marriage http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5206/all en-US 5 Difficult Conversations You Have to Have With Your Spouse http://www.wisebread.com/5-difficult-conversations-you-have-to-have-with-your-spouse <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-difficult-conversations-you-have-to-have-with-your-spouse" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-177789354.jpg" alt="couple" title="couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As most people in long-term, committed relationships can tell you, open communication is essential to a successful relationship. The good side to this is that you&#39;ll know what&#39;s going on with your partner and what they&#39;re thinking and feeling. The bad side to this is that those thoughts and feelings aren&#39;t always positive. Even if it&#39;s negative, sometimes it&#39;s just better to get it out in the open, rather than letting it fester. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/happily-ever-after-how-to-stay-married-for-29-years-and-counting?ref=seealso">How to Stay Married for 29+ Years</a>)</p> <p>If you&#39;re feeling that there is something amiss in your relationship, it may be one of these topics. Here are some tips on how to bring them up and have a positive and constructive conversation.</p> <h2>Finances</h2> <p>If you&#39;ve never heard of the term &quot;financial infidelity,&quot; it essentially means lying (or simply never letting on) to your spouse about debt or financial difficulties. Hiding your debt from your spouse can be a quagmire waiting to happen, especially if your job security becomes compromised. Letting them know that you&#39;re in trouble and, most importantly, are trying to work on it (please try to work on it!) may help alleviate stress in your life, as you&#39;re no longer hiding things from your partner. Letting them in on your financial black marks may also help give you a new perspective on how to climb out of debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you?ref=seealso">Which Debt Reduction Strategy Is Best for You?</a>)</p> <p>If you&#39;re on the other side of this, however, and have suspicions that your spouse may be spending more than you two are able to support, you need to sit them down and discuss your concerns before it boils over into a screaming match about the latest new purchase coming in the door.</p> <h2>Your Job Situation</h2> <p>Many couples will try to keep bad things in their lives from their partners as a way of protecting the spouse. When it comes to job security, this is a topic that should be brought up at the first definitive signs that something is about to change.</p> <p>If you&#39;re feeling that a layoff may be inevitable, your spouse deserves to know ahead of time so that you two can begin to put a plan into action that makes sure you&#39;re financially and mentally prepared if it does happen. Telling a partner when it&#39;s too late, especially if you&#39;ve known this was coming, is like pulling the rug out from under them and will only lead to trust issues further down the road. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-things-you-need-to-survive-a-job-loss?ref=seealso">How to Survive a Job Loss</a>)</p> <h2>Kids</h2> <p>Some people were just made to be parents. They love kids, they love being around them all of the time, and they understand that parenting is a sea of ups and downs. Then there are the people that have no patience for children and prefer a lifestyle that is less conducive to raising children.</p> <p>If you&#39;ve become committed to a person that is on one of these sides while you&#39;re on the other, it&#39;s important to bring up your feelings sooner rather than later. Hoping that they&#39;ll eventually come around may leave you waiting for a day that may not come and can leave you feeling bitter and resentful. If their stance is unwavering, then it&#39;s time for you to decide if this relationship is going to leave you feeling fulfilled, or if you need more from life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-it-costs-to-raise-a-child?ref=seealso">What It Costs to Raise a Child</a>)</p> <h2>Appearance or Lifestyle Habits</h2> <p>&quot;Lifestyle habits&quot; is a nice way of saying that your partner has changed their physical appearance in such a way that you&#39;re no longer attracted to them. This is possibly one of the most difficult conversations to have, as you don&#39;t want to hurt their feelings, but you need to let them know that this is not what you signed up for, and that you&#39;re concerned these changes are putting a negative effect on your love life and their health. Try your best to approach this from a place of love and speak calmly, trying to keep anything resembling a judgmental tone out of it. Think about your words and try to use &quot;I&quot; and &quot;me&quot; more than &quot;you&quot; so that your partner does not feel attacked and become defensive.</p> <h2>Intent vs. Impact</h2> <p>In college I worked for an environmental group that had a progressive workplace policy. One of the key points of the policy was to make sure you were aware of what you were saying (intent) and how it affected others (impact).</p> <p>In life there are emotional needs that everyone has, and more importantly, deserves to have. The needs to feel loved, to be safe, and to feel important are reasons why a person will seek out a companion, and they deserve to feel that these needs are being met. If you feel that your emotional needs (impact) are being neglected, either purposefully or accidentally (intent), then you need to make it clear that something is lacking in your relationship. This can be a delicate subject, as your partner may not even be aware that they&#39;re hurting you. Like the Lifestyle Habit conversation, keeping your side of the conversation to &quot;I&quot; and &quot;me&quot; instead of &quot;you&quot; will help your partner understand that you have feelings that are being hurt, rather than directly accusing them of withholding from you.</p> <p><em>Have you had to have one of these challenging conversations? How did you broach the subject?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-difficult-conversations-you-have-to-have-with-your-spouse" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Difficult Conversations You Have to Have With Your Spouse" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/megan-brame">Megan Brame</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family big talk difficult conversation marriage Fri, 24 Jan 2014 10:48:40 +0000 Megan Brame 1115686 at http://www.wisebread.com Say No! 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Get Married if You're in Debt http://www.wisebread.com/say-no-7-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-get-married-if-youre-in-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/say-no-7-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-get-married-if-youre-in-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/finances-dv1054008.jpg" alt="stressed couple" title="stressed couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Few things in life bring as much joy as an impending engagement and marriage. The anticipation, the planning, the celebration &mdash; the promise of marriage &mdash; bring out the very best in friends and family. But for young couples in debt, that promise can be soured by the realities. If marriage is part of your short-term plans, here are seven reasons to avoid tying the knot until you&#39;re both debt-free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/happily-ever-after-how-to-stay-married-for-29-years-and-counting?ref=seealso">How to Stay Married for 29 Years and Counting</a>)</p> <h2>1. Debt Is Stressful</h2> <p>Though the realities of marriage are often clouded by the rosy blush of love, the logistics of partnership can often be a challenge, especially for younger couples. Sharing a space, building relationships with in-laws, and managing new demands on your schedule can be stressful at times. Why add to it by bringing a load of debt into the marriage too?</p> <p>According to the results of a survey conducted by The American Institute of CPAs, <a href="http://www.aicpa.org/press/pressreleases/2012/pages/finances-causing-rifts-for-american-couples.aspx">money is the number one topic that couples fight about</a>. Money conflicts outrank fights about kids, career, household chores &mdash; even sex. With eye-opening insights like this, getting off on the right foot financially is a big step in the right direction.</p> <h2>2. Weddings Are Expensive</h2> <p><a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/life/weddings/2013/06/average_wedding_cost_published_numbers_on_the_price_of_a_wedding_are_totally.single.html">The median price of a wedding in 2012 was $18,086</a>. That means that 50% of couples in the U.S. spent more that $18,086 on their weddings and 50% spent less. Faced with those numbers, being debt-free in all other financial areas, can help couples save for their wedding and avoid tapping a line of credit just to say &quot;I do.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shave-5000-off-your-wedding-expenses?ref=seealso">How to Save $5000 on Your Wedding</a>)</p> <h2>3. Marriage Takes Money</h2> <p>Don&#39;t assume combining households will always be a money-saving move. After the florist is paid, a piece of the wedding cake is frozen, and the thank-you notes sent, your expenses as newlyweds are just beginning. You&#39;ll probably need a larger apartment or want to purchase a starter home, be tempted to buy a few key pieces of new furniture, become more social with other couples, or need another car for separate commutes. And it all takes money. Couples who are in the best position at the start of their marriage realize this beforehand, erase their debt, and are ready to invest in their future from day one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for?ref=seealso">9 Expensive Things New Homeowners Don&rsquo;t Prepare For</a>)</p> <h2>4. Babies Happen</h2> <p>In spite of our best intentions and most meticulous family planning efforts, sometimes babies just happen. And though these new additions to our world are wonderful surprises, they carry a host of new expenses and financial obligations. From diapers to formula and from childcare to clothes, those little bundles of joy cost a bundle, too. Couples who choose to marry only after they are debt-free are much more prepared to handle whatever the world throws (or the stork drops) their way. And as with any partnership, that kind of positive beginning can sometimes make all the difference in the world. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-it-costs-to-raise-a-child?ref=seealso">How Much Does It Cost to Raise a Child?</a>)</p> <h2>5. Debt Can Be a Sign of Deeper Issues</h2> <p>Not all debt is created equal. Some debts are the result of circumstances beyond our control; a sudden job loss, health problems not covered by insurance, and other emergencies can put us in the red in short order. Other debt is strategic and constructive; taking out a loan to invest in property or to get a specialized education to qualify for career advancement usually makes perfect sense.