Tag Archives: Andy Hill

Finding Work-Life Balance By Switching to Part-Time Work

Want to have more work-life balance in your life? Today we’ll explore how the principles of FI can help you make the transition to part-time work!

Finding Work-Life Balance as Parents

Work- life balance can be a struggle for parents, especially if your kids are young.

You wand to have this time with them, but you also have to take care of the essentials like bills. Or maybe you have a job you really enjoy, but it’s very demanding of your time. You want some flexibility so you can work, but still be there with your little ones.

What if you want to work, but just not the traditional full-time?

Our culture and the way office work is structure makes that difficult. Family first employers can be hard to find. It’s an all or nothing approach.

Part-time work is regulated to lower paying work, which may not be viable for families.

It’s almost easier to just have one stay home while the other works full-time.

If you want something different, in most cases, you have to carve out your own path.

We had to do that and so have other families.

Which is why I’m thrilled to have Marriage, Kids, and Money creator and my buddy Andy Hill on the show. Andy and his wife Nicole have carved out that path of family and work that’s flexible and allows them to work part-time and hang out with their kids.

In this episode we get into:

  • conversations you two need to have create a plan you’re both happy with
  • how to use principles from FI to build flexibility so you can switch to part-time work
  • key financial milestones to help prepare you for the transition

Hope you enjoy!

Resources to Pivot Your Career

If you’re ready to jump into the year and knock out some of your health and wealth goals, here are a few of my favorite resources and includes what we covered in the podcast.

If you’d like to chat more your money system, please join us in our private and free Facebook group – Thriving Families. It’s a group Andy, Andrew from Family Money Plan, and myself run as a team.

We’re families looking to support and help one another out.

Hope to see you there!

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! Come check out Coastal today if you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better.

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first and foremost including an annual loyalty bonus.

We've been members for years and love their service and competitive rates on checking and savings accounts!

Switching to Part Time Work with Andy Hill

Elle Martinez: I think this is a great conversation to have, especially going into 2023. A lot of families are trying to reset things. We've had a crazy, to say the least go last couple years.

We've had to prioritize just making sure that everything is flowing but I think we're all to kind of taking a step back and hoping, Hey, can I get back on track? Can I reset and pivot?

And I saw this post episode, and I instantly thought, okay, I have to have Andy on, which was talking about part-time work and still having that time with the family. I think this is a conversation a lot of families want to have, but they're not sure how to go about it, right?

Because full-time work that's understandable. Working from home parents, remote work. Got that, but how do you transition to part-time work?

I know for me, being someone who works part-time as a career. I enjoy having the extra time, but let's be real. It, you can't just snap your finger and have it happen. So Absolutely. I'd love to dig into this.

First of all, who came up with this idea? Was this always a part of your financial journey or was this something that as you were paying off the debt, and I know you knocked out that mortgage, you said, okay, let's explore this?

Andy Hill: Yeah, I think for the longest period of time it was just, I was just a full-time employee and I just thought that's what you do. You just have a job and it takes up the majority of your day and your week, and you spend more time with the people at the office than you do with your, actually your actual family or your friends or your loved ones. And that's just what it is.

Then when you started to do some of these wild things like, you know, pay off all of our consumer debt or student loans, our car loan, and then eventually pay off the house and you realize that you're growing the gap between your income and your expenses quite a bit.

What if you just didn't need as much income then because the gap could be closed? So that's something sort of flipped in our heads being like, okay, well if we've got the retirement stuff set by saving and investing through those employer plans for so long, and Roth IRAs and HSAs and things like that. And then we paid off all the debt , what do we need to make a bunch of our money for?

If we've got our retirement set and we definitely need to make money because we gotta pay for our bills, we gotta pay for the food, we gotta pay for the bills. You know, gotta pay for the, this crazy inflation that keeps going up but we don't have to hustle hard forever.

I think there was a few epiphany moments. I think the pandemic was definitely one of them. I finished my full-time career and then I jumped into a life of entrepreneurship and I'm like, I'm gonna take this to the moon as well. You know, like, Hey, I'm gonna make a million dollars.

And then the pandemic happened and it was like, well, why ? Why continue to push, push, push, push, push what's it four? And I think that that great pause that we all got with the pandemic was, was nice. It was sort of a reset to say, ‘What do we want the next 20 years of our lives to look like?'

