6 Life Insurance Tools to Help Determine Your Financial Needs

LIAM-Logo-VECTORSeptember is Life Insurance Awareness Month – an industry-wide education campaign to encourage awareness and the importance of Life Insurance. During this month, Catholic Financial Life and other insurance providers focus on raising awareness about the importance of having life insurance protection.

Life insurance has great value to anyone, whether you’re married, single, retired, a growing family, or a small business owner. The proceeds can help with the many financial needs a family may having including:

  • Paying bills
  • Education for children
  • Retirement plan protection
  • Future financial obligations

Knowing if you need life insurance means you need to think of a worst-case scenario, meaning think of what would happen if you died today and how that could affect your family financially. Life insurance helps to ensure that your loved ones are protected and provided for even after you’re gone.

Another point to consider is how much life insurance you need. First you must determine how much money your family will need after your death for immediate expenses, and how much money your family will need to continue their standard living. To help determine these amounts, here are some useful tools.

These tools are just stepping-stones to give you an idea for how much life insurance you may need. It is important to consult with a professional insurance advisor to help determine other factors that need to be considered before you purchase life insurance. Take the time with the life insurance professional to carefully assess your needs and cover all your options before choosing a plan.

Contact a Catholic Financial Life Advisor today for more information about life insurance and determining your financial needs. Click here to find an advisor in your area.


St. Patrick and His Devotion to Sharing the Gospel

Say Happy St. Patrick’s Day and think parades, shamrocks and beer. The secular St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by the Irish (and those not) and those from many faith traditions. His saint’s day celebration falling within the Lenten season always seems a bit out of step with the solemnity of the liturgical season. (Most especially if one gave up beer for Lent.) Indeed the church calendar avoids the observance of saints’ feasts during certain solemnities, moving the saint’s day to a time outside those periods. Saint Patrick’s Day is occasionally affected by this requirement, when 17 March falls during Holy Week. This happened in 1940, when Saint Patrick’s Day was observed on 3 April in order to avoid it coinciding with Palm Sunday, and again in 2008, where it was officially observed on 14 March. Saint Patrick’s Day will not fall within Holy Week again until 2160.

day-13The myth and legends surrounding St. Patrick, and the secularization of his feast day, diminish the teachings he can provide, especially during Lent. St. Patrick, born in Roman Britain was captured by Irish pirates and spent six years as a slave.  He escaped his captors and returned to Britain where he resumed his study of Christian doctrine.  Not long after, he experienced a calling and returned to the place of his captors to become a Christian missionary, devoting his life to spreading the Gospel.

St. Patrick’s life as a foreigner in Ireland could not have been easy. He refused to accept gifts from kings and so was an outsider, with no protection. He spent 30 years preaching the Gospel in Ireland. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God.

St. Patrick’s Day, the feast day, is a time to reflect on the life of St. Patrick and his devotion as a Catholic missionary.  St. Patrick lived his faith when it was not just difficult but dangerous to do so.  We use Lent as a period of self-denial, asking ourselves what we can give up to help us identify with Christ’s suffering. It is a time to take our suffering (large or small) and connect to the suffering of all our brothers and sisters around us.

On his first anniversary as pope four days ago, Pope Francis released Do we want to become holy? Yes or no?” and in it tells us to  “go against the current, this is good for the heart, but we need courage to swim against the tide. Jesus gives us this courage!” Pope Francis also asks “let us preach the Gospel with our example and then with words! However, it is in our life that others must first be able to read the Gospel!”

St. Patrick’s devotion, courage and complete trust in the Lord is an inspiration for us, especially during Lent. Living our faith each and every day to the fullest is not always easy. St. Patrick shows us that if we put our full trust in the Lord, we can live the life he calls us to, during Lent and beyond.

