1st weekly Q&A Thursday!

Here it is! The first weekly Q&A Thursday.

Let’s get to it:

Q1. What is the meaning of life?

A. 42. Duh.

Q2. I have a hard time keeping a budget. How should I get started?

A. There are so many ways to keep a budget. First, identify if you prefer paper and pencil or using your computer or smartphone. If you want to go paper and pencil, get a composition book or notebook and spend the first month just writing down what you spend. The next month put those amounts into different categories and see what the total came to. Is it more or less than you made? If it was more start trimming, if less, congratulations! You rock! Don’t forget to include savings like what you’re putting away for retirement and for your emergency savings.

If you prefer to use technology, turn to a site like mint.com (my personal favorite). It will track your spending for you and automatically categorize it. There are also ways to keep track of goals and pay down debt. Mint also has a smartphone app so you can keep track of everything on the go.

You can also apply the paper and pencil approach to the computer and utilize a spreadsheet program like Excel. My boyfriend and I have a very complicated spreadsheet that we are still tweaking that we keep in a Dropbox folder so we can both access it from anywhere.

Q3. Is pet insurance worth it?

A. I personally have pet insurance for my cat, Gus. I have it through his vet, which is Banfield at PetSmart. I think if you have an older pet or one that has particular breed issues (hip displaysia in large dogs for example) and anticipate high costs with that, you should get pet insurance. If you have a mixed breed dog or a young cat who remains exclusively indoors, I would hold off until they get past the 10-year mark. Then you can look at options. Pet insurance does not deny pets based on pre-existing conditions or for age so you can be guaranteed a low rate no matter what. I pay $25 a month for Gus’s insurance and with that comes 2 check-ups a year, all his vaccinations (which are $200 a year on their own), free dental work, a discount on any prescriptions he needs or extra tests and the security of knowing I have a full staff of veterinarians and their assistants in case something should go wrong with him.

Q4. Are you enjoying your work as a financial planner?

A. HELL YES!!

If you want your questions answered, submit it here!

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