And you know, God willing, we have 20 years to move forward. Are we utilizing the time we have right now to the best of our ability? So I think that's when part-time work got interesting.


Another reason I think that part-time work not only got interesting but realistic was I really kind of fell for this fire movement thing for a while of like, I wanna push so hard that I don't have to work ever, you know, and it sounds really romantic and cool and, but man, I would say that is difficult for 99% of our world, our country, and our world.

I think the reality of, I like the idea of financial independence and, being able to have more time, but I think if you're able to do some work that you enjoy and have that time freedom. I think that's the best of both worlds, and that's what we're pursuing as a family right now.

I currently have the opportunity to work part-time and my wife went back to school to become an esthetician. So she's seeking out part-time employment right now.

Elle Martinez: That's awesome and I love that. We're like you, we're a CoastFI family and we've had similar conversations and I think it's important to bring that up.

Of course, at the beginning when you're in your financial journey we had the credit card debt. I know when we started off I had to pay off the debt before the wedding, and then we had the car loan student loans. And so there is, and I get this, there's an intensity, right?

Your focus, you're trying to knock that out, but with your financial journey doesn't have to be off on switch, especially with financial independence.

I know it is a very popular topic. Like we retired in X amount of years, we're free. But I think the, like you said, more realistic, but I think also the more flexible and enjoyable path is after you do knock out a lot of that unnecessary debt and you're evaluating, you know, having these conversations along the way, finding, are there more options a and B that I've always heard about or been given and are there ways to explore that?

I think sometimes we get on that path and it almost becomes the extreme, like, before we weren't paying attention to our money, we got into debt, and now we're paying too much attention to the money and the number and chasing it.

And it's like, wait, wait, wait. And you have two kids like I do too. Yes. At at, at some point. It's like, I wanna enjoy the time I have with my kids. They grew up way too fast. So yeah, having that ability to maybe slow down worth work is incredible. And you laid out in that episode the steps and the process that you take.

I definitely recommend, if you haven't already, I'll put it in the show notes. Check out Andy's post an episode. But I wanted to talk about two key steps.

The first one, and you mentioned a bit about this, is growing that gap. I think a lot of families struggle with that. Like, where do I start? How do I one earn more? How do I pay down my expenses. How did you guys first approach it and maybe tell me which one was harder, earning more, or optimizing those expenses.

Andy Hill: Yeah, absolutely. I think at the beginning of our marriage we got together and we were living for today, having a great time, enjoying all that our late twenties had to offer, and having a great time.

We had no gap, you know, so we had $130,000 coming in. I think I was making 60, she was making 70, something like that.


And we were using all of it for fun, which is great. I mean, it was just us and we were enjoying ourselves and we were newlyweds. When we learned we were gonna be parents, that's when something said, okay, we gotta pay attention to things a little bit more because we've got a human coming into the world and we want her to have a great life. So that's when sort of conversations happen around growing that gap, not just everything that's coming in is now going out.

What can we do to save a little bit for our daughters? 5 29. Okay, that gap's gotta be a little bit bigger. What can we do to eliminate our student debt and my car debt?

Okay, the gap's gotta be a little bit bigger for that too. And then save and invest for our retirement so that we don't always have to work or what if we're not able to work or if we get laid off in, in our fifties or sixties.

Those conversations started to happen a little bit more. So we needed to grow the gap. I guess first things first is have a need, have a why, have a have a reason to actually want to grow the gap. But growing that gap between your income and expenses creates a. Power. It creates your ability to do things that you never thought were possible, right?

‘Oh, wow. Didn't think we'd be able to buy that house, but we grew the gap so we have enough saved for it. ‘Or, ‘Hey, I never thought we'd become millionaires by the time we're 40.'

Well, that's because we grew the gap and we're able to invest and, and get things that we needed to get done. So I guess the hardest part, to answer your second question of that, is probably the increasing income part.

I would say based on my nature, I sort of have a…. I don't know, frugal side of me. So it's like, hey, if I need to not go out to dinner as much or cut back on grocery spending or negotiate some bills or whatever. Mm-hmm. , that's kind of like a hunt for me, I think. And so that becomes a little easier for me.