St. Louise de Marillac Teaches Us to Care for the Disadvantaged

During the time in which Louise de Marillac lived, France in the 1600s, caring for the needs of the poor was a luxury that only women of wealth could afford to do.  This aristocratic women joined “Confraternities of Charity” to help nurse the poor and look after neglected children, a very serious need of the time.196

Louise herself came from humble beginnings and was orphaned at age 15. While see wanted to become a nun, she was discouraged and a marriage was arranged to an official in the queen’s service. When her husband died after a long illness, she met a holy priest who would later become St. Vincent de Paul. This meeting would forever change her life.

While St. Vincent was reluctant to become her confessor, he soon realized that Louise’s intelligence, humility and physical strength could help him teach and organize peasant women to serve a greater number of the sick and poor. The missions he sent Louise on eventually led to the establishment of a training center in her home in Paris and what became the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (though he preferred “Daughters” of Charity). By the end of her life, Louise had traveled throughout France establishing community members in hospitals, orphanages and other institutions. She is the Patron Saint of social workers and members of the order today continue to nurse the sick and aging and provide refuge for orphans.

During Lent we are reminded to answer Jesus’ call to serve the poor and those in need. God instructs us to live our faith each day, serving Him by serving others. “When you give, give generously and not with a stingy heart; for that, the LORD, your God, will bless you in all your works and undertakings” Dueteronomy,15:10.  Catholic Financial Life has a long-standing tradition of caring for individuals and organizations in need.

In 2009, Catholic Financial Life and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVdP) formed a National Partnership to address our common cause–serving the needs of the poor. Since establishing this national partnership, Catholic Financial Life has raised and donated over $500,000 to SVdP. Members of Catholic Financial Life have also volunteered more than 45,000 hours of service, valued at close to $1 million based on a calculation by the Independent Sector.  Learn more about these efforts across the country.

During Lent members of Catholic Financial Life reflect on our partnership with the St. Vincent de Paul Society and recommit ourselves to increasing our efforts to serve our brothers and sisters in need. On March 15th, the feast day of St. Louise de Marillac, we pray for her guidance as we commit to serve the disadvantaged as she did.

Join Us for the Soles for Catholic Education walk at Mount Mary University!

Join thousands of Catholic school students, teachers, parents, alumni and friends as we gather as a community to walk in celebration of Catholic education.Walk Logo

Catholic Financial Life is a proud sponsor of the “Soles for Catholic Education” a large scale event to raise awareness and funds for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

The walk will target the archdiocese’s 99 elementary and 14 secondary schools, totaling 31,825 students, plus educators, families, friends and alumni.

Walkers to collect treats as part of “Tweet & Treat”

Participants in the walk are also encouraged to participate in a unique and special part of the walk – Tweet and Treat. Those registered will receive their walk information in a bag from Catholic Financial Life that will double as a treat bag to collect candy along the walk route handed out by representatives of 14 local Catholic high schools. You are also encouraged to take pictures along the way, at the treat stops, and of your experience during the walk and tweet them out using #catholicschoolswalk to get the walk trending on Twitter! Mention each high school you stopped and add their  twitter handle listed here:

After the walk, join with other Catholic families in celebration of Catholic education with refreshments, music and children’s activities from Discovery World and the Milwaukee Zoological Society.

Also, stop by the Stuff the Bus drive, here you can donate all types and sizes of gently-used shoes for distribution to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Milwaukee.

Catholic Financial Life is proud to be part of the event and supports Catholic education through this and other programs such as our scholarships and the Catholic Financial Life Foundation. would like to thank you for your continued support of Catholic education!


Always Be Prepared: Budgeting

Whether we like it or not, autumn is just around the corner. Like the changing colors in the leaves, fall can bring about a change in our financial planning as well. One easy way to transition out of “summer mode” is to re-emphasize the importance of budgeting.   Like all planning in life, budgeting is an easy habit to lose track of during the busy summer months. Use these tips to help better prepare for your expenses and to plan for your current and future financial situations.budget

Plan for emergenciesIt’s one of the most basic points of budgeting, but often overlooked. Unfortunately, we can never predict if/when a car needs repairs, a tree limb falls on a house or unemployment will interrupt us financially. Putting away a bit of extra money from every pay check into an emergency fund will ensure that you can breathe a bit easier when unexpected emergency expenses arise. Like the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Remember that winter’s comingFor some of us, the change in season means considerably cooler weather. In turn, we may need to crank our heaters up, which can also crank up your utilities bill very quickly as well. Estimate spending a little more money on upcoming utilities bills with cooler winter approaching.  You may not need it, depending on your geographic region but it is always better to overestimate than underestimate.