</p> <p>But chronic debt can be an signal of deeper issues like <a href="http://www.debtorsanonymous.org/help/signs.htm">compulsive behavior</a>, lack of fundamental fiscal understanding, or misaligned goals. It&#39;s important to understand how you or your partner&#39;s debt originated, how you each feel about it, and what each of you intends to do about it. Without this basic information, it&#39;s impossible to know if your marriage will be a new beginning or the start of a lifetime of debt servitude and financial struggle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-should-ask-in-the-money-talk?ref=seealso">5 Money Questions That Couples Should Ask</a>)</p> <h2>6. Debt Is Shared</h2> <p>Any debt held before marriage is the responsibility of the individual who incurred it. But since most couples typically combine accounts and share expenses, old debt has a way of draining new budgets almost immediately. Over time, paying down our partner&#39;s debt can build resentment and replace marital bliss with marital stress.</p> <h2>7. Debt Is a Lasso</h2> <p>At the risk of sounding cynical, I have to include this important reality: Sometimes marriages don&#39;t work out. Every couple hopes to defy <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/divorce.htm">divorce rate statistics</a> when they walk down the aisle, but often in spite of their best intentions and efforts, it&#39;s necessary to part ways. Though debt shouldn&#39;t prevent a divorce, it often does. Heavy financial burdens and debt can be a lasso that keeps couples tied together and stuck in unhealthy relationships for years. It sounds starkly pragmatic, but it&#39;s true: Being debt-free before marriage (and working to avoid high-interest consumer debt during marriage), can make transitions like legal separation and divorce much easier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/post-divorce-finances-7-steps-to-rebuilding-your-financial-house?ref=seealso">How to Rebuild Your Financial House After a Divorce</a>)</p> <p>Granted, money might not seem like the most romantic topic, but it&#39;s an essential one for couples to discuss thoroughly. Paying off debt, getting on the same page financially, and establishing clear and common goals for the future can help set you and your significant other up for a lifetime of success. And when you think about it, isn&#39;t that pretty romantic after all?</p> <p><em>Were you in debt when you married? What advice do you have for young couples trying to pay off debt before their big day?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/say-no-7-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-get-married-if-youre-in-debt" class="sharethis-link" title="Say No! 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn&#039;t Get Married if You&#039;re in Debt" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Debt Management debt finance marriage Thu, 12 Dec 2013 10:31:17 +0000 Kentin Waits 1099002 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do Before Moving in With Someone http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-before-moving-in-with-someone <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-before-moving-in-with-someone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-3977705-small.jpg" alt="moving" title="moving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Nobody wants to go into an exciting new situation expecting the worst &mdash; especially when that situation is moving in with someone, whether it&rsquo;s just a new roommate or your significant other. But there are some precautions you can take to ensure that, if one of you ends up moving out earlier than you expect, everyone is financially protected.</p> <h2>1. Make Sure Everyone&rsquo;s Name Is on the Lease</h2> <p>In an article about <a href="http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/03/28/living-together-financial-advice/">protecting your finances when you move in with someone</a> by Business Insider, this is the first suggestion, and for good reason. First of all, as the article notes,</p> <blockquote> <p>In the unfortunate event that you break up with your partner and one of you has to move out, the person whose name is on the lease is in the best position to maintain possession of the space. If both names are on the lease, you each have a close to equal opportunity to remain in the apartment and renew the lease.</p> </blockquote> <p>Conversely, if you&rsquo;re living with someone who decides to move out early and that person is not on the lease, you could be stuck paying his rent and have no legal recourse. If that person is on the lease, though, he&rsquo;s legally required to keep paying rent.</p> <h2>2. Create a Joint Budget</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re just moving in with roommates, this might be something as simple as noting who buys what shared household items when. But if you&rsquo;re moving in with your significant other, this could be part of a much larger conversation about things like life goals, family planning, and even retirement and long-term care options. If you&rsquo;re not sure how to get the discussion started, check out these tips on talking with a loved one:</p> <p align="center"><a href="http://www1.genworth.com/content/lets_talk/united_states/english/how_to_talk_to_your.html"><img width="350" height="290" align="middle" class="&rdquo;ggnoads&rdquo;" alt="Genworth Guide" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/Picture%2017.png" /></a></p> <h2>3. Maintain an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>I once stayed in a relationship partially because I didn&rsquo;t have the money to move out of the house we shared. That&rsquo;s not a valid reason to continue dating someone, but I was stuck because I didn&rsquo;t have an emergency fund. Similarly, if your roommate turns out to be crazy or you discover that your apartment building has an incurable roach problem, you want to have the financial cushion to get yourself out of the situation immediately. The roach thing actually happened to me as well &mdash; but because I had a proper emergency fund at this point, I was able to move out almost immediately.</p> <h2>4. Understand What&rsquo;s Important to the Other Person</h2> <p>We all have our quirks &mdash; but those quirks can come into sharp relief when you move in with someone. Discuss expectations about your living situation &mdash; how often should different areas be cleaned, and who should clean them? Are there quiet hours to be observed? Rules for having visitors over?</p> <h2>5. Understand That the Other Person Might Hate Your Stuff</h2> <p>And you might hate some of theirs. Open up the space for free (respectful) discussion. Find ways to compromise (you get to keep the orange couch if he gets to keep the lamp shaped like a fireman*), keep these items in your personal space, or if you have the option, shop for new items together.</p> <h2>6. Enjoy It</h2> <p>The best cohabitation situations aren&rsquo;t just to save money. While you won&rsquo;t always love having another person around (even if that person is the love of your life), there should be a certain joy to sharing a space with someone, whether it&rsquo;s a roommate or a partner. Have fun!</p> <p><em>What advice do you have for people who are thinking about moving in together?</em></p> <p>* This is a real lamp; I&rsquo;ve seen it.</p> <p><i>This article was made possible by the support and inspiration from&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.genworth.com/">Genworth Financial</a>, a S&amp;P 500 insurance&nbsp;company with more than $100 billion in assets. Check out Genworth's website for other life planning information, such as this <a href="http://www1.genworth.com/content/lets_talk/ri_us/english/home.html">guide to retirement</a>.<br /> </i></p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-before-moving-in-with-someone" class="sharethis-link" title="What to Do Before Moving in With Someone" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Lifestyle marriage moving in together Relationship roommates Mon, 08 Jul 2013 10:36:36 +0000 Meg Favreau 980374 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: The Shoestring Wedding http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-shoestring-wedding <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-shoestring-wedding" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4230638371_2761262e1c_z.jpg" alt="The Shoestring Wedding" title="The Shoestring Wedding" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on having a shoestring wedding, 35 gift ideas under $25, and tips for an organized wallet.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://howsmarriedlife.net/the-shoestring-wedding-cut-down-costs-not-the-celebration">The Shoestring Wedding: Cut Down Costs, Not the Celebration</a> &mdash; Cut down the costs of your wedding by having a ice cream bar in lieu of a cake. [How's Married Life?]</p> <p><a href="http://ptmoney.com/christmas-gift-ideas/">35 Christmas Gift Ideas Under $25</a> &mdash; If you are in need of a Christmas gift idea that's under $25, look into gadget cases or picture frames. [PT Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/organized-wallet-purse/">5 Tips for an Organized Wallet</a> &mdash; Forcing yourself to downsize to a smaller wallet can help you keep your wallet more organized. [Narrow Bridge]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/12/12nov26f.cfm#.ULeqFoWmAb8">Extra Income for Single Moms</a> &mdash; Are you a single mom who needs extra income? If you have writing skills, consider making extra money writing articles. [The Dollar Stretcher]</p> <p><a href="http://retireby40.org/2012/11/fun-ways-money-retirement/">Fun Ways to Make Money in Retirement</a> &mdash; To have fun and make money in retirement, consider becoming a tour guide. [Retire by 40]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Extend-Time-Between-Dry-Cleaning-26103843">Experts Share Two Ways To Save On Dry Cleaning</a> &mdash; To save money on dry cleaning, try to DIY! [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2012/11/24/why-we-buy-the-science-of-shopping-2/">Why we buy: The science of shopping</a> &mdash; If you want to buy less when you shop, don't try samples. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/7-simple-tips-to-preserve-your-kids-childhood">7 Simple Tips to Preserve Your Kid's Childhood</a> &mdash; In order to preserve your kid's childhood, organize your photos often. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/facebook-texting-increases-risk-identity-theft">Facebook,, Texting Increases Your Chances of Identity Theft: Here's What to Do</a> &mdash; Protect your identity when using Facebook and texting by changing your passwords frequently. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2012/11/best-practices-for-new-p2p-lending-investors.html">Best Practices for New P2P Lending Investors</a> &mdash; Before investors start investing in P2P lending, they should consider diversification. [Free Money Finance]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-shoestring-wedding" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: The Shoestring Wedding" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living best money tips marriage shoestring wedding Fri, 30 Nov 2012 10:48:33 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 959537 at http://www.wisebread.com The Comprehensive Guide to Changing Your Name After Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/the-comprehensive-guide-to-changing-your-name-after-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-comprehensive-guide-to-changing-your-name-after-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bridgroom.jpg" alt="Just-married couple" title="Just-married couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I confess &mdash; this article is actually for my own benefit. I recently got married, and I&rsquo;m now in the process of changing my name. I say &ldquo;process&rdquo; because changing your name truly is a multi-step procedure: waiting in lines, copying documents, filling out forms, and paying fees here and there. Hopefully, however, there are some of you dear Wise Bread readers who are heading down the aisle as well, and this article will have some useful information for you too. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/create-your-first-shared-budget-without-blowing-up-your-relationship">Create Your First Shared Budget Without Blowing Up Your Relationship</a>)</p> <h2>First, Get a Copy of Your Marriage License</h2> <p>Before you get started, you&rsquo;ll need an original copy of your marriage license. This is your proof to all agencies where you&rsquo;re seeking to change your name that you are legally married. You and your betrothed presumably appeared together at a Recorder of Deeds&rsquo; (or analogous administrative body&rsquo;s) office in the state where you were married and applied for a marriage license. After the ceremony, the license is signed and mailed back to the Recorder of Deeds, where it is recorded and mailed to you, provided you have paid all fees. If your license was not returned to the Recorder within the required time period, you may be required to return to the office with your spouse to sign an affidavit certifying your marriage. Unfortunately, procedures vary from state to state (and even between counties), so if you have any issues, you should start by inquiring with the county in which you originally obtained the license. You could also check out the CDC&rsquo;s helpful page on <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm">where to write for vital records</a>.</p> <h2>The Things You&rsquo;ll Need to Change</h2> <p>As I mentioned above, there are <em>a lot</em> of places where you&rsquo;ll need to change your name. I&rsquo;ve broken these down into three main categories: identification records, financial records, and online accounts. This is also the general order you&rsquo;ll want to follow in changing your name &mdash; you&rsquo;ll need a new social security card to obtain a new driver&rsquo;s license, which you&rsquo;ll need to change your name on your bank accounts, etc. Many of these can be done out of order, though.</p> <p><strong>Identification Records</strong></p> <p>Your identification records are those things you generally need to identify yourself in order to sign a lease, open a bank account, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/guide-to-buying-a-used-car-without-going-crazy">buy a car</a> &mdash; you get the picture. Like I said above, it&rsquo;s easiest to change your name on your various ID records before forging ahead into the name-change process elsewhere.</p> <p><strong>Social Security Card</strong></p> <p>Check out a clear, three-step guide to changing your name on your social security card <a href="http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/315">here</a>. It&rsquo;s actually a relatively quick process (it was for me, anyway &mdash; good luck to you). You&rsquo;ll need these things:</p> <ol> <li>Evidence of your name change (an original or certified copy of your marriage license)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Evidence of your age (birth certificate, passport, religious record established before age five showing your age or date of birth, or final adoption decree)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Evidence of your identity (passport, driver&rsquo;s license or government-issued ID card)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Evidence of citizenship (birth certificate or passport) or immigration status (current document issued to you by the Department of Homeland Security)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Completed <a href="http://www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ss-5.pdf">social security form SS-5</a> (PDF)</li> </ol> <p>Notice that if you have a passport, that serves as documentation for three categories (age, identity, and citizenship), so you&rsquo;d only need your marriage license and the SS-5 form in addition. Take the documentation to your <a href="https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/FOLO/fo001.jsp">local social security administration office</a>, or mail the form and required documents to the local office and wait for a new social security card to be mailed to you. They say all documents will be returned to you, but I&rsquo;m a bit skeptical about sending sensitive personal data by mail.</p> <p><strong>Driver&rsquo;s License</strong></p> <p>Unlike social security cards, which are federally issued documents, driver&rsquo;s licenses are issued by your state, so the procedure for changing your name varies depending on what state you&rsquo;re in. Start by finding your state&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.dmvnv.com/50_state_dmv_list.html">department of motor vehicles website</a>, then searching for &ldquo;driver&rsquo;s license name change&rdquo; to find the page describing what documents you&rsquo;ll need to bring with you and which form you&rsquo;ll need to fill out. Notice that the procedure is somewhat different if your old license is set to expire within six months anyway.</p> <p>In my lovely state of Pennsylvania, I&rsquo;ll need to fill out a <a href="http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/dl_forms/dl-80.pdf">form DL-80</a> (PDF, non-commercial driver&rsquo;s license application for change/correction/replacement) and bring $13.50 in check or money order as well as an original or certified copy of my marriage certificate. I can either mail the documentation to a centralized bureau of licensing location or spend a delightful morning whiling away the hours at my local DMV.</p> <p><strong>Vehicle Registration</strong></p> <p>Having fun yet? Driver&rsquo;s license and registration goes together just like peas and carrots. While you&rsquo;re searching your state&rsquo;s DMV website for information on how to change your name on your driver&rsquo;s license, don&rsquo;t forget your vehicle registration and title&nbsp;as well. In Pennsylvania, this requires the form <a href="http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/mv_forms/mv-41a.pdf">MV-41A</a> (PDF, application for correction or name change), $22.50 in check or money order, and a marriage certificate. Like the driver&rsquo;s license, I have the option of mailing my info or skipping on down to the DMV office.</p> <p><strong>Passport</strong></p> <p>Do you <em>have</em> to change your name on your passport? Not really, unless you&rsquo;re planning on going out of the country sometime soon, but it&rsquo;s a good idea to do it anyway &mdash; it can take up to six weeks or more from the time your application is received to when your new passport is issued. If you think your international travel in the foreseeable future will be limited to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda, you might just want to apply for a less-expensive <a href="http://travel.state.gov/pdf/ppt_pptCard.pdf">passport card</a> (PDF).</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re like me and in need of a new, regular adult passport, start by checking out the steps listed on the <a href="http://travel.state.gov/passport/correcting/ChangeName/ChangeName_851.html">State Department&rsquo;s website</a>. You&rsquo;ll need to mail your old passport, a completed <a href="http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds82/ds82_843.html">form DS-82</a>, applicable &ldquo;renewal&rdquo; fees ($110 for an adult passport), and a recent color photo that meets <a href="http://travel.state.gov/passport/pptphotoreq/pptphotoreq_5333.html">required specifications</a> to the address listed on the form DS-82. Note that there are different steps you&rsquo;ll need to follow if you&rsquo;re a <a href="http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_830.html">first-time applicant</a>. Also, if your passport was issued less than a year earlier, you don&rsquo;t have to pay renewal fees!</p> <p>If leery of sending off your original copy of your marriage license, you can obtain another certified copy by checking with the administrative body (usually Recorder of Deeds) in the county where you obtained your original license. The fee for certified copies varies, but it is less expensive than obtaining the original license. For example, in the county where Husband and I were married, the original license was about $60, while copies are only $9. If you were married in a different county or state from your permanent residence, fear not: the copies can be mailed to you.</p> <h2>Financial Records</h2> <p>Changing your name on your financial records will not automatically add your spouse as a joint account holder, beneficiary, or registered user on your accounts. <em>That</em>, of course, is a whole different can of worms. After exhaustively researching for this article and finding the entire name-changing process overwhelming, I suggest leaving the combining of finances for a different time.</p> <p><strong>IRS Records (Taxes)</strong></p> <p>Remember when you changed your name with the Social Security Administration by filling out the SS-5 form? That also took care of your name change with the IRS. See? <a href="http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=253214,00.html">This site</a> says so. Whew! For those in favor of preventative measures, you could also fill out a change of address <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8822.pdf">Form 8822</a> (PDF) with your new last name. No judgment here &mdash; I&rsquo;m planning on filling one out myself. Lastly, there&rsquo;s no need to stress about whether you&rsquo;ll file a joint tax return until tax time next year (although word is the majority of couples <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/brm/itax/news/20040310a1.asp">benefit from filing jointly</a>).</p> <p><strong>Other Financial Records</strong></p> <p>Here is a list of a few other financial records you should keep in mind when changing your name. For each of these, you&rsquo;ll want to make a list of where you have accounts and what the account numbers are. Then, just get to calling!</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates">Bank accounts</a></li> <li>Credit cards</li> <li>Loans <ul> <li>Car loan</li> <li>Mortgage</li> <li>Personal loans</li> </ul> </li> <li>Investments <ul> <li>401(K)</li> <li>IRA</li> </ul> </li> <li>Insurance companies (health, life, renter&rsquo;s, homeowners)</li> <li>Work records and benefits</li> <li>Doctors (primary care doctors, specialists, dentists)</li> <li>Utilities</li> <li>Phone company</li> <li>Cable and Internet provider</li> <li><a href="https://moversguide.usps.com/icoa/icoa-main-flow.do?execution=e2s1"><font color="#0000ff">Postal Service</font></a> (if you&rsquo;re moving to a new residence with your spouse)</li> </ul> <h2>Online</h2> <p>Changing your online records isn&rsquo;t vital, but it may be something you want to do for consistency&rsquo;s sake. Below is a list of just some of the most popular sites where you might have an account with quick links to articles that explain how to change your name.