment in infrastructure.

Many company owners have used tips like these to help them provide excellent customer support. Avoiding these work-from-home mistakes will help you be more productive and reach your goals too.

Sign-up to use the Arise® Platform today and you’ll be working from home in no time.

Make Money Writing Songs and Lyrics: 6 Websites that Pay

Do you have what it takes to be a professional songwriter? There are a number of online platforms where you can make money writing songs...

The post Make Money Writing Songs and Lyrics: 6 Websites that Pay appeared first on WebEmployed - Learn Ways to Make Money Online.

Financial Planning for Elderly Parents: 3 Talks to Have ASAP

Let’s be honest: It can be awkward for adult children to talk about money with their parents. Especially if you haven’t done it much before.

But avoiding the money talk, especially as our parents age and their needs change, can lead to a host of financial problems down the road.

These talks are tough — but they’re also really important. Getting the conversation going early on — before a crisis strikes — and in a natural way can do a lot in helping your family plan its financial future.

3 Financial Planning Conversations to Have With Your Parents

It isn’t all about money. There are many issues adult children might want to discuss with their parents, including long-term care, housing, and splitting assets and responsibilities.

Consider the time, place and people you want involved in these talks. Depending on your relationship, you might want to schedule a specific time to discuss money with your mom or dad.

Or it might be easier to casually bring up the topic in a non-pressurized environment, like when you and Mom are putting the dishes away after Thanksgiving dinner.

When you talk, consider having a one-on-one convo to start. Involving other family members or spouses might make the situation stressful or derail the talk entirely.

“Every family dynamic is different,” said Marcy Keckler, vice president of financial advice strategy for Ameriprise Financial. “But in general, if the parents are talking with just their own children, that family dynamic is going to be potentially a little bit simpler.”

1. What’s Your Money Situation Look Like?

Your parents might be great at managing their money. Or maybe they used to be, but now, you’re not so sure.

As our parents age, they may struggle to keep a handle on their personal finances. Bills can get overlooked. Taxes might not get paid on time. Simple forgetfulness can lead to major financial headaches, and our cognitive abilities naturally decline with age.

Older adults may also be more susceptible to fraud and scams. Bad actors target the elderly in higher numbers and the elderly are more likely to fall for these deceptive tricks.

This can wreak havoc on your parent’s finances — and you may not realize what’s going on until it’s too late.

You don’t need to know specific dollar amounts at first to launch a meaningful conversation.

For example, you could ask Mom or Dad to give you access to their online accounts — just to keep an eye out for unusual credit card charges or to help streamline monthly bill paying by getting all their accounts online and enrolled in autopay.

Later, if you need to get more hands-on with managing their finances, the transition feels easier and more natural.

If your parents are still healthy and capable, encourage them to create a file or notebook with their essential financial information, including their bank account number, the location of any safe-deposit boxes, investment account passwords, the phone number of their accountant and credit card details.

If they seem reluctant, let them know you’re coming from a sincere place and just want to help out if an emergency arises. If they went into the hospital, who would make sure the bills got paid on time?

If your parent’s mental capabilities are waning due to dementia or following a stroke, it’s wise to consult an elder law attorney.

This professional can help guide you through important steps like putting a health care proxy in place and naming a durable power of attorney. They can also give you advice on the best ways to manage your elderly parent’s financial affairs.

2. Who Will Handle Long-Term Care?

Another difficult topic is long-term care planning.

This discussion is about more than money. It involves figuring out where your parents will live in the future and who will take care of them.

Discuss the type of care your parent wants if it becomes too difficult for him or her to live independently.

Most older adults want to age in place in their own homes for as long as possible with the help of family members and home health aides. Others may eventually require 24/7 care in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Learn about your parent’s preferences and talk to them about how much each option could cost.

It can be challenging, but listen to your parents and hear them out. Don’t start the conversation just to impose your own viewpoint and opinions.

It’s hard to think about becoming incapacitated, and older people often struggle to cope with emerging limitations, disabilities and failing health.

They might feel like they’re losing their independence, especially if they’re having trouble performing activities of daily living. Patience and compassion can go a long way in these conversations.

If your parents are still young and in relatively good health, buying a long-term care policy could save your family a lot of money down the road. However, the price of a policy could be cost-prohibitive if your parents are older or in failing health.

You may want your parents to live with you as their health declines, but remember, you’ll likely need to buy equipment or modify your home to safely accommodate them.

Or you may need to consider hiring a part-time health care professional to help out. Find out what long-term home health care services Medicare covers and what assistance you may need to pay for out-of-pocket.

It’s always important to consider what will happen if your other parent or their current spouse dies first. If your dad always helped your mom with grocery shopping or drove her to her doctor’s appointments, who will take on these responsibilities if he passes away?

Talk With Your Siblings

If you have siblings, it’s important to get on the same page with them.

A child who lives nearby may turn into the de facto caregiver — even if they don’t want or can’t handle the responsibility. A child who lives far away can feel excluded from important decisions or guilty for not helping out more.

