spouse http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10649/all en-US How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/husband_wife_high_five_91622835.jpg" alt="Woman putting her spouse on a budget without ruining marriage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The quickest way to sour a marriage is to nag your spouse about money and try to control every cent they spend. However, keeping mum about your finances can lead you and your spouse into a lot of debt or overall poor finances. Here are ways to get your spouse on a budget, without ruining your marriage.</p> <h2>Counseling Is Okay!</h2> <p>Many couples make the mistake in thinking that marriage counseling is only for marriages that are in trouble. However, counseling can be a helpful tool even when your marriage is healthy. Having a mediator help you navigate financial woes can even be desirable, so that both you and your spouse feel like they are heard.</p> <p>To seek out counseling for your finances within marriage, you can talk with a financial adviser that has your best interest in mind, a marriage and family therapist, a pastor, or even an older couple who you consider wise and financially stable. It might seem embarrassing to reach out for help, but it could be the wisest step to keeping your marriage and finances strong.</p> <h2>Set Up Budget Dates</h2> <p>Just as you would set up regular date nights, set up monthly budget dates. Treat your spouse to their favorite coffee drink and discuss the numbers for the month, as well as goals for the next month.</p> <p>Budget dates should not be a time where you point the finger. It should be a time for mutual discussion and growth. Depending on which financial area your spouse is in charge of, ask for their feedback. For example, if your spouse does the grocery shopping, did they feel like they had enough money that month or was it too tight? If your spouse is requesting more money for the grocery budget, you can decide together what to cut to accommodate.</p> <p>Sometimes it is a good idea to invite your children to these meetings, especially if they are older than 10. Kids need to see the &quot;why&quot; behind the reasons they can't go to camp all summer long or get everything they want. Also, allowing your kids see and experience how you budget successfully only sets them up for budgeting success later on.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married?ref=seealso">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></p> <h2>Find What Inspires Them</h2> <p>Sometimes it can be hard to scrimp and sacrifice just for the sake of saving money. We all need a purpose to have the motivation to work at something. Whether it's for the dream vacation or just finally being able to live debt-free, find the goals that both of you want to achieve and set the budget that will make it happen. Show that if you both tighten up your spending and stay the course, the reward will be waiting at the finish line.</p> <h2>Keep Things Fun</h2> <p>Find ways to lighten things up and make staying on budget fun, so it doesn't get tedious or simply boring. You don't have to wait until you've saved enough for the dream vacation to enjoy a reward for your hard work. Add milestones along the way that allow the two of you to celebrate. Turn it into a game to see who can find the best deals or other challenges that keep both of you interested. Don't forget about creative ways to make extra money, too. Perhaps you two can do something together that will earn extra cash.</p> <h2>Practical Tips to Get Your Spouse on a Budget</h2> <p>So far, the marriage budgeting tips have been about the mentality behind savings. Once you get your spouse on board with your budget, then use these practical tips to stay successful.</p> <ul> <li>Budget for you and your spouse to have &quot;mad money&quot; each month. This can be $25 or $500, depending on your budget. However, this money can be spent however your spouse wants. This allows both of you to spend on yourselves without guilt.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use an easy-to-use budgeting app that connects to your accounts and syncs with each of your phones. Encourage your spouse to look at it and track spending daily.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Have savings taken out automatically. If you wait until the end of the month to put money into savings, you might find you end up short each month. Make savings a priority or take advantage of debit cards that round up purchases and deposit the extra into your savings account.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Stop using credit cards if they are too hard to control. Taking them away for a few months can help you get back on track.</li> </ul> <h2>Separate Accounts</h2> <p>Separate accounts can be useful for managing expenses and ensuring there's no opportunity to overdraw for a budget. If you split the financial responsibilities of a household, it makes sense to manage your own accounts for your assigned budgets. Just make sure there's accountability and transparency.</p> <p>Marriage is hard, and budgeting is just as difficult. Put them both together, and you could have a recipe for disaster. It's important to be open and honest so that you don't end up in a financial disaster.</p> <p><em>How do you and your spouse stay on a budget?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage">6 Ways Regular Budget Meetings Might Save Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-navigate-3-common-money-arguments-with-your-significant-other">How to Navigate 3 Common Money Arguments With Your Significant Other</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">12 Everyday Money Tasks You&#039;ve Been Doing Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting Family agreements bank accounts compromise counseling marriage paying bills relationships spending spouse teamwork Tue, 09 Aug 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1767118 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_hands_heart_29104258.jpg" alt="Couple making money moves when they decide to get married" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There is nothing more romantic than the giddy days after you ask your sweetheart to marry you. But now is also the perfect time to start preparing for one of the most important aspects of a successful marriage: money.</p> <p>Before you groan that bringing money into the marriage equation is going to be the death of romance, remember that money problems are cited as one of the top reasons for divorce, just behind infidelity and communication issues. If promising fidelity and good communication aren't romance-killers, then preparing financially shouldn't be one, either. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-committing-financial-infidelity?ref=seealso">8 Signs You're Committing Financial Infidelity</a>)</p> <p>Here are the top five money moves you and your betrothed should make the moment you decide to get married:</p> <h2>1. Share Your Money Backgrounds</h2> <p>Just as you and your fiancé should know about each other's health, family, romantic, and work backgrounds, it's important that you share financial backgrounds with each other. This starts with the obvious, such as outstanding debts and current assets. It's not possible to move forward financially as a couple if you don't already know where you are &mdash; and keeping financial secrets from each other is an emotionally dangerous way to begin a marriage.</p> <p>But understanding each other's money background also includes knowing how you each think and feel about money. The way you view money is generally unconscious and tied to how you feel about everything from relationships to success. It's a good idea to recognize the way you and your spouse-to-be differ in those unconscious beliefs. In particular, start by answering the following questions, suggested by Terri Orbuch, marriage and family therapist and author of <a href="http://amzn.to/29GqG5o">5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great</a>:</p> <ul> <li>How did your parents deal with money growing up?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What did money mean to you (and your parents) when you were growing up?