New Year – New Financial You!

It’s a new year, a time for resolutions and goals. It should also be a time for reviewing personal and home finances. However, if you’ve never done this, it may seem like a daunting task. To help get you started, below are three focus areas and easy steps that could make a significant financial impact and give you the confidence to know that you can be in control of your financial world!

  1. Review Insurance Premiums & Coverage Amounts

“Premium Creep” is a real thing, where insurance companies increase premiums just a little each year and after a few years, it adds up! Also, if you haven’t looked at your coverage amounts in some time, you may be in a situation where your policy’s home replacement amount is less than the current market value of your home.

To Do:

  • Call your insurance company and review ALL amounts.
  • Shop around with other companies and compare

I recently switched companies and saved more than $60 per month on home and auto insurance combined (more than $700 per year)!

2. Take Stock of Your Credit Cards

Just as insurance companies increase premiums, credit card companies can increase interest rates without you knowing. Make a list that includes all cards (including retail store cards), balances due, and interest rates.

To Do:

  • Focus on paying off cards with the highest interest rates first.
  • Look for credit card promotions offering 0% interest rates on balance transfers for 12+ months and use it to pay off the highest cards.
  • If you still have a balance due at the end of the promotional period, then find another promotion and repeat the process.
  • Call credit card companies and ask to:
    • Lower your interest rate – Depending on how badly they want your business, they may oblige or may not oblige. But, doesn’t hurt to ask!
    • Increase your credit limit – Credit card companies are usually happy to increase your limit, which most likely will help your credit score, as one of the inputs in the calculation is “utilization,” which is the percentage of total available credit used.

3. Review Your Mortgage Details

Interest rates are at historic lows and went down further last week! Refinancing your current mortgage may mean a lower monthly payment that translates to thousands of savings over your future payment years! Also, depending on the gap between your current mortgage rate and the new one, you may be able to roll in all refinancing costs and outstanding credit card balances into the new loan, while still obtaining a lower monthly payment!

To Do:

  • Call a mortgage broker who will assess your situation, shop programs, and find the best rates and plan for your personal needs.

I am in the process of re-financing. By just speaking to my mortgage broker and sending her a few documents, I will have a lower monthly payment, as all refinancing fees are able to be rolled into the loan amount.

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For more information on Sheryl’s personal insurance and mortgage contacts, or for any questions on this content or other personal or home financial items, please contact Sheryl Keane at:

Sheryl.NewHorizons@gmail.com

631-762-4477

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Bonjour de Paris Chic et Reffine!

Good morning from classy and refined Paris!

Having just spent three sunny June days in Paris, I am relaxed and at peace.  Does the feng shui ever work here!  The buttery yellow buildings create a soothing backdrop for the brightly colored flowers on window sills and in lush green gardens.  The Luxembourg Gardens (as well as others) are beautifully manicured and inviting.  The statutes and extraordinary stonework apprise of the city’s abounding history of world influence, craftsmanship, and romance.

It takes only a few minutes for this American to take notice of the French’s great pride in appearance and mannerisms.  Although I am not qualified to compare world city folk, I have to say the French are among the best dressed and are very classy (American tourists be prepared to up your game).

My daughter, Alison is a fashion merchandising major (sustainability minor ) at the University of Delaware and is studying abroad in Paris this summer, including working behind the scenes at Haute Couture Fashion Week!  In addition to garden walks and cafes, these three days were spent settling Ali into her apartment and helping her learn her way around the city.  Many thanks to Lyndsey and Susanne (Ali’s lovely roommate and her very helpful mom) who are more familiar with Paris, including the best dining view of the Eiffel Tower!  Although very busy, the ambiance of the city made the three day trip feel like a vacation – a much needed one.

Until next time! Enjoy a few photos of the trip, including Ali, the Luxembourg Gardens, the Effiel Tower, and my hotel:  Hotel Observatoire Luxembourg.

Au revoir!

 

A RAT!

WOW – today my blog was high-jacked!  I was going to tell you that you too can conquer what life throws at you and how out of necessity and fear you too can learn to use the wet-vac and change the front door lock.  However, yesterday morning was one of those times I wished I had a guy in the house!  And, for you ladies that do have men there with you, this would be one of those times you’re so glad!