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://ustandout.com/networking/change-facebook-name-after-getting-married">Facebook</a></li> <li><a href="http://learn.linkedin.com/settings/">LinkedIn</a></li> <li><a href="https://support.twitter.com/articles/14609-how-to-change-your-username">Twitter</a></li> <li>Email: notice that your e-mail consists of your actual e-mail address (<a href="mailto:me@gmail.com">me@gmail.com</a>) and your display name (From: Bob Thomas). In all free e-mail providers, I&rsquo;ve found that you can change your display name, but not your actual e-mail address. If you&rsquo;re looking to change your e-mail address to something including your new last name, you&rsquo;ll need to go through the whole process of setting up a new account, transferring your contacts, and forwarding your mail (yuck). <ul> <li><a href="http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&amp;answer=8158">Gmail</a></li> <li><a href="http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_change_my_hotmail_name_or_address.html">Hotmail</a></li> <li><a href="http://help.yahoo.com/kb/index?locale=en_US&amp;page=content&amp;y=PROD_ACCT&amp;id=SLN2059&amp;impressions=false">Yahoo</a></li> </ul> </li> </ul> <h2>Helper Sites</h2> <p>Overwhelmed from just reading this article? I don&rsquo;t blame you. If you&rsquo;re looking for some help in the labyrinth of changing names, check out sites such as <a href="https://www.missnowmrs.com/default.aspx">MsNowMrs.com</a> or <a href="http://www.namechangeexpress.com/">NameChangeExpress.com</a>, both of which charge $29.95 and claim to aggregate all of the information you&rsquo;ll need to make the name change process easier.</p> <h2>But Wait: Should You Change Your Name at All?</h2> <p>Maybe you&rsquo;re established in your career; maybe your last name has important significance to you and you don&rsquo;t want to lose it; maybe you&rsquo;ve just read through the steps required to change your name and realized it&rsquo;s not worth the effort. Whatever the reason (and they are all valid reasons), some people decide not to go through with the name change after marriage. If you&rsquo;re just not convinced the name change is for you, explore the other possibilities in this Kiplinger Magazine article, <a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/columns/starting/archive/5-choices-for-changing-your-name-after-marriage.html">5 Choices for Changing Your Name</a>.</p> <p><em>Are you changing your name soon, have you done it recently, or do you know someone going through the process? Share your thoughts and advice in the comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-comprehensive-guide-to-changing-your-name-after-marriage" class="sharethis-link" title="The Comprehensive Guide to Changing Your Name After Marriage" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janey-osterlind">Janey Osterlind</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks IRS marriage Fri, 20 Jul 2012 09:48:19 +0000 Janey Osterlind 936372 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Unique Ways to Cut Wedding Costs http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-unique-ways-to-cut-wedding-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-unique-ways-to-cut-wedding-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1847633807_8fb95ce424_z-1.jpg" alt="Unique Ways to Cut Wedding Costs" title="Unique Ways to Cut Wedding Costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on unique ways to cut wedding costs, beating the latest airline fees, and organizing your workday.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://money.msn.com/frugal-living/post.aspx?_p=cf8298a7-2b02-4210-b30c-7c20cc51de44&amp;ref=bfv&amp;post=2ebc2634-1bb9-4ac4-94c7-246a4b0832e3">Unique ways to cut wedding costs</a> &mdash; To reduce your wedding costs, take advantage of daily deals sites. [MSN Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2012/07/03/6-ways-to-beat-the-latest-airline-fees/">6 Ways to Beat the Latest Airline Fees</a> &mdash; Beat the latest airline fees by opting to pay a little extra for more seat width instead of paying for business or first class. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Tips-Organizing-Your-Workday-3569039">How-To: Organize Your Workday</a> &mdash; Organize your workday by prioritizing your to do list. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/buy-bulk.html">Should You Buy That In Bulk?</a> &mdash; Avoid buying olive oil in bulk but feel free to stock up on canned goods. [Bargaineering]</p> <p><a href="http://kiplinger.com/magazine/archives/6-things-to-know-about-credit-scores.html?si=1">6 Things to Know About Credit Scores</a> &mdash; Did you know that there is no single number when it comes to your credit score? Different lenders produce different scores. [Kiplinger]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/local-farmers-market-shopping/">10 Tips for Shopping at Local Farmers' Markets</a> &mdash; When shopping at local farmers' markets, remember to try something new! [Money Crashers]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2012/07/how-do-financial-advisors-earn-their-fee.html">How Do Financial Advisors Earn Their Fee?</a> &mdash; Financial advisors add value to your portfolio by lowering your expense ratios. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/5-easy-ways-to-make-yourself-contribute-to-your-savings/">5 Easy Ways to Make Yourself Contribute to Your Savings</a> &mdash; To make yourself contribute to your savings, start thinking long term. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/6-ways-to-keep-your-cool-during-hard-times">6 Ways to Keep Your Cool During Hard Times</a> &mdash; To keep your cool during hard times, surround yourself with people. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/07/06/10-things-to-tell-yourself-today/">10 Things to Tell Yourself Today</a> &mdash; Today, tell yourself that you are focusing on the next positive step. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-unique-ways-to-cut-wedding-costs" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Unique Ways to Cut Wedding Costs" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle best money tips marriage wedding Mon, 09 Jul 2012 10:00:09 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 939802 at http://www.wisebread.com Create Your First Shared Budget Without Blowing Up Your Relationship http://www.wisebread.com/create-your-first-shared-budget-without-blowing-up-your-relationship <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/create-your-first-shared-budget-without-blowing-up-your-relationship" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7450127122_7fdaa24c07_z_0.jpg" alt="couple sharing" title="couple sharing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sharing is hard.</p> <p>When I was growing up, my parents would often only buy a single toy for me and my two brothers. That forced us to do something that we found very difficult &mdash; share. In my early 20's, my wife and I got married, and I was quickly thankful that my parents forced my brothers and I to share, because marriage involves a lot of sharing.</p> <p>Sharing doesn't come naturally. Sharing money is especially hard. Here are five steps for creating your first shared budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-perks-of-marriage">10 Financial Perks of Marriage</a>)</p> <h3>1. Determine Your Net Spendable Income</h3> <p>Your <a href="http://www.crown.org/Tools/Calculators/Budgeting_SpendingPlan.asp">net spendable income</a> is how much money you bring home each month after all taxes have been removed.</p> <p>Your first budgeting task is to determine how big the financial pie is that you'll be sharing. Both partners will need to be completely open about income and fixed financial obligations (like alimony). It's going to be impossible to create a successful budget until you have a sense of your spending limit.</p> <h3>2. Hoard Financial Paperwork for a Month</h3> <p>While there are faster ways to <a href="http://www.moneyhelpforchristians.com/how-to-make-your-first-budget/">set up your first budget</a>, the most effective method is to slowly start getting all your paperwork in one place, so that you'll be ready to put together an actual budget. For an entire month, both partners should keep every receipt they get. If it's not easy to remember what you bought, then just write the item on the top of your receipt. Purchase a small notebook, and if you buy anything for which you don't get a receipt, write it in the book.</p> <p>Designate a single place in the house where you'll conveniently keep the receipts.</p> <p>During that month, get the totals for some of the bills you regularly pay. If it's something like power bills, try and get at least the last three statements, so you can have a fair idea of how much you pay.</p> <h3>3. Track Your Spending Using a Budgeting System</h3> <p>Most folks prefer to use budgeting software or a <a href="http://www.moneyhelpforchristians.com/best-personal-finance-software-2010/">budgeting program</a>, as they require the least amount of work. Some of the most popular software includes <a href="http://www.youneedabudget.com/">You Need a Budget</a>, <a href="http://moneydance.com/">Moneydance</a>, <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint</a>, <a href="http://quicken.intuit.com/">Quicken</a>, or any number of budgeting apps.</p> <p>If you'd rather set up an Excel spreadsheet or track things on paper, that's fine too.</p> <p>As you're collecting your receipts, take some time at least once a week to enter all your purchases into your budgeting program.</p> <h3>4. Set a Budget</h3> <p>It's not the most romantic thing you'll do, but you need to set aside a few hours one evening to evaluate your spending for the month and determine how much money you should budget for each category.</p> <p>This is where things can get sticky for some couples. One partner may want more money for decorations, and the other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">more money for a hobby</a>.</p> <p>Give priority to the items that you both agree are necessary expenses &mdash; things like housing, electricity, vehicles&hellip; Once those items are in place, you'll need to find a fair system for alternating <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refactor-your-budget-categories">how much you budget in categories</a> of personal preference. It seems fair that both spouses should be willing to sacrifice some of their wants for the other for peace in the relationship. When you learn to share, you'll be sure that your budget fits within the cap of your net spendable income.</p> <h3>5. Maintain the Budget in Small Time-Blocks</h3> <p>Take 2-3 minutes every day to enter your expenses. I've always found that when I budget in these <a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/scheduling-time-blocks.html">mini blocks of time</a>, it is easier then trying to find a few hours in the month. Both partners ought to be clear about their responsibilities. (Who enters the expenses? Who pays the bills?) At least once a month, both of you should look over the budget to see how your actual spending compares to your budget. If you're <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less">spending more than you earn</a>, it's time to take the red ink and start cutting out those unnecessary expenses.</p> <p><em>What tips do you have for creating a first shared budget?