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How have you dealt with money in previous relationships?</li> </ul> <p>Your answers can both illuminate attitudes you may not realize you carried, and help you understand where to expect (and prepare for) potential financial friction in your marriage.</p> <h2>2. Start a Wedding Fund</h2> <p>A wedding is a joyous event, but the finances can create some complications. This dynamic can get even more pronounced when the extended family is paying for some portion of the wedding.</p> <p>To minimize this friction, create a wedding fund, and transfer money to it regularly.</p> <p>This will help you create the financial freedom necessary to say no to those who attach strings to wedding money.</p> <p>In addition, it's easier to keep a saving habit than it is to start one. So once you're home from the honeymoon, you can just change the name of your wedding fund to your house fund (or start sending the money to your retirement accounts) and keep the regular saving habit in place.</p> <h2>3. Set Financial Ground Rules</h2> <p>There are few couples in the world who aren't driven a little crazy by each other's financial habits. For instance, my husband tends to splurge on himself with large purchases about once or twice a year, whereas I tend to make smaller purchases for myself two to three times a month. Even though he is spending several hundred dollars on a video game system and I am spending $15 here and $20 there on books or manicures, the amount we each spend is pretty equal. But when we first got married, each one of us thought the other was being frivolous with money.</p> <p>The thing is, neither one of us was wrong (even though we each took turns trying to prove the other one was completely misguided, which worked about as well as you could expect). We just had different expectations for fun money.</p> <p>What helped was for us to set up financial ground rules. We each have a certain amount of splurge money that is ours alone. As long as we are spending from that splurge money and not dipping into shared funds, then we can splurge on whatever we like.</p> <p>Financial ground rules allow you to both feel comfortable within the framework of your finances. You might also set rules on spending thresholds over which you have to discuss issues before spending the money, or how you might use joint accounts.</p> <h2>4. Think About Worst-Case Scenarios</h2> <p>Marriage is a common time for people to acquire or update their life insurance and wills. These are important to have in place in order to protect yourself and your spouse in case life takes a turn you don't expect. Whether you don't yet have life insurance or a will, or you need to change your beneficiary to your spouse. Taking the time to make sure these documents are thoroughly completed, updated, and signed can give you both some peace of mind.</p> <p>But there are other scenarios you might want to prepare for. Getting adequate renter's or homeowner's insurance is always a great idea. It's also worth talking with your spouse-to-be about a prenuptial agreement. Unless you're both hollering &quot;We want prenup!&quot; such conversations can be pretty difficult to broach. But the issues you would hammer out in a prenuptial are important to discuss before you get married, even if you are not couching them in terms of what would happen if you divorce. According to Mandi Woodruff, writing for Business Insider, there are typically <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/10-ways-to-bring-up-a-prenup-without-getting-dumped-2012-1?op=1">five pillars to every prenuptial</a>:</p> <p>&quot;How to handle the income each partner makes before marriage, how to handle your prior assets (businesses, homes, etc.) and liabilities (such as student loans), division of property acquired during the marriage, your retirement plans, and how you'll handle spousal support.&quot;</p> <p>Discussing these issues in terms of both an estate plan and a prenuptial agreement is an important part of planning the financial side of your marriage together.</p> <h2>5. Adopt a Team Mentality</h2> <p>One of the best ways to build a strong financial foundation for your marriage is to adopt a team mentality for your money. It can be very easy to see money as &quot;yours&quot; and &quot;mine,&quot; particularly if you have each been out on your own for a while. But keeping your money separate in your mind can be the first step toward bean counting and money fights. This is especially true if you have varying income levels or different money priorities.</p> <p>Getting on the same team financially means seeing money as something you share &mdash; which means that you also share your decisions about money.</p> <p>There are many ways to adopt a team mentality, from mingling all funds into a joint checking account to setting up a yours-mine-and-ours system. But the important thing is to recognize that you are in the same financial boat and to treat the majority of your money as shared.</p> <p>Marriage and money go hand-in-hand, and taking the time before you wed to discuss finance is an investment in your long and happy married life.</p> <p><em>What money moves did you make to prepare for marriage?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-keeping-you-from-a-life-of-financial-independence">What is keeping you from a life of financial independence?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle agreements compromise ground rules marriage money matters saving spouse weddings Mon, 18 Jul 2016 10:30:12 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1753206 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Turn Your Spouse Into a Money Saver http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-turn-your-spouse-into-a-money-saver <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-turn-your-spouse-into-a-money-saver" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_piggy_bank_000026629968.jpg" alt="Couple learning how to save money together" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is the another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>My husband, Mr. Spendypants, grew up as the youngest of six kids, so he pretty much hates hand-me-downs of any sort. Except for food. He's like a coyote with leftovers.</p> <p>It's not that he's fiscally irresponsible, he is just averse to stuff he sees as weird penny pinching. Like his refusal to use cornstarch to prevent jock itch &mdash; as opposed to the much more expensive baby powder &mdash; even though (as I have pointed out to him) the bottle of baby powder he uses reads: CONTAINS 100% CORNSTARCH.</p> <p>(OMFG).</p> <p>Even so, I have managed to successfully inch him onto my $31,000 savings plan this year through a variety of nefarious ways.</p> <h2>I Own My Crazy</h2> <p>If you have been following this series (and you can, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0">right here</a>!), it should be obvious to by now: I am the bonkers one in my marriage. Finding an extra $31,000 in the household budget is just one of my goals for 2016. I am also trying to downsize my personal possessions to just 1000 personal items. (FYI: This does not include shared tools or furniture. I count personal possession as items that I use 95% of the time, that I paid for, and that I brought into my house). So yes, it does pain me to come home to discover that my husband has gone out and purchased more stuff that has to be stored and dusted.</p> <p>However, I know that my position on ownership is on the extreme side of extreme. My husband's desire for material goods is not more or less stupid than my desire to travel more. My fever to save $31,000 is exactly the same. It's my fever. <em>Mine</em>. His main motivation for even participating in this budget challenge is not financial independence. He's doing it to make me happy. Every time he puts more money into savings, I acknowledge this act of love.</p> <h2>We Share a Goal</h2> <p>Although my husband previously had no burning desire to pay down our debt this quickly, he does want to fulfill his lifelong goal of traveling to Easter Island. He wants to take this trip for his 50th birthday. Funnily enough, I <em>also</em> want to take this trip for his 50th birthday. Mr. Spendypants just turned 48. Neither of us will be able to afford to go to Easter Island in two years if we don't pay down our debt this year so we can save up the money next year for that adventure.