Or sell some stuff around the house on, you know, Craigslist or Facebook marketplace and you know, get a quick thousand bucks. Just like easy things like that, you know? So lowering the expense is a little easier for me. But yeah, the harder part is, is going and earning more, but it's probably the more important and, and more effective part which is tough.

If you're looking to increase the income, the quickest place to start, instead of saying, Hey, I wanna start a whole business and do all these different things, it's like, where are you currently earning money and could you get more money? Like do you have a job where you maybe haven't gotten a raise in a while or do you have the opportunity for overtime at this place?

Or can you get a bonus? Can you get commission? Do you have a client you've been working with for a while that you can say, Hey, I'm interested in raising my rates cuz we've been working together for a while and I believe you enjoy this situation. So those are difficult conversations. Mm-hmm. , but Woo man are they effective when you're looking to grow the gap!

Elle Martinez: Yeah, absolutely. We're working from home, so people like, oh yeah, you would obviously, put that as first piece of advice, but I absolutely agree with you. If you have a nine to five, first of all, it can be either a tool to help you reach your goals faster, build new skills and everything. But yeah, negotiating, seeing if you can get some flexibility. Talk with your manager. Start building up a portfolio. This is something that you have, especially when you're a parent.

It's like, do I have the time and energy, depending on how old your kids are and where you're at professionally, to actually grow something from, the bottom up. I think that's a good piece of advice.

I also love how you talked finding that balance and you found it to be a game to cut on expenses, but I'm curious, one of the benefits I would say with financial independence and freedom is it kind of forces you to prioritize, right?

You're gonna be cutting certain things, but then on the other side, you are going to be defining. , I'm going to keep this expense. I might, minimize it for now because I gotta pay down debt, but these are my must haves.

For you guys, what were those? What was that line for you and Nicole where you said, no, no, we need to put aside some money for

Andy Hill: this?

Yeah, I think there were some difficult moments when we were. You know, working our way up this debt free ladder, mortgage free ladder, Coast Fire Ladder, where I got pretty excited about it cuz I'm a numbers guy and I get really geeked about it and she, she gets equally interested, but as long as I talk about the emotional benefits or the payoff, like why mm-hmm.

why are we doing these things with all the numbers? Like what's the purpose of it? So there was some points in time where we'd be looking at the numbers and I'd be like, well, you know what this cleaning lady. I you know, you're a stay-at-home mom right now and we got this cleaning lady. It just seems like an unnecessary expense to me.

Ooh, that did not go well, Elle. And you know what I didn't do? I didn't really empathize with her situation. She's got two kids. at home that she's taken care of. Maybe, I think there were probably four and two at the time. Like really? I mean, beautiful, beautiful kids. Yeah. But difficult lot of work. Kids are kids. So a treat of somebody coming over and doing a deep clean your house once a month, it's not really that lavish.

And so when I poked at that little piece of an expense that became a very touchy subject for for her, and I'm quickly realized, wow, that's something that's very important to her.

And. . It hasn't come up yet. It hasn't come up again, . But I guess my point is, is that there are things that I really would feel super passionate about if she brought up and said, Hey, you know, that's not that important. Mm-hmm. to me either. And I would defend them. , but I think the point of the conversation is that we need to step in the shoes of our partners, Uhhuh , to say if it's important to them, then it's important to me.

And obviously there are lines you gotta draw as a couple, as you have these conversations. But I would try to go at it with an empathetic heart to say. , it might not be. It might be something that I think is completely silly, but really, you know what? That's not, that's doesn't matter. She thinks it's great or he thinks it's great, and so it's great for me.

So I think, I think having those conversations and a budget and some conversations around sitting down to look at a budget could open up those conversations in a friendly way as opposed to doing it in passing, which I've done many times and it does not go well for our relationship.

If you could dedicate time to specifically talk about these important things about growing the Gap, saying, okay, where are some areas that we could maybe work on so that we could eventually get to a part-time lifestyle, maybe in five, 10 years from now those can happen with some scheduled, specific time.

Where the kids are maybe not hanging on your legs to speak to that. Do you have that problem

Elle Martinez: too, ? Oh, you know it, sister.

