The American Psychological Association (APA) recently reported that money remains the number one stressor for 72 percent of Americans. In fact,money has led the APA’s annual stress survey since its debut in 2007, the year before the financial crash that took the U.S. economy into its worst slump since the Great Depression.
Are you financially stressed? Here are 10 major signs of financial stress and ways to take action.
You wonder if your job is secure. Even though the economy has improved in recent years, employers still cut and reassign workers and make occasional adjustments in pay and benefits. If you’ve spotted changes in other departments or news accounts suggest a shift in your industry, start thinking ahead. Action plan: Build up your emergency fund to cover six months or more of basic living expenses, update your resume and get organized for a potential job search.
There’s no money to save or invest. If meeting basic expenses is a struggle and you have no savings or investments at all, it’s time for a serious review of where your money is going. Action plan: Making a basic budget is the first step to tracking every penny spent. Figure out extras you can cut and set more aside for savings and debt payoff.
You have disagreements with a spouse or partner about money. A 2013 University of Kansas study noted that arguments about money are the top predictor of divorce. Action plan: Share information about all debt and legal issues and exchange respective credit reports and credit score data as you plan to solve all money problems together.
You are paying bills late. Late payments can hurt your credit score. Action plan: Set up a physical or digital calendar to keep track of payment dates and budget in order to put more money toward debt and eventually savings
You imagine a windfall. Waiting for a bonus, an inheritance or even a winning lotto ticket to ease your financial stress indicates you have a tendency toward financial denial. Action plan: If your current efforts at budgeting, saving money or paying off debt aren’t working, consider a reality check with a qualified financial advisor.
You use your home equity like a cash register. Home equity loans or lines of credit can provide an interest-deductible solution for a variety of important needs, but a down housing market can wipe out your equity. Action plan: Either refinance if you qualify or stop using the line entirely until you can pay down the balance.
You’re considering drawing from retirement funds to solve money problems. Think twice before taking out loans against these funds. Interrupting your retirement planning, particularly over the age of 50, can have significant financial consequences. Action plan: Re-budget your finances and seek qualified advice to help you find another solution.
Late and overdraft fees are piling up. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, the average bank overdraft fee is $35; credit card late fees are similar. Action plan: Schedule bill payments and opt for online billing when possible to save time on mailing. If you have to pay additional late fees, ask your bank or credit card company if it might forgive the fee; many will remove one fee a year.
You’re late on student loan payments. It is difficult to have student loans forgiven, cancelled or discharged (eliminated) in bankruptcy if you can’t pay. Paying late can also hurt your credit score. Action Plan: Seek qualified financial advice that specifically addresses the type of student debt you have and resolve to pay bills on time.
Your accounts are disorganized. It’s difficult to reach important financial goals when you really can’t track your finances. Action plan: Get some advice from a trusted friend or a qualified financial professional about how to best organize your accounts and whether online account management may be right for you.
Bottom line: Reducing your financial stress is a healthy decision. Review your money habits and get qualified help if necessary to lessen this burden.
Two Dunmore High School alumni, Alee Bevilacqua ‘11 and John Glinsky ‘13, both went away for school to pursue their dreams upon graduating.
Bevilacqua enrolled at Temple University in Philadelphia to further explore her love of the Spanish language. Glinsky traveled to Hyde Park, New York to earn his associate’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America. Two very different paths indeed, but those paths eventually crossed in a magical way.
Both DHS alum ended up finding employment with a little company started by a man you may have heard of before. Does Walt Disney ring a bell?
Bevilacqua moved to sunny California to take on an global publicity internship with Walt Disney Studios, and Glinsky took on an externship position as a prep chef in a famous boardwalk restaurant at Disney World in Florida.
Online editor Emily Fedor caught up with both of the mouseketeers in the making to chat about their big moves, their impressive gigs and, of course, the wonderful world of Disney.
Alee Bevilaqua is currently working as a global publicity intern at Walt Disney Studios as a part of Disney’s professional internship program. (Photo Credit: Alee Bevilacqua)
Emily Fedor: Let’s start from the beginning. How did finding a job with Disney first come into the picture?
Alee Bevilacqua: I was looking for [jobs with] advertising and digital marketing agencies—things of that sort. I just threw it into the mix. They had a public relations position open with Lucasfilm (Disney owns Lucasfilm). I applied for that, and the woman who gave me a phone screening told me about the position I have right now. She said, “We didn’t post it on the website yet, but based on your interests, I really think you would like this one.”
EF: And what are you doing in this position?
AB: I’m a publicity intern. I work on a team that does publicity with Disney Studios, and I worked on a team that does global publicity for live action films—so anything along the lines of Marvel, Lucasfilm.. I’ll help out at premieres and any other publicity events for the movies. I handle a lot of different odds and ends.
EF: You graduated from Temple with a degree in Spanish. Does that come into use at all?