</p> <h2>We Compromise</h2> <p>Compromise seems like an obvious solution, but more marriages end over money than any other reason, so clearly this advice is easier said that done.</p> <p>I can cut my expenses to the bone. I have enough free entertainment in the house to last me for years. So does my husband. However, it would be very hard for me to sell him a cut-to-the-bone budget that doesn't sound like sacrifice to him. Instead, we created a budget for luxuries. We both agreed on the amount, but what is purchased out of the account is up to him. So, I never have to ask him whether this new guitar pedal or that lunch out is really necessary. My only question is: Will this fit in the luxury budget?</p> <h2>We Accept That Different Saving Strategies Aren't a Separate Vision</h2> <p>My husband and I both have similar retirement aspirations. We'd love to live abroad and spend our days on simple hobbies like listening to music, cooking, and reading. If I had my druthers, I would have moved to Rome six years ago, even if that means working as a janitor until I keel over. (Not that there is anything wrong with being a janitor, just that I hate dusting). But, Mr. Spendypants really loves his Los Angeles-centric work that also happens to pay well. I would rather be in a happy marriage and retire abroad at 65, than make my husband miserable and retire at 55. A decade more in Los Angeles won't kill me.</p> <h2>We Make the Cuts That Don't Sacrifice Lifestyle First</h2> <p>If we <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food?ref=internal">waste food</a> or any other consumable, we really aren't spending money wisely. If we are wasting food, then we won't miss it <em>at all</em> if we don't buy so much in the first place. We can save money and the planet without feeling the slightest financial pinch.</p> <p>Last year, Mr. Spendypants decided that he needed a tablet for work so he bought a refurbished iPad Mini. So far, the quality of his work has not been impacted by the fact that he spent $300 on a used machine, instead of buying a new iPad for $450.</p> <p>Waste doesn't only apply to physical objects. I switched from a 12GB data plan on my phone to sharing 3GB with my husband when I realized that we weren't using close to 12GB per month even though I live on Instagram. If I go over the limit on the 3GB data plan, it still costs $20 less per month than the 12GB plan, even if I get dinged with a $15 overage fee. If I went over the limit every month, I would still save $240 a year on our phone bill.</p> <p>Because I started our saving strategy by asking to cut the waste and not the fun from our budget, Mr. Spendypants saw that our huge savings in January had no downside. This was so exciting to him that he has tried to match that same rate of savings every month, even though that has meant making cuts that he can feel.</p> <h2>We Delay Gratification</h2> <p>Delayed gratification is not deprivation. I am lucky that my husband is not that guy who wants the coolest phone always. But even if he were, I still think I could get him to switch out his phone every 18 months instead of every 12 months and save 33% on phone costs.</p> <p>Although it's counter-intuitive, recent scientific studies that show that anticipation actually&nbsp;<a href="http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/anticipating-experience-based-purchases-more-enjoyable-than-material-ones.html">increases the pleasure of consumption</a>, especially when it comes to spending money on experience-based purchases. Instant gratification is just that &mdash; it gratifies for just an instant.</p> <p>Mr. Spendypants has a wish list. At the end of year, if we've paid down the $31,000, he's going to buy the stuff on that list as his reward for being patient with his stubborn wife. I have a sneaking suspicion that as the months go by, his interest in owning some of the wish list items will wane because his savings account will look so much more attractive by comparison. Also, if he really wants to go to Easter Island, then that's where he should spend his money.</p> <h2>We Find Role Models</h2> <p>Our friend Martin and his wife work just the minimum amount necessary to maintain their health insurance. They aggressively worked to pay off their house in just a few years. Their kid goes to public school. Because they have both figured out how to work from home, they don't pay for childcare.</p> <p>Because they made very smart financial decisions and continue to live below their means, Martin and his family go out to eat and attend more cultural events than pretty much anyone we know.</p> <p>I recently pointed out to Mr. Spendypants that Martin's family actually lead a very decadent life of near leisure. Because Martin and his wife have similar jobs and interests to us, it's easy for me to show that my push for financial independence is do-able. If Martin can do it with a kid, we can certainly do it as two employed adults.</p> <h2>We Do the Math</h2> <p>Like many Americans, my husband didn't understand how compound interest could be a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-valuable-thing-debt-takes-from-you-isnt-money-its-this?ref=internal">financial tool</a>, not just the punishment for using a credit card. Once I showed my husband with a simple debt calculator how much money we could save if we got aggressive with paying down our debts early, he started looking for ways to reduce debt too. In fact, he's so on board with the math that he's currently trying to refinance his home loan to one where he actually pays more principal!</p> <h2>We Accept That Not Everyone Loves Spreadsheets</h2> <p>I have friends who are superhuman when it comes to Microsoft Excel. They use it for everything from tracking garden harvests to creating custom knitting patterns. Even though looking at budgets is a major part of my job, I hate making spreadsheets. I find them personally crazy-making.</p> <p>More complex financial tools like credit cards and spreadsheets are actually overwhelming or just straight up annoying to many people. It took me a year of nagging to get Mr. Spendypants to get on Mint, even though it only takes 30 minutes to set up an account. If I could accrue airline mileage by paying cash, I would ditch my credit card in one hot second and use the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system?ref=internal">envelope system</a> because it's visual and completely concrete. There's no technology to master or hidden fees associated with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget?ref=internal">zero based budgeting</a>. Simplicity is my friend when it comes to keeping track of my finances.</p> <p>(So, before you give up on your partner ever sharing your financial values, make sure that it's really the values they don't agree with and not the presentation they find troublesome).</p> <h2>We Aren't Jerks</h2> <p>There's truth to the old maxim: &quot;Happy wife, happy life.&quot; I make a concerted effort not to roll my eyes every time my husband backs another Kickstarter board game campaign. Financial independence will not bring me inner peace if it comes at the cost of my marriage.</p> <p>Life partners often have different values about money stemming from how they were raised. I have friends who grew up in dire poverty who value financial stability to the point that they would rather be single than in a relationship with someone who doesn't have a high-paying job. My bookkeeper is a scion of a bookkeeping family. She grew up thinking that everyone made spreadsheets to track their babysitting money. But, many people grow up in homes where money and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-but-no-one-talks-about?ref=internal">money problems are never discussed</a>. Because Americans are more likely to share information about their sex lives than their budgets, many people grow up financially illiterate.