Yeah. I mean, and, and that's the thing with family. It's all. Balance and I feel, well, I like that word balance. And at the same time, I think the reality is like we have seasons and cycles when you, you have kids and you're working, but I love that you're saying set aside time for conversations.

Cuz I'm a big believer in that, you know, I love the money date. I know you do budget parties, but kind of taking the tension out.

For me it was making sure it is regular enough. Mm-hmm. that we're having these conversations that it doesn't feel like it's the money talk.

I feel like if you only save it for special occasions, that's when you get a little more stressed out. You feel like you mentioned defending yourself with these expenses, but saying, Hey, you know, this month went well. I was looking ahead. Did you? This expense is coming up, or maybe we can cut back. Having that space, like I love how you guys are open about it saying what you you wanna say, and then yes, sometimes there's gonna be a little pushback on either side and understanding, okay, well maybe we need to go back to the drawing board and find a compromise we're both happy with, or we just keep it as is, but you won't know until you have those conversations.

Kind of breaks me to the next part. So conversations are great. You're making progress, you're getting ready to transition. I feel like this is a different, like another pivot point. Mm-hmm. , how did that conversation go with you and Nicole? Did you do like one at a time or how did you decide to make that, because I know like every family kind of calculates it differently.

Andy Hill: Yeah. We've had varying times in our relationship mm-hmm. when we've gone both full-time workers mm-hmm to ladder down to a single worker and then back up to, to full-time. And then now we're in this position of could we both be two half-time workers? You know?

I think that's how it, it's how it started for us. So we were both working full-time and then we got to a position of financial strength where I was making some good money at my job and we had paid down all of our debt.

It was the point in time when we had our first child. We figured, hey, Nicole could have the ability to work part-time. So that was, that was sort of our step into it.

That was much better than saying both of us are fully retired, or one of us is fully retired or not working anymore. It's a step down and it's a lot easier to get used to, just like all these financial steps that we do. It's easier when it's in small incremental steps as opposed to being like, let's do it all right now cuz it's very stressful.

We went from two full-time workers down to one full-time worker and a part-time worker with Nicole, and then eventually full-time stay-at-home mom. So she did that for about five or six years. So we had one full-time worker. And with that, I'll be honest with you, and I've been honest with her about it too, it was stressful.

It was stressful to own 100% of the financial responsibility. And I did it, you know, I'm like, you know, prideful, I'm working hard. Yeah, I'm gonna grow my income. And but after a few, four, five years, I'm like, And I kind of bottled that up a little bit and I didn't really share it with her how I should have.

And sometimes I would explode, you know, and it would be no good. It would be one of those things where I'm like, well, you should know, but I didn't share anything with her . So that's when things like marriage counseling would, would really help us out because. Our counselor would help us to say, well, Andy, all those things that you're thinking that you conveyed to her, you didn't.

So let's have that forum to be able to have that conversation. So we found that, yeah, 100% of the ownership, the financial responsibility is tough, even if you're making good money.

Honestly, on her end, 100% of the, of the, of the parenting or the, the stay-at-home mom duties is also very stressful.

We found a little balance after that act where I went down to leaving my corporate full-time job and being a part-time stay-at-home dad at a part-time business owner and Now we are both in that train. She's decided to go back to school and learn a new trade because after finishing the stay at home mom thing, she went back to advertising and it was like, this is not for me either.

So now she's gone back to school to learn to be an esthetician, which is somebody does like facials and things like that, and she loves it. Yeah. So now she's seeking out part-time employment.

So that'll be two part-time workers, which will make one full-time worker together, which is great because it's like, okay, we are one collective here as a family.

So we've gone essentially from two full-time workers down to now one full-time worker over the 12 years of our marriage because we've done these things to grow the gap and have some, yeah, financial strength. We're not saving as much as we used to at all, but because we're not saving as much as we used to, we now have the ability to own more of our time.

Elle Martinez: Yeah, absolutely. I love this because you, you're kind of carving out your own. You're finding, this is where I'm happy. This is the kind of mix as you could say, with, professional paid work, taking care of the kids, spending time with them.

She's going back to school and I love that she went back to work, realized it's not for her.

Yeah. And then she said, okay, let me find a different path. And you guys were able to work as a family and create a plan. And I think that's flexibility is what a lot of families are looking for. And while financial independence, a lot of stores might be shared about, oh, we retired in, you know, 10 years, or we did this crazy side hustle and made six figures.

