marriage en-US 11 Tips and Tricks for Merging Finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-tips-and-tricks-for-merging-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="couple finances" title="couple finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting married can be a chaotic ordeal. It's one thing to combine household contents (which blender will you keep?) or decide which side of the bed you'll sleep on. It's quite another to go through the hard work of putting together money accounts and arranging for a single budget. (See also: <a href="">The 7 Worst Money Mistakes Married People Make</a>)</p> <p>As someone who has been happily married for 12 years, paid off a mound of consumer debt from before the marriage, and has kept an excellent credit score throughout, I've learned a thing or two about what I did right &mdash; and wished I had done right.</p> <h2>1. Take Inventory</h2> <p>This important step is sometimes painful for couples to do. It includes writing down every account you hold, including the balances, as well as all the debt and loan accounts that are owed on. It's best to do this before the marriage, as full disclosure is probably wise before that trip down the aisle.</p> <h2>2. Figure Out Your Net Worth</h2> <p>Next, it's probably a good idea to tally everything up and see what you'll be worth as a couple. Get it out of your mind that there are &quot;his&quot; and &quot;hers&quot; assets. You'll likely own everything together now. (Legally, this is also true in many states. With certain exceptions like trust fund payments and inheritances, some assets may be kept separate. Check with your CFP or attorney for details.)</p> <h2>3. Decide Which Accounts to Keep</h2> <p>Do you really need four checking accounts, 12 credit cards, or two car loans? If it's possible to combine some accounts, do so. Likewise, if credit card payments can be simplified by transferring balances and culling payments down to just four or five creditors, it might be the best solution for both of you. Note: Be mindful of closing any accounts right away. Scrapping lines of credit may be detrimental to your credit score, as it will lower your available credit amount by quite a bit. A more suitable option may be to agree to not use any cards from several accounts until they are paid off and then closed. Or you could choose to keep them all open, but not use them indefinitely.</p> <h2>4. Add Your Spouse to Keepers</h2> <p>Now comes the fun of getting a second credit card or debit card, adding a second name to the checkbook, and putting another authorized user on the online account access. This can take many days, as some banks still require both account holders to come in person with their documentation and papers to sign. Since banking must be done during &quot;bankers' hours,&quot; it may require taking time off of work. Get everything in order before your big day to ensure you don't run into any snags.</p> <h2>5. Pick a Payer</h2> <p>While you'll both be involved in the planning of finances, it is usually wise to pick one person to actually pay the bills. Setting your accounts up for automatic payments can cut down on some of the work, but someone will still need to follow up monthly to be sure payments were made. If you don't want to be saddled with the job for long, you can choose to switch off every few months or so, which is also a great way to ensure that there are no financial secrets between spouses.</p> <h2>6. Set a Budget</h2> <p>Now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty. What financial goals will you set as a couple? What can you expect to live on? What will you do with the extra money every month (if any)? A budget can be as simple as writing two columns for spending and income on a piece of paper, or it can be as complicated as a budgeting software program will allow. The important thing, however, is that you just do it!</p> <h2>7. Communicate</h2> <p>Things change daily in a marriage, and this includes the financial realm of it. A broken belt on the car or a change in work schedule can really throw your best-laid plans into turmoil, but most things can be overcome by talking it out early on. Remember that spouses hate to have things sprung on them suddenly, so pick a safe time to discuss these things each day. Don't have the talk right before bed.</p> <h2>8. Adjust as Necessary</h2> <p>Marriage is a funny thing in that it is never quite like you expect it to be. Personalities can cause conflict, and expectations will need to be lowered quite often. Finances reflect this in that your budget and plans won't be perfect, either. Learn to laugh at mistakes and do better next time.</p> <h2>9. Forgive</h2> <p>Your spouse will screw up royally at least once in your marriage. This will likely have financial consequences. You will, too. Forgive easily, and you'll find grace when it's your turn!</p> <h2>10. Ask for Advice</h2> <p>If all your best intentions have failed, and money merging is still a painful or aggravating part of your marriage, it may help to enlist a neutral third party to help you along. Financial planners can be a good source of common sense in an otherwise emotional conversation. Just avoid employing anyone you both knew well prior to the marriage; it will keep things professional and easy to agree with.