It’s important to talk about any imbalances, Keckler said. Siblings often have their own financial and family obligations to contend with, so dividing everything equally isn’t always an option. One might be able to pay for more than another.

Acknowledging this can help.

“Give each other credit for different types of support and care for the parents,” Keckler advised. “I think if siblings can make sure that they acknowledge the contributions of each other, that can be one way to ease sources of tension.”

A sibling with limited financial resources who lives far away can still help take care of Mom or Dad in other ways.

For example, handling online banking, paying bills, ordering household supplies or scheduling appointments can be a huge help, and these tasks can be done remotely with relatively little effort.

A family of four take a selfie together.

3. Are Important Estate Planning Documents in Place?

As our parents age, it’s essential to make sure estate planning documents are in place, especially a will.

A will, sometimes called a last will and testament, spells out who receives your assets after you die. If your parent dies without one, the state decides who receives their house, car and other belongings.

In most states, assets are passed along to the next of kin, starting with the spouse, then children, parents, siblings and so on.

If your parent recently remarried, their spouse will likely inherit everything. This may or may not be what your parent wants. People often assume their children will get the house or the fishing boat, but if they’re still married and don’t have a will, that’s not the case.

Family dynamics are complex and dying without a will can unearth the ugliest side of human nature. It can leave loved ones confused and disappointed at best and locked in hostile litigation at worst.

It’s best to avoid the mess by having an open dialogue with your parents now.

First, ask if they even have a will. If they do, find out where it is and the last time it was updated.

You can create a simple will online, but most experts recommend having a lawyer draft one up. It may cost a few hundred dollars, but the money is well worth it, especially if your parent has multiple assets, owns a business, has a complex financial situation or has a blended family.

If changes need to be made to a will or an estate plan, go with your parents to an attorney and finalize any revisions. Don’t let your parent make the changes themselves by writing over their will or typing up a new one without getting it notarized. Doing so can invalidate the entire document.

Many states offer legal aid resources for the elderly or qualifying low-income individuals.

To save money, ask for estimates from lawyers and get quotes from a few different firms. Always make sure to take advantage of free consultations.

Ask About Power of Attorney and Living Wills, Too

A lawyer can also help you draft other important estate planning documents, including a power of attorney, advanced directive and a living will. These documents appoint someone to manage your parent’s affairs if they become incapacitated. They also describe the end-of-life health care your parent wants — or doesn’t want — to receive.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) restricts who can have access to private health care information, so signing papers that allow you to access your parents’ health documents is important.

Keckler recommends having a power of attorney and living will on file at hospitals and doctor offices where your parents might go, as well as keeping copies for yourself.

Make Sure Beneficiary Designations are Up to Date

It’s also essential to ask your parents if they have any life insurance policies in place. Insurance can help pay for long-term care, final expenses and burial costs.

Things like life insurance policies, 401(k) accounts, annuities, pensions and brokerage accounts come with their own beneficiary designations. People often forget to update these documents over time, which can cause headaches, heartache and hardship after someone passes away.

For example, your father may still have his ex-wife listed as the beneficiary of his Roth IRA — even though they’ve been divorced for a decade.

Even if you’re listed as your dad’s primary beneficiary on his will, the IRA may still pass directly to his ex-wife.

Check to make sure these documents are up to date and contain your parents’ current wishes.

How to Start the Conversation

These conversations aren’t easy, but they don’t need to be divisive either. Making sure everyone feels valued and heard is key.

It’s important not to wait until something forces these issues to start the conversation.

Keckler suggests finding a natural catalyst to bring up the topic like:

  • Saying you just had a meeting with your financial planner and think you should have one as a family.
  • Talking about a friend who is dealing with a family crisis. Let your parents know you want to avoid that kind of strife by sitting down for an open dialogue about money and the future.
  • Tell your parent that you recently set up a meeting with a lawyer to draft your own will. Ask if they’ve done any estate planning, and if so, what was the process like.
  • Write your thoughts up in an email or letter ahead of time. People communicate differently. It might be easier to guide a conversation or describe how you feel if you write it down first and share it with your parents before you sit down to talk.

Before the actual conversation, figure out what your goals and priorities are. What should you talk about now and what can wait?

Other advice:

  • Keep the conversation going: Schedule regular times to talk about these issues.
  • Define roles and responsibilities: Each sibling might be able to help in different ways. Talking about expectations and roles can diffuse tension.
  • Listen: Keep an open mind and be patient. Money is hard to talk about.

Involving an objective third-party is another way to break the ice. A financial planner can help facilitate the conversation because they have experience and know the most important topics to discuss.

“Families who have done this report it went better than they thought it would and they felt more financially confident,” Keckler said. “Overcoming your apprehensions and getting started is a great first step and you’ll be glad that you did.”

Tiffani Sherman is a Florida-based freelance reporter with more than 25 years of experience writing about finance, health, travel and other topics. Senior writer Rachel Christian contributed to this report.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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