I think the bigger takeaway are the stories where families are creating meaningful and memorable, lives for themselves, however that looks for them.

Maybe you do wanna travel in an RV with your kids, or maybe you just wanna stay put and be next to your family, right? And have that network.

There's so many different flavors to fry and I sometimes taking the word independence and just put freedom, just having some more freedom, whether that's money, but more importantly, in the end time, To spend with whoever or whatever you wanted do.

Andy Hill: Yeah, that's a great point. And I think the funny thing, and I think I'm part of the problem too is it's hard to quantify what we're describing right now. So it's difficult to share and draw people in because I think as humans, we really like to see something that you can measure at least I do. You know, where it's like, Paid off that much or saved that much by X age.

It's something that we could quantify. You know, quantifying time ownership and quality time with family and quantifying happiness. That's a lot harder to do because it's personal and there's not a lot of numbers associated with it.

So I think the conversation we're having right now is a little bit more difficult to quantify. And therefore people are like, well, if it's not a $5 million net worth, what are you doing? What, why are you even, why are you working part-time? You could make, make making more money. It's like, hmm. It's hard to quantify .

Elle Martinez: Yeah, exactly. Oh my goodness. I know we just scratch the surface, Andy and I would love to chat with you some more but for those that are listening if you haven't already subscribed to Andy's Podcast, marriage, kids and Money, it is a holistic approach. It's not just, retiring and becoming financially independent.

It's enjoying the journey as well.

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How to Productively Work from Home When the Kids are There Too

I’ve lost count of how many days we’ve been home lol.

I want to say we’re starting our third week all together at home today.

To be honest working from home with kids around is both a joy and a challenge. We absolutely love the extra time with the girls and being there as they tackle some projects.

Like right now, they are making these short films and animations.

The tough part – getting work done by the deadline when you have a five and eight-year-old.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to maneuver things a bit, but I still have client projects I need done every week and month.

It took a bit of time, but I think we found a rhythm that works for now.

Last week Andy Hill and talked about what we’re doing to balance kids and work on Thriving Families over on Facebook (come join us – it’s free!)

I also did a podcast episode years ago about it too.

Here are a few of my tips for those looking at running a business from home with little ones.

Create a Schedule

You don’t need to (or really want to) have things planned out minute by minute, but having a routine is a lifesaver for running a business.

With a podcast, I have to set aside time to do interviews and record shows.

After testing things out, I have a fairly set schedule where I can handle these tasks while the kids are napping or my husband is at home.

Shift Your Work Schedule

With remote work become a reality for many parents, you may find that shifting your schedule can allow you to remain productive with minimal disruption on your employer's side.

It's not an available option for all work places (I heard some employers are checking in login times to make sure schedule is kept), but it can be a handy option if okay with emp

Create (and Enforce) Boundaries

Many entrepreneurs who work from home say it can be hard to separate things. They’re checking email on the weekend in the middle or family.

My advice is to be clear with your clients about your availability. You also want to sit down with your spouse and your kids if they’re old enough and explain the situation.

My oldest knows that if I’m recording it’s a quiet time for her while she plays in her room until I come and get her. On the other hand, I respect that she’s a kid and I keep my recording session short – no more than 30 minutes.

Getting what I need to be done at that time means I have to be prepared and have already done my research for the guest, but it’s been worth it for me.

Communicate Regularly

To be able to stick to our schedule and keep those boundaries, Rob and I talk daily about what we have on our agendas.

We also loop in the girls, telling them which points at the day they need to be quiet.

As a reward, once we've finished that task, we'll take time to go outside with the girl, play a game, or give them one of their favorite snacks.

Connect with Me

Speaking of we've covered the topic of shifting schedules I’m doing some new stuff here.

While the podcast takes time to produce, I’ll be using Instagram and YouTube to create shorter, but more ‘in the now’ videos.

They may not so polished (I’m not a videographer ?), but I’d love to help you out any way I can.

Don’t forget to join us in our free Thriving Families Facebook group. We’re focused on helping one another our with our family and money goals!

How to Financially Prepare Your Family for Tough Times

With the coronavirus and fallout from it, many families are understandably stressed out. Today we're sharing how you can financially prepare your family for tough times to survive and thrive!