</p> <p>My husband grudgingly agreed to support this experiment out of love for me, not out of a burning desire to understand the difference between a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA. So, as much as I'd like to hustle our savings plan along at a breakneck pace, I'm making every effort to be patient with his learning process, which, to his surprise, he's greatly enjoying. Taking control of your personal finances is empowering.</p> <p>Mr. Spendypants has, so far, enjoyed this public challenge more than we both expected, in part because the reader reaction has been so positive. He anticipated that we would be flayed by the commentariat and that has not been the case. Thank you, dear readers.</p> <h2>Progress Report</h2> <p>Uhn. The $31,000 budget challenge took a lot of damage this last pay period and most of the carnage was self-inflicted. For starters, we hosted a friend from out of town and spent four days eating our way through Los Angeles and going to movies. We did so much walking we also &quot;had&quot; to get professional foot massages&hellip;of course. Total cost of our mini vacation: $800.</p> <p>Then, Mr. Spendypants bought several thousands of dollars worth in synthesizers and guitar pedals &mdash; guitar pedals that were not paid for out of the luxuries account &mdash; for $220 from a friend. A huge bargain on music equipment that he will use, but an unplanned expense nonetheless. Another unplanned expense: $300 spent to replace the master circuit board on my husband's Cyntiq monitor that decided to crap out for no reason.</p> <p>Additionally, even though Mr. Spendypants is the math expert in our partnership, he had some kind of arithmetic breakdown while paying bills and managed to overpay our loan bill by $741. Overpaying just means that we will pay down our loan that much faster, which is great, but we had to take that money out of our emergency fund to make sure we didn't overdraw our checking account. While Mr. Spendypants has been saving between $1000 and $1500 per month since January by dramatically curbing his shopping habits, his April savings were wiped out by the very expected $1000 car repair bill. Yes, one of our cars is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks?ref=internal">still in the shop</a>.</p> <p>On top of all the expenses, I also had a dismal pay period. I made $270 from writing gigs and $27.84 in Half.com sales.</p> <p>While I did not expect perfect execution of this challenge, I am disappointed that we drifted so far from our goal. We are now $2,763.16 further away from $31,000 than we were when we started the month, and May is not even over! Will we be able to recover this loss?</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong> $31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised: </strong>$16,375.84</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $10,653.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $25,277.82</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-turn-your-spouse-into-a-money-saver">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Everything Breaks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-affording-education">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Affording Education</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Job Creation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-why-i-need-to-find-31k-this-year">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Why I Need to Find $31K This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-great-wedding-if-you-havent-saved-enough">How to Have a Great Wedding if You Haven&#039;t Saved Enough</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living budget challenge budgeting marriage max wongs budget money goals saving money spouse Fri, 20 May 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Max Wong 1713708 at http://www.wisebread.com Spouses and Debt: Who's Really on the Hook for Those Bills? http://www.wisebread.com/spouses-and-debt-whos-really-on-the-hook-for-those-bills <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/spouses-and-debt-whos-really-on-the-hook-for-those-bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000033584728.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your spouse has run up thousands of dollars in credit card debt that you didn't know about. If your partner can't pay back this debt, are you responsible? Can the financial institutions behind this debt come after <em>you </em>for their missing payments?</p> <p>The answer depends on where you live, whose name is on the credit card agreement, and whether you acted as a co-signer on that card. But that's only the technical side of the question. When it comes to the practical side, the answer is easy: When your spouse racks up loads of credit-card debt, the odds are it's going to affect your life, too.</p> <h2>The Legalities</h2> <p>Speaking in the strictly legal sense, though, the odds are high that your spouse's credit card debt is not technically your problem, as long as your name isn't on the credit cards that your partner used to rack up this debt. However, if your spouse ran up debt on credit cards that are in both of your names, you are just as responsible for paying off that debt. The same holds true if you are co-signer on any of the debt-ridden credit card accounts.</p> <h2>Common Law States</h2> <p>The other factor that matters is the state that you call home. The vast majority of states &mdash; all but nine of them &mdash; are considered <em>common law</em> states. In common law states, you are only responsible for credit card debt that is in your name. If the credit cards are only in your spouse's name, you are technically not responsible for the debt on them.</p> <p>This doesn't mean that your spouse's credit card debt won't eventually hurt you. Say you and your spouse own a home together, with the title of the home in both of your names. The credit card company, if it is never paid, could force the sale of your home so that your spouse would have the funds needed to pay off the debt.</p> <p>Your spouse's credit card debt could also make it more difficult for you to apply for auto or home loans, if you want to apply jointly with your spouse. When applying for a mortgage loan, for instance, lenders will consider only the lowest middle credit score between you and your spouse. You and your spouse each have three credit scores &mdash; maintained by the credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. If your scores are 740, 770, and 730, but your spouse's are 620, 630, and 640, lenders will base their lending decisions only on your spouse's middle score, 630.</p> <p>Lenders, then, will toss out your higher score. This means that if your spouse's score is too low, lenders might not approve you for a loan. If they do, they'll charge you a higher interest rate, making your monthly payment a higher one.</p> <h2>Community Property States</h2> <p>In community property states, you are responsible for your spouse's credit card debt legally. Debts that your spouse rack up during your marriage are considered community debts. This means that you and your spouse might both liable for it. The community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.</p> <p>However, the law isn't so simple in community property states. Extenuating circumstances might mean that even if you live in one of the nine community property states, you're still not responsible for your spouse's credit card debt. If the debt that your spouse racked up was for purchases that benefitted both you and your partner, the odds are high that you, too, will be responsible for it. If the credit card debts only benefitted your partner, it is more likely that only your spouse will be held responsible for them.</p> <p>Community property rules also only matter for debts that your spouse has incurred during your marriage. You are not responsible for debts that your spouse has generated before or, in the case of divorce, after your marriage.</p> <p>Spousal credit card debt can be a touchy subject. Make sure you understand the laws in your state, in order to stave off unnecessary headaches.