Have weekly check-ins with your bank– Track your bank account online, or call your bank once a week to keep tabs on your different account totals. Verifying your balance weekly keeps you on top of your game, so you never have any unexpected surprises. Although having direct deposit is a reliable service, you never know when technology might accidentally forget to issue that coveted paycheck. Staying in tune with your balance will only help for future planning in the long run.

Create a bill calendarWrite out all of your monthly payments and the date when you usually receive the bill. In doing so, it prioritizes what you absolutely have to pay, so you can figure out how much to save. This is also a great file to have on hand if you ever need to see when a bill usually comes.  Make sure your spouse or anyone who you may share expenses with know of this calendar, so that they can add their expenses to the list if a joint account is being utilized.

These tips are just a start to get your budgeting system back on track. With the change in season approaching, and the end of the year almost in sight, autumn creates a perfect opportunity to include budgeting in on your daily schedule to ensure that your financial responsibilities are in order.

For more information about creating a budget, check out the budgeting tools at the Catholic Financial Life website

Summer Boredom Buster #22 – 10 Cool Ways to Use a Cardboard Box!

168855387With the days of summer stretching ahead it’s easy for children to get their creativity stuck in a rut. It’s time to bring out…the cardboard boxes. Here are 10 ways to play all day-with a cardboard box!

1)      Make a Fort: Cut, tape and paint your boxes for a little extra pizazz. Make tunnels, turrets and anything you can think of to create the coolest box fort on the block.

2)      Art Easels: Who says you have to draw or paint on canvas? Make the box your easel as you paint, draw, apply glitter/string and any other craft items to turn your box into a masterpiece.

3)      Summer Memory Board: Print off pictures, words and brochures of all the cool things or places you’ve visited this summer. Make a memory board. This will be a great keepsake for many years to come to remember your summer.

4)      Costume Contest: Hold a contest to see who can come up with the most creative costume made from boxes. Give out awards for “best design”, “most creativity”, or “best effort.”

5)      Create a Sport: Basketball has hoops and soccer has nets…use your imagination that incorporates boxes as an endpoint. Write down the rules and then have fun playing your new sport with a box.

6)      Put on a Play: Put on a play with your boxes as stage props of course! Design, paint and arrange your set to incorporate the drama of your theatre performance.

7)      Make a Chair: There are many easy online instructions to create a chair or bench from a cardboard box. Here’s one site that has instructions. Build one, grab a blanket and enjoy a movie on your new chair.

8)      Glow-in-the-Dark Stars: This project is simple and inspiring. Cut out stars from the cardboard box (make sure to help your children if they are not good cutters).  Paint the stars in glow and the dark paint and sprinkle with glitter. When dried, hang them on a bedroom ceiling for some extra shine.

9)      Make a Basket: If your box is small enough, make a basket to transport all of your things from inside the house to outside. Attach string to the sides of the box for the perfect creation of a box tote.

10)   Help Mom Organize- Boxes are a great place to store things you don’t quite need. Help mom out by going through your clothes and putting the things you don’t wear in the boxes. Go with her to a local thrift store to donate the clothes that are still in wearable condition.

Summer Safety Tips

134724666The excitement of summer and fun in the sun can unexpectedly put our children in harms way.  Review these summer safety tips with your child to avoid accidents during this season.

Always wear a helmet

Helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury and even save lives if you are involved in a biking accident. So they are a must if your child spends time on a bike this summer. Allowing your child to pick out their own helmet may make it a more desirable process. And don’t forget your own helmet-you’ll be protecting yourself and showing your kids that’s it’s a necessity when biking. And when you’re buying a helmet, make sure it has a sticker or label that indicates that it meets the CPSC safety standard.