While things are really fluid right now and some big decisions are still up in the air, it's important to review and if necessary reprioritize things with your finances. 

Earlier this week, I sent out an email about your biggest concerns right now when it comes to money. I appreciate hearing from you.

As a personal policy, I write back as soon as I can to everyone. However, I noticed that they were certain questions and scenarios that were stressing some in the community.

Why We’re Doing This Q&A Session

I thought it would be good to create a session focused on helping families craft a financial plan for these tough times.

Andy Hill from Marriage, Kids, and Money and co-founder of Thriving Families was kind enough to join me in this chat.

You can watch it as uploaded to YouTube or catch the notes below!

Adjusting to the New Normal as a Family

Elle Martinez: I think this is our first thriving family special Q&A chat because I think you and I have been talking about doing this for two years probably.

[It makes] a lot of sense to do it right now. And with the circumstances, it's like even more of a challenge. I don't know about you, but my kids are upstairs.

Andy Hill: Absolutely. Well, I enjoyed my lunch break right outside the door here.

So if you hear a little bit of action, that's that is. That's our family tried to figure out this whole school thing. Yes.

Elle Martinez: Yes. And seeing a little technical difficulty there. But that is kind of what we're all doing right now is figuring out what the circumstances that changed so quickly.

How do we not only survive but thrive as families, which is our group name, but importantly is how do we financially prepare?

I'm not an expert in terms of how this [pandemic] is going to go, but you've probably seen they've kind of indicated that this could be a few months at the very least.

Remote Learning with Your Kids

Andy Hill: So, I mean, for us, our school system, originally it was, you know, hey, we're gonna be off for three weeks and then we got spring break coming up.

I don't know all of the news we've been hearing, whether it's our friends in California or some other folks locally here, that's at least three months, if not more. So were trying to figure out how the new normal will come.

Elle Martinez: Yes. Yes. And the important thing is like, how do you prepare? And at the same time, how do you make sure that you don't give in to a kind of fear? Because there's a lot of questions going on.

Tthere's a great opportunity for people to be extremely fearful. It makes sense. You know, this is unprecedented.

People don't know what's going on. But I think if we can stick to our values and priorities; things that we know are important to do right now.

Prioritizing Your Bills 

Elle Martinez: The goal of this [chat] is to make sure how do we reprioritize, how do we reorganize it, and shift things just like we're doing right now with our home routines and our schedules.

How do we shift things with our finances to kind of ride out these tough times? So I had just recently asked within the community for Couple Money. What are your concerns?

I got one particular e-mail that I think really summed up a lot of concerns families are having, which is like how do we prioritize what bills to pay, what goals to pursue when so many things are up in the air?

So I'll just read that and maybe we can talk it out and go through the process.

This one is from Kelly:

Should I still pay my credit cards?

I work for the schools and might not have a job to return to and everything is in my name.

I live paycheck to paycheck so my buffer or savings is very small.”

This is a situation many families are dealing with where depending on the industry you're in. You don't know if your hours are going to be cut or if there's going to be enough runway to take care the essentials.

Credit Card Relief

Andy Hill: You know, let's. Let's start out the credit card side of things.

We can talk about, you know, budgeting and savings and things like that. So for the credit cards, I know you posted this in our community, I think was just yesterday about the credit card companies realizing what's coming or what's happening right now.

Yes. And getting ahead of it. So maybe you want to talk a little bit about what that is.

Elle Martinez: So I don't want to call it good news, but something as a relief. Yes, news. Something as a relief.

It seems like this time around with the crisis, people are realizing that this is going to be a long term thing. So companies, including credit card companies, are offering different kinds of hardship relief programs.

I noticed in particular, Apple Pay and Barclays, for example, are telling their customers they're being proactive in an e-mail. So check your emails that you can skip your March payment and not have any penalties for that.

That can be a solution, especially if you don't have a financial cushion.

So any kind of relief that you can get now? We'll probably talk about this a little bit more, but emphasize take advantage of it now. Use it to your family's benefit. And this is absolutely critical.

So I am happy that credit cards are stepping up. I've heard also that a lot of them are waiving fees, late fees, if you have to kind of extend payments because paycheck as you switch over.