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/create-your-first-shared-budget-without-blowing-up-your-relationship" class="sharethis-link" title="Create Your First Shared Budget Without Blowing Up Your Relationship" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craig-ford">Craig Ford</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting first budget marriage sharing Tue, 03 Jul 2012 10:00:14 +0000 Craig Ford 938118 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Money Questions to Consider Before Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-money-questions-to-consider-before-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-money-questions-to-consider-before-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3341511759_89ed488dbf_z-1.jpg" alt="Money Questions to Consider Before Marriage" title="Money Questions to Consider Before Marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on money questions to consider before marriage, Memorial Day discounts, and expenses you won't have in retirement.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thecentsiblelife.com/2012/05/50-money-questions-to-consider-before-marriage/">50 Money Questions to Consider Before Marriage</a> &mdash; Before you get married, discuss debt and health insurance with your future spouse. [The Centsible Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Memorial-Day-Discounts-2012-23247641">16 Memorial Day Discounts To Look Out For</a> &mdash; This Memorial Day, don't miss Nordstrom's half yearly sale. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2012/05/five-expenses-you-wont-have-in-retirement.html">Five Expenses You Won't Have in Retirement</a> &mdash; When you retire, you will be paying less in taxes and won't need to support your kids. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2012/05/21/how-to-change-your-spending-habits/">How to Change Your Spending Habits</a> &mdash; To change your spending habits, start by first identifying your habits. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/learn-to-live-fully-3-ways-how/">Learn to Live Fully: 3 Ways How</a> &mdash; Live fully by asking great questions so you are reminded of the things that are important to you. [PickTheBrain]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://deliverawaydebt.com/debt/build-relationships-while-eliminating-debt/">Build Relationships While Eliminating Debt</a> &mdash; To build relationships while eliminating debt, take time to volunteer! [Deliver Away Debt]</p> <p><a href="http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/tricks-used-to-get-you-to-spend-your-money/">Tricks Used to Get You to Spend Your Money</a> &mdash; Don't let the feeling of urgency make you spend your money. [Good Financial Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stepawayfromthemall.com/the-fine-line-between-being-generous-and-an-idiot/">The Fine Line Between Being Generous and An Idiot</a> &mdash; Make sure you don't cross the line between being generous and being an idiot by setting a generousity budget. [Step Away From The Mall]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2012/05/24/nine-great-ways-to-blow-your-wedding-budget/">Nine Great Ways to Blow Your Wedding Budget</a> &mdash; Want to spend a ton of money on your wedding? Have a completely open bar. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/prosquad-summer-bedtimes-and-parenting-adopted-children">ProSquad: Summer Bedtimes and Parenting Adopted Children</a> &mdash; During the summer, bring your kids inside an hour before bedtime so they have a chance to unwind. [Parenting Squad]</p> <h2>News &amp; Events</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news/2012/04/money-crashers-tweetchat-mcchat-5">Money Crashers Tweetchat (#MCchat)</a> &mdash; Don't miss Money Crashers weekly #MCchat at 1pm PST! They will be giving away prizes!</p> <p>Be sure to check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news">News &amp; Events Calendar</a> to see all the awesome upcoming events in the personal finance world!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-money-questions-to-consider-before-marriage" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Money Questions to Consider Before Marriage" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle best money tips marriage Fri, 25 May 2012 10:00:16 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 930155 at http://www.wisebread.com Can a Failed Marriage Lead to Business Failure? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/can-a-failed-marriage-lead-to-business-failure <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/can-a-failed-marriage-lead-to-business-failure-barbara-weltman" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/can-a-failed-marriage...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/can-a-failed-marriage-lead-to-business-failure" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009683593Small.jpg" alt="Taking off the wedding ring" title="Taking off the wedding ring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/can-a-failed-marriage-lead-to-business-failure" class="sharethis-link" title="Can a Failed Marriage Lead to Business Failure?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>The <a href="http://www.divorcerate.org/">divorce rates</a> in the U.S. show that between 41 and 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce. The rate rises to 60 to 67 percent for second marriages, and to 73 to 74 percent for third marriages. With the odds stacked against you, have you thought about what would happen to your business if you became one-half of a grim marital statistic?</p> <h3>Consequences of No Planning</h3> <p>When a spouse owns a business or an interest in one, that interest is an asset that becomes part of the marital dissolution process. A variety of results can ensue.</p> <p>Couples can amicably agree that the spouse continues to own the business. Usually, the other spouse receives assets of comparable value &mdash; the couple&rsquo;s house, securities, or an interest in the business owner&rsquo;s retirement plans. Where the business interest is very valuable compared with the couple&rsquo;s other assets, it can be challenging to provide compensating assets to the non-business spouse without leaving the business-spouse penniless except for the business interest.</p> <p>Where couples cannot agree on how to allocate the assets of the marriage, it&rsquo;s up to state law. The allocation of other assets to the spouse who&rsquo;s not in business depends on where the couple lives:</p> <ul type="disc"> <li>Community property rules in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin usually award half of community property assets to each spouse, but the couple can agree to an alternative allocation;</li> <li>Marital distribution rules in all other states usually allow the court to allocate assets between the spouses; it may be half or some other division at the discretion of the judge;</li> </ul> <p><b>Tax results.</b> When there is a property settlement incident to divorce, no immediate tax consequences result. However, the potential for a future tax burden should be taken into account.</p> <p>For example, say a wife who owns a business that&rsquo;s now valued at $1 million started it a number of years ago for $25,000. Her husband is an employee at another company and does not own a business. The couple has a home worth $1 million that they bought for $750,000. If the wife keeps her business interest and the husband gets the home, she faces a potential capital gain of $975,000 ($1,000,000 - $25,000); at a 15% rate, this would effectively bring the value of the asset (the business) down to $853,750 ($1,000,000 - $146,250 tax on potential gain). In contrast, the husband could sell the home and, because of the home sale exclusion rule, pay <i>no </i>capital gains tax; his $1 million asset is really a full $1 million after tax.</p> <p>Attorney&rsquo;s fees in a divorce action usually are not tax deductible, even if they involve a spouse&rsquo;s business interest.</p> <h3>Special Concerns for Husband-Wife Businesses</h3> <p>There are many successful husband-wife businesses in the U.S. today, including Cisco and Flickr. But if the marriage fails, the question of business ownership is more complicated than just a financial resolution.Will both spouses stay on with management participation in the company? Will one spouse buy out the interest of the other? The answers depend on the couple&rsquo;s situation.</p> <p>Those with an amicable divorce and who continue to get along may want to remain with the business. Where the parties can no longer see eye to eye, it may be preferable for only one spouse to remain active in the business; the other spouse can continue to have an ownership interest as a &ldquo;silent partner&rdquo; or separate from the company entirely.</p> <h3>Planning Ahead</h3> <p>The best course of action for a business owner planning to marry is to have a prenuptial agreement specifying that the business interest will remain with the spouse-to-be who created it in the event that the marriage fails. The agreement may or may not provide some allocation of other assets to the non-business spouse-to-be.</p> <p>If a business is created during the course of a marriage and the couple does not have a prenuptial agreement (a pre-marital contract), they can create a post-nuptial agreement. This is simply a contract created during the marriage between the spouses describing what happens to the business interest if the marriage fails.</p> <p>If the couple co-owns a business, the couple should have a buy-sell agreement between them. The agreement spells out what happens to their ownership interests in case of divorce.</p> <p>Learn more about prenups at <a href="http://www.prenuptialagreements.org/">Prenuptial agreements.org</a> and about post-nups at the <a href="http://www.equalityinmarriage.org/dmpost.html">Equity in Marriage Institute</a>.</p> <h3>Bottom Line</h3> <p>It is essential for a business owner to discuss his or her situation with a knowledgeable attorney who can make sure that the business interest is protected in case of a marital dissolution. Each spouse should be represented by his and her attorney when crafting a pre- or post-nuptial agreement and/or buy-sell agreement. The best time to plan for the worst case scenario is when the spouses are on good terms and believe their union will last until death do them part.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/barbara-weltman">Barbara Weltman</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center business ownership divorce marriage small business tax liability Sat, 02 Apr 2011 18:27:46 +0000 Barbara Weltman 510390 at http://www.wisebread.com Working with a Spouse: What Small Business Owners Need to Know http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/working-with-a-spouse-what-small-business-owners-need-to-know <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/working-with-a-spouse-what-sbos-need-to-know-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/working-with-a-spouse...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/working-with-a-spouse-what-small-business-owners-need-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000002369512XSmall.jpg" alt="Business couple" title="Business couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="191" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/working-with-a-spouse-what-small-business-owners-need-to-know" class="sharethis-link" title="Working with a Spouse: What Small Business Owners Need to Know" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>It's easy to say that you'd like to work with your spouse &mdash; that you'd like to spend more time with someone who is such an important part of your life &mdash; but the reality of spending both your time working and your time away from your business with the same person may be very different. There is no consistent best way to build a business that both you and your spouse will enjoy working in, but there are some common threads you might notice when talking to couples who have successfully built businesses together.