Use sun smarts

Always lather your child up in sunscreen before outdoor play. Dermatologists say that young children who receive a blistering sunburn are twice as likely to develop melanoma in later stages of life. Many children don’t like sunscreen, but make it part of the routine in going outside. Using spray-on, colored or scented sunscreen can be a little more fun. Also make sure that you re-apply every two hours. Setting a reminder on your phone is a great way to know that you are applying as much as you should be.  Children can also get caught up in their games and experience heat stress and can become dehydrated quickly . Always make sure your child has enough to drink on hot summer days, and should be moved indoors or another cool location immediately if they become lightheaded or nauseous.

Water safety

Pools and water activities are common during the hot days of summer. Enrolling children in swim lessons at an early age can help them feel more confident in the water. Don’t assume, however, that because a child can swim that the dangers of drowning disappear. Children should never be left unsupervised by a pool or body of water.  Also make sure your pool follows national and neighborhood safety regulations. For an comprehensive list of sun and water safety tips, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics Website.

Crossing the street

Stop. Look both ways. Then do it again. They’ve heard it a million times, but you can never say it too much. Children aren’t always able to estimate of how fast a car is traveling, They also often assume that if they can see the car then the driver will see them. Consider giving a reward when you witness your child doing a great job of stopping and looking both ways. This little tactic will be a positive reinforcement and will ease your worry about your child’s safety when crossing the street.

Encourage the buddy system

It’s always better to have your child playing or traveling in groups. If your child wants to go around the neighborhood or ride their bike, make sure they ask a sibling or friend to tag along. The buddy system is a safe way to go.

Stay informed

Encourage your children to keep you posted on their whereabouts. If your child is a roamer who likes to search the neighborhood for kids to play with, request that they call you and let you know their location when they arrive. If they have a mobile phone all the better.

While these are a few of the more common safety tips, the American Academy of Pediatrics website is a great resource for child summer safety tips covering such topics as law mower, insect, playground safety, and much more. Click here to visit their website.

Five Movie Money-saving Tips

159339916Spending a hot summer day in the cool and relaxing movie theatre appeals to many people. What isn’t appealing is the high price tag that comes along with an outing to the theatre. Check out some of our ideas for saving a little cash when you decide to hit the cinema this summer season. Once you decide on a movie, you can visit this link for Catholic movie ratings.

Be on the lookout for special deals – Websites like Groupon and LivingSocial sometimes have discounted ticket offers. Also there may be discounts available through a membership such as at Cosco or through AAA. Another website to check is Cardcash where you can buy and sell gift cards. Sometimes the theaters themselves will have discounts as part a loyalty reward program. Chains like Fandango also offers a special discount if a Visa Signature card is used.

Attend the matinee- Each theatre is different, but a general rule of thumb is that movies that begin before 5:00p.m.are considered the matinee price. These few dollars add up quickly, especially if you are attending the movie with a large group. Check your local theatre listings for specific matinee prices and viewing times.

Be on the hunt for kids’ specials- Some theatres offer a special children’s movie showing at least once a week. This is great for younger children, because the movies that are played are usually older ones that are already out of theatres. This won’t matter to most children, who are just excited about the movie-going experience in general.

Save cash on snacks- It’s so very tempting to purchase some delicious buttery popcorn that we associate with the movie theatre. Any food sold at these venues are highly inflated, and you can often find yourself spending more on the food than you did for the movie itself. Have lunch or dinner right before you go to the movie, or offer your kids a special treat after the movie. If popcorn at the theater is a must, consider purchasing one of the larger sizes and then divide it between the kids using paper lunch bags.

Find a drive-in- If you are lucky enough to have a drive-in theater in your area, this is a great and really fun option. Admission is often cheaper than movies that are held indoors and some even offer double features which is a great value for your dollar. Drive in theaters are disappearing rapidly and may soon be a thing of the past, so pack up the blankets and the snacks to get cozy. Going to a drive-in provides more than a movie, it will create lasting family memories. Visit this driveinmovie.com to see if there’s a theater near you.