</p> <p><em>Has your partner ever run up massive debt? How did you deal with it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spouses-and-debt-whos-really-on-the-hook-for-those-bills">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-scary-facts-about-credit-card-debt">6 Scary Facts About Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-people-with-good-credit-never-do">8 Things People With Good Credit Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-save-money-with-credit-cards">10 Tricks to Save Money with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Debt Management co-signer common law community property debt marriage spouse Fri, 11 Sep 2015 11:00:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 1553988 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Regular Budget Meetings Might Save Your Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_budgeting_000047207918.jpg" alt="Couple having regular budget meetings to save their marriage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your spouse just spent $700 on a new laptop, without checking in with you first. Or maybe you're the culprit, racking up $250 of new credit card purchases last month that weren't in your household budget.</p> <p>Whoever is at fault, such unexpected financial missteps are a leading source of tension in any relationship. But there is a way to eliminate these unwanted financial surprises: regular budget meetings between you and your partner.</p> <p>Holding a weekly or monthly budget meeting doesn't sound like the best way to spend an evening. But such meetings are important. Regular budget meetings can help couples stay on track when it comes to paying off debt, building savings, and stowing away dollars for retirement.</p> <p>&quot;I find that couples who get along the best financially speaking are those who communicate openly and freely when it comes to their finances,&quot; said Kevin Murphy, senior financial services consultant with McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union in East Windsor, New Jersey. &quot;Couples should discuss their goals and set a plan together.&quot;</p> <p>Married couples argue about a host of subjects. But <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-delaying-marriage-or-kids-saves-you-money">financial matters</a> often top the list, which is why a regular budget meeting can make your marriage a happier one. These money meetings increase the odds that you and your partner will be working toward the same financial goals, and that one or both of you won't be overspending on a regular basis.</p> <p>The best news? These budget meetings don't have to be unpleasant. Here are some tips on holding successful budget meetings.</p> <h2>1. Set a Regular Time</h2> <p>Agree to hold your household budget meetings at a regular time, whether it's every Thursday night, every two weeks, or once a month. If you don't schedule your budget meetings as you would any other appointment, life will get in the way. If you're like most couples, you'll sit down to a Netflix movie and blow off the money meeting. Try to aim for meeting once a week or, at the least, once a month.</p> <h2>2. Give Them a Time Limit</h2> <p>Your partner might imagine a budget meeting lasting into the wee hours of the evening as you both pore over every credit card purchase and ATM withdrawal. No one wants to talk money for hours. Instead, put a set time limit on your regular budget meetings, perhaps limiting the meeting to a maximum of one hour. If you meet frequently enough, 60 minutes should be more than enough time to go over your household finances.</p> <h2>3. No Blame Game</h2> <p>Some people are better at sticking to a budget. That's a fact. Partners who make those extra purchases every month might shy away from budget meetings because they don't want to be lectured for an entire hour on their recent financial missteps. Refrain from using budget meetings to blame each other for financial setbacks. Instead, use the time to craft a budget that works for everyone. If your partner is regularly blowing the budget, ask what you both can do to resolve the problem.</p> <h2>4. Make It Realistic</h2> <p>Maybe your partner overspends each month because your household budget is too tight, and doesn't leave any room for fun or unnecessary purchases. Use your regular meetings to tweak your budget so that it works for your household. A household budget is always a work-in-progress. It's okay, and even advisable, to make regular changes to it. If your household budget isn't working, use your meetings to adjust it so that it does.</p> <h2>5. Come Prepared</h2> <p>You'll need actual numbers to hold a successful budget meeting. So print out credit card statements, bank statements, and other important documents. Bring bills that need to be paid in the next several days, too. Armed with this information, you and your partner can make the best financial decisions for the weeks ahead.</p> <h2>6. Eliminate the Distractions</h2> <p>It's not easy holding a budget meeting when your kids are asking for snacks or your dog is whining for a walk. Finish the household chores before your budget meeting. You want a quiet block of time so you can focus. If your meeting is interrupted by too many distractions, you'll be tempted to cut it short before you address your family's most important financial matters.</p> <p><em>Do you and your partner hold regular budget meetings?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-love-not-money-sort-of">Make Love, Not Money (Sort Of)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-a-divorce-improve-your-finances">Could a Divorce Improve Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-should-ask-in-the-money-talk">5 Questions Couples Should Ask in the Money Talk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-worst-mistakes-good-spouses-make">5 Worst Mistakes Good Spouses Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Personal Development marriage meetings money relationships spouse Fri, 21 Aug 2015 15:00:33 +0000 Dan Rafter 1526967 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Work at Home Without Driving Your Spouse Nuts http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-work-at-home-without-driving-your-spouse-nuts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-work-at-home-without-driving-your-spouse-nuts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_working_together_000056492094.jpg" alt="Couple working from home together and not driving each other nuts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your spouse has just accepted a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-gadgets-every-work-at-home-professional-needs">work-from-home job</a>. You already have one.</p> <p>And while this work arrangement comes with plenty of perks &mdash; no more commutes, no more sneaky text messages to your spouse while you're hiding from your boss &mdash; it also comes with plenty of potential pitfalls.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to make this unusual working arrangement succeed. If you're careful, you won't want to kill your spouse, either.</p> <h2>1. Respect Each Other's Work</h2> <p>If your spouse is working in the kitchen, it's easy to stroll in and start chatting about current events, the neighbor's barking dog, or your niece's upcoming ballet recital. But remember, your spouse has work to do. Don't keep interrupting.</p> <p>And if your spouse is the one doing the interrupting? Give a polite, but firm, reminder that you need to wrap up an assignment and that you don't have time for chit-chat.</p> <p>Yes, one of the benefits of working from home with your spouse is that you can take those little breaks in the day with the person you loved enough to marry. But too many of these breaks can start to feel intrusive.</p> <h2>2. Turn the Work Day Off</h2> <p>When both you and your spouse work from home, it can be easy to keep working... all night long. After all, you both probably have deadlines that are looming. And if you work on a freelance basis, you might be tempted to take on more work than you can handle during a typical working day.</p> <p>But be careful: If both you and your spouse spend all of your hours working, you'll both run the risk of becoming deadly dull. Even worse, you'll be spending long hours in the same house without actually spending quality, personal time together.