Unfortunately, some families in our group work in the service industry and so they're going to be relying on unemployment temporarily, at least hopefully temporarily.

So until that it makes that transition take advantage of the program. Be active. Call your credit card companies and also call your financial institutions, because many of them also are offering breaks an addition to it.

Negotiate to Lower Your Interest Rate

Andy Hill: Let's say, you know, maybe they're not waiving fees or even if they are trying to figure out a way you can do this, too, is to call them.

Tell me about your situation and then talk about reducing your interest rate to begin with. You know, that could really help you, too, if you're at a higher interest rate. And this is a really hard time for you and your family.

Maybe this is an opportunity for you to decrease how much you're actually paying towards those credit card companies. To your point on other financial institutions doing this, too, I got an email from Ally today.

I'm a customer of theirs and I don't have a mortgage with them and I don't have, you know, some of their other products. But it sounds as if they're waiving some fees as well, specifically to, you know, late payments, you know, overdraft fees, things like that.

A lot of them are getting proactive. Contact your financial institutions, your credit card companies, find out what they are doing to help you during this situation so that you can still be a customer of theirs and everybody can still survive and thrive.

Relief Programs Being Offered

Check with your credit card company to see if they are offering any hardship arrangement.  

Some lenders and creditors are offering to:

  • Delay or skip payments on your car, personal loan, and credit card without a fee and not reported late on your credit report.
  • Lower credit card APRs to reduce the minimum monthly payment.
  • Modify mortgages and other loans with a temporary lower payment for a time period.
  • Waive fees such as late fees or over-limit fees on credit cards and early withdrawal penalties.
  • Access to emergency loans with no payments for 1-3 months

These programs are starting up now, so check in every week to see if yours has one set up.

Stash Whatever Savings You Can

 Elle Martinez: Take those ‘savings’ and stash it away into that emergency fund. 

So, yeah, absolutely important in terms of housing. Great point with the mortgage lenders. There is talk. I haven't seen anything official. If I see anything, I will post it in the Facebook group. But some of them are talking about maybe giving a delay, making payments for up to 90 days.

We'll see if that happens. I will definitely notify you. But I just saw that HUD, Department of Housing, if you are renting, they are not going to do any evictions. And some of them are talking about extending payments for rent and working out some kind of arrangement.

Anything you can get right now for relief, stay on top of the news and we'll do our best to, you know, keep updating on what we know. But again, it's all coming so fast that these are opportunities. But they're also a great way for you guys to find some relief right now.

Which Bills Should You Prioritize?

Yes. And Ken, let's talk about prioritizing. I know credit cards are a stress one because of the interest rate, but too, they have a tendency in the industry to kind of hound you if you're not making payments. But for families, I think going again back to this fundamentals, the first thing you have to make sure that you have the money for are the essentials, your housing, your utilities, your food and some form of transportation. Hopefully things will subside or something will happen that if you need to go to the grocery store, if you need to go to work, you have transportation. So make sure you have that. If you cannot afford that, credit cards are the least of your concerns in that scenario. You got it.

Absolutely. But we do want to tell you to never pay your credit cards again, but we ought to make sure you have some money in the bank right now. This is an emergency. This is the emergency brake for the emergency fund.

So while it's great to pay off debt and reduce your balances and things like that, take advantage of those opportunities with credit card companies to raise those fees for the time being and then focus on just shoring up some money for you and your family, because we don't know how long it's going to last and nobody can predict what's going on right now.

Yeah, and you bring up a good point. Guys, if you've listened to Andy your eye on a podcast like we are usually the ones that say pay down, that is the debt. Andy is completely debt free and we are working on paying our mortgage. That's our last debt. So when we're telling you, you know, let's put a pause on that, if you can, of course, make the minimums and take care of the essentials. Great. But your goal right now, if you don't have it already, should be focusing on that financial cushion, right?

Yeah. And now what? I mean, normally, I don't know what you say with couple money and everything like that. But the you know, I always felt really good with three months of expenses with this situation. I don't know if people want to keep beefing that up to six or nine months. I don't know what the right number is right now. It's something that people like, I guess have to ask themselves internally. But if you're in a situation where, like as Kelly saying, she feels like her job is, you know, in a tough spot. Think about how long you might be out of work before you can actually earn an income.

