How to Talk to Your Parents About Their Spending Habits
At a certain point, most of what you knew about money came from your parents. They were the distributors of your sacred allowance, the funders of your phone bill, the providers of your health insurance. Before you were old enough to procure an income of your own, they were your bank — if you wanted money, you had to ask.
As you get older, this changes. You become your own source of capital. You work to finance your home, your clothing, your groceries, your cell phone. And while your parents may remain among the only people you feel totally comfortable discussing money with, they're no longer responsible. They're confidants, not providers.
But what happens when the order is reversed? What happens when you become the financial support system for your parents? It's only natural that, at a certain point, your income is more substantial — or at the very least, more regular. So after a lifetime of turning to your parents for money advice, how do you begin to talk to them about their finances?
Apparently, one in every five millennials is offering financial support to their parents -- many of whom are carrying serious debts of their own. We're talking student loans, mortgage payments, and your standard credit card bills. But how do you say no to the people who have given you financial care for your entire life?
"When you reach a certain age, you become aware of everything your parents did for you during your childhood," says financial columnist Patty Lamberti. "And you'll do anything to help them during their time of need. But you need to think about yourself, and your old age, too."
According to the Washington Post, only 41% of workers have planned -- at all -- for retirement. That being the case, the Post suggests preempting a discussion with your parents with a conversation amongst siblings (if you have them). This way you can clarify what you all are capable of giving, and how, as a unit, you can best support mom and dad. You have a built-in team to ease the burden of the conversation.
When it's finally time to sit down and talk, siblings or not, be sure to time your interaction carefully -- just prior to Thanksgiving dinner is probably not the moment to lay it all on the table. You want to find time to sit quietly, as far removed from major stressors as possible.
While you discuss your future financial relationship, think about ways you can help that don't involve dishing out cash. Can you help them relocate? Cancel services they don't use? Downsize in some small way? How can you help them regain control of their own finances?
Keep in mind the fact that you are, of course, still responsible for yourself, and if you put yourself in serious debt, your kids, too, will be struggling to support you. You don't want to allow this to become a cycle. "Remember that a fiscally reckless parent is still your parent," the Postdeclares. "Budget for the help you can afford. But don't let his or her financial sins be your burden. It's not yours to carry."
Legally, you will not be responsible for your parents debts when they pass away, unless you co-signed on something like a property. Be a source of support for your parents, but be clear with them that you cannot offer your services past a point. You have your own family to care for, and this should remain the priority. Whatever help you provide should not make you liable for debts that are not yours.
If you're looking for a little more support, think about consulting a resource. Try reading through the guide Merrill Lynch put together, and if you need more support, feel free to reach out to a representative to talk through some of your concerns. The same goes for Northwest Mutual -- check out their written advice before giving them a call. And last but not least, set up a meeting with a representative at your parents' bank. Let them offer you their thoughts on how to move forward.
With all this in mind, do not lost sight of the fact that you love your parents. They raised you. They taught you most of what you know when it comes to money -- and just about everything else in the world. Support them, but don't ruin yourself in the process. Be there for them, even if dishing out cash is not an option for you. And when you speak to them, be sure to clarify that that you are infinitely grateful for they ways they support you. But that gratitude doesn't warrant a lifetime of debt on your own part.
- How to Talk to Your Aging Parent About Finances (and What Not to ... ›
- How to Talk to Your Aging Parents (about Finances) ›
- How to Talk to Aging Parents About Money | FINRA.org ›
- 7 tips for talking to your aging parents about money | PBS NewsHour ›
- How To Talk To Your Parents About Money | DaveRamsey.com ›
- How to Talk to Your Parents About Money Without Being a Jerk ›
Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!