</p> <p><strong>Should You Separate the Personal and Professional?</strong></p> <p>When Jonathan Mead's coaching business, <a href="http://www.illuminatedmind.net">Illuminated Mind</a>, grew to the point where the responsibilities became too stressful, his wife, Ev'Yan, got involved. &quot;We really started working together because I was stressed out with the amount of responsibilities I was taking on and couldn't focus on the work that made a difference in our business. Ev'Yan had been working in the background on various things for a while, but it was at this crossroads that she took on an official role to relieve me of some of the operations of Illuminated Mind.&quot;</p> <p>While some couples have found that they need to set up their work so that there's a separation between their working relationship and their personal relationship, the Meads have taken a different approach: &quot;We deliberately choose to not separate the two relationships; we actually don't see them as separate at all. We talked about this a lot when we made the decision to join forces officially and found that it would get in the way if we tried to create specific roles and boundaries. The more we moved in that direction the more our lives felt compartmentalized and stifled. We'd rather not be able to tell the difference and leave praying to the gods of balance for others to worry about,&quot; says Jonathan. &quot;It means that we get to spend a lot more time together! We both love that. More than anything we cherish the intimacy we experience from being deeply embedded in the dreams and creations we dedicate ourselves to. The intertwining of our lives in this way helps us stay close to each other.&quot;</p> <p><strong>How Should You Handle Potential Problems?</strong></p> <p>Managing dual personal and professional relationships is not always a perfect process. Jonathan points out, &quot;Occasionally we have different visions for the way a project should be developed, and sometimes we have miscommunications about the way a certain situation should be handled. In those times it can be hard not to blame the other person or try to impose your view. So we take a step back and look at where the misunderstanding happened and how we can make things clearer. Sometimes it's just a matter of voicing our concerns; other times we find that the processes we outline need to be defined more clearly.&quot;</p> <p>Communication is one of the keys to being able to work with your spouse or significant other. Starting a business is not a simple proposition, and adding the question of personal relationships to the matter can create complexities. Different couples handle the process differently &mdash; sometimes clearly outlining duties and responsibilities, sometimes taking a more holistic view. For some couples, one person has to be in charge in the office, but for others, each person has to have a fair say in each decision. To avoid problems, it's important to hash these matters out before an issue can rear its head. Don't be surprised if you have to keep revisiting your approach, either: Businesses and families both may grow, requiring shifts in how you handle things.</p> <p><strong>How Do You Balance Your Interests?</strong></p> <p>Just because one member of a couple has an interest in something is no guarantee that the other half will be quite so thrilled. With good working partnerships, there may or may not be overlap between your interests, and setting up businesses together may not be as simple as you'd hoped. But there are other options for launching a joint project. Hope Katz Gibbs runs a public relations company, <a href="http://www.inkandescentpr.com/">Inkandescent PR</a>, while Michael Gibbs, her husband, is <a href="http://www.michaelgibbs.com/">an illustrator</a>. The two businesses often work jointly, but they are clearly separate. &quot;Over the years we've collaborated on dozens of projects, and it's always fun to explore the creative aspects of our personalities through our work. When I launched Inkandescent Public Relations in 2008, there was no one else I trusted more to create the logo and design for my website &mdash; and that of my clients,&quot; says Hope. &quot;We have separate offices, separate phone lines, and separate checking accounts; and we pay each other for the work we do for the other's company. And while we discuss finances, budgets, and business issues together &mdash; we leave it to the other person to make all final decisions. These business boundaries are mission critical, for they show a mutual respect.&quot;</p> <p>Just like any other arrangement there are potential issues, as Hope points out. &quot;We struggle most when we've got competing deadlines. And being that we're both in deadline-driven businesses, it happens all the time. The good news is that having been married &mdash; and working together from home &mdash; for nearly 16 years, we now see it coming. Instead of it becoming a situation of 'my deadline is more important than yours, and if you love me you'll let me work,' he'll make me laugh when he announces that he has a deadline at five on the same day I have an important client meeting, and Dylan has an orchestra concert and needs to stay after school, and Anna forgot her homework that she needs delivered now and then needs a ride to yoga class at four, and oh, there's nothing left in the refrigerator for dinner.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business">Small Business Resource Center articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center business partnership marriage small business Sat, 22 Jan 2011 18:06:24 +0000 Thursday Bram 457458 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Financial Perks of Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-perks-of-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-financial-perks-of-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/99127128_7059dacbf5_z.jpg" alt="wedding" title="wedding" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you heard the stories about how finances are one of the leading causes of divorce? What exactly are people arguing about? Being married actually has some pretty good financial perks!</p> <p>I don't mean to downplay the financial challenges of married life. We've had our share of heated discussions over money; but there are some definite benefits to pooling together your resources in marriage. Here are ten ways that you and your spouse are hooking each other up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-planning-a-last-minute-wedding" title="8 Tips for Planning a Last-Minute Wedding">8 Tips for Planning a Last-Minute Wedding</a>)</p> <h3>1. Employer benefit options</h3> <p>If you're both working, you have access to each other's employee benefit plans. You can mix and match between the two to pick the best fit for your family. If one spouse loses their job, they can fall back on the other's benefits. If only one spouse is working, then the obvious benefit is that the non-working spouse has access to benefits.</p> <h3>2. Multi-car auto insurance discount</h3> <p>As a married couple, you have the added benefit of being able to add multiple cars to one insurance policy. This multi-car discount can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tips-to-save-on-car-insurance">save money on car insurance</a>.</p> <h3>3. One rent/mortgage payment</h3> <p>For those who live separately before getting married, the notion of combining homes or apartments is one of the best financial perks of marriage. By consolidating to a single mortgage or rent payment you can save hundreds of dollars each month.</p> <h3>4. One utility bill</h3> <p>Similar to making only one rent or mortgage payment, married couples enjoy the added advantage of having to only make a single payment for their utility bill. When you take away a whole set of water, gas, electric, and trash bills you'll definitely save money each month.</p> <h3>5. One insurance bill</h3> <p>See a pattern here? Consolidating to one set of bills can really make a difference. Not only are you getting rid of an insurance bill, now you're covering all the same stuff with only one deductible instead of two.</p> <h3>6. One set of furniture/appliances</h3> <p>When married couples move in together, they often downsize their furniture and appliances to only one set. Not only does this mean less to take care of and maintain, you can also make decent money by selling your furniture and appliances.</p> <h3>7. Fewer property taxes</h3> <p>This one only applies if you owned a house or apartment before getting married. Since marriage usually means moving in together, you only have to pay property taxes on a single property instead of two.</p> <h3>8. One tax return</h3> <p>Filing your taxes can cost a chunk of change if you hire an accountant. If you file jointly, suddenly you have one tax prep bill instead of two. It won't save you as much if you're just using tax prep software, but it still saves you at least an e-file.</p> <h3>9. More valuable rewards points</h3> <p>If you use a rewards credit card with a tiered reward structure, having both spouses using the same account can boost you into the higher tier of rewards more quickly. For example, we use the <a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/why-i-love-my-american-express-blue-cash-card/">Blue Cash card</a> where the higher tier means 5% cash back instead of 1% &mdash; a big difference.</p> <h3>10. Spending accountability</h3> <p>While everyone likes to splurge on purchases every once in a while, doing so too often can put a big dent in your bank account. If you know your spouse is going to see a big charge on your card or debit from your bank account you may be less likely to spend money on something you don't really need.</p> <p>It's not just the fear of being quizzed by your spouse about a big bill that keeps you honest with your money. Having to share the same financial resources means you're more likely to discuss spending ahead of time and make shared decisions. That other voice of reason can sometimes help save you from bad money choices.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-perks-of-marriage" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Financial Perks of Marriage" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ben-edwards">Ben Edwards</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/life-hacks/family">Family articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family auto insurance marriage rewards points taxes Thu, 07 Oct 2010 14:00:06 +0000 Ben Edwards 256528 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Agree without Compromise http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-agree-without-compromise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-agree-without-compromise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple%20smiling.jpg" alt="couple smiling" title="couple smiling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>June is a popular month for weddings. During this time, many couples will probably hear that compromise is the key to a healthy relationship. I disagree.