</p> <h2>11. Remember What Money Means</h2> <p>Finances should be handled with sensitivity because money rarely just stands for money. Spending can mask hurts that your spouse is dealing with, and trying to solve money issues can be taken personally. If you find that after merging finances the advice of your professional goes unheeded, it may be time to take things to the next level with a marriage counselor that specializes in financial problems. Sometimes, there really is an underlying cause to the money woes.</p> <p>My marriage hasn't been perfect, but it has been one of the most enriching parts of my life. Having the money issues under control has allowed my husband and I to spend our energy on other, more pressing issues, like our six children!</p> <p><em>Did you merge finances when you tied the knot? How did it go? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="11 Tips and Tricks for Merging Finances" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance couples and money joint accounts marriage money Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:00:07 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1210858 at Is Your Partner Financially Unfaithful? (1 in 3 Are) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-your-partner-financially-unfaithful-1-in-3-are" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="couple finances" title="couple finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One in three adults in a combined financial relationship admits to <a href="">financially deceiving their partner</a>, according to a recent poll published by the National Endowment for Financial Education. Even worse, 76% admit that financial deceptions have had an impact on their relationship. (See also: <a href="">7 Questions That Reveal If You and Your Partner Are a Money Match</a>)</p> <p>Hiding money, bills, or purchases from a partner can have severe repercussions on a relationship, including arguments, broken trust, and even divorce or separation. Why do partners lie about money and what can you do to uncover the fraud? Even more important, how can you rebuild a relationship that's been shaken by a partner who's been dishonest about your combined cash flow?</p> <h2>Why Partners Cheat</h2> <p>Being unfaithful with finances often comes down to a sense of shame or embarrassment about money choices. Men and women don't often see eye-to-eye about the importance of each other's purchases. &quot;I find that women don't see the value in the cost of two sporting event tickets,&quot; says Patricia Nelson, founder of the community outreach program Wise Women Workshop. &quot;Likewise, men are confused that women can spend hundreds of dollars for a pair of shoes.&quot; Those who fear judgement from their partner often choose to hide their financial choices, instead of coming clean.</p> <h2>Tell Tale Signs of Infidelity</h2> <p>Dishonesty &mdash; be it in the bedroom or in the joint checkbook &mdash; can have a detrimental affect on an intimate relationship. &quot;Any behavior that seems out of the ordinary should act as a red flag,&quot; says Nelson. Your partner may be hiding something if you:</p> <ul> <li>Find receipts for purchases you don't recognize (or you haven't discussed as a couple).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are denied access to the monthly bills.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Witness defensive or withdrawn behavior when you broach the topic of money.</li> </ul> <p>Nelson suggests all couples should pull their credit histories annually, as a matter of course (to monitor for external fraud). &quot;If your partner doesn't want you to have access to tax or credit report information,&quot; she says, &quot;that could be the biggest red flag of all.&quot;</p> <h2>How to Talk About It</h2> <p>While most couples polled were adversely affected by financial infidelity, some used the experience as a springboard for more effective and frequent conversations about money. Eight percent of those surveyed said the experience actually brought them closer together. &quot;If you can find the source of the secrecy,&quot; says Nelson, &quot;you can fix anything.&quot;</p> <p>When broaching the subject:</p> <ul> <li>Know that there will be some sensitivity around the financial infidelity. Your partner may already feel guilty about his or her actions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Come prepared with the points you want to make. Pivotal relationship discussions won't be effective if they're planned on the fly.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Work together to uncover solutions that will allow each of you to feel financially secure within the relationship. &quot;You need to have the freedom to save and spend,&quot; says Nelson, &quot;without feeling like you're on an austerity diet.&quot;</li> </ul> <h2>Rebuilding the Relationship</h2> <p>&quot;Sometimes talking about money is as uncomfortable as talking about sex,&quot; says Nelson. She suggests a monthly accounting date, where couples can work through bills and budgeting together. &quot;If you set goals together, review progress together, and reach goals together &mdash; you also have the opportunity to celebrate your successes together.&quot; Working together to rebuild your finances gives you the opportunity to restore something equally important to long-lasting couples &mdash; your trust in each other.