So….for today, forget about the wet-vac and door lock.  Watch the attached 2 videos and you’ll know what I’m talking about!  These videos are uncut and untouched.  They are my daughter, Danielle’s, raw i-phone recordings.  Hey, I’m not here to show you slick videos.  I’m here to help you grow your confidence and go after your dreams!  (And…laugh a little!)

 

 

 

Hello! Let me introduce myself!

IMG_0876Hello!  I am Sheryl Anne Messina and I am writing this blog to reach and inspire all of you women who have found yourselves suddenly no longer married, especially after heartbreaking separations (Ok…..divorces…I just hate the word divorce….), and you’re not only experiencing tremendous pain, but as a result of the break-up, also facing challenges at work, with finances, taking care of your houses and yards, and juggling the day-to-day activities of your children.

The good news is that there is some truth to the old cliché, time heals all wounds. Time will lessen, and eventually take away, that excruciating pain in your stomach.  The day you realize…you’ve been thinking about what a jerk your ‘ex’ is, but you don’t feel like you were punched in the gut…will be a day you’ll remember!  You will be elated, bordering on euphoric! Come on my girls – I know there’s many of you out there who know what I’m talking about!  It’s that moment when you realize you’re okay and you’re a survivor. Your energy skyrockets and you want to take on those projects you’ve been putting off and those even bigger endeavors you’ve dreamed of before you had kids!

This epiphany happened to me 2 weeks ago and now I am ready to take on the world! Over just the last few days, I began editing the book I started years ago, I finished the 75-hour online real estate course that I started 2 years ago, and I’ve started this blog. My passion is to help others, especially us ladies!  I will be sharing my many experiences, including tips to make ends meet, take care of the house and yard, and be both the mom and dad for your children.

Over three years ago I suddenly found myself alone when my husband emailed me (YES – EMAILED ME!) that it was too stressful for him to live in a house with 4 females (myself and my three daughters, ages 16, 14 and 11 at the time).  Okay…so, I promise this blog will inspire you….but, I first need to digress just a little bit here.  Didn’t my husband think that marriage and life with children would be stressful at times, especially when there are pre-teens and teens?  Worse yet, he selfishly thought it was okay to leave… just quit and run… and leave his wife (who works full time with no family living nearby) with the day-to-day responsibilities of three children, a 4 bedroom house, the (X$#@!!) pool, and also the dog he bought!

Through counseling and research, I learned two very important things:

  • Men’s mid-life crises have real physical foundations.  Just as women’s estrogen levels change during menopause, men’s testosterone and growth hormone levels drop at approximately the same age, and there is a medical term for it: andropause. Whereas women mostly complain of hot flashes, sweating and a slowed metabolism, men often will display behavioral changes.  Men can experience irritability, anger and depression related to such thoughts as not being as great a parent as they could have been, not reaching a higher career status, or not having more meaningful accomplishments.  Their behavior can also be marked by doing things on a whim that are not characteristic of their age.
  • Men are likely to repeat the actions of their fathers.

So, in my case, when my husband became very irritable, angry and depressed and was freaking out that he needed to accomplish more, he did what his father did, which was to runaway, and move into his own apartment….and, oh yeah….bought a motorcycle, grew his hair long, started up that old rock band with his other mid-life crises buddies, and drank a real, real lot.

Ladies, the term given to this behavior by Vikki Stark, psychotherapist, is “Runaway Husbands.”  To read a deep analysis of this, with much empathy for those who have a similar story, see Vikki’s website:  runawayhusbands.com.  Vikki turned her own bewildering and devastating runaway husband story into a quest to get to the bottom of what happened.  She shares her learning in two books, Runaway Husbands and Planet Heartbreak.

So….Hello Everyone out there reading this!!  That’s enough on that!!

All future post will be to inspire you by letting you know WE ARE SURVIVORS AND THE BEST DAYS REALLY ARE AHEAD!

Until next time…..

Follow your BEAT!

Sheryl