Personal Spending

Managing Marriage & Money

One set of financial goals is hard enough to manage. Two sets can seem impossible until you learn how to merge finances with your spouse – and how to keep some assets separate.

Coming together with your spouse for big-picture costs – homes, a college education – is probably easier if you share financial goals and values. Some couples match up from the start; other couples grow into such simpatico. (Amazingly, some couples succeed in planning despite having many different goals and values.)

How’s Your Emergency Fund?

Financial planners commonly recommend you keep an easily accessible emergency fund for unexpected expenses. Too bad few people do it. Take steps now to avoid being caught short of money.

More than a third (34%) of 2,000 adults recently had an unexpected event such as a medical problem or a home-related expense that set them back financially, according to a national survey by Pew Research.

Improving Your Credit Score

Your credit score is like the GPA of your finances. To get better financial options in the future, you should know your credit score and how you can improve it if necessary.

Your credit score plays a role in almost every financial aspect of your life. Banks check your credit score to determine whether or not to approve you for credit and how much you pay in interest charges. Your landlord may ask for your credit score for your lease application, and more and more employers are interested in it as a way to measure how responsible you are.

Boom Times for the Repo Man

The good news for the economy is that consumers are buying more. The bad news is that they’re not paying for what they buy. Debt delinquencies are surging, and so are collection agencies.

Investing: Head Vs. Heart

What’s life without joy, sadness, happiness and sorrow? Emotions enliven and enrich your existence – and, if you let them sway your financial judgment, they can drive your portfolio onto the rocks. How do you avoid letting your feelings determine your investing?

“Emotions do matter,” said Hugh Massie, chief executive officer of behavioral management advisory firm DNA Behavior in Atlanta. “They get in the way of investors’ success.”

Talking Money With Honey

One of the most ticklish situations in a marriage is dealing with money – often because couples don’t talk about it, or if they do, not well. Advisors explored this fraught subject at National Financial Advisor Week.

“Being compatible romantically does not mean being compatible financially,” said Hilary Hendershott, on a panel of advisors that dug into the issue.

Couples Merging Finances

When a couple weds, each in the new pair often feels pressure to marry individual finances together as well. Smart financial planning actually dictates that you don’t have to – and in many cases shouldn’t – put all your money into a single, joint account. You can enjoy both cooperation and autonomy in your financial marriage.

The Feel-Good Shopper

While shopping can make you happy for a while, it has the potential to hurt your financial future in the long run. What is ominous is that half of Americans shop to feel better.

“It’s not just shopping, it’s retail therapy.” As a bumper sticker or a joke between friends, this may be amusing. But if shopping is a significant way to relieve stress, the expression isn’t so funny.

Feel Richer Lately?

Bet you don’t feel richer lately. That’s because you’re not, say some co-called experts. What’s the real danger of this?

According to the Federal Reserve’s latest report regarding consumer finances, unless you are among the richest 10% of the population your median income stayed stagnant from 2010 to 2013. The Fed also states that not only did income drop for every other group, the gap widened between the richest and us common folk.

Dating Money Talk

One of the challenges at the beginning of a romantic relationship is having the conversation about money. What questions are OK to ask, and when? How do you bring the subject up without seeming like a braggart, a coldhearted miser, or someone looking for a meal ticket?

There really ought to be some rules of etiquette for exploring this essential topic; something like, “by the third date, it’s appropriate to start undressing financially.” Unfortunately, we don’t have such guidelines.

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