</p> <p>Every relationship needs quality alone time between spouses. Don't let an inability to shut off the working day prevent you and your spouse from making this time.</p> <h2>3. Remember That Sweatpants Aren't Flattering</h2> <p>It's tempting when you both work from home to spend all day in your pajamas or sweatpants. Yes, this is comfortable. But resist the urge. Wear day-time clothes during day-time hours. This means, at a minimum, jeans or shorts.</p> <p>If you don't have to commute to an office, you don't have to wear a suit. But wearing sweatpants or pajamas every day shows your spouse that you don't care enough about his or her opinion to make an effort. Ditch the sweatpants once the working day begins.</p> <h2>4. Leave the House</h2> <p>You might lose track of how much time you and your spouse spend in the home if you're both working from it. Entire days can go by when the only time you leave the house is to drop your kid off at soccer practice or when you need a quick hit of Starbucks.</p> <p>Staying in the house all day cuts you off from the community. It makes you boring. And, worst of all, it might make you sick of your spouse. If your spouse is the person you spend 90% of your time with? You might actually run out of things to talk about, especially if you're not leaving the house and interacting with the rest of the world.</p> <p>So make sure to plan regular trips to the gym, morning walks, bike rides, or dinners out. You wouldn't spend every waking moment in an office building. Why would you when your home has become your office?</p> <h2>5. Don't Fill Your Home With Papers, Reports, and Computers</h2> <p>When both you and your spouse work from home, your home is actually pulling double duty: It's both a home and an office. Make sure, then, that your home doesn't only look like an office.</p> <p>It's easy when both you and your spouse work from your residence to litter it with papers, reports, briefcases, laptops, and tablets. Just look at your kitchen table: Does it look like a messy desk that you'd see in a cubicle?</p> <p>If so, it's time to clean up. Make sure that when the working day ends, you and your spouse both pick up your work supplies and store them out of sight. If your home always looks like an office, you're both more likely to work long hours into the evening night after night.</p> <p><em>How do you handle working from home with your significant other?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-work-at-home-without-driving-your-spouse-nuts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford">11 Attractive Standing Desks You Can Actually Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meet-meg-favreau-our-senior-editor">Meet Meg Favreau, Our Senior Editor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-write-a-resume-12-steps-to-your-next-job">How To Write A Resume: 12 Steps To Your Next Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-of-the-most-innovative-useful-and-insane-desks">7 of the Most Innovative, Useful, and Insane Desks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success">10 Tips to Make Working From Home a Success</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Life Hacks home office married spouse telecommuting work-from-home Mon, 06 Jul 2015 09:00:14 +0000 Dan Rafter 1476029 at http://www.wisebread.com When It Makes Sense to Apply for a Mortgage Loan Without Your Spouse http://www.wisebread.com/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_home_improvement_000043083204.jpg" alt="Woman applying for mortgage loan without her spouse" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You and your spouse or partner are ready to apply for a mortgage loan. It makes sense to apply for the loan jointly, right? That way, your lender can use your combined incomes when determining how much <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">mortgage</a> money it can lend you.</p> <p>Surprisingly, this isn't always the right approach.</p> <p>If the three-digit credit score of your spouse or partner is too low, it might make sense to apply for a mortgage loan on your own &mdash; as long as your income alone is high enough to let you qualify.</p> <p>That's because it doesn't matter how high your credit score is if your spouse's is low. Your lender will look at your spouse's score, and not yours, when deciding if you and your partner qualify for a home loan.</p> <p>&quot;If one spouse has a low credit score, and that credit score is so low that the couple will either have to pay a higher interest rate or might not qualify for every loan product out there, then it might be time to consider dropping that spouse from the loan application,&quot; says Eric Rotner, vice president of mortgage banking at the Scottsdale, Arizona office of Commerce Home Mortgage. &quot;If a score is below a certain point, it can really limit your options.&quot;</p> <h2>How Credit Scores Work</h2> <p>Lenders rely heavily on credit scores today, using them to determine the interest rates they charge borrowers and whether they'll even approve their clients for a mortgage loan. Lenders consider a FICO score of 740 or higher to be a strong one, and will usually reserve their lowest interest rates for borrowers with such scores.</p> <p>Borrowers whose scores are too low &mdash; say under 640 on the FICO scale &mdash; will struggle to qualify for mortgage loans without having to pay higher interest rates. They might not be able to qualify for any loan at all, depending on how low their score is.</p> <h2>Which Score Counts?</h2> <p>When couples apply for a mortgage loan together, lenders don't consider all scores. Instead, they focus on the borrower who has the lowest credit score.</p> <p>Every borrower has three FICO credit scores &mdash; one each compiled by the three national credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Each of these scores can be slightly different. When couples apply for a mortgage loan, lenders will only consider the lowest middle credit score between the applicants.</p> <p>Say you have credit scores of 740, 780, and 760 from the three credit bureaus. Your spouse has scores of 640, 620, and 610. Your lender will use that 620 score only when determining how likely you are to make your loan payments on time. Many lenders will consider a score of 620 to be too risky, and won't approve your loan application. Others will approve you, but only at a high interest rate.</p> <p>In such a case, it might make sense to drop a spouse from the loan application.</p> <p>But there are other factors to consider.</p> <p>&quot;If you are the sole breadwinner, and your spouse's credit score is low, it usually makes sense to apply in your name only for the mortgage loan,&quot; said Mike Kinane, senior vice president of consumer lending at the Mt. Laurel, New Jersey office of TD Bank. &quot;But your income will need to be enough to support the mortgage you are looking for.&quot;</p> <p>That's the tricky part: If you drop a spouse from a loan application, you won't be penalized for that spouse's weak credit score. But you also can't use that spouse's income. You might need to apply for a smaller mortgage loan, which usually means buying a smaller home, too.</p> <h2>Other Times to Drop a Spouse</h2> <p>There are other times when it makes sense for one spouse to sit out the loan application process.</p> <p>If one spouse has too much debt and not enough income, it can be smart to leave that spouse out of the loan process. Lenders typically want your total monthly debts &mdash; including your estimated new monthly mortgage payment &mdash; to equal no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. If your spouse's debt is high enough to throw this ratio out of whack, applying alone might be the wise choice.</p> <p>Spouses or partners with past foreclosures, bankruptcies, or short sales on their credit reports might stay away from the loan application, too. Those negative judgments could make it more difficult to qualify for a loan.</p> <p>Again, it comes down to simple math: Does the benefit of skipping your partner's low credit score, high debt levels, and negative judgments outweigh the negative of not being able to use that spouse's income?</p> <p>&quot;The $64,000 question is whether the spouse with the bad credit score is the breadwinner for the couple,&quot; says David Reiss, professor of law with Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn, New York.&nbsp;&quot;The best case scenario would be a couple where the breadwinner is also the one with the good credit score.&nbsp;Dropping the other spouse from the application is likely a no-brainer in that circumstance.&nbsp;And of course, there will be a gray area for a couple where both spouses bring in a significant share of the income. In that case, the couple should definitely shop around for lenders that can work with them.&quot;</p> <h2>You and Your Spouse Can Still Own Your Home Together</h2> <p>Spouses or partners might worry that not having their names on the mortgage loan application means that they don't have an equal ownership stake in the home.</p> <p>Fortunately, that's not true.</p> <p>Rotner says that couples just have to put both names on the home's title. If they do that, both will have equal ownership of the home, no matter whose names are on the mortgage loan.</p> <p>&quot;Title expresses ownership in a property,&quot; Rotner says. &quot;Being on the mortgage loan expresses a financial obligation to the property. There is a difference.&quot;</p> <p>Partners might have one other concern about being left off the mortgage loan: It will be more difficult for them to boost their weak credit scores.</p> <p>Every time consumers make their mortgage loan payments on time, it helps their credit scores. But partners whose names aren't on the mortgage loan won't see any benefit from on-time payments, even if their income is helping to pay the mortgage bill each month.</p> <p>&quot;That is a valid concern,&quot; Rotner said. &quot;But what is the trade-off? You either get to buy a home that you couldn't otherwise buy or you get a 700 credit score. What is more important?&quot;</p> <p><em>Are you and your spouse both on the mortgage? What about the title?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-terrible-things-foreclosure-does-to-your-credit">3 Terrible Things Foreclosure Does to Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-credit-scores">5 Things You Need to Know About Credit Scores</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit scores loans mortgages spouse Mon, 25 May 2015 11:00:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1429779 at http://www.wisebread.com Talking to Your Spouse About Money http://www.wisebread.com/talking-to-your-spouse-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/talking-to-your-spouse-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stockxpertcom_id56982171_jpg_b239f10ab21642cdd9ec1fca8ab67aa2.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a guest post up on Get Rich Slowly about <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2010/01/26/how-to-talk-with-your-spouse-about-money/">how to talk with your spouse about money</a>. I had the privilege of interviewing financial counselor Lou Scatigna, aka <a href="http://www.thefinancialphysician.com/">The Financial Physician</a>, for the article.</p> <p>Lou's not at all shy with his opinion. He told me straight up that a marriage where the couple can't agree about money is doomed. He also painted a pretty scary picture of what can happen when one partner abidcates full control of the household finances to the other: elderly people lose their spouse and suddenly have no idea how to pay the bills, or one partner is able to hide tens of thousands of credit card debt from the other until it is too late to avoid <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt/bankruptcy" title="Wise Bread's Guide to Bankruptcy">bankruptcy</a>.</p> <p>How to avoid these problems? Communicate. Specifically, Lou suggests holding a family finance meeting every month where you sit down with your partner and go over each bill together. In my household, we take it a step further and go over our spending spreadsheet to look at each category together. Not just the bills but also groceries and gifts and anything else we spent money on during the month. We also use the time to check how we're doing on our long term financial goals.</p> <p>This is harder than it seems. Here's an excerpt from my post:</p> <blockquote><p>Managing finances together sounds simple, but there are a lot of stumbling blocks. People are busy. You&rsquo;ve got a career, a family, maybe kids of your own, plus friends and hobbies. Spending an evening a month on a boring chore can seem like a lot to ask.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Plus, money pushes a lot of buttons for people. It brings up fear, anxiety, guilt, anger. A lot of negative emotions most of us like to avoid. So we avoid talking about money with our spouses until it explodes in a financial disaster or a relationship meltdown.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even when we do sit down to talk, it can be hard to make good use of the time. Should you discuss long-term goals or just go over this month&rsquo;s bills? How can you avoid spiraling into a fight?</p> </blockquote> <p>It helps us to set aside a specific time to go over these things each month. That way, we resist the risk of ambushing each other with small money dramas when one of us is busy, distracted, or cranky. Having a time and place to talk means these conversations happen, and they happen with a lot less friction than they used to when we crammed them in over breakfast or after bedtime.</p> <p>A few commenters on GRS suggested that once a month wasn't often enough. Indeed, when my husband and I first started getting our financial act together, we had weekly meetings for awhile. I still sit down alone once a week to work out the budget for the coming week, because it's me who handles the day to day finances. Others felt a formal meeting was unnecessary, and they just catch up with their spouse about money on a need-to-know basis.</p> <p>What's your financial communication style? Formal meetings or swift chats on the fly? Are you happy with the way you and your spouse talk about money? Do you know enough about your finances to handle things alone if you had to? What would you like to do differently?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sierra-black">Sierra Black</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/talking-to-your-spouse-about-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast">6 Simple Financial Upgrades You Can Make During Breakfast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance marriage money management spouse Thu, 28 Jan 2010 15:00:02 +0000 Sierra Black 4899 at http://www.wisebread.com It takes a frugal spouse to make a frugal home http://www.wisebread.com/it-takes-a-frugal-spouse-to-make-a-frugal-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/it-takes-a-frugal-spouse-to-make-a-frugal-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/spouses.jpg" alt="Spouses" title="Spouses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="203" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Something of an exaggeration, of course&mdash;a one-person household can be very frugal. But there's an underlying truth: A household is only as frugal as its least-frugal member.</p> <p>This is one of the clear messages from the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0671015206?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0671015206"><em>Millionaire Next Door</em></a>. People who answer &quot;yes&quot; to the question, &quot;Is your spouse more frugal than you are?&quot; are enormously more likely to be millionaires than other people.</p> <p>That controlling spending is more important for becoming rich than having a high income is not news. When a rich person insists on haggling over a small sum or on correcting a small error in a bill, ordinary people may say, &quot;I'm surprised someone like you would concern yourself over such a small sum.&quot; The rich person's response, though, is simply, &quot;How do you think someone like me got to be someone like me?&quot;</p> <p>Contrariwise, a non-frugal spouse not only <strong>can</strong> wreck a household's finances&mdash;he or she <strong>will almost certainly do so</strong>, usually without even meaning to.