Why Remittance Payments Have Dropped Worldwide

Remittance Payments Have Dropped Worldwide

In addition to the health concerns of the global pandemic, Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the world economy. Many countries have completely shut down all economic activities, therefore directly affecting its laborers and those dependent on them. Migrant and foreign workers are among the most vulnerable and have felt the sting of lost hours and wages. Furthermore, their families at home  also feel the affects since remittance payments have dropped worldwide. For those who are not supporting families outside the country, here are a few considerations of how this affects countries reliant upon foreign income.

Global Predictions for Remittance Payments

In poorer regions of the world, many people are dependent upon remittance payments from family members working abroad as a primary source of income. This money helps with daily living expenses, health care, education, and building a better future for their family. However, job losses due to Covid-19 are threatening many livelihoods.

Global remittance payments hit an all-time high in 2019 with an estimated $706 billion. Unfortunately, many foreign workers are employed in the service sector and not seen as essential employees. Furthermore, many of these workers are unable to return home due to travel restrictions. This means the steady cash flow has come to an abrupt halt. According to predictions from the World Bank, experts say this figure will drop by 20% this year. It is the most drastic decline in recent memory and is going to affect national economies in countries already struggling to cope with the pandemic.

Regions Where Remittance Payments Have Dropped

Even slight changes in policies have a huge impact over time. Keep in mind that many developing countries count on this income to sustain their economies. In the poorest countries, a few dollars a day can mean the difference between putting food on the table or going to bed hungry. For example, in countries like Nepal, Tonga and Haiti these remittance payments account for more than 29% of the national GDP. However, since the countries with the largest amount of outgoing cash are locked down,  remittance payments have dropped worldwide.

Although the average global decline is about 20%, Europe and Central Asia (27.5%), Sub-Saharan African (23.1%), and Southeast Asia (22.1%) will be hardest hit. The drop in remittance payments is especially worrisome for countries with large refugee populations. Lack of income could become disastrous in areas already suffering from shortages of food and medical supplies.

Personal Experiences of Sending Remittance Payments

I am among the fortunate foreign employees that have been minimally impacted by the economic downturn. Since Taiwan got a handle on the coronavirus early on, the country never went into a full lock-down. Schools and businesses shut down for two weeks following Chinese New Year, but economic activities quickly resumed. However, I did notice a few additional fees and forms each time I sent my remittance payments back to the US.

As it turns out, I am now facing a similar predicament as other migrant workers around the world. Circumstances are now bringing me back to the US with few job prospects. Those remittance payments have come to a complete halt. Therefore, my financial future relies on what I have managed to save and luck finding other revenue sources. Hopefully new banking policies and technology will offer easier access and fewer fees to send remittance payments. Many people’s lives may depend upon it.

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Trade In Old Car Seats for Cash at Walmart

Trade In Old Car Seats for Cash

Many parents do not realize that their child’s safety seat has an expiration date. To demonstrate their commitment to safety, retailers across the country began a program for recycling old car seats. In a joint effort with Terracycle, you can now trade in old car seats for cash at Walmart. Although they have not officially announced the event for 2020, it will likely happen again this year since it was such a huge success. So if you have an expired car seat, or your child has simply outgrown it, here is what you need to know.

Walmart’s Car Seat Trade-In Program

Beginning in 2019, Walmart hosted its first ever event to trade in old car seats for cash. The company is working with Terracycle to keep hard-to-recycle plastic out of the landfills. The first year was so successful that they actually ended the event a week early. More than a million car seats were collected. This was the equivalent of diverting more than 200 million bottles from becoming waste.

Last year the event was held in September, which just happens to be National Baby Safety. If the Car Seat Trade Event happens again this year, it will likely be around the same time.

How to Trade Your Car Seats for Cash

The redemption program is very straight forward. When you bring in an old car seat, you will receive a $30 Walmart gift card. The first thing you need to do is find a participating Walmart in your area. The good news is that there were more than 4,000 locations involved last year, so this should not be difficult. A quick online search will help you find which local stores are accepting trade-ins. Next, take your car seat to the Customer Service Desk so it can be recycled. Then, they will issue you a $30 Walmart gift card which can be used for any in-store purchases. It is really just as simple as that!

The Rules and Stipulations

Just like any trade-in offers, there are some rules that apply. First, there is a limit of two gift cards per household. If you have more than two old car seats for cash, you may want to look into other trade-in programs. Target also runs a similar event in exchange for discounts on other baby products.

The good news is that Walmart will accept any brand. However, this does not include booster seats.

Other Events

In addition to the Car Seat Recycling Event, Walmart is holding other free events in honor of the Best of Baby month. You can stop by participating locations for extra savings, health and safety tips, or to interact with the latest baby gear. The whole point is to create a fun and interactive learning environment for the entire family. Last year there were diaper challenges and stroller testing, just to name a few. This is a great opportunity for new parents and families trying to save some extra cash.

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Explaining Car Ownership Costs to Teens

Buying your first car can be downright scary if you haven’t worked through all of the variables. Many first-time car buyers don’t stop to consider all of the potential ongoing or emergency costs they may encounter. Stepping in and helping your teen navigate the complex world of car ownership and maintenance is a great way to bond with them while making sure they avoid many of the pitfalls of car ownership. Here are three topics to raise when explaining car ownership costs to teenagers.

Maintenance Costs

Explaining vehicle maintenance to a teen can be difficult. Unless your child is a gear head or in trade school, they probably haven’t considered the different factors that go into vehicle maintenance costs. Talk with them about different brands and models of vehicle, and how and why certain varieties are more expensive to maintain. Most people know about the basics, like oil changes and brake replacement. Spend some time going into detail on some of the more costly but essential maintenance costs like suspension or transmission issues. If you can, work with your teen ahead of time to help them be able to identify some of these problems quickly.

Insurance Costs

Depending on your age, driving record, and other factors, car insurance can very quickly become a costly monthly bill. Most teens aren’t thinking about these variables that may well lead to a bill they can’t afford to pay. You might wonder: Can I insure a car not in my name? The answer is maybe. Talk to your insurance company about whether or not you can protect your teen’s vehicle and how much doing so might cost. Get quotes for the costs for them to insure their car on their own as well. Doing this work upfront will save you and your teen a lot of headaches down the road. Some important things to look into are the cost differences across different vehicles, as well as whether your teen can benefit from good student discounts.

Mileage, Age, and Depreciating Value

Unlike many large purchases, buying a car is seldom an investment with a return. As most of us know, cars depreciate beginning the moment they leave the sales lot. Talk to your teen about what their wants and needs are from their first car. Most teens don’t need a newer or more expensive car. If the most important thing is transportation to and from work or school, then buying an older used car may be the way to go. Go over topics like mileage, condition, and Kelley Blue Book value. Make sure to emphasize that taking their time is vital in this process. Checking multiple dealers and independent sellers is a critical way to find the best possible deal, and the same is true with test drives.

Ultimately, one of the most important things to emphasize with your teen is that finding the perfect first car is almost impossible. Work with them to prioritize their needs and help them consider all of the factors in play. Car buying is a daunting prospect for even experienced adults, but bringing up these essential topics now will help you and your teen avoid big mistakes in the future.