FULL QUESTION: I'm reading about lots of air travel delays, should I be worried about holiday travel?


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io

I hate to say this, but I think the answer is yes. My youngest daughter's a freshman at college, and I was so proud of myself for booking her Thanksgiving and winter break flights months ago (great prices and schedules on Southwest Airlines). Now, I find myself worried that although she may have flight reservations, who knows if those flights will get canceled. And, if so, how much advance notice we'll have.

Of course, the worst-case scenario is I could get in the car and get her, but since it's a 12+ hour trip (each way), it might not work for Thanksgiving since she only has a few days off. So, at this point, I'm trying not to freak out (which is my default setting) and just keep my fingers crossed that the flights stay as scheduled. But I'd be very grateful if she only experiences delays vs. cancellation. Meanwhile, she's already prepared for long lines (for everything) at the airport.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Actually, I think Red's daughter is doing a better job of handling the situation, both logistically and, perhaps as important, mentally. She recognizes there is not much she can do in terms of delays or cancellations and will deal with it when and if they occur. And, she already planned to leave plenty of time to check luggage (I suggested she leave her guitar at school and just go with carry-on) and go through security. Fortunately, she is booked on a direct flight; otherwise, she would also be concerned with whether there was sufficient time between connecting flights.

But, "all of the above" is in terms of getting home for the holidays, and you did not indicate whether that was your situation or whether you were traveling for business or a holiday vacation. In that case, it becomes a risk-reward analysis starting with why you are making the trip. If you decide to travel, besides the flight issues, you should adjust your expectations and be prepared for different service levels than you might have experienced in the past. For example, most hotels now offer limited hotel services, such as housekeeping or restaurant options. And, if you are renting a car, availability is limited and prices have increased dramatically.


Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I admit I‘d never heard of The Make-A-Wish Foundation before I was almost 40 (I lived abroad until then), and it was Black’s involvement with this life-changing organization that led me to learn about it. Growing up, charity wasn’t a big part of our life, although I learned decades later that my grandmother was involved in Fight For Sight.

Once I was living in the same city as Black, I could see how important Make-A-Wish was to her (there was Wish kids’ artwork in her house and logos on her racecar). I also saw how it makes such a difference in the lives of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. And how the power of a wish impacts not only the Wish kid but their families and even strangers, as so many of the wishes bring together neighbors and communities. But the best part may have been as I watched as my daughters learned about charity and became involved by having lemonade sales with all proceeds going to our local Make-A-Wish chapter (find your local chapter).


Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I have been involved with Make-A-Wish for decades and have seen firsthand how it has touched so many lives, starting with Tommy Austin, who granted the first wish in 1980. However, it has done more for me than I can ever do for it. As once you see the hope, joy, and optimism of a Wish child waging a courageous battle, you want to help in whatever way you can (donate, volunteer, fundraise). It reminds me that my problems or frustrations are minuscule in the scheme of things. It is my “reality check” on life.

And, although once a year we celebrate World Wish Day (April 29 to mark the anniversary of the first wish), every day is the perfect day to celebrate the power of a wish and the ripple effect it creates.

So, what better day than today to make a difference by making a donation?!


Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I have to laugh because I’ve had to overcome my mental roadblocks (and natural tendency to freak out) when it comes to personal finance and technology, so I can’t imagine combining the two concepts. However, I know it’s the terminology (and my resistance to change) that creates a lot of my problems.

When it comes to financial apps, I don’t know much about them because I don’t use them. I’m old-fashioned and still use Microsoft Money (which I don’t even think is made anymore) to print my checks and a calculator, paper, and pens (Black’s probably rolling her eyes that I don’t at least use pencils and erasers) to do everything else. My daughters (ages 19 and 23) use Excel spreadsheets for their budgets, which I find interesting as although they’ve grown up with smartphones, neither one uses financial apps.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Similar to list-making, where I explained to Red that it does not matter whether you use pencils or a computer (or, in this case, an app), it is the thought process, not the method, that is critical. The fact you are interested in managing your finances is an important first step, and if you WANT an app because you think it will provide better motivation and give you more insight, great, but you do not NEED it. Remember, only you can decide whether to make an expenditure, and the difference between a “need” and a “want” (although an app may prompt that question) as they are different for everyone. (FYI, I do not use an app as I refuse to give anyone online access to my financial accounts.)

Different apps have different features and functionality (such as tracking where your money is going, budgeting, paying bills, paying off debt, investments, etc.). And, they come with different price tags (apps from banks are typically free, but if you change banks, your financial history probably will not transfer), which are usually quoted on a monthly basis with the intent of making it look cheaper, but you need to consider the annual cost. If you are not sure exactly what you want, maybe start with a free version to “test drive” it and then decide if you want to upgrade (or do it without an app.)


Red assets.rebelmouse.io


When I think of April Fools’ Day, I think of two different kinds of pranks. The first is those harmless, juvenile pranks that anyone can do, and that work well when a mom does it to her kids. (Just saying …) And then there are the more elaborate hoaxes that require significant staging, with my favorite being the one where the BBC (yes, the BBC!) pranked people with its spaghetti story.

I’ve never been brave enough to try and prank Black, and can’t remember her ever pulling a prank, but now I’m beginning to get nervous wondering what Black might be up to. Maybe it’s an elaborate hoax starting with her lulling me into a false sense of security!


Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Red has nothing to worry about as I do not “do” April Fool’s Day pranks. Even as a child, I would just roll my eyes at the simple ones. (A “kick me” sign on someone’s back? Really?) And, although I love complex hoaxes, they take too much work and planning to pull off successfully. And, sometimes, they still can end up backfiring (pun intended) like last year’s Volkswagen one.

But, did you know that April Fools' Day started back in the days of the Roman Empire? The Julian Calendar (named after Julius Caesar) had the New Year beginning around April 1, and centuries later, it was changed to January 1. However, many people did not “get the news”, so they continued to celebrate on the original date. People who considered themselves “in the know” made fun of those people (some things never change) and referred to them as April Fools. Then again, is this true, or am I just pranking you?