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Your Credit Card Calls: When To Buy Now And Pay Later

Finance

When making a purchase, the ultimate decision when you open your wallet is to decide whether to use cash or pay by credit card. While credit cards can provide benefits through rewards programs and building up credit, credit cards can be the gateway to heavy debt if improperly used. Cash may be king, but if you stick to a cash-only rule, you could be doing your credit score a disservice.


The Convenience Factor

If you are looking for the convenience factor, using your credit card may come in handy. If you are consistent in paying your credit card balances in full each month, and you are properly budgeting to ensure that you are on track with timely payments, then putting some purchases on your card is an easy and convenient way to make transactions. For example, making purchases online using a credit card that may be saved on file could give you a quick check-out process. However, if you tend to run high balances or can't pay your credit card balances in full, you should probably use your debit card instead; which is also convenient but functions as cash. If the purchase you want to make is on sale, and you use a credit card that carries a balance, this may negate any savings you might get with the interest that will be incurred.

Using Cash May Be Cheaper

In some cases using cash may get you a better price. For example, when you are ready to fill up your gas tank, you may notice that if you pay by cash, you will get a cheaper price per gallon.

Some restaurants may also give discounts for cash paying customers, so if you are dining out, it won't hurt to ask! Paying for purchases using cash instead of a credit card will also save you from accruing interest on your next credit cards bill if you are unable to pay your entire monthly balance in full.

Cash And Carry

If you like to have cash on hand at all times, consider making your ATM withdrawals at the beginning of each week. Decide on an amount to withdraw that fits within your budget. You don't want the temptation to overspend because having cash in your wallet is so easily accessible. You can also try leaving your debit card at home if you would prefer to make purchases during the week with the allotted cash amount. The cap you give yourself will not only keep you in line with your budget, but it will also put you at less of a risk of overspending. Using cash tends to force us to be a little more frugal about parting with our money because it's so tangible.

Your Credit History And Reporting

While carrying cash is a great option to avoid credit card interest, it won't help improve your credit score or build credit if you stick to an “all cash, all the time" rule. If you use your credit card responsibly and pay your credit card balance in full each month and on time, you will size up a healthy credit score.

A good credit score is an important tool in creating a positive financial future. Utilizing cash as your only payment option and not having any activity on your credit cards, could keep you from obtaining a car loan, mortgage or an apartment rental. Also keep in mind, that if you are traveling and want to rent a car, it can be very inconvenient to do so without a credit card as most car rental establishments won't accept cash deposits upon rental.

The Safety Component

Keeping a combination of both cash and credit cards is an important element to your personal safety or even the safety of your loved ones. You may be put into a situation in which cash is your only option to get you out of a predicament. Should you be put into an emergency situation, having both cash and credit cards on hand could keep you from making your situation more difficult. Keep cash as a back-up even if you don't intend to use it. Your credit card company can also offer you protection against identity theft and fraudulent transactions. Again, when renting a car when traveling, your credit card company may have benefits that would cover you in case you get into an accident. Before embarking on your travels, find out what travel benefits your provider offers.

So what's better to use: cash or credit? There is no definitive answer as it actually depends on where you are and what type of purchase you are going to be making. With proper budgeting and using cash and credit in combination responsibly, you'll stay in good financial shape now and into the future.

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Career

Momtors: The New Wave of Mentors Helping New Moms Transition Back Into Careers

New parents re-entering the workforce are often juggling the tangible realities of daycare logistics, sleep deprivation, and a cascade of overwhelming work. No matter how parents build their family, they often struggle with the guilt of being split between home and work and not feeling exceptionally successful in either place.


Women building their families often face a set of challenges different from men. Those who have had children biologically may be navigating the world of pumping at work. Others might feel pulled in multiple directions when bringing a child into their home after adoption. Some women are trying to learn how to care for a newborn for the first time. New parents need all the help they can get with their transition.

Women returning to work after kids sometimes have to address comments such as:

"I didn't think you'd come back."

"You must feel so guilty."

"You missed a lot while you were out."

To counteract this difficult situation, women are finding mentors and making targeting connections. Parent mentors can help new moms address integrating their new life realities with work, finding resources within the organization and local community, and create connections with peers.

There's also an important role for parent mentors to play in discussing career trajectory. Traditionally, men who have families see more promotions compared to women with children. Knowing that having kids may represent a career setback for women, they may work with their mentors to create an action plan to "back on track" or to get recognized for their contributions as quickly as possible after returning to work.

Previously, in a bid to accommodate mothers transitioning back to work, corporate managers would make a show at lessoning the workload for newly returned mothers. This approach actually did more harm than good, as the mother's skills and ambitions were marginalized by these alleged "family friendly" policies, ultimately defining her for the workplace as a mother, rather than a person focused on career.

Today, this is changing. Some larger organizations, such as JP Morgan Chase, have structured mentorship programs that specifically target these issues and provide mentors for new parents. These programs match new parents navigating a transition back to work with volunteer mentors who are interested in helping and sponsoring moms. Mentors in the programs do not need to be moms, or even parents, themselves, but are passionate about making sure the opportunities are available.

It's just one other valuable way corporations are evolving when it comes to building quality relationships with their employees – and successfully retaining them, empowering women who face their own set of special barriers to career growth and leadership success.

Mentoring will always be a two way street. In ideal situations, both parties will benefit from the relationship. It's no different when women mentor working mothers getting back on track on the job. But there a few factors to consider when embracing this new form of mentorship

How to be a good Momtor?

Listen: For those mentoring a new parent, one of the best strategies to take is active listening. Be present and aware while the mentee shares their thoughts, repeat back what you hear in your own words, and acknowledge emotions. The returning mother is facing a range of emotions and potentially complicated situations, and the last thing she wants to hear is advice about how she should be feeling about the transition. Instead, be a sounding board for her feelings and issues with returning to work. Validate her concerns and provide a space where she can express herself without fear of retribution or bull-pen politics. This will allow the mentee a safe space to sort through her feelings and focus on her real challenges as a mother returning to work.

Share: Assure the mentee that they aren't alone, that other parents just like them are navigating the transition back to work. Provide a list of ways you've coped with the transition yourself, as well as your best parenting tips. Don't be afraid to discuss mothering skills as well as career skills. Work on creative solutions to the particular issues your mentee is facing in striking her new work/life balance.

Update Work Goals: A career-minded woman often faces a new reality once a new child enters the picture. Previous career goals may appear out of reach now that she has family responsibilities at home. Each mentee is affected by this differently, but good momtors help parents update her work goals and strategies for realizing them, explaining, where applicable, where the company is in a position to help them with their dreams either through continuing education support or specific training initiatives.

Being a role model for a working mother provides a support system, at work, that they can rely on just like the one they rely on at home with family and friends. Knowing they have someone in the office, who has knowledge about both being a mom and a career woman, will go a long way towards helping them make the transition successfully themselves.