I don't know. That's tough to predict right now. What you want to feel more comfortable than less comfortable right now.

So, I mean, yeah, this is one of those spots where you pause on the aggressive debt payments and any of the any of the folks that are paying off their mortgage right now are working very, very low on the priority scale.

If you don't have a good emergency fund or I guess generally and other debt payments to you want to make sure that you're feeling really good with some cash right now.

Yes, definitely. And I know between my husband and I, he's the more conservative one. So in this case, I will defer to him.

Yeah, but yeah, Nicole said to me this morning, just to be clear, I don't want you to touch the emergency fund. Like, okay, I got it. I got it. Cause I'm all like stock market guy. I'm like, hey, well, this is a good time to get some, you know.

Oh, yes. Stocks right now and everything like that. And then she's like, let's just. Claire, I want to feel very comfortable with what we have in our savings account right now. Like I got.

Yeah. And that's something that as couples I mean, we both. We talk about this is having those conversations with your spouse because we tend to marry not exactly our financial opposites, but definitely we have different strengths and also different worries. So for my husband, he's kind of the same way because I'm I don't want to say like, well, maybe we should just move on. I'd like, you know. Exactly. But, yeah, I'm I'm kind of in the same boat with you. But having these conversations about that, but then also prioritizing some concerns people have is should I take money out of the stock market and maybe put that money in the savings or they're worried about that. I saw some advice from Paula Pant. It cracked me up and it was true. It was saying we are far 1 k. Treat it like the advice they're giving you about your your face. Don't touch it. Get my hands off of that right now.

Don't touch your forehead. Don't touch your face right now. Yes. Yeah.

I mean, it's one of those things where, you know, there's if you touch it, there's lots of penalties as well as this is the this is potentially the low point. Right. I mean, so if we weren't touching it in January when I was at the high point, then you kn

I completely agree. And do do what's best for your family right now. Stay safe. Sounds like the advice that we're getting is to stay home and, you know, try to figure out a way to make a new normal for your family and take advantage of it, too. This could be a good opportunity to make some bonding moments that you wouldn't normally have.

Yes, I know we are getting a little creative with finding projects to do with the kids we use, doing some gardening. Some cooking. Learning some things. But guys, if you can set aside even half an hour, you know, every day, make the phone calls, check to see what kind of benefits or or kind of hardship release you can get with your lenders. Also, talk with your state. You might have some benefits through your state that are unique, whether it's unemployment benefits or even talk to your employer. I know that's probably going to be a busy line, but leave a message that they can get back to you and take advantage of any problem, Gram, that you qualify for and use that. Absolutely. And then finally, I know this sounds crazy because we live in the age of up to date information, but don't panic. And if you feel like you're stressing out, take a step back from the screen.

Yeah, that's a good point. And also do your best to find credible sources for your information, too. There's you know, during times like this, there's a great opportunity for both people to spread misinformation and maybe make the panic a little worse.

So go with those trusted news sources and and people that you've always trusted and make sure that that, you know, you're sticking with that, because sometimes other things can come through and make you more nervous than you need to be.

Exactly. So, guys, this is just a quick chat. Thank you again, Kelly, for sending in my question. I think. So many people are in the same boat and asking, but stick with your plan, focus on the fundamentals. And if you ever have any questions, please, that the community, thriving families were there to support one another with money plus more. Leave a question in the comments!

Resources to Help Your Family  

We want to share some resources available now (and will update later) that may be able to get your family some financial relief. 

Bill Relief

Various utility companies are announcing relief and breaks for their customers. 

  • Comcast/AT&T: Free access to their hot spots for everyone, including non-subscribers. unlimited data to its customers for no extra charge, for the 60 days. 60 days of free basic internet service to new customers
  • Duke Energy / Pacific Gas & Electric/consolidated Edison/Southern California Edison: Offering flexible payment plans. Halted disconnections.
  • T-Mobile/: Unlimited data for customers
  • Verizon: 

Student Loans

The federal government has offered a student loan interest waiver for federal student loans.


You’re still required to file them by April 15th, but you can delay payment for up to 90 days. 

Beware of Scams

Unfortunately there are those looking to take advantage of these stressed times. Please be vigilant and be extra cautious with your personal and financial data. 

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels