marriage http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5206/all en-US Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes? http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_calculator_bills_17400550.jpg" alt="Couple learning if a spouse can be added as a dependent" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a common scenario: One person in a relationship brings home a much higher salary than the other. For couples in this situation, the higher earner typically handles the majority of the expenses.</p> <p>To lower their tax burden, some may want to claim their lower-earning spouse as a dependent. In other situations, the earner's spouse is disabled and unable to contribute to the family's income. However, while you might think that labeling a spouse as a dependent is a smart decision, it's actually not allowed by the IRS.</p> <h2>What the IRS Says About Dependent Spouses</h2> <p>According to the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p17.pdf">IRS Publication 17</a>, your spouse can never be claimed as a dependent. Other people, such as siblings, children, or other relatives can be dependents, but no matter the circumstance, your spouse cannot.</p> <p>In the IRS' eyes, a dependent is defined as a child or qualifying relative. The person does not have to be related by blood &mdash; they just had to live with you for the year and not have gross income.</p> <h2>Spousal Exemptions</h2> <p>While a spouse cannot be a dependent, you may be able to <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/can-i-claim-my-personal-and-or-spousal-exemption">claim an exemption</a> for your spouse, thereby lowering your tax burden. You can go this route if you are married, and your partner has no gross income to report.</p> <p>If your spouse is physically challenged, you may be able to claim credit for expenses related to the care of your spouse. This option would be a possibility if you needed to hire help to care for your spouse so you could go to work or search for employment.</p> <h2>Marriage and Taxes</h2> <p>To minimize how much you owe on your taxes, it often makes the most sense to file jointly, rather than separately. To encourage couples to file together, the IRS gives joint filers some of the largest standard deductions, allowing them to deduct a big amount from their taxable income.</p> <p>Joint filers can typically claim two exemptions and more easily qualify for other tax credits, including:</p> <ul> <li>Earned Income Tax Credit</li> <li>Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit</li> <li>American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Education Credit</li> </ul> <p>If you file jointly, there is also a higher threshold for taxes and deductions, meaning you can qualify for more credit and tax breaks for a higher income than if you filed separately.</p> <h2>When It Makes Sense to File Separately</h2> <p>Filing separately only makes sense in very specific circumstances, such as in the case of large out-of-pocket medical expenses. Because the IRS only allows you to deduct 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI), filing separately can help you save more money.</p> <p>While you may hear some professionals recommend claiming your spouse as a dependent, it is not permissible by the IRS. Instead, you can claim your partner as a personal exemption in particular circumstances. To lower your tax burden, consult with a tax professional to make sure filing jointly makes the most financial sense for your situation and get all of the deductions and tax breaks you are entitled to.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">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/4-tax-mistakes-new-parents-make">4 Tax Mistakes New Parents Make</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/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</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/dont-miss-these-7-great-tax-deductions-for-parents-and-caretakers">Don&#039;t Miss These 7 Great Tax Deductions for Parents and Caretakers</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-clever-tax-shelters-anyone-can-use">5 Clever Tax Shelters Anyone Can Use</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/the-toughest-tax-season-question-all-married-couples-must-ask">The Toughest Tax Season Question All Married Couples Must Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes deductions dependents exemptions filing jointly filing separately marriage spouses tax credits Fri, 23 Sep 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Kat Tretina 1796981 at http://www.wisebread.com Live a Longer and Happier Life With These 8 Frugal Buys http://www.wisebread.com/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_74523869_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="these items help you live longer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life has its ups and downs. Despite the problems we face, most of us would give anything to maximize longevity. Fortunately, there's plenty you can do to have a long, fulfilling life. Some things are fairly obvious, such as quitting a bad habit like smoking, and avoiding life-threatening behaviors. What you might not realize, however, is that certain purchases also have a hand in extending your lifespan. Here are eight things you can buy to help you live longer.</p> <h2>1. Books</h2> <p>After finishing high school or college, maybe you vowed never to pick up another book again. Reading was no doubt a grueling chore while you were cramming for an exam, but there are benefits to making reading a regular routine. According to a new study, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/08/book-up-for-a-longer-life-readers-die-later-study-finds">reading can boost cognitive function</a>, and people who read for at least 30 minutes a day can extend their lives and live two years longer than those who don't read.</p> <h2>2. A Cat</h2> <p>If you're thinking about getting a pet, don't automatically assume a dog is the better choice. Some cats aren't as social or playful as dogs. Nonetheless, owning a cat can be good for your heart and have a positive effect on your life. The National Health and Nutrition Examination study followed 4,500 men and women over a 20-year period. More than half of the <a href="http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20080221/owning-a-cat-good-for-the-heart">participants owned a cat</a> during their lives. The study found that people who never had a cat were 30% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who had owned a cat.</p> <h2>3. Floss</h2> <p>Brushing your teeth at least two times a day contributes to oral health. But if you're looking to add years to your life, don't forget to <a href="http://amzn.to/2cf5qo2">floss</a>. The American Dental Association recommends daily flossing, and for good reason. Flossing &mdash; which helps remove particles of food from places a toothbrush can't reach &mdash; can add as much as six years to your life. The <a href="http://www.today.com/health/there-s-little-proof-flossing-protects-your-teeth-or-gums-t101389">benefits of flossing</a> have recently been hotly debated, but not flossing increases the risk of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Gingivitis can lead to heart disease, stroke, and infection.</p> <h2>4. Sunscreen</h2> <p>Whether you're at the beach, an amusement park, driving in the car, or working in your garden, it's important to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays with <a href="http://amzn.to/2cf4K2j">sunscreen</a>. Sunshine is an excellent source of vitamin D, but too much exposure can be deadly. Having more than five sunburns can double your risk for melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Therefore,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sunburn/five-ways-to-treat-a-sunburn">always apply sunscreen</a> before exposing your skin to the sun, and reapply as directed.</p> <h2>5. Coffee</h2> <p>You don't have to feel guilty about starting your morning with a cup of Joe. Coffee can provide a much-needed energy boost to get through the day, and it can help you live longer. Researchers found that <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-your-coffee-habit-help-you-live-longer-201601068938">coffee has antioxidants that protect our bodies</a> from damage. The beverage can reduce the risk of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and type 2 diabetes. But it's important to drink in moderation. Too much caffeine also increases blood pressure and can cause sleep problems.</p> <h2>6. Bike</h2> <p>One or more days a week, ride your bike to work or while running errands. And if you have a regular exercise routine, incorporate cycling a few days a week. Researchers have found a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uu.nl/en/news/dutch-bikers-live-six-months-longer">link between riding a bike and living longer</a>. For every hour you bike, you can add one hour to your life.</p> <h2>7. Blood Pressure Monitor</h2> <p>You probably don't give your blood pressure a second thought &mdash; but you should. High blood pressure is a silent killer because it increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. Rather than wait for a health crisis to learn you have high blood pressure, invest in a <a href="http://amzn.to/2cIGCXS">blood pressure monitor</a> and regularly check your levels to ensure they remain within a healthy range (less than 120/80 mm Hg).</p> <p>Blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day, and you may have higher than normal readings after exercising or eating. If your numbers are consistently high, talk to your doctor. With lifestyle changes or medication you can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of early death.</p> <h2>8. A Wedding Ring</h2> <p>Maybe you're happy living a bachelor or bachelorette life. Even so, there are benefits to tying the knot. Not only can you enjoy companionship, a study conducted by Duke University Medical Center found that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/marriage-research_n_2450639.html">people who never marry</a> were &quot;more than twice as likely to die early in life than those people in long-term, stable relationships.&quot; The study followed 4,800 people born in the 1940s. These findings support other studies, which found that married people had a lower risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys">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/the-5-best-pet-flea-shampoos">The 5 Best Pet Flea Shampoos</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-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</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/the-5-best-exercise-videos">The 5 Best Exercise Videos</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-5-best-kettlebells">The 5 Best Kettlebells</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/ready-to-buy-some-exercise-equipment-read-this-first">Ready To Buy Some Exercise Equipment? Read This First.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Shopping entertainment exercise extend your life green living health care Live Longer longevity marriage pets Mon, 19 Sep 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1794518 at http://www.wisebread.com 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-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/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-7"> <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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self">The Personal Finance Letter I&#039;d Write to My Younger Self</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 8 Signs You're Committing Financial Infidelity http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-committing-financial-infidelity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-youre-committing-financial-infidelity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_sad_face_90980753.jpg" alt="Man committing financial infidelity and how to stop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's often said that honesty is the key to a good relationship. But are you totally honest with your spouse or partner when it comes to money?</p> <p>Lies about finances can be some of the most damaging in any relationship, but they are surprisingly common. Two out of every five Americans have admitted to committing financial infidelity in the past, according to a February survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education. That's up from one-third just a couple of years ago, even though 75% of survey respondents admitted the dishonesty had a negative impact on their relationship.</p> <p>Here are some clear ways you are being dishonest about your finances with your partners &mdash; and tips on how to get back on the right track.</p> <h2>1. You Have Secret Bank Accounts/Credit Cards</h2> <p>There are different trains of thought about whether couples should combine their finances or keep separate accounts. But one thing that's definitely not okay is having bank accounts or credit cards that your partner isn't aware of. Depending on where you live, your spouse could be held liable for debts you incur during your marriage, even if they are only in your name.</p> <p>It's best to be honest about the accounts and credit cards that you have. Literally lay them out on the table for your partner to see. Come up with a plan to pay off those with the highest interest rates. Then, together, decide on which credit cards you plan to use.</p> <h2>2. You're Using Cash and Not Recording the Purchases</h2> <p>I will admit to being guilty of this. Cash has its advantages, but when you use cash to pay for things, there's no easy way to track your spending. Your partner may know you withdrew cash from an ATM, but is probably not going to interrogate you on how you plan to spend the cash. So you're more or less free to buy lunch, drinks, or any other sundry items you wish.</p> <p>To break this habit, use a debit card or credit card for most purchases, so it's easy for you and your partner to track your spending, budget appropriately, and keep each other in line. As long as you're honest about what is being spent, it's even okay to give each other a small amount of &quot;fun money&quot; on a monthly basis that you can spend on anything you want.</p> <h2>3. You Have a Gambling Problem</h2> <p>It may have started with a couple of horse races, or a fantasy baseball league or two. Then it expanded to big bucks bets on games, with money in offshore accounts and bookies calling your cell phone. Soon, checks are bouncing and your spouse can't figure out why.</p> <p>Time to 'fess up. Your partner will want to know about your gambling problem, but more importantly, they'll want to know that you have a plan to stop. Gamblers Anonymous is one major resource that's been proven to help people stop. It may also be worth talking to a mental health professional to learn how to deal with compulsive behavior.</p> <h2>4. You're Investing Without Talking It Over With Your Partner</h2> <p>Your partner may be vaguely aware that you have an investment account, but do they know what you are invested in? If you are buying and selling stocks frequently, is it part of an overall strategy that you discussed together? If not, this is a form of financial infidelity. While it may be common for one spouse to be more investment-savvy than the other, it's not wise to place money in the markets without discussing your goals.</p> <p>Are you saving for retirement, or for something in the nearer future? Are you placing money in a college savings account? Do you have the same tolerance for risk? All of these questions should be answered and discussed with your partner before you invest.</p> <h2>5. You're Hiding a Job Loss</h2> <p>It's understandable. You're hurt, maybe even humiliated, that you've found yourself unemployed. But continuing to act as if you still have a job is not going to make things better. For one thing, your partner will eventually wonder where all of your income went. And they'll be furious when they learn that you've lied.</p> <p>If you find yourself jobless, remember that even the best of people lose their jobs for reasons beyond their control. And any respectful partner will understand this, and will want to play a role in ensuring your family remains financially stable while you look for a new job.</p> <p>To keep this situation from occurring, establish a pattern of talking to your partner about your career. If your company is in trouble, or if you are at risk of being downsized, that's information you should share. This communication will make it less of a shock when the hammer drops.</p> <h2>6. You've Kept Outstanding Debt a Secret</h2> <p>This can really be a relationship killer. Imagine entering a relationship believing that your finances are in good order, only to find that your partner has thousands of dollars in debt you didn't know about. This could impact everything from your ability to pay for a mortgage, get a decent rate on an auto loan, and invest and save for the future.</p> <p>If you're guilty of this, it's time to 'fess up. It's also time to recognize that your partner can play a supportive role, both financially and emotionally, in helping you pay off the debt. Having debt doesn't make you a bad person, so there's no reason to hide it.</p> <h2>7. You're Not Being Honest When You Rationalize Purchases</h2> <p>You say you bought tickets to the basketball game to &quot;entertain clients&quot; when that client is really just an old buddy of yours. You convince your partner that your smartphone desperately needs to be replaced, when it fact it's working perfectly fine and you just felt like buying the newest version. Even if you aren't hiding purchases from the ones you love, you're committing financial infidelity if you're making up reasons to buy things you don't need.</p> <p>To remedy this problem, start being more honest with yourself when you have the urge to buy things. Before any purchase, ask yourself: Do I need this item? More often than not, the answer will be no.</p> <h2>8. Your Partner Has No Idea What You Earn</h2> <p>You may like the idea of having separate accounts, but when one person in a household doesn't know what the other is earning, it makes budgeting impossible. What if your spouse assumes you earn more than you do and then makes a big purchase? If you are planning for things like buying a home or cars, financing children's education or your own retirement, it's imperative that both partners know what the net household income is.</p> <p>The easiest way to avoid this problem is to operate using joint accounts. But if you decide to keep money separate, at least share account statements, paystubs, and tax information.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been victimized by these &mdash; or other &mdash; acts of financial infidelity?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-committing-financial-infidelity">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/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-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/plan-for-your-wants">Plan for your wants</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/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes?</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/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting infidelity lying marriage planning shared finances spouses Fri, 01 Jul 2016 10:00:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 1738701 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/married_couple_game_000017059049.jpg" alt="Learning things about money after getting married" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Marriage comes with its fair share of life lessons, and money is among the most prominent of these. Here's what I've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-getting-married-is-good-for-your-finances" target="_blank">learned about money while being married</a> &mdash; for better and worse.</p> <h2>1. Credit Scores and Debt Should Be Laid Bare While You're Still Dating</h2> <p>Money is a taboo subject, in general, and couples &mdash; especially new ones who are still navigating the muddy waters of a blossoming relationship &mdash; don't like to talk about the financial predicaments they may be in. But these conversations are necessary.</p> <p>My husband and I were sort of forced into the conversation as we bought our first home before we got married, but even if that's not on the horizon for you and your partner, it's still good to assess the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly" target="_blank">credit score and debt</a> situation so you both know what you're dealing with. That's not to say that you should dump somebody because their financial standing isn't as great as you might have hoped it would be, but it's certainly a factor to consider as you plan your life together.</p> <h2>2. Discuss Future Financial and Investment Goals Before Saying &quot;I Do&quot;</h2> <p>Before I got married I had plans for my future, but those plans changed (at least a little) when I decided to get hitched. I adapted my strategy to accommodate my husband &mdash; but I didn't derail it altogether, and I don't recommend that you do either. It's about compromise &mdash; it's beneficial to discuss your specific plans and goals ahead of your nuptials. Your partner may not want to open that new business, or carry the potential financial burden that comes along with it. On the other hand, your spouse may be totally on board with how you've mapped out your financial future and/or investments, and vice-versa. But you won't know until you discuss it.</p> <p>Lay it all out on the table before getting anywhere near the altar so you each have a clear idea of where your relationship is headed financially (in theory, at least) once you're joined in holy &mdash; and legally binding &mdash; matrimony.</p> <h2>3. Schedule Uninterrupted Time to Discuss Your Finances in Depth</h2> <p>The only way my husband and I stay on the same page about our finances &mdash; and, specifically, the money that's coming in and going out on a constant basis &mdash; is to schedule time to discuss where we're at financially. We usually have a dinner date once a month where at least part of the conversation is about our budget, expenses, debt, and increases or decreases in expected income.</p> <p>We also have an annual meeting at the end of the year to discuss what we anticipate the next year's expenses to be, and how we plan to meet them. While it's not easy integrating another person into the mix financially &mdash; and it can sometimes be stressful for you if you've overspent or missed a bill and you don't want it to result in an argument &mdash; it's needed so that you can both stay on track and repair snags together.</p> <h2>4. Keep Your Family Out of Your Finances &mdash; Period</h2> <p>In a perfect world, we'd all be rich and nobody would want for anything. That's not the case, however, and sometimes family and friends come knocking for a loan. My general rule is to not provide this type of financial support to anyone, as it rarely turns out well &mdash; and most people will tell you that. My husband, on the other hand, views this subject differently, and there's been at least one time where there was zero discussion about providing the loan to a family member, and I didn't find out about it until after the fact.</p> <p>I wasn't particularly bothered by the amount of the loan or to whom it went &mdash; it was his money and he could do what he wanted with it &mdash; but rather that I wasn't included in the conversation. Even though I wasn't contributing to this particular loan, it could have affected our ability to purchase or finance something we needed down the road, and I felt as if I had the right to be informed.</p> <h2>5. You're Morally and Legally Obligated to Help One Another Financially</h2> <p>Whether you like it or not, whatever happens to your spouse financially also, in a sense, happens to you. This could mean a moral obligation to get out of whatever money pickle you may have gotten into, or, worst-case scenario, it could be a legal obligation, like if you file joint taxes and owe the government money. The IRS debt may be the result of one or the other's financial status &mdash; like if you have taxes taken out automatically each pay period from employment, but your spouse is an entrepreneur (like I am) who pays estimated taxes &mdash; but legally you're both on the hook for the debt. Not being prepared for this situation, or how to handle it responsibly and fairly, can lead to resentment and loads of other issues that you're better off without.</p> <h2>6. Keeping Separate Accounts Can Help Maintain Some Independence</h2> <p>My husband and I keep a joint account for shared purchases, like vacations, but we've also always maintained our own separate checking and savings accounts. For some couples this may seem odd, but for us it's helped us keep a part of our individual independence intact. While we consult each other on major purchases, we don't have to ask one another if we can buy some of the smaller things or little luxuries that we want, which in turn helps us to avoid nitpicking each other about things we don't think the other one should be buying.</p> <p>I can only imagine how couples who co-mingle all their money argue about how many coffees or beers each is buying per week, the 19th pair of new shoes she's bought this year, or the new video game he brought home. The bottom line for us is that the bills get paid and we're still able to save; we're allowed to treat ourselves every now and then without having to ask permission or fear retribution.</p> <h2>7. Debt Can Destroy Your Relationship &mdash; If You Let It</h2> <p>A few years ago I discovered a substantial amount of debt that my husband racked up, and I was completely gutted over the situation. How, why, when, where? So many questions went through my mind, not the least of which was, how are we going to pay this off? I was lucky in that regard as my husband took full responsibility for it and promised to pay it off himself &mdash; and he has. But it may not work out like that for everyone.</p> <p>If your partner isn't capable of paying off the debt, you, in fact, may be responsible for it too if it's attached to a joint credit card or another joint account. When that happens, it will likely put a major strain on your relationship. Old debt is one thing, but new debt &mdash; that is, debt acquired singularly by one partner while you're in the relationship &mdash; has a much more damaging and lasting effect. We were able to get past this and get back on track, but it's not easy. It definitely puts stress on the marriage, which can further worsen an already rocky relationship.</p> <h2>8. Money Doesn't Buy Happiness</h2> <p>All the houses, nice cars, designer clothes, and luxury goods in the world will not make you happy in a relationship you don't want to be in. When you're sitting among all your beautiful things and you wonder why you seemingly have everything but still aren't satisfied, you need to look beyond the bling. There's a deeper issue for which you're trying to compensate. Talk about it; make decisions. Your mental health is worth more than what's in your bank account &mdash; always. Remember that.</p> <p><em>What has marriage taught you about money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score">7 Reasons You Are More Than Your Credit Score</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-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-4 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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family Lifestyle budget meetings compromises credit scores debt marriage money lessons relationships spouses Tue, 24 May 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Mikey Rox 1716048 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-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/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/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> <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/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Job Creation</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 5 Reasons to Keep Your Money Separated After Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-keep-your-money-separated-after-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-to-keep-your-money-separated-after-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wedding_married_couple_000059191426.jpg" alt="Couple learning reasons to keep money separate after marriage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money may not be the root of <em>all</em> evil &mdash; but it's the clincher in a great many relationships gone haywire. Research shows that arguing about money is by far the top predictor of divorce. &quot;It's not children, sex, in-laws, or anything else. It's money &mdash; for both men and women,&quot; says Sonya Britt, an assistant professor at Kansas State University who <a href="https://www.k-state.edu/media/newsreleases/jul13/predictingdivorce71113.html">conducted a study</a> of 4,500 couples about the interplay between financial arguments and relationship satisfaction.</p> <p>We all have deeply ingrained beliefs about how money should be spent, when it's appropriate to splurge, and how much we should have stowed away in savings. And it can be difficult to the point of deal-breaking to try and mesh our own attitudes about money with another person's financial beliefs, which very well may differ drastically from our own. That's why a large number of financial advisers urge couples to remain financially independent.</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the top reasons why it pays to keep money matters separate in your relationship. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Regular Budget Meetings Might Save Your Marriage</a>)</p> <h2>1. You'll Avoid a Power Imbalance</h2> <p>Merging finances means there's no more &quot;yours&quot; and &quot;mine&quot; in the money department. The divisions blur and it all goes into the same piggy bank. But what if your partner earns much more than you, and now you're suddenly living a lifestyle you can afford only with your partner's assist? What if the opposite is true, and you're subsidizing your partner's income with your own earnings? When your relationship is healthy and sparkling, you might not be bothered by either of these scenarios. But what about in the wake of a blowout fight?</p> <p>Or let's say you're the breadwinner in the relationship and you subsidize a good chunk of your partner's lifestyle because he or she isn't earning enough to keep up. Then, suddenly, you lose your job and your partner's income isn't enough to pick up the slack. Would you feel resentful? How would you cope with that? This is the kind of financial imbalance that has a tendency to instigate the fights that ultimately tear couples apart. Luckily, you can avoid them by keeping your financials separate from your sweetie's.</p> <h2>2. We're More Accustomed to Financial Independence Than Ever</h2> <p>Young adults are <a href="http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/marital.html">delaying marriage longer than ever</a> before. The average age of people at their first marriage in the U.S. today is about 27, which means many people rack up six or more years of complete financial independence before saying their vows. The money habits we develop during our years as single adults become so deeply ingrained in us that it's difficult to shift them in an attempt to mesh with the financial habits of our partner.</p> <p>And, unfortunately, finding common ground on financial matters is not necessarily something that gets better with practice. When asked how much they will need to save to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement, for example, nearly <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/about-fidelity/individual-investing/fidelity-couples-study">half of all couples are in disagreement</a> about the amount needed. This level of disagreement is highest, however, among those who are closest to retirement.</p> <h2>3. It Promotes Healthy Spending Habits</h2> <p>Financially independent couples tend to practice better discipline when it comes to paying off their own debts. And that makes for a healthy relationship. When one partner starts to feel like their partner's pockets are deep enough to offset the burden of their own financial risks, they sometimes become irresponsible in their spending and saving habits. And that can create the kind of friction that could start a fiery argument later on down the road.</p> <h2>4. It Balances the Burden of Money Stress</h2> <p>When one partner becomes the sole organizer of a couple's fiscal matters, he or she runs the risk of becoming overwhelmed by the responsibility &mdash; and that can throw an entire relationship off balance. But when both partners take charge of their separate finances and contribute to mutual expenses fairly, any money stress that arises is shared, making it much more manageable to find relief as a team.</p> <h2>5. A Breakup Won't Mean Financial Chaos</h2> <p>When you maintain financial independence, you avoid the risk of your personal financial situation falling apart just because your relationship did. Paying your fair share in a relationship also makes for a cleaner emotional break if you one day decide to split. When one partner consistently treats the other to dinners and vacations, or pays the majority of the bills, resentment is bound to brew during a breakup. The partner who paid more might even feel entitled to reimbursement.</p> <p><em>Separate or apart &mdash; how do you manage money with your partner? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-keep-your-money-separated-after-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-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/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-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/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending">4 Ways to Stop Your Spouse From Overspending</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle couples financial independence marriage power imbalances sharing money spending Wed, 20 Apr 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1690618 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's What Happens to a Mortgage in a Divorce http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-to-a-mortgage-in-a-divorce <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-what-happens-to-a-mortgage-in-a-divorce" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_new_house_000008511772.jpg" alt="Couple learning what they need to know about divorce and mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Divorce is a messy and emotional situation, and it can wreak havoc on your finances. One of the major assets that couples share is their home mortgage. Handling your mortgage correctly in the divorce will help you and your ex go your separate ways on the right foot financially. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-divorced?ref=seealso">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Divorced</a>)</p> <h2>1. Selling Is Often the Best Option</h2> <p>Your best option is usually to sell your home. This is easiest done if you have equity in the house, and the house can be sold and the profit split. Emotionally, selling will not always be the easiest, especially if you raised your children in that home or have other fond memories. From a financial and logical standpoint, selling the home and splitting the profit is the cleanest way to deal with the mortgage.</p> <h2>2. Decide if One Spouse Can Take Over the House Payments</h2> <p>If one spouse wants to keep the home, then they can refinance the home under their own name. In order to do this, they will need to qualify for the refinance with just their income.</p> <p>It is not wise or advised to trust that your ex will make the mortgage payments. Even if your name's not on the deed, as far as the mortgage company is concerned, you and your ex spouse are both fully liable for the mortgage costs each month. Therefore, if your ex misses a payment, or if something happens to them, such as disability or death, you will still be held accountable for the payments.</p> <p>Even if your ex is the most trustworthy person, having your name tied to that mortgage loan means that you will not be able to get another mortgage unless you have enough income to qualify for another mortgage. It might even prevent you from getting a place to rent, since many landlords want to be sure you have enough income to pay for the rental.</p> <h2>3. Should You Sign a Quitclaim Deed?</h2> <p>A quitclaim deed is a legal way to transfer interest of real property. Signing this deed means the person is forfeiting their claim and right to the property. Signing this deed in divorce gives the other party full rights to the home, but your name still remains on the mortgage. You will still be held accountable for any missed mortgage payments and your credit score will be affected.</p> <p>Remember, the deed and mortgage are two different things, and the quitclaim deed cannot remove your name or responsibility from the mortgage.</p> <p>Another important thing to know about quitclaim deeds is that if you sign one, you are forfeiting the right to sell and profit from your home sale. For example, say you sign a quitclaim deed because your ex wants to pay the mortgage, but cannot afford to refinance. Now that your name is off the deed of the home, your ex can sell or refinance the house any time and will not owe you anything.</p> <h2>4. When You Can't Afford to Sell</h2> <p>While selling the home is the cleanest solution, things get complicated when more is owed on the mortgage than the house is worth. Couples that cannot afford to sell the home during the divorce can try one of these three options.</p> <h3>Short Sell the Home</h3> <p>A &quot;short sale&quot; is a home sale in which the mortgage lender agrees to accept less than the full value of the property and cancel the debt. A short sale will negatively impact your credit score and it can have tax implications, as the debt cancellation offered by the lender is viewed by the IRS as income. (Note that a law passed in 2007, and subsequently <a href="http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/12/tax-extenders-bill-what-the-housing-industry-needs-to-know/">extended through 2016</a>, exempts debt cancellation income.)</p> <h3>Rent the Home</h3> <p>If both you and your ex can agree on renting the home out for a period of time, then you can delay the sale of your house until you have more equity. Renting does buy you time and prevents a short sale, but renting comes with a host of responsibilities &mdash; which you'll share with your ex.</p> <h3>Continue to Live Together</h3> <p>This option is for only a select few couples who can live peacefully under the same roof. While the situation is not ideal, it can save both parties money, since it allows them to wait until the house market goes up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/post-divorce-finances-7-steps-to-rebuilding-your-financial-house?ref=seealso">Post Divorce Finances: 7 Steps to Rebuilding Your Financial House</a>)</p> <h2>5. What to Do When Things Get Complicated</h2> <p>Divorce can bring out the worst in people, and many times, an ex spouse will not be willing to sell the home or some other issue. This is why it is important to consult with a divorce attorney. A divorce attorney can help you understand your legal rights when it comes to the mortgage and protect you from doing something unwise.</p> <p>It is a good idea not to finalize the divorce until your mortgage issues are settled. Be prepared to get court orders to make your ex remove your name off of the mortgage through selling or refinancing.</p> <p>No one buys a house with their spouse with intent on getting a divorce. Unfortunately, these things happen. It is best to protect yourself and your assets by making decisions based on logic rather than emotions.</p> <p><em>What do others need to know about their mortgage during a divorce?</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/heres-what-happens-to-a-mortgage-in-a-divorce">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</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/six-options-if-youre-underwater-on-your-mortgage">6 Options if You&#039;re Underwater on Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing deeds divorce house payments lawyers marriage mortgages splitting up Tue, 29 Mar 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1677287 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Big Ticket Wedding Items You Should Borrow Instead of Buy http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-ticket-wedding-items-you-should-borrow-instead-of-buy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-big-ticket-wedding-items-you-should-borrow-instead-of-buy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/newlywed_couple_000042336338.jpg" alt="Married couple finding wedding items to borrow instead of buy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting fed up with the high ticket prices on wedding items? Zero out a few fields in your wedding budget and &quot;borrow&quot; them instead.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-save-on-a-wedding-dress?ref=seealso">7 Smart Ways to Save on a Wedding Dress</a></p> <h2>1. The Altar, Arch, or Canopy</h2> <p>This is an item everyone wants, until they remember how it's totally useless after the wedding. Building your own structure is awesome if you're handy, but why not borrow one? Try asking your officiant, venue, or your religious institution if they already have some materials you can use. For my wedding, our Rabbi already had the elements for a simple chuppah, so we used that instead of buying or renting an expensive one.</p> <p>If you are getting married outdoors, find a nearby tree. A tree is not only the perfect backdrop and canopy in one, but it's a great symbol for the family you are making.</p> <h2>2. The Live Band or DJ</h2> <p>Instead of hiring a DJ, why not make the music a fun activity for your guests in anticipation of your wedding? Make a form on your wedding site asking guests what song they want to move their bodies to on the dance floor. You (or your Best Man or Maid of Honor) can gather up all the answers to form one epic playlist. Have your coordinator hit play at the start of the reception and let the good times roll.</p> <p>Really have your heart set on a live band? If you are friends with musicians, try asking them to play for a portion of your wedding as their gift to you. Of course, they are working, too, so it may not be fair to keep them from enjoying the full night of festivities. Talk to your friends and family musicians to see how they can be a part of your wedding and enjoy it, too.</p> <h2>3. The Table Decor</h2> <p>From bunting to centerpieces, this is a factor of every wedding budget that tends to spiral out of control. A few ideas to borrow...</p> <ul> <li>Looked at the florist's quote and cried? Instead of buying their labor, try having the mothers of the family gather flowers from their homes in mismatched vases to use as table dressings.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bored of flowers and want something unique? Borrow framed family photos from all sides of the family and place them as table centerpieces with a few small tealights from the Dollar Store.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Borrow old books from your parents' bookshelves. Pick some ones that mean a lot to you to stack as a cute, nerdy centerpiece.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Looking for old decor that you don't have to DIY? Try asking your local department store when they will discard their window displays. Anthropologie tends to take theirs down every month.</li> </ul> <h2>4. The Getaway Car</h2> <p>Every couple wants a cool way to leave their reception, but trying to book a Batmobile or a vintage Rolls Royce can mean the difference between being on budget and having to cut down your honeymoon. Ask around! You probably have a relative or friend of a friend with a cool ride (or a connection to one). Leave in something authentic and cool, instead of paying hundreds for a rental that someone else will have to return for you the next day.</p> <h2>5. The Photography</h2> <p>While it's awesome to have a professional photographer following you all day, it's simply not in the cards for everyone. Lots of couples are saving room in the wedding budget by going the guest-sourced photography route. All your friends and family are eager to snap photos of the big day already, so encourage them to get their Instagrams ready. A great way to include guest photography can be through a game or scavenger hunt for people or details, like with the <a href="https://ceremonyapp.com/">Ceremony app</a>. Just be clear about when it is okay to ambush the couple for photos.</p> <p>The wedding goes by fast, so the most beautiful part is seeing your wedding through the eyes of all your friends and family just days later. Remember to make a Dropbox or Flickr account for everyone to add their memories.</p> <p><em>What else should couples borrow for wedding day?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-ticket-wedding-items-you-should-borrow-instead-of-buy">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/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> <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/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-turn-your-spouse-into-a-money-saver">My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Turn Your Spouse Into a Money Saver</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-family-plans-can-save-you-tons">How Family Plans Can Save you TONS</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-much-engagement-ring-can-you-actually-afford">How Much Engagement Ring Can You Actually Afford?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living borrowing decorations DJ flowers marriage music photography weddings Mon, 22 Feb 2016 10:30:27 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1659838 at http://www.wisebread.com The Toughest Tax Season Question All Married Couples Must Ask http://www.wisebread.com/the-toughest-tax-season-question-all-married-couples-must-ask <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-toughest-tax-season-question-all-married-couples-must-ask" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/married_couple_taxes_000030080560.jpg" alt="Married couple asking hardest question during tax season" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tax day will be here sooner than you think, and you and your spouse want to claim as many credits and deductions as possible to lower your final tax bill. So, should you file jointly or separately?</p> <p>That depends. In the vast majority of cases, filing jointly provides married couples with the greatest amount of tax breaks.</p> <p>&quot;The 'married filing separately' status is generally the least beneficial of the filing statuses,&quot; said Luis Rosa, a financial advisor with LGR Financial in White Plains, New York. &quot;'Married filing separate' status loses the ability to claim some of the most common credits such as student loan interest, tuition and fees, child and dependent credits, and many others.&quot; (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-tax-changes-for-2016?ref=seealso">5 Important Tax Changes for 2016</a>)</p> <h2>Why Filing Jointly Is (Usually) the Smart Move</h2> <p>Couples who file their taxes jointly will be able to claim a standard deduction amount of $12,600 when preparing their 2015 income taxes this year. Married couples who file separately will each get a standard deduction of $6,300.</p> <p>Gail Rosen, a certified public accountant and president of Gail Rosen, CPA in Martinsville, New Jersey, gives a good example of how much married couples can save by filing jointly: If one spouse earns $75,000 of taxable income and the other earns $15,000, filing jointly instead of separately this April can save that couple $2,265 in taxes.</p> <p>Filing jointly is especially beneficial when one spouse earns significantly more than the other, Rosen said. That's because the averaging effect of combining the two incomes can bring some of the money that couples earned out of a higher tax bracket.</p> <p>Another big difference in filing jointly comes in the form of the extra tax credits that you can claim.</p> <p>When couples file jointly they might, depending on their financial circumstances, qualify for multiple tax credits, including the earned income tax credit, child and dependent care tax credit, Lifetime Learning education tax credit, and the American Opportunity Act education credit. If couples have adopted, they can also qualify for adoption tax credits. Married couples filing separately lose the ability to claim these potentially valuable credits.</p> <p>&quot;Most of the time, filing separately is not going to offer as many attractive incentives,&quot; said Nicole Erwin, with Tax Defense Network in Jacksonville, Florida. &quot;The types of deductions you would enjoy on a joint return may not be available, and your standard deduction is far lower when you file alone.&quot;</p> <h2>When Filing Separately Is the Right Move</h2> <p>While filing jointly is usually the right financial move, filing separately is a better financial choice for a smaller number of married couples.</p> <p>Rosen said that filing separately often makes sense when one spouse has a significant amount of medical expenses, casualty losses, or miscellaneous itemized deductions. You can deduct medical expenses only after they pass 10% of your adjusted gross income for the year. The same holds true for casualty losses. Miscellaneous itemized deductions, which include investment expenses, unreimbursed employee expenses, and the costs involved in hiring others to prepare your tax return, are deductible after their combined total exceeds 2% of your adjusted gross income.</p> <p>If these possible deductions are isolated on the return of just one spouse &mdash; which would happen when spouses are filing separately &mdash; then the couple would enjoy larger deductions. Rosen gives this example: If one spouse has $9,250 in medical expenses and the married couple's joint income is $90,000, then only $250 of these medical expenses can be deducted on a joint return. That's because 10% of $90,000 is $9,000, and $9,250 minus $9,000 comes out to $250.</p> <p>But if the income of the spouse with the medical expenses is only $15,000, and that spouse files separately, the deduction rises to $7,750. That's because 10% of $15,000 is only $1,500, and $9,250 minus $1,500 equals $7,750.</p> <p>Diane Vidal, an attorney with the Chester, New Jersey-based law firm of Iandoli &amp; Edens, said that filing separately can also offer spouses protection when they suspect that their partner is committing tax fraud.</p> <p>Vidal said that when married couples file separately, it's easier for one spouse to claim the &quot;innocent spouse syndrome.&quot; That's a term used in divorce law to bring relief to innocent spouses who had no idea that their spouses were engaging in shady IRS practices, Vidal said.</p> <p>But when couples file together, even spouses who had no clue that their partners were committing financial wrongdoings will most likely still be held accountable for their spouse's crimes. That's because the IRS will assume that when spouses file jointly, they both read and understood their filings. The IRS will then have the authority to pursue criminal action against both spouses.</p> <p>&quot;I truly believe that married couples, especially with those relationships that are on the rocks or heading toward a divorce, should file separately,&quot; Vidal said.</p> <p><em>Do you and your spouse file jointly or separately?</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/the-toughest-tax-season-question-all-married-couples-must-ask">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-13"> <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/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes?</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/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</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/5-important-tax-changes-for-2016">5 Important Tax Changes for 2016</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/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</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/the-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes deductions marriage married filing jointly married filing separately Wed, 17 Feb 2016 10:30:28 +0000 Dan Rafter 1658023 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Newlyweds Must Know About Investing http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-newlyweds-must-know-about-investing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-newlyweds-must-know-about-investing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/married_couple_monopoly_000017059049.jpg" alt="Newlyweds learning things they must know about investing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a ton of excitement involved in getting married. There's the big day, which you may have been planning for many months, the honeymoon, and setting up your home together.</p> <p>Before long, though, you have to get down to the business of actually <em>running</em> your household, which includes investing for your future. Here are a few investing essentials every newlywed couple should know.</p> <h2>1. Confidence Is Not the Same as Skill</h2> <p>Men and women tend to come at money from very different perspectives, and that's certainly true when it comes to investing. According to a Merrill Lynch study, 55% of women agreed or strongly agreed with this statement: &quot;I know <a href="https://mlaem.fs.ml.com/content/dam/ML/Articles/pdf/ARTRGVP5.pdf">less than the average investor</a> about financial markets and investing in general.&quot; Just 27% of men agreed or strongly agreed with that statement.</p> <p>This difference in investing confidence leads to notable differences in investing behavior. For example, according to a Barclay's study, men are more likely to attempt the impossible: time the market.</p> <p>While men may have more confidence in their investing abilities, some studies have found women to be more successful investors. The Financial Times reported on a study of hedge funds, finding that those managed by women outperformed those managed by men &mdash; by a large margin.</p> <p>The take-away? Choose which spouse will take the lead with investing based on track record, not confidence.</p> <h2>2. You Probably Have Different Comfort Levels With Risk</h2> <p>One of the most important investing decisions has to do with asset allocation &mdash; that is, how much of your portfolio will you invest in stocks, and how much in bonds?</p> <p>That ratio has to do with your investment time frame and risk tolerance. Each of you should take an <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire">investment temperament quiz</a> and then compare results. If the national studies are reflected in your marriage and he is more comfortable with risk than she is, meet in the middle when making asset allocation decisions.</p> <p>Or, you could take your investment temperaments out of the equation by using target-date funds for your investments. Just make sure you understand <a href="https://www.soundmindinvesting.com/articles/view/how-well-do-target-date-funds-perform-in-a-downturn">how target-date funds work</a>.</p> <h2>3. Your Best First Investment May Have Nothing to Do With the Stock Market</h2> <p>I will always remember a couple that approached me during a break in a financial workshop I was leading for engaged and newly married couples. She had tears in her eyes. He looked irritated.</p> <p>Their wedding was coming up and they couldn't agree on where to live. He was about to graduate from law school, assumed he'd land a job at a large firm, and wanted to buy a nice condo in a trendy part of town. Knowing she was about to marry into six figures' worth of debt, she wanted to rent for a few years in order to aggressively pay off their loans.</p> <p>As diplomatically as I could, I suggested that her plan might be better for their finances and their marriage.</p> <p>You may not have six figures' worth of debt, but if you're like many newlyweds, you likely have debt. One of the best investments you can make is to pay it off as soon as possible.</p> <p>If you're paying 18% on a credit card balance, paying it off would give you a guaranteed 18% return on your money.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">When to Do a Balance Transfer to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a></p> <p>But paying off debt isn't just a good <em>financial </em>investment. A study done by Utah State Assistant Professor Jeffrey Dew, found that &quot;consumer debt fuels a <a href="http://www.stateofourunions.org/2009/bank_on_it.php">sense of financial unease</a> among couples&quot; and increases the likelihood that they will fight more often, and not just about money. On the other hand, Dew found that newly married couples who paid off their debt within the first five years of marriage reported being more satisfied with their marriage than those who did not.</p> <p>So, if you're starting your marriage with debt, pay it all off, with the possible exception of a reasonable mortgage before starting to invest.</p> <h2>4. You Have Some Control</h2> <p>When it comes to investing, there's a lot you can't control. No one knows which way the market will go next, how high inflation will get, or when the next market-moving world crisis will hit. But one factor you <em>can </em>control is how much money you invest.</p> <p>One of the best bits of advice my wife, Jude, and I received before we got married was to base most of our essential living expenses on one income, especially housing costs. So, we bought a condo in what realtors euphemistically described as an &quot;up and coming&quot; neighborhood on Chicago's northwest side. There were no coffee shops nearby, but we could easily afford it on my salary alone. That enabled us to save and invest much of Jude's salary, which gave us a nice head start on our investing by the time our first child arrived four years later and we decided to become a one-income family.</p> <p>As you decide where to live and how much to spend on everything from clothing to vacations, make sure you budget some money to invest.</p> <h2>5. The Future Arrives Faster Than You Can Imagine</h2> <p>Another factor you can control is how soon you start investing. When you're young and newly married, retirement may seem like some vague, distant destination you can worry about later. Besides, you have furniture to buy and trips to take.</p> <p>But consider this. A 30-year-old who invests $400 per month, generates an average annual return of 7%, and stops investing at age 70, will end up with a little over $1 million. If she waits until she's 40 to get started, invests the same $400 per month, and generates that same 7% average annual return, she'll end up with less than $500,000. By waiting 10 years, she will have invested just $48,000 less, but she'll end up with half the money!</p> <p>Compound interest favors the young, so the earlier you start investing the better.</p> <p><em>How are you and your partner managing your investments?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-newlyweds-must-know-about-investing">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/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-invest-like-warren-buffett">7 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Invest Like Warren Buffett</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/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer 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/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</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-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn&#039;t Just for Old People</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-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment joint finances marriage newlyweds retirement risk tolerance Thu, 11 Feb 2016 22:00:05 +0000 Matt Bell 1654134 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways an Income Gap Can Strain Your Relationship http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-an-income-gap-can-strain-your-relationship <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-an-income-gap-can-strain-your-relationship" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_breaking_up_000043320308_1.jpg" alt="Couple learning ways income gap can strain their relationship" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money is the <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2015/02/04/money-is-the-leading-cause-of-stress-in-relationships.html">leading cause of arguments</a> in married couples. Income disparity, when one person makes much more than the other, can be a surprising source of stress. If you're one of these couples, be on the lookout for these four ways an income disparity could harm your relationship.</p> <h2>1. Holding on to Old Gender Roles</h2> <p>Women are more and more likely to have higher education and a&nbsp;<a href="http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/how-many-women-earn-more-than-their-husbands/">higher paying salary</a> than their significant other. However, in heterosexual relationships in which women are the &quot;breadwinners,&quot; the women are actually <em>still</em> doing more housework than men. That doesn't sound like an equal partnership. That might also be why the divorce rate jumps 50% for couples in which the woman earns the higher income.</p> <p>So much inequality comes from not being comfortable to speak up, and worse, tacitly defaulting to your parents' roles. Having a deep and meaningful conversation about gender and money is important in a relationship &mdash; find each other's biases and challenge them. Outdated and unreasonable gender expectations should not dictate what happens in your relationship.</p> <h2>2. Using Salary as Leverage</h2> <p>For many, money equals power. So when one partner earns more than the other, the higher earner can easily become the de facto decision-maker in where to vacation, what to buy for dinner, the kind of house you live in, and what kind of hobbies you partake in. This is precisely the kind of power imbalance that leads to highly toxic relationships.</p> <p>Resolve to discuss medium-to-major expenditures with your partner before making them. As long as you share your household, it's always half theirs. It's also key to encourage your partner's goals. Aid them generously, in faith that s/he would do the same for you if the roles were reversed.</p> <h2>3. Acting Defensive Over Earning Less</h2> <p>Earning less than your partner can make you feel as if you don't matter, because one salary is floating most of the household. This can lead to resentment, or worse, a childlike attachment and dependency on the other to help you financially.</p> <p>Just because your income accounts for a smaller percentage of the household finances doesn't mean that your role in the relationship is smaller. This comes up a lot when one person decides to stay home to take care of the kids. But remember that contribution to the household is not measured by income.</p> <h2>4. Letting Money Determine Your Partner's Worth</h2> <p>The easiest way to avoid fights is to assign financial contributions on a sliding proportion scale. Instead of letting your partner struggle to pay 50% of the utilities, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/create-your-first-shared-budget-without-blowing-up-your-relationship">find a shared budget</a> that allows him or her to pay what they can afford. Or, agree on new terms &mdash; like one being in charge of all groceries and utilities, while the other pays the rent or mortgage.</p> <p>Also, it's time to ban the word &quot;breadwinner.&quot; Not only is it divisive, it assigns a &quot;winner/loser&quot; dynamic, which has no place in a loving domestic relationship. If you think less of your partner for doing the dishes, or if you think more of a partner for earning more material wealth, you have set yourself up for trouble.</p> <p>It's time to stop being combative about status. Feeling more or less important is only true if you believe it.</p> <p><em>Is there an income gap in your relationship? How do you get over it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-an-income-gap-can-strain-your-relationship">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/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-six-figures-really-that-much">Is Six Figures Really That Much?</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/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Breadwinner budgets gender Households income marriage work Tue, 03 Nov 2015 19:15:54 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1603576 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Money Fears and How to Squash Them http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-fears-and-how-to-squash-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-fears-and-how-to-squash-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nervous_man_000050240320.jpg" alt="Man with money fears learning how to squash them" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember when you were afraid of the bogeyman? We all knew he wasn't real, but that didn't stop our fears. For most of us, that same bogeyman is alive in our finances. If you've had a bad month, or even a bad year or two, it's really easy to let fear take over.</p> <p>Below are five irrational (although they might feel very real for you) money fears and some simple solutions to squash them.</p> <h2>1. I Lost My Job; I'm Never Going to Make It!</h2> <p>Even if you have the most &quot;perfect&quot; job and your boss loves you, there is always a chance that you could lose it. The company could have a bad year and need to lay off staff. They might downsize. Or, maybe they get bought out and decide they don't need you on board.</p> <h3>Squash It</h3> <p>Preparation is key to squashing this money fear, which means preparing <em>before</em> you lose the job. Make sure you button up your emergency fund savings with at least three to six months of your monthly expenses, and keep it in a high-yield savings account (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Online Savings</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360</a>). As the name implies, an emergency fund will help you breeze into temporary unemployment and keep you from having to turn to your credit cards to pay your monthly expenses.</p> <h2>2. My 401K Lost 5%, I'll Never Be Able to Retire!</h2> <p>For those who had money in a 401K during 2008 and 2009, losing just 5% would have seemed like a miracle. Depending on their exposure, retirement investors lost 25%&ndash;30% (or more) of their account values in a really short period of time. Now that's a bad day! A 401K, like any investment, is going to have good times and not-so-good times.</p> <h3>Squash It</h3> <p>The best way to squash this fear of never being able to retire is to commit to a monthly investment amount (called dollar-cost-averaging), rebalance your funds annually, and for heaven's sake, don't look at your account every day. With dollar-cost-averaging you'll be buying some funds during the good days, and some on the not-so-good days &mdash; but the objective is that it evens out and keeps you marching towards your retirement goals.</p> <h2>3. My Spouse-to-Be Makes More Than Me &mdash; It's Not Fair!</h2> <p>Rarely do you find a relationship where both people make exactly the same amount of money. When you pile getting married on top of that all, it can be a real recipe for disaster.</p> <h3>Squash It</h3> <p>Having open communication with your future spouse is key before you get married. Come up with a game plan together about how you will allocate your funds for things like savings, paying off debt, and the goals you are trying to achieve. Another way to squash this fear is to create two separate &quot;fun&quot; funds. In each fund, put the same amount of money each month, so each person can spend their money as they wish with no questions from the other.</p> <h2>4. I've Made Too Many Money Mistakes!</h2> <p>Money mishaps can really keep us from making positive strides in our finances. The truth is everyone has financial setbacks in life, but the key is in how you recover and what steps you take to prevent them from happening again.</p> <h3>Squash It</h3> <p>To get better at anything, you've got to learn from your mistakes, but more importantly, forgive yourself. Take out a piece of paper and write down all of your money mishaps without censoring yourself in the next five minutes. Once you are done, take a look at them all, remember what you've learned, and then tear up the piece of paper. They are in your past.</p> <h2>5. I Won't Be Successful if I Don't Own a House!</h2> <p>Owning a house is the American dream. The problem is not all of us can <em>afford</em> a house, and certainly not a $15 million dollar stunner like you'd see on an episode of the Kardashians.</p> <h3>Squash It</h3> <p>Owning a home is great. However, it isn't for everyone. If you want to own a home, the most important thing you can do is to work with a mortgage broker before you go shopping, find out what you can afford, and then take a serious look at your budget. If you plan on staying put for a few years and the numbers work, then go for it. If not, take this money fear off the table and be happy that if you decided you wanted to move to Berlin tomorrow, you could pack your bag and be on a plane in an hour.</p> <p><em>How do you squash your money fears?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-fears-and-how-to-squash-them">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-6"> <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/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-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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance irrational fears marriage Mistakes owning a home unemployment Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:15:24 +0000 Shannah Game 1598510 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things to Never Do When Sharing Finances http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-to-never-do-when-sharing-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-to-never-do-when-sharing-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_couple_piggybank_000055685026.jpg" alt="Couple learning what no to do when sharing finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting married or moving in together implies that you're ready to share your life and living space with another person. It also usually means sharing finances.</p> <p>Merging your income with your partner's is by far one of the fastest ways to upgrade your lifestyle. If you were struggling to make ends meet on your own, you might finally have a chance to get ahead &mdash; or at least catch up. But while combining your incomes and sharing finances has its benefits, success is all in how you approach the plan.</p> <p>Every couple has to come up with a strategy that works for them. There are no hard-and-fast rules, and a system that works well for one couple might not work for another. To give yourself a fighting chance of striking the right balance, here are six things you should never do when sharing finances.</p> <h2>1. Don't Think an Even Split Is Always the Answer</h2> <p>Some people think a 50/50 split is the most reasonable and simplest way to share finances, like when couples open a joint account and then contribute equal amounts toward their shared expenses. Sounds pretty fair, right? Except 50/50 isn't also an equitable solution, and it really depends on how much you earn in comparison to your partner.</p> <p>An even-split might work if you and your partner earn roughly the same salary. But if one person earns considerably more than the other, an even-split can create an unfair balance, where one has a lot of disposable income, and the other can't keep his or her head above water. Before you can share finances, you have to discuss what's coming in and what's going out (including what each person spends on personal expenses). With everything on the table and all your expenses written down, you might conclude as a couple that a 50/50 split isn't realistic and choose a different approach, perhaps a 60/40 split or another breakdown that works for you.</p> <h2>2. Don't Lie About How Much You Owe</h2> <p>You need to be perfectly honest about how much you owe before sharing finances; this isn't the time to be embarrassed about your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-lessons-women-learn-in-their-30s">credit card debt</a>. Coming up with a system that works requires that both of you are upfront about personal expenses. Sugarcoating your debt and saying you owe less than you actually do can throw off the entire household. And if you're hiding monthly payments, your partner might eventually question where your extra money goes.</p> <p>Furthermore, lying about debt can destroy the financial trust in the relationship. In my opinion this is something that should be discussed when the relationship gets serious &mdash; not just when you've decided to open a joint account. If you're talking engagement, you should also be talking about your financial past &mdash; bottom line. Not the most romantic of subjects, granted, but still necessary.</p> <h2>3. Don't Lie About How Much You Earn</h2> <p>Understating how much you earn can also break the financial trust between you and your partner just like lying about how much you owe. If you're splitting expenses based on your incomes, don't lie and say you earn less than you do to avoid paying your fair share of the expenses. You might be able to get away with this lie for a bit, but your partner will most likely uncover the deceit. The truth will eventually come out if you apply for a mortgage together and have to disclose your accurate income, or if you decide to file a joint tax return down the road.</p> <h2>4. Don't Give One Person Control of the Money</h2> <p>It doesn't matter who's better with money, it's important for both of you to have an active role in managing shared finances. Putting one person in complete control of the money is dangerous and can trigger a financial imbalance. If it's easier for one person to write all the checks, fine. Just make sure you both have an accurate picture of the finances, and no one should be left in the dark. Don't wait until your credit score tanks to question whether your partner is making on-time payments. Both of you need access to the checkbooks and online accounts so you always know what's going on with your money.</p> <h2>5. Don't Forget to Leave a Buffer</h2> <p>Dollar signs probably will pop into your head after moving in together and combining your incomes. But just because you now have a combined household income of $70,000 doesn't mean you should spend $70,000 a year. Whether you're paying your own way or sharing expenses, never live at your max. Instead, think about how you can live off half or 3/4 of your combined income and plan to save the rest. This can help you build a sizable cash cushion for yourselves, and you wouldn't have to worry about living paycheck-to-paycheck.</p> <p>Since money is one of the biggest causes of arguments in a relationship, this strategy can help keep those at bay if both of you are on the same page and committed to your partnership's financial success.</p> <h2>6. Don't Immediately Share Credit Cards</h2> <p>Sharing finances doesn't mean you have to share everything &mdash; at least not immediately. You also need to protect yourself financially. So before applying for a credit card together or adding your partner's name to your credit card, seriously consider his or her shopping habits. When you share a credit card with your partner, you're just as responsible for debt he or she incurs. And if you let your partner borrow your credit card, you're ultimately responsible for any and all charges on this account. Sharing a credit card isn't the worst thing in the world, just make sure you're both willing to take responsibility for the balance, regardless of who charges what.</p> <p><em>Do you have more suggestions on what not to do when sharing finances? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-to-never-do-when-sharing-finances">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-7"> <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/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-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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-before-moving-in-with-someone">What to Do Before Moving in With Someone</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance marriage moving in together relationships sharing finances sharing money splitting bills Fri, 02 Oct 2015 11:00:29 +0000 Mikey Rox 1573086 at http://www.wisebread.com