Games Galore

106542869A nice way to round out a fun summer day is by gathering the neighbor families over for some yard games. Share these games with your families and grandkids to create some amazing memories. Here are just a few samples of our classic favorites:

Stuck in the Mud

This is a popular twist on the game of tag. Designate one person to be “it.” The goal is to run around and avoid being tagged by this person. If tagged, you must freeze where you are and spread your legs shoulder-width apart. To become free, a person who has not yet been tagged must crawl beneath your legs. Once freed, you can start to run again and free other people who have become “stuck in the mud.” The game ends when the tagger has frozen every person playing or when a designated time limit has been reached.

One ‘o Clock the Wolf is Out

This classic game can be a bit spooky for younger kids, but is sure to delight children who love a scary thrill. Select a person to be the “wolf.” Usually, it is more fun if this figure is a parent who can really get into acting like a wolf. Give this person time to hide somewhere in the yard. After this time period, have the children gather in a pack and walk around the yard, looking for the wolf. They should chant, “1:00, the wolf is out. 2:00, the wolf is out, etc.” during their search. After the wolf has been spotted it can begin its chase. The children must run back to a designated “safe zone” positioned at the front of the yard. The children that make it back are “safe.” The ones who have been tagged must decide which one will become the next wolf.

Capture the Flag

This game can truly last for hours, so make sure there is lots of time devoted to this game. Divide the group into two teams. Each group receives a flag (usually a hand towel or rag works best). The yard should be split in half equally, so that each team has a side. The goal of the game is to hide your flag (on your side of the yard) and to locate and steal the other team’s flag without being tagged. When a player from an opposing team crosses the line, you may tag them. They then have to sit in the “jail” and can only be rescued if someone from their team comes and tags them. The game ends when someone from the opposing team grabs the flag from the other side and runs back to the safety of their own side. However, if a player grabs the flag and is tagged before they reach safety, the flag is positioned on the lawn where the player was tagged. To make the game go faster, forbid “guards” to directly surround the flag. Make sure rules are known to all members before the game to avoid confusion during play.

Summer Boredom Buster #12: Volunteer Ideas for Kids

With a little more free time during the summer, volunteering is a great way to show your children the value of giving back to the community and helping others in need.  Listed below are some great volunteer ideas for children of all ages.

Age 4-6: Running a Lemonade Stand for Charity

Having a lemonade stand or bake sale is the perfect way for young children to learn the value of money and the amazing feeling of donating proceeds to a worthy cause. Have your kids pick an organization for them to raise money towards. The total amount may not 78035112be noteworthy, but the values your children will learn by donating will carry with them throughout life.

Age 7-10: Volunteering at your local animal shelter

This activity can be especially exciting for children who love animals. Many shelters allow children volunteers as long as there is an adult or older sibling present. Duties vary to helping with feeding, cleaning cages and just getting the pets out for some playtime. Your children will love this feel-good activity.

Age 11-13: Working outdoors

Doing yard work for elderly neighbors, or picking up litter around parks and trails are great volunteer opportunities for your pre-teen aged children. They will love being outside in the nice weather and will see the visual accomplishments of their work. Let them choose who they would like to help, so they feel that self-directed in their contribution.

Age 14-16: Adopt a “grandparent”

This is the perfect age to form relationships with the elderly who reside in a care center and don’t get any many visitors. Contact your local assisted living or nursing homes to see if there is someone who could use some afternoon visits. Games of chess, simple crafts and just trading stories will help strengthen the bond between generations.

Age 17 and up: Join a group

Your teenagers who are close to adulthood are old enough to really expand their horizons and join an organization who serves to volunteer. Encourage them to go on an organized mission trip, join a local organization that has helped them in the past or to check out your area for the nearest Catholic Financial Life chapter. Encouraging them to get involved will be beneficial for encouraging a holistic lifestyle and will look good on college applications and resumes.

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