</p> <p><em>Have you and your partner ever hid money decisions from each other? Were you able to overcome the infidelity. If so, how? Tell us about it in the comments section below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Is Your Partner Financially Unfaithful? (1 in 3 Are)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Alaina Tweddale</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Family marriage marriage and money productivity saving Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:00:04 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1168483 at 6 Time-Tested Ways to Make a Relationship Work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-time-tested-ways-to-make-a-relationship-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="happy couple" title="happy couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="164" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're like me, you're 100% human, complete with quirks, talents, shortcomings, and a generous portion of dysfunction. We are all, to put it gracefully, &quot;works in progress.&quot;</p> <p>This is why relationships can be so difficult. We're taking two dysfunctional people and mashing them together. In a relationship, you're not just dealing with your own personal issues. You're dealing with two people's worth of dysfunction! (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">The First Thing You Need to Work on If You Want a Better Relationship</a>)</p> <p>But don't get too depressed. When approached correctly, a relationship can be the most fulfilling thing in your life.</p> <h2>1. Don't Take. Give!</h2> <p>If you go into a relationship for what you can get out of it, you aren't a partner; you're a leech. If two people enter a relationship looking out for themselves, that relationship is doomed to fail.</p> <p>Regardless of your philosophy on life and love, the simple truth is that relationships don't work unless both partners come in looking to give. When two people decide to devote their lives completely to each other, the relationship is positioned for success.</p> <p>When I know my wife is giving of herself wholeheartedly to me, rather than expecting me to perform for her, it allows me to give myself wholeheartedly to her, and vice versa.</p> <h2>2. Celebrate What They Do Instead of Complaining About What They Don't</h2> <p>We all want to be valued and appreciated. At the same time, we are all lacking in many ways. If you get married in your twenties and live to be 85, over 70% of your life, and thus, your self-development, will occur after you get married.</p> <p>Don't focus on what's lacking. Celebrate who your partner is and the good things he/she does. See the best in your partner. Have you ever had someone believe in you? It really makes you want to be the best you can be. Have you ever had someone despise you or look down on you? It hurts and frustrates, and it does anything but inspire you to be better. The more honored and valued your partner feels, the more he/she will want to work on the weak areas.</p> <h2>3. Value Your Own Needs</h2> <p>This mutual exchange naturally does not work if it's one-sided. If I sacrifice myself for my wife, and she never returns the favor, then my needs go unmet, and ultimately, I shrivel and die emotionally. (See also: <a href="">Happy and Married: 24 Tips From 24 Years of Marriage</a>)</p> <p>As a human being, you have needs, and your needs are just as valuable as anyone else's. Inevitably, there will be points in the relationship where one partner begins to take without giving. If the other partner reciprocates by withholding love, the relationship will implode.</p> <p>This goes back to our first point. If it's not about me in the first place, I don't quit loving my wife the moment she stops sacrificing for me or meeting my needs. Over the long haul, no one-sided relationship can last, but in the short term, it often simply comes down to a lack of communication.</p> <h2>4. Don't Expect Your Partner to Be a Mind Reader</h2> <p>In my experience, the single biggest reason relationships fail is poor communication. The more we get to know someone, the more we assume, and assumptions in the absence of communication will kill your relationship.</p> <p>If I notice my wife has stopped helping out around the house, I have two options:</p> <ol> <li>Assume she just doesn't care and begin resenting her.</li> <li>Communicate what I'm feeling to her and let her respond.</li> </ol> <p>Choosing to communicate is the first step, but how you communicate is just as important. If I walk up to my wife and say, &quot;You never help around the house anymore. Why are you being so selfish?&quot; her response will probably be defensive. An argument will ensue, in which she'll bring up something I've been doing wrong, and then we'll both be angry and defensive. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">25 Ways to Communicate Better Today</a>)</p> <p>If, however, I give her the benefit of the doubt, and simply say, &quot;Hey sweetheart, it seems to me like I've been having to do most of the work around the house lately, and it's making me feel sort of used and unappreciated.&quot; Now I'm giving her the opportunity to value me and restore our connection, rather than instigating a fight.</p> <h2>5. Build and Re-Establish Trust</h2> <p>Obviously, the above doesn't happen without some level of trust. I'm trusting that my wife actually values me in the first place. If trust hasn't been established, it's impossible to grow in intimacy.</p> <p>At the start of a relationship, a certain level of trust must be given. As you get to know your partner's heart, you must choose to extend trust based on that understanding. The partner must then affirm your trust by following through on commitments. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">Learn How to Admit You're Wrong</a>)</p> <p>Over the course of any relationship, breaches in trust will be made. How you respond determines the effect those breaches have on your relationship. If both parties are committed to growing together, forgiveness and re-established trust can actually build the relationship stronger than it was before.</p> <h2>6. Be Vulnerable</h2> <p>The goal of any romantic relationship is intimacy. You want to be with someone who knows you completely and loves you consistently as you are. As you build trust with your partner, you must also increase your level of vulnerability.</p> <p>This is one of the hardest things for people to do, and it's a common reason relationships fail. If you've been hurt in the past, it can be difficult to open yourself up for heartache yet again.</p> <p>Ultimately, your partner can never fully love you if he or she doesn't fully know you. I can't value my wife if she doesn't show me what she needs. I can try as much as I want, but until the window into her soul is opened up, my attempts will be in vain.</p> <p>Your trust level absolutely must rise equally with your level of vulnerability, but without that second piece, any relationship is just a facade and WILL eventually fail.</p> <h2>It's Simple</h2> <p>The tenets of a strong relationship are really quite simple. People make it complex by riding their emotions instead of choosing their destiny, but ultimately, it's as simple as a choice. If you choose your partner &mdash; if you choose to give of yourself, value your own needs, communicate well, establish trust, and be vulnerable &mdash; every single day, you really can't fail.</p> <p><em>What are your time-tested truths of relationships? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Time-Tested Ways to Make a Relationship Work" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Jacob McMillen</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development commitment marriage relationships sharing trust Fri, 13 Jun 2014 19:00:46 +0000 Jacob McMillen 1142624 at The First Thing You Need to Work on If You Want a Better Relationship <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-first-thing-you-need-to-work-on-if-you-want-a-better-relationship" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="couple" title="couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's easy to want to be a good partner. After all, doesn't everyone want to be seen, heard, understood, and loved for who they really are? Those things seem fundamental to any good relationship, but particularly to a romantic partnership.</p> <p>However, in order to find these things, it turns out that we need to be able to offer those things to others. No one is going to want to expend the effort to understand a person who doesn't try to understand them and, at least over the long term, no one is going to try to love a person who doesn't make an effort to love them. In order to have a good relationship with a partner, then, we need to learn to be better partners ourselves.</p> <h2>Happy Relationship, Happy You</h2> <p><a href="">Marriage and happiness go together</a>. While scientists aren't exactly sure how they work together, the science shows us over and over again that people in strong and long-term romantic relationships are happier than those who are not.</p> <p>Add that to the fact that close and supportive relationships in general, whether romantic or not, <a href="">improve our overall wellbeing</a>, and that's strong motivation for making our partnerships as good as they can possibly be. Being a good partner can involve a lot of hard work, especially when it means changing behaviors that are deeply ingrained, or choosing to change in the context of a relationship that is already difficult.</p> <p>If making those changes can lead to long-term happiness, though, it seems like they should be worth the effort. And you may not have to change as much as you think. Instead of starting with external actions, start by thinking differently.</p> <h2>Know Yourself</h2> <p><a href="">Knowing yourself is the basis for all of life</a>, let alone for any relationship, romantic or otherwise. Most of us think we know ourselves pretty well, but the truth is that there is always more to know.</p> <p>Knowing yourself is also <a href="">the basis for good conflict resolution</a>, which is essential for every relationship. After all, any time there is more than one person involved in a situation, it's only a matter of time until there is disagreement.</p> <p>Taking the time to work through the questions listed at the link at the beginning of this section can help you think about aspects of yourself that you may never have pondered otherwise. Most people find that questions like these are just a jumping-off point for deeper and more intense self-knowledge.</p> <h2>Accept Yourself</h2> <p>I don't know a single person who, in the course of getting to know themselves, has not encountered something that they didn't really like. We are all human, we all make mistakes, and we all have negative characteristics and habits that we aren't proud of.</p> <p>We can beat ourselves up over these things, or we can accept them. While accepting them is the harder road, it is also the one that makes us better partners, because it leads us to being secure in who we are.</p> <p>When we are secure, we aren't looking for a partner to give us that, and we are free to simply be ourselves with someone else who is secure in themselves. This takes a lot of pressure off the relationship and allows it to simply be what it is.</p> <h2>Know Your Partner</h2> <p>Many of us <a href="">don't know our partners</a> as well as we think we do. People change, or we simply don't bother to really get to know them in the first place.</p> <p>John Gottman, one of the leading researchers into what makes relationships work, calls knowing your partner &quot;<a href="">building a love map</a>.&quot; When you know someone well, you know how to love them. You know what things mean to them, what is happening when you say one thing but they seem to be hearing another, and which things seem like they would indicate love but, for whatever reason, don't do that for your partner.</p> <p>Have fun and learn more about your partner by playing Gottman's <a href="">20 Questions Game</a>. Even if you don't do very well, you will learn about your partner and can do so in a fun, low intensity way.</p> <h2>Accept Your Partner</h2> <p>Once you know your partner, you have to accept them. It's much easier to get to know someone, choose several things you'd like to change about them, and set about that task. However, you <a href="">can't change someone</a> who doesn't want to change. Trying to do this will exhaust and frustrate not only you, but your partner as well.</p> <p>Accepting someone starts when you realize that your partner, too, is human. They aren't perfect, because no one is. And this will be true no matter who you are with. There will always be something about your partner that you wish was different.</p> <p>If you have already worked to accept yourself, this will be an easier task. When you know where your own humanity is frail, it is easier to accept the frailties of others.</p> <h2>Listen and Share</h2> <p>Listening to your partner, accepting them, and then sharing yourself with the trust that they will also accept you, <a href="">is the path to intimacy</a>. You have work on both the giving and receiving sides, though. If you just work one side, the relationship will be lopsided, and neither you nor your partner will be happy.</p> <p>Learning how to listen and how to share can be an awkward path. Every relationship is different, and so there will be times when it is appropriate for you to listen and other times when you will need to share. It can help to be open with your partner about this awkwardness. You can begin by simply asking them if it is a good time when you want to talk, or inviting them to share when you realize you haven't listened in a while.</p> <p>Being a good partner isn't something that you can achieve overnight. It takes work, intention, and opportunity to learn how to love another person well. When you put your relationship first and give yourself time, many of these things will fall into place as the days, weeks, months, and years pass.</p> <p><em>How do you strengthen your relationships? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The First Thing You Need to Work on If You Want a Better Relationship" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development happiness marriage partnership romance Wed, 14 May 2014 08:00:28 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1139231 at 9 Ways Getting Married Is Good for Your Finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-getting-married-is-good-for-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="wedding" title="wedding" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Regardless of whether you believe in marriage, walking down the aisle has its benefits. On average, <a href="">married couples live healthier lives</a> than those not married; and there's evidence that underprivileged children are &quot;<a href="">more likely to graduate college</a> and earn more if raised by two married parents.&quot; (See also: <a href="">How to Stay Happily Married for 29 Years</a>)</p> <p>But the potential benefits don't stop here.</p> <p>Some couples don't live together until after marriage. And for those in this category, newly combined incomes can provide some amazing financial benefits.</p> <p>Not that you should marry only for financial reasons. But if you and your partner are contemplating marriage, here are nine possible benefits.</p> <h2>1. Better Auto Insurance Rates</h2> <p>Auto insurance companies typically offer discounts when there are multiple vehicles under one policy. Therefore, consolidating your insurance policies might be cheaper than paying two separate policies.</p> <p>After getting married, ask your insurance carrier to provide rate quotes for adding another vehicle to your policy. Also, if you purchase a home or rent an apartment, you can enjoy additional savings by acquiring your homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance from the same company that handles your auto coverage.</p> <p>Unfortunately, a cheaper auto policy is only possible if both of you have good driving records. If your spouse is a high-risk driver, consolidating policies can raise your premiums. (See also: <a href="">Avoid These Mistakes When Shopping for Auto Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>2. Increased Financial Stability</h2> <p>If you lived alone prior to marriage, getting married might increase your household income, thus increasing your financial stability.</p> <p>Job loss can happen. But with both spouses working, a job loss doesn't always mean financial ruin. Even if the working spouse doesn't earn enough to fully support the family, some income is better than none; and this income might cover the majority of expenses until you're able to secure employment.</p> <h2>3. Access to Health Insurance</h2> <p>Once you say, &quot;I do,&quot; your spouse can add you to his or her employer health plan, and vice versa. Coverage is typically available within 30 days of tying the knot, and you don't have to wait for open enrollment periods. This is a major perk if you can't get health insurance through your employer, or if you're self-employed and can't afford coverage.</p> <h2>4. Easier to Secure a Mortgage Loan</h2> <p>Qualifying for a home loan on your own can be a real challenge, especially if home values are through the roof in your local market. But as a married couple buying your first place together, the lender uses your combined income to determine whether you qualify for financing and how much you can afford. (See also: <a href="">Choosing the Right Mortgage Loan</a>)</p> <h2>5. Cheaper Loan Rates</h2> <p>If you have a low credit score and your spouse has a near-perfect credit score, mortgage lenders will likely use the <a href="">lower of both scores</a> to determine your rate, which can result in paying more for your house. However, if your spouse applies for the mortgage alone, you'll receive a better rate.</p> <p>Since the bank will only use one income to determine affordability, this reduces how much you're able to spend on a property. And although your name isn't on the mortgage loan, you're still allowed to be on the mortgage title.</p> <h2>6. Additional Resources to Pay Off Debt</h2> <p>As much as you wish to pay off your credit cards, it's often challenging on a single income. If you and your spouse didn't live together before marriage, combining your income after marriage and sharing household expenses increases your disposable income. Use the extra cash to pay off credit cards and other loans.</p> <h2>7. Opportunity to Build a Savings Account</h2> <p>Not only can disposable income pay off debt, there's the opportunity to start or grow your cash reserves. Save up for a down payment for a house, make home improvements, or get a jump start on retirement planning.</p> <h2>8. Reduces Your Tax Liability</h2> <p>As a married couple filing jointly, you can pay <a href="">less taxes than you would as a single person</a>. This is because combined earnings might push you into a lower bracket, more so if one spouse earns considerably more than the other.</p> <p>&quot;A single person earning $40,000 a year pays $6,181 in taxes on that income, while a married individual with the same income pays only $5,162 &mdash; a <a href="">savings of more than $1,000</a> annually,&quot; reports The Atlantic.</p> <p>There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Because of the marriage penalty, some high-earning couples who file a joint return move to a higher tax bracket, and end up paying more in taxes than if they were single. (See also: <a href="">Worst Tax Moves</a>)</p> <h2>9. Assistance Buying Household Items</h2> <p>When planning marriage, most couples also plan a ceremony. They can say their vows in front of close family and friends, and then celebrate at the reception.</p> <p>Gift giving is customary when a couple ties the knot, and guests are generally happy and eager to bring a present. Just to be clear, you shouldn't get married just for the gifts. But if wedding plans are already in the works, a gift registry can be a lifesaver &mdash; especially if you're young and moving into your first place together.</p> <p>The cost of moving into a new place and starting a life together adds up quickly; but with friends and family assisting with common purchases &mdash; glassware, a microwave, inexpensive home furnishings, bath accessories, and other household items &mdash; you can <a href="">get the things you need</a> without going broke. (See also: <a href="">What to Put on Your Wedding Registry</a>)</p> <p><em>Do you know of other financial benefits to marriage that you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Ways Getting Married Is Good for Your Finances" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Life Hacks family finances finances marriage taxes Fri, 25 Apr 2014 08:24:20 +0000 Mikey Rox 1136815 at 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="" 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="">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="">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="">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="">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="" 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="">Megan Brame</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> 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 Say No! 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Get Married if You're 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="" 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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="" 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="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Debt Management debt finance marriage Thu, 12 Dec 2013 10:31:17 +0000 Kentin Waits 1099002 at 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="" 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="">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=""><img width="350" height="290" align="middle" class="&rdquo;ggnoads&rdquo;" alt="Genworth Guide" src="" /></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="">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="">guide to retirement</a>.<br /> </i></p><a href="" 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="">Meg Favreau</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> 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 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="" 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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="" 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="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> 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 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="" 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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">State Department&rsquo;s website</a>. You&rsquo;ll need to mail your old passport, a completed <a href="">form DS-82</a>, applicable &ldquo;renewal&rdquo; fees ($110 for an adult passport), and a recent color photo that meets <a href="">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="">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=",,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="">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="">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="">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=""><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="">Facebook</a></li> <li><a href="">LinkedIn</a></li> <li><a href="">Twitter</a></li> <li>Email: notice that your e-mail consists of your actual e-mail address (<a href=""></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=";answer=8158">Gmail</a></li> <li><a href="">Hotmail</a></li> <li><a href=";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=""></a> or <a href=""></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="">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="" 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="">Janey Osterlind</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks IRS marriage Fri, 20 Jul 2012 09:48:19 +0000 Janey Osterlind 936372 at 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="" 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="">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=";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="">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="">How-To: Organize Your Workday</a> &mdash; Organize your workday by prioritizing your to do list. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="" 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="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> 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 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="" 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="">10 Financial Perks of Marriage</a>)</p> <h3>1. Determine Your Net Spendable Income</h3> <p>Your <a href="">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 set up your first budget, 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 budgeting program, as they require the least amount of work. Some of the most popular software includes <a href="">You Need a Budget</a>, <a href="">Moneydance</a>, <a href="">Mint</a>, <a href="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="" 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="">Craig Ford</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting first budget marriage sharing Tue, 03 Jul 2012 10:00:14 +0000 Craig Ford 938118 at 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="" 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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">Build Relationships While Eliminating Debt</a> &mdash; To build relationships while eliminating debt, take time to volunteer! [Deliver Away Debt]</p> <p><a href="">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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">News &amp; Events Calendar</a> to see all the awesome upcoming events in the personal finance world!</p> <a href="" 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="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle best money tips marriage Fri, 25 May 2012 10:00:16 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 930155 at 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="" target="_blank"></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="" 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="" class="sharethis-link" title="Can a Failed Marriage Lead to Business Failure?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>The <a href="">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="">Prenuptial</a> and about post-nups at the <a href="">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="">Barbara Weltman</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> 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 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="" target="_blank"></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="" alt="Business couple" title="Business couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="191" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="" 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="">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="">Inkandescent PR</a>, while Michael Gibbs, her husband, is <a href="">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="">Thursday Bram</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">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