Dear Heloise: Both my husband and I work as financial planners, and we’ve noticed a serious trend over the past 25 years. A large number of American families do not have an emergency fund set aside to help themselves when an unexpected expense comes along. We usually tell people to have their bank automatically transfer money from their paycheck to a savings account.
The amount depends on the person’s financial situation, but even if they have credit card debt, they still need to set aside funds for a broken water heater, new tires or whatever. And they need to stop impulse buying. Ask yourself whether you really need that item and how it will benefit you to have it. You might be surprised at how much you’ll save if you control your spending habits. — Kathryn and James S., Dallas, Texas
THE BARE FACTS
Dear Heloise: This is a little embarrassing, but I was tricked into something, and I hope this will help other young women from the same thing.
I met a handsome young man and thought I was in love. Well, I’m in my 20s and believed I knew right from wrong. We had been dating for about four months when he wanted me to send him nude pictures of myself by way of my cellphone. Stupidly, I did, and when we broke up, he plastered those photos on various social media sites of friends we both knew.
I was humiliated. It was a hard lesson to learn, but please tell your readers to never ever send compromising photos to anyone. If a man respects you, he won’t expect you to do anything that might embarrass you. — Faithful Reader in California
Dear Heloise: We have lived in several different homes (nine altogether), and I always kept a “House book,” which was just a large notebook. I took pictures of the houses we bought and of any renovations we made. That included when an improvement was made, such as a new roof, with the date and company who did the work. This also had the before and after pictures. When it came time to sell, we had an accurate accounting of our home, which helped us sell faster than most of our neighbors. — Anna D., Columbia, S.C.
Dear Heloise: I’ve found that it’s always wise to have a few old towels in the trunk of my car. They’re rolled up and in a plastic file box. There were times when I had to clean up a sick child, wrap up an injured animal, clean off my windshield and a host of other things that came up while I was on the road. When the towels got very old and thin, I cut them up for clothes to wash my windows. — Carrie N., New Haven, Conn.