</p> <h2>Structural solutions</h2> <p>I've heard a hundred variations on attempts to produce a structural solution.</p> <p>In the old days it was common for the husband to control the income stream and pay the wife an allowance with which she was to cover the groceries and other household expenses. This sort of structure could work very well if both spouses were frugal&mdash;the frugal wife would economize enough to save some money out of the allowance, producing a nest egg that was separate from the husband's&mdash;but failed badly if the husband wasn't frugal, leaving the household with no savings except the wife's pin money.</p> <p>In more modern times, structural solutions tend to be build around separate accounts&mdash;yours, mine, and (possibly) ours, with a clear understanding of how income goes into the various accounts and which bills are to be paid out of which account. These can work well for people who have a common vision for the household's future&mdash;but then anything can work well for people with a common vision.</p> <p>Many households have just a single pool of money&mdash;all income flows into it, all expenses are paid out of it. This can work fine, too.</p> <p>In fact, in the US at least, all these solutions all amount to the same thing as far as the law is concerned. With some very limited exceptions (mainly having to do with inherited wealth), either spouse is able to incur debts that obligate the entire household. As a practical matter, you have to pay your spouse's credit card bills pretty much without regard to any agreement to the contrary between the two of you. (The only reason the &quot;husband controls everything&quot; scheme ever worked was that creditors were unwilling to extend credit to a wife unless her husband co-signed.)&nbsp; Because of this, structural solutions are only effective to the extent that both spouses use them to restrain <strong>themselves</strong>&mdash;they are of no use at all for restraining a spouse against his or her will.</p> <h2>The structure of the problem</h2> <p>There are, I think, three general categories of non-frugal spousal behavior.</p> <p>The first has to do with <strong>impulse control</strong>. Here's where structural solutions can help. If the situation is that you can agree on a budget, but that one (or both) of you tend to spend money on passing fancies, then a structural solution that puts an obstacle in the path of spending money can provide the time to reconsider and make choices that don't blow the budget. In particular, structural measures can act as a sort of &quot;tripwire&quot; to detect when one spouse has succumbed to poor impulse control, giving the couple a chance to make the necessary adjustments before the household's finances are put at serious risk.</p> <p>The second has to do with having a <strong>shared vision</strong> of the goals of the household. Having a shared vision does not necessarily mean having the same goals. If your big goal is taking a fabulous trip to Paris and your spouse's goal is owning a classic Alfa Romeo, that's still a shared vision&mdash;as long as you both acknowledge the other's goal. In fact, frugality can advance both goals. The problem comes when one spouse rejects or dismisses the other's goals. There is no structural solution to that problem. If one of you thinks that saving money to send the kids to college is important and the other would rather have a higher standard of living, there simply isn't a structural solution&mdash;the less-frugal spouse wins (or rather loses&mdash;along with everyone else in the household).</p> <p>The third, and most fundamental, is simply having a different <strong>understanding of how the world works</strong> with regard to finances. Some people (I dare say most people who read Wise Bread) view saving&mdash;spending less than you earn&mdash;as <strong>the</strong> fundamental choice that enables all the financial successes of the household. Other people, though, don't. (There are many different understandings of how the world works. Some people discount the future heavily&mdash;the &quot;live for today&quot; folks. Other people just assume things will work out&mdash;the &quot;the gods will provide&quot; folks. Still others are just thoughtless and selfish&mdash;the &quot;instant gratification&quot; folks. None of these are invalid&mdash;they're just different. But the difference is one that pretty much excludes any hope of financial success, except through simple good fortune.)</p> <p>So, how can you fix this? What can you do if you have a spouse who does not share your inclination to frugality?</p> <p>To begin with, figure out where the disconnect is. Does your spouse believe that spending less than you earn is the foundation of financial success? Do you have a common vision of your major goals? If the answer to both these questions is yes, then there's a pretty straightforward path to success based on structural solutions. Simply produce a budget that allocates enough money to the less-frugal spouse's priorities while leaving an adequate surplus for saving and investing. If necessary, set up a system of accounts that make it easy to pay for things in line with the budget and difficult to pay for things that aren't in the budget.</p> <p>If the answer to the first question is yes but the answer to the second question is no, then the next step is to negotiate that common understanding. I'm no expert in such matters, but I'd start by identifying a very small number of must-haves&mdash;an emergency fund, retirement savings, college savings for the kids&mdash;and then negotiating a division of the surplus between your goals and your spouse's goals. Some people allocate a certain amount of money that each spouse can spend without consulting the other. Others agree to make joint decisions about major purchases.</p> <p>If the answer to the first question is no, it may be very difficult to come to an arrangement that works&mdash;unless the less-frugal spouse is willing to cede control over the household finances to the other. And this last, I think, is the crux of the matter.</p> <p>All these issues are as much about power and control as they are about anything else. I have seen spouses sabotage their household finances simply to thwart the will of the other partner&mdash;as a concrete expression of the fact that they wield a full measure of the spending capability.</p> <h2>Structure of people</h2> <p>Everybody has their own natural level of frugality and there's not much you can do to change someone else's nature. (Changing your own is tough enough.) Exhortations, appeals to logic (or to dreams for the future), and leading by example all have their place, but only go so far. There is a great deal of room for negotiation when it comes to the household's common goals&mdash;but only a little room for negotiation when it comes to notions of how finances work.</p> <p>One's understanding of the world is learned young.&nbsp; It's learned by watching the early morning cartoons, by listening to songs about hard times, by seeing your friend's parents prosper and move on (or fail to), and by listening to what your parents have to say about their neighbors&mdash;both those who prosper and those who don't.&nbsp; It can also learned by watching and listening to your spouse&mdash;but only so fast, because the things learned young carry a weight that's hard to move.&nbsp;</p> <p>If your spouse doesn't (or you don't) understand that <em>spending less than you earn is the basis for everything else</em>&mdash;comfort, prosperity, security, success&mdash;then you'll only achieve those things through plain blind luck.&nbsp; Those people can spot their peers at the lottery ticket counter in the convenience store.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-takes-a-frugal-spouse-to-make-a-frugal-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-line-between-frugal-and-crazy">The line between frugal and crazy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-normal-economy">The new normal economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living budget control credit frugal frugality husband power spouse wife Thu, 02 Apr 2009 14:20:58 +0000 Philip Brewer 3000 at http://www.wisebread.com