AB: On the publicity team, we have some hispanic media outlets. So my Spanish does actually come in handy.
EF: So working in the publicity field in Disney, nonetheless, wasn’t ever a part of your plans?
AB: No, I definitely didn’t have this planned. When Mario [Bevilacqua] first started off with his food truck [What the Fork], I helped him out with that. I started to realize I was really interested in digital marketing. So once I got to school, I had a little marketing internship, and I did a PR internship. Then last semester, I was an intern at a digital marketing agency.
EF: How has the transition of moving to California been?
Alee Bevilacqua made her move to California only a few weeks after she graduated from Temple University in May. (Photo Credit: Alee Bevilacqua)
AB: I live in Burbank, so I’m still in a little residential area. There’s a lot more driving which I didn’t expect. It’s impossible to get around if you don’t have a car because the public transportation is not that great. People out here are much more relaxed, too, and the weather is just perfect year-round.
EF: What do you miss most about Dunmore?
AB: I miss the community feeling for sure. It’s easy to walk into somewhere and see someone you know and start up a conversation. But honestly, I miss NEPA food. The best food you’re going to get here is Mexican food and sushi, because that’s what’s big out here. I could be bias because half of Dunmore is Italian, but I have yet to try good Italian [food] down here.
EF: What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had so far?
AB: I was able to go and volunteer at Comic-Con, which is absolutely incredible. We took a bus down to San Diego, and I got to watch the entire panel at Hall H, which I never thought I would ever do. People wait in line for days for that. There were 6,000 people there. It was insane just being a part of that.
EF: So what’s next for you? Is this move permanent for you?
AB: As of right now, my internship is until December 30th, but it’s up in the air. They can ask you upon mutual agreement to extend your internship for another six months. After that, there’s always a possibility I could get offered a position if there’s a job opening. I have been toying with anything though. As of right now, I’m just rolling with it.
EF: But you’re happy with the decision you made to take the job at Disney?
AB: I’m absolutely happy to be here. I could hop down to Disneyland any day, and it’s a work environment that I think everyone dreams of. I think what I love about publicity is that at Disney, it’s more of a female-dominated field. So I think being around these powerful, goal-oriented women is so inspiring. I can’t believe this is my life.
John Glinsky worked as prep cook at a signature restaurant at Disney World in Florida last year as part of an externship program. He will be returning to work at a different restaurant this month. (Photo Credit: John Glinsky)
Emily Fedor: What attracted you to Disney World and made you want to get a job there?
John Glinsky: My family goes to Disney for vacations, so Disney is a big part of my life in general. I wanted to work at Disney so I can continue a family tradition my grandparents started the tradition of going to Disney every year. I was just thinking how awesome it would be to work at Disney and take my future child there and be like “Hey, I worked at this place.”
EF: How was the transition of moving to Florida?
JG: We drove—well, my dad drove—down to Disney straight through without stopping. I would never recommend that to anyone. I’d never been away from home, but it was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. It was like I was meant to be there. It was scary to go down, but I was more excited than anything.
EF: What kind of work did you do while you were in Disney?
JG: I worked at the Flying Fish Cafe, a signature restaurant in Walt Disney World. It was ranked the fourth best restaurant in Disney at the time. I was mostly a prep cook there. Usually my shift was 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and throughout that time, I would prep for that night cooking wise. It would be a fresh prep every day, which I enjoyed.
EF: You’ve been to Disney quite a few times before working there. How was being an employee versus a tourist?
JG: I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil the magic. There were just moments when I was walking backstage—they use theatre terms like backstage, audience, costumes—and I’d be walking with Woody. But then you’d see another Woody switching out with him. It’s actually really funny.
EF: Do you have a favorite memory from your time there?
John Glinsky’s place of employment, the Flying Fish Cafe, was ranked the fourth best restaurant in Disney. (Photo Credit: John Glinsky)
JG: When I started doing prep work, I almost got transferred to a different location because I couldn’t keep up. But one of the head chefs named James said he would take me under his wing, and he just brought me to a whole different level. I had talked to him about buying a new knife. And when I was leaving on my second last day, he gave me his first knife that he ever bought.
EF: What was the biggest difference between Florida and Dunmore?
JG: There’s more diversity there, and a lot of the people didn’t speak English. But that’s why I like food so much, because language barriers don’t matter. It’s a language in itself.
EF: Now you’re going back to work at Disney. Tell me about that.
JG: I applied back and they greeted me with open arms. They wanted to put me at Victoria & Albert’s which is the number one restaurant in Disney, but there weren’t any openings until November. So I’m working at Artist’s Point in Wilderness Lodge. It’ll be a good experience.
EF: Pick three words to describe your time working at Disney.
JG: Magical, extraordinary, and humbling. Seeing what people go through to make the magic was really humbling. My tier in the totem pole was giving them a meal they’d never forget. That’s the whole reason I do what I do. I want to be a chef because it makes people happy.