</p> <p>When my husband and I got <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage">married more than 25 years ago</a>, we talked about compromise. We didn&rsquo;t actually compromise, but we talked about what the word meant and mostly, I talked about why I believed that compromise was, very often, a lousy idea.</p> <p>I tend to take things literally and many of the dictionary definitions aren&rsquo;t promising in terms of personal and relationship well-being (see <a href="http://www.thefreedictionary.com/compromise">com&middot;pro&middot;mise</a> from the American Heritage Dictionary):</p> <ul> <li>To expose or make liable to danger, suspicion, or disrepute</li> <li>To reduce in quality, value, or degree; weaken or lower</li> <li>To impair by disease or injury</li> <li>To settle by mutual concessions</li> </ul> <p>&ldquo;To settle by mutual concessions&rdquo; is, I hope, what most people are thinking of when they expound the benefits of compromise, though I weigh in the negative connotations. Reaching an agreement by meeting halfway isn&rsquo;t always possible or advisable.</p> <p>Taking turns is one tactic for compromising. Sure, if one person wants to have Italian for dinner and the other wants Chinese, you can cook your own meals separately, arrange take-out and eat at home, or you could eat Chinese tonight and get Italian next time. But this method can be disastrous when circumstances change (as they will) and whoever should have the next turn doesn&rsquo;t get to choose.</p> <p>And, what&rsquo;s an appropriate compromise if:</p> <ul> <li>She wants to live in New York but he wants to stay in LA. Do you choose Chicago?</li> <li>He wants to start a family; she doesn&rsquo;t want children. Do you babysit your nieces and nephews on weekends? Do you become foster parents?</li> <li>She thinks that putting money into a surefire (translation: risky) investment is the perfect solution to money problems but he disagrees. Do you put 50% in the investment and 50% in a savings account?</li> </ul> <p>Maybe, I&rsquo;m just bad at finding mutual concessions. But sometimes doing the right thing doesn&rsquo;t mean each person gets a half-win, half-lose solution.</p> <p>Before making a commitment, some issues ought to be discussed. If one person never wants children, then the other needs to have this information to make a decision about whether to continue the relationship. The idea is to consider and express what&rsquo;s truly important to you, not find a way to control your partner.</p> <p>Look beyond superficial solutions. Drill down to the core of the problem. Discover motivations. Talk about your reasoning. Tell childhood dreams and lifelong insecurities. Once spoken, fears may seem unwarranted; dreams, now undesirable. One partner may finally understand the other&rsquo;s angst surrounding certain issues and reverse direction. You may learn that there's not enough money to pay the mortgage, and decide to find a smaller home and sell one of your cars, rather than hoping that an investment could mean a big payoff.</p> <p>Explore alternatives that address underlying problems. Professional contacts that seem impossible to keep intact on a long distance basis after moving across the country could be preserved through frequent travel and face-to-face visits.</p> <p>Consider the impact of decisions on the well-being of you as a couple, which may or may not be the sum total of each individual&rsquo;s happiness.</p> <p>Agree immediately, or table the discussion for later, or have a series of discussions. Find the path that leads to wherever you decide you want and need to go.</p> <p>Compromise can be a quick-and-easy conflict-solving technique. But it can also be a shortcut that doesn't lead to a better relationship, assuring that noone gets what he (or she) wants, allowing deeper problems to simmer, and stalling or preventing in-depth discussions of hopes, priorities, needs. For the long haul, you&rsquo;ll need more than compromise in your relationship-building toolbox.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-agree-without-compromise" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Agree without Compromise" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/life-hacks/personal-development">Personal Development articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development compromise marriage Fri, 18 Jun 2010 12:00:04 +0000 Julie Rains 137452 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Questions Couples Should Ask in the Money Talk http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-should-ask-in-the-money-talk <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-questions-couples-should-ask-in-the-money-talk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_at_diner.jpg" alt="Couple talking" title="Couple talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="147" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When couples decide to live together or get married, they usually talk about family, children, vacations, wedding plans and decorating. They almost never have a discussion about finances. Understanding a person's view and handling of money, however, is just as important as his or her opinion about having children. Once a couple decides to live together, married or unmarried, money decisions will be made on a daily basis that will affect both partners, so it is crucial to be on the same financial page from the beginning.</p> <p>If you are thinking about living with someone or getting married, sit down as a couple early on and ask yourselves the following questions. The answers should provide a solid foundation for building a happier financial life together (or reveal important differences in money attitudes that might stop the relationship in its tracks).</p> <h3>1. How do you feel about money and spending?</h3> <p>It is important to understand the financial environment you each grew up in, and talk about what money means to you. Some people don't think about money when they have it, only when it runs out. Others keep close tabs, saving as much as possible and spending only when absolutely necessary. If one person in the couple is a spendthrift and the other is a tightwad, there are bound to be money problems in the relationship down the road.</p> <p>In 2007, economists at Carnegie Mellon University did a survey of 2600 people, placing them along a tightwad-spendthrift scale. Results showed that 61% were un-conflicted about money (meaning they fell somewhere in the middle), 21% were tightwads and 18% were spendthrifts. Identifying your own financial behavior patterns and views as well as your partner's is a necessary first step. As a couple you should have similar feelings about spending and saving. Being financial partners means working in harmony to meet your needs and achieve your financial goals.</p> <h3>2. How much debt do you have?</h3> <p>Coming into this relationship, you and/or your partner may have student loans, a car loan, credit cards, overdraft lines of credit, etc. If you're planning to live together, the household budget and cash flow will be greatly impacted by you and your partner's ability to contribute to joint expenses. Full disclosure of your debts will allow you to make informed financial decisions as a couple. One of you may be struggling to pay credit card debt or about to start paying on a large student loan; the other person should know about it. In addition, the way you each handle your debt obligations will have a big influence on your financial health as a couple. This leads right into the next question.</p> <h3>3. What is your credit score?</h3> <p>Credit reports rule your adult life; they are a reflection of the way you have handled your financial responsibilities over the last 7 to 10 years. The Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) credit score, which is the most widely used, ranges from 300 (awful) to 850 (perfect). The biggest component of the score is your monthly debt payment history. The second biggest component is your credit availability. (Being maxed out on your credit cards isn't good.)</p> <p>Before you start living together or get married, each of you should pull your credit report, make sure it's accurate, then review your reports together. Everyone is entitled to get a free copy of their credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once per year &mdash; go to <a href="http://annualcreditreport.com/">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. To get your score on the site it will cost about $12. If there are problems and the credit score is low for either or both of you, this will have a negative impact on your ability to get a job, rent an apartment or get a joint loan, and will result in higher rates charged by utility and insurance companies. Make sure errors are disputed (in writing) and corrected, and monthly debt payments are made on time. (<a href="http://ftc.gov/">FTC.gov</a> has dispute forms.) Your credit score should improve within six months of good debt payment behavior. To be in the top tier, shoot for scores over 720.</p> <h3>4. Will this be an open financial partnership?</h3> <p>When one person operates independently, spending outside of a common budget or plan, your income, saving and purchasing power as a couple isn't maximized and debt can get out of control. Here's just one small example: If each of you spends $2 per day on coffee and $6 on a sandwich during your workday, that's $16 per day, $80 per week, and over $300 per month. Working within a food budget, you could buy the ingredients at the grocery store, make a pot of coffee and sandwiches at home to bring to work, and save over $200 per month. That's over $2400 per year which could be used for retirement savings instead!</p> <p>It's okay if one of you keeps the books and pays the bills, but there should be a regular &quot;budget night&quot; at least once a month where the other person gets an update on your joint financial status. Then you can review spending, savings activity and make financial adjustments and decisions together. Even if you're a stay-at-home-mom with no earned income and your husband is the major breadwinner, you each have a role in the operation of the household and value-added in the financial partnership. A good relationship requires an open and continuous financial dialogue and a meeting of the minds regarding your short and long-term financial goals.</p> <h3>5. What <em>are</em> your financial goals?</h3> <p>This really relates to the first question about your feelings toward money: what is financially important to you. Is it getting a big house in a fancy suburb, building your own business, going on a world cruise, having a comfortable retirement, starting a charitable foundation? Talk about your dreams, decide together how you're going to fulfill them, and create a financial plan. The top three financial goals in most couples' lives are buying a home, saving for retirement, and building up an education savings account. However, it takes time, effort and teamwork to pay for these things. Budgeting will be less drudgery and more fun if you both realize it will help make your dreams come true.</p> <p>Money is essential, money is powerful, money is math. In a relationship, you must both play starring roles in your financial life together. So have that money talk with your significant other. You can't afford what might happen if you don't.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-should-ask-in-the-money-talk" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Questions Couples Should Ask in the Money Talk" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Hollis Colquhoun. Hollis has over 20 years experience in the financial industry, is an Accredited Financial Counselor and co-author of <strong>Women Empowering Themselves: A Financial Survival Guide</strong>. Contact her at <a href="http://www.womenempoweringthemselves.com/">Women Empowering Themselves</a>. Here are more articles by Hollis:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://technorati.com/blogging/article/avoid-expensive-credit-report-services-when1/">Avoid Expensive Credit Report Services When You DIY For Free</a></li> <li><a href="http://technorati.com/business/article/the-college-challenge-which-way-to/">The College Challenge: Which Way To Pay</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hollis-colquhoun">Hollis Colquhoun</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/personal-finance">Personal Finance articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Personal Development couples finances marriage relationships Fri, 14 May 2010 13:00:03 +0000 Hollis Colquhoun 78494 at http://www.wisebread.com Talking to Your Spouse About Money http://www.wisebread.com/talking-to-your-spouse-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/talking-to-your-spouse-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stockxpertcom_id56982171_jpg_b239f10ab21642cdd9ec1fca8ab67aa2.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a guest post up on Get Rich Slowly about <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2010/01/26/how-to-talk-with-your-spouse-about-money/">how to talk with your spouse about money</a>. I had the privilege of interviewing financial counselor Lou Scatigna, aka <a href="http://www.thefinancialphysician.com/">The Financial Physician</a>, for the article.</p> <p>Lou's not at all shy with his opinion. He told me straight up that a marriage where the couple can't agree about money is doomed. He also painted a pretty scary picture of what can happen when one partner abidcates full control of the household finances to the other: elderly people lose their spouse and suddenly have no idea how to pay the bills, or one partner is able to hide tens of thousands of credit card debt from the other until it is too late to avoid <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt/bankruptcy" title="Wise Bread's Guide to Bankruptcy">bankruptcy</a>.</p> <p>How to avoid these problems? Communicate. Specifically, Lou suggests holding a family finance meeting every month where you sit down with your partner and go over each bill together. In my household, we take it a step further and go over our spending spreadsheet to look at each category together. Not just the bills but also groceries and gifts and anything else we spent money on during the month. We also use the time to check how we're doing on our long term financial goals.</p> <p>This is harder than it seems. Here's an excerpt from my post:</p> <blockquote><p>Managing finances together sounds simple, but there are a lot of stumbling blocks. People are busy. You&rsquo;ve got a career, a family, maybe kids of your own, plus friends and hobbies. Spending an evening a month on a boring chore can seem like a lot to ask.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Plus, money pushes a lot of buttons for people. It brings up fear, anxiety, guilt, anger. A lot of negative emotions most of us like to avoid. So we avoid talking about money with our spouses until it explodes in a financial disaster or a relationship meltdown.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even when we do sit down to talk, it can be hard to make good use of the time. Should you discuss long-term goals or just go over this month&rsquo;s bills? How can you avoid spiraling into a fight?</p> </blockquote> <p>It helps us to set aside a specific time to go over these things each month. That way, we resist the risk of ambushing each other with small money dramas when one of us is busy, distracted, or cranky. Having a time and place to talk means these conversations happen, and they happen with a lot less friction than they used to when we crammed them in over breakfast or after bedtime.</p> <p>A few commenters on GRS suggested that once a month wasn't often enough. Indeed, when my husband and I first started getting our financial act together, we had weekly meetings for awhile. I still sit down alone once a week to work out the budget for the coming week, because it's me who handles the day to day finances. Others felt a formal meeting was unnecessary, and they just catch up with their spouse about money on a need-to-know basis.</p> <p>What's your financial communication style? Formal meetings or swift chats on the fly? Are you happy with the way you and your spouse talk about money? Do you know enough about your finances to handle things alone if you had to? What would you like to do differently?</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/talking-to-your-spouse-about-money" class="sharethis-link" title="Talking to Your Spouse About Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sierra-black">Sierra Black</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance marriage money management spouse Thu, 28 Jan 2010 15:00:02 +0000 Sierra Black 4899 at http://www.wisebread.com Make Love, Not Money (Sort Of) http://www.wisebread.com/make-love-not-money-sort-of <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-love-not-money-sort-of" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1057512_lovers_journey.jpg" alt="Lover&#039;s Journey" title="Lover&#039;s Journey" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="178" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After reading Julie Rain's post on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage">marriage</a> (BTW Julie, great job and kudos to your successful marriage) and perusing the comments, it was interesting to see how many people wondered what a successful marriage had to do with money. </p> <p>Well, being in any serious <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_bs304">relationship</a> has a lot to do with money, a fact that many of us are already well aware of. After all, sharing in a life with a significant other is all about dealing with the realities of daily life, and what greater reality is there than making and spending money? Factor in children and its importance becomes even greater.</p> <p>And as most people know, money is one of the heaviest issues that couples have to deal with and one of the most cited reasons for marital strife and failure. Then again, it can also be a reason for them to stay together. </p> <p>A recent article on <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Staying-married-to-save-brn-14879315.html">Yahoo Finance</a> revealed that many couples who simply aren&rsquo;t making it on the domestic front are actually staying together for financial reasons. Apparently the cost of a divorce can be staggering. What with attorney&rsquo;s fees and court costs, as well as the division of property and the expense of beginning a new life, the financial burden can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. As a consequence, during lean economic times, 37% of matrimonial lawyers see a decline in divorces, citing the painfully practical (and somewhat callous) observation that divorce is &ldquo;the worst thing you can do financially.&rdquo;</p> <p>And while I would never encourage people who are not getting along to share close quarters, it is ironic that one of the main reasons to split is also one that keeps them together, don&rsquo;t you think?</p> <p>So with all the challenges and negative stereotypes about money and relationships, why do we bother putting ourselves through emotional and financial hell in the first place? Especially when there is only about a 50% chance of success?</p> <p>Well, if you don&rsquo;t know the answer to that question, then you haven&rsquo;t seen enough Hugh Grant movies or read enough books by Nicholas Sparks. I think it&rsquo;s fair to say that we (at least most of us) are social creatures who prefer to be with somebody rather than spend our evenings alone. Even time spent with friends and family doesn&rsquo;t replace time with a significant other. Sure relationships can be complicated, and downright maddening, but in the heat of falling in love, who thinks about the practical consequences? I don&rsquo;t know about you, but I&rsquo;d much rather wallow in the deliciously seductive heat of the moment.</p> <p>In fact, it seems a lot of other people do, as well. Recent articles in the <a href="http://www.economist.com/research/articlesBySubject/displaystory.cfm?subjectid=348963&amp;story_id=13381506">Economist</a> and <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/04/15/economy.matchmakers/index.html?iref=t2test_livingwed">CNN</a> tell of a booming online matchmaking and dating industry during these rough economic times. People&rsquo;s suffering in monetary world seems to translate into a desire to nurture the romantic aspect of their lives, whereby being with somebody may help them cope with their difficulties. Even in the face of assorted relationship derived angst and frustration, people continue their search for love, clinging to the hope that they will find that special somebody to share a life with.</p> <p>And for good reason, especially with uplifting examples like Julie&rsquo;s. I think it&rsquo;s fair to say that many of us would like to be in similar shoes. Sure, there are plenty of independent people who say they never want to be tied down, but for a lot of people, the idea of sharing the dream of having a family and pursuing mutual goals together is what life is all about. And best of all, she was willing to share her secrets of success with us. </p> <p>So maybe we&rsquo;d all do well to take a page out of Julie&rsquo;s notebook and give due consideration to the relationships in our lives. Talk to your significant other (#1), play and have fun (#10), make them laugh (#13), and most of all, be loyal and faithful (#23). I might make an exception with #5 since I loathe weddings, and would possibly take #12 a step further and advocate celebrating the small things that happen every day, but nonetheless, I think we see eye-to-eye.</p> <p>Finally, when it comes to matters of money, rather than denying or ignoring it&rsquo;s importance in our relationships, maybe it&rsquo;s more instructive to embrace the fact that the two are interrelated. This, of course, makes it all the more important to strike a balance between the two and ask the big questions of why we are making it in the first place and how much is enough. Those, however, are discussions for another time.</p> <p>For now, eat, drink, and be merry, especially when it&rsquo;s with your spouse and/or children. Find reason to celebrate the little things since there are so many more of them, and never take what you have together for granted.</p> <p>And whatever you do, don&rsquo;t lose sight of the fact that, in the grand scheme of things, after all is said and done and we approach the twilight of our lives, it is better to make love, not money (sort of).<br /> &nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-love-not-money-sort-of" class="sharethis-link" title="Make Love, Not Money (Sort Of)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fred-lee">Fred Lee</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Lifestyle divorce marriage money relationships Thu, 14 May 2009 12:11:31 +0000 Fred Lee 3161 at http://www.wisebread.com