Posts Tagged ‘finances’

postheadericon Getting Married? Write your Wills

Today’s guest post is from Paula Novac about wills:

When you marry, your circumstances change considerably. Instead of being two single people, you become one, financially, although many will argue this point and maintain their finances separately.

Until a recent change in legislation, some states’ laws said that when you marry your will becomes invalid and you need to make another. Under the Uniform Probate Code rules of 2009, a will is no longer made invalid on the completion of the wedding vows. Some states were a little slow in enacting the law, but by January 2nd, 2012, a will anywhere in the United States is valid the day before you marry and the day after.

However, you may wish to update it to take into account the many changes to your financial circumstances as you start reassessing your bank accounts and making a savings rates comparison.

Writing your first will

Despite the law, getting married does make some legal changes to where your estate goes if you do not have a valid will. More of the estate will go to your newly married partner. Before you were married, your partner would have received much less than expected if either of you had died without writing a will.

Writing your will isn’t only for those with millions of dollars in their bank account. As soon as you have assets you need to get your will written so you can name exactly who gets what from your estate should you die.
Writing a will may save you tax by planning the content of your will correctly and introducing trusts where required to gain maximum advantage from the tax laws.

Children first

One of the main reasons for writing a will is for the sake of your children if they are under the age of eighteen. If both parents should die together or within a short time of each other, you wouldn’t want a government department to make major life decisions about your children, especially if this concerns who they will live with and under what rules. If your will is up to date it will contain guardianship information to ensure that your children are looked after in the manner and with the people you choose.

Will writing rules

When your will is being written there are some rules you must abide by. The first says that in most US states you need to be at least 18 years of age. You must be of good mental standing and be making your own decisions. You must not be influenced to write your will to benefit others when that is not your wish.

You will name people who you trust to manage the administration of your will – possibly your married partner if one of you remains in good health – perhaps a good friend or close family member who will become your executor.

You don’t need to notarize your will, but doing so can be a good safeguard against anyone making claims that your will is invalid for whatever reason. To ensure your will is valid, it must be signed by two independent witnesses, not your married partner or close family members.

Choosing your executor(s)

Often an overlooked part of the process, it is vitally important to choose people you trust and who understand your after death requirements for your partner and your family. Executors are the responsible people who will settle your estate for you after you die. You should also name an alternative person – contingent – to take over if your first choice is unable to do the work at the time.

They will have a number of key roles in administering your estate after you die. They will take the register of your property and belongings. They will source valuations for your assets and distribute them in the manner your will directs. They will pay your outstanding taxes and liabilities, from your finances.

The first choice of executor is always the other of a married couple, unless they are too old, too fragile or could not carry out the tasks associated with the role.

They have a legal duty to carry out the role in your interest which is why the writing of the will should be completed with the help of an attorney unless your estate is quite simple.

Finally, once your will is written, it is very important that you review your will from time to time to ensure it is up to date and matches your current requirements.

Paula Novac is a UK-based personal finance writer. She works on behalf of a number of clients, including a current account comparison service and a business loans provider.

postheadericon When Money Stress Makes You Sick and Tired

If you’re worried about your finances, chances are you’re also feeling the physical effects of money stress. A dwindling bank account and rising debt can not only cause you to feel stress, it can lead to an increased risk of disease and other health problems.

Some stress is a good thing. It helps you to prepare for an important event like studying for an exam, preparing for a big presentation, or handling an emergency. But the body isn’t made to sustain that stress over a long period of time. And when the stress continues for more than a day or two, it begins to take its toll on your system.

Recently, researchers discovered that the more debt you have the more stressed you become. This makes sense, doesn’t it? There’s almost nothing worse than opening your mailbox and finding another bill that you really can’t afford to pay. That constant feeling of dread and stress can make you feel physically and emotionally unwell.

For example, you may be feeling tired, depressed, and fatigued. You may be suffering from headaches, indigestion, and even have problems with high blood pressure. Some people have difficulty sleeping because of stress or suffer from nightmares when they finally do fall asleep.

The more you worry, the more out of control things may seem. It helps to tackle the problem head on so that you can eliminate the symptoms that are causing your body to feel stress. There are several ways you can tackle the problem of having too much debt and not enough income.

To begin with, it may help to write things down on paper. Keeping a journal can help you to deal with the feelings you’re experiencing as well as come up with solutions. And writing something down gives your brain the permission it needs to stop worrying about a problem constantly. You can come back to your worries another time.

Make sure that every time you write down a worry, you also come up with possible solutions – at least one for every problem. This will help you to stop feeling helpless and start taking charge of your life.

In addition, it’s time to take a good look at your financial predicament. If you’re continuing to spend money you don’t really have, you may need to get outside help. If you’ve got bills that are getting larger and larger, it’s time to do some financial planning and determine a way to get out of debt.

Do not delay taking control of your finances which will affect your health. You may discover once you get your finances in order, your health will begin to clear up!

postheadericon Day 23 of Money and Marriage Talk with Eric and Taffy

I so love days like today. I cooked the kids oatmeal pancakes for breakfast after our daughter prepared the batter. Then hubby and I sat down in the kitchen and went over the finances. I updated the ledgers this morning so that we could plan what the activities were he would be doing with the kids while I was working. We started out talking about business – Money Talk Matters and the engaged couples. One of the things that I did was review a previous business that he and I had done together. Shared with him what I learned from looking back at that business and what things I could institute in my new business. Knowing how well we work together and impact people, felt it best that we provide the counseling.

We also looked at when we worked with students and parents. It was a fun time, meeting with families in their homes. I was able to really provide some insight to him and said in that business this is what we had created and I know we can do that again with what I am doing. That business involved youth, parents and finances. I remember we had impacted over 400 families within the state of Colorado. We did a lot of traveling in those years and had lots of fun. Was very fulfilling.

We moved on and talked finances and planning vacation and business trips! Of course all of this works into homeschooling quite well. Whew! Listen if you do not invest in yourselves and your businesses no one else will. If you don’t believe in them, no one else will. We continued discussing businesses and what we want to do and see within Money Talk Matters. We even discussed how important it is to have a support system which we’ve always had – we talked about me expanding mine to some degree. You can’t be afraid to invest in yourself and take some chances.

Exciting times. I will be releasing information about upcoming events online and offline very soon. If you want to be notified then you should sign up on the home page of this site for information.

Money and Marriage Lessons for Today

1) Business owners – re-evaluate an old business and see what worked and what didn’t. Implement what you can for an existing business and see what happens.

2) When you are able to include a spouse and get feedback, it can make a big difference in your success and/or motivation.

3) Be sure and explain to your spouse your reasoning behind what you do when it comes to marital money, especially if you are the money manager. Think big picture – you want it to benefit everyone.

4) PRESENTATION is key in business and personal life.

Money and Marriage Encouragement for today:Money and Marriage talk is a lifestyle that can be achieved. It’s a choice – you either want your marriage to work or you don’t!

postheadericon Day 20 of Money and Marriage Talk with Eric and Taffy

This morning has started out similar to yesterday. Starting a little late and it is all good. This lets me know that I needed the rest. Believe me I have been going on sheer adrenalin for the last few months due to our IRS audit. WOOHOO that is over and we came through it “beautifully”. We were not stressed because I knew what I had placed on our returns was valid and I could prove everything we claimed. The majority of the time was really spent on locating the documents and getting everything in order which I shared before. Hubby believed and TRUSTED in me and what I said. That makes a big difference in a relationship when a husband and wife can work together.

What I thought was interesting was that I went from one project right to another. A wife is working it all out though because each time I learn more and more along the way! What about you? I know that today will be spent on some meal planning so I can shop later. Money has already been set aside. Once again the key is to “PLAN” for it. BIG caution do not go grocery shopping hungry. If you do, you will always spend more money than you had planned in addition to buying something you may only eat one time!

The twins will be thrilled because that means we will get what we need for Oatmeal pancakes. They also asked me about green beans, etc. I love that they want to eat healthy and LIKE it! Eating healthy is not bad as long as you choose the right meals that are appealing to the eyes and palate! Let’s face it you cannot put a price tag on health! Be honest with yourself.

We also know that finances being in disarray can affect health. People will run to the doctors to get a diagnosis when they know at the end of the day, it is the money that they are stressed about and they begin to develop all these “symptoms” which will not lead to a true diagnosis but a pseudo diagnosis. Stop today and begin taking control of your money instead of being controlled by your money.

Money and Marriage Lessons for Today:

1) You can’t put a price on health.

2) Finances being out of order affects health which can also cost more money.

3) Be honest with yourself and address the financial challenges in your life today.

Money and Marriage Encouragement for Today:

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. How about paying attention to your finances regularly can keep extraneous fees away!

postheadericon Day 18 of Money and Marriage Talk with Eric and Taffy

On Monday mornings, I always like to do a review of the accounts and update my ledgers after any weekend spending. Granted this past weekend was light on the spending until the unexpected car repairs, YET the great thing was that those repairs did not impact household budget. The car is driving good and me and the kids are safe in it!

After updating ledgers and semi-planning for the week, I already knew it was going to be busy I got the twins up. Oh yea.. oatmeal pancakes would be the breakfast request. So I prepared them for them. So yummy and healthy! Breakfast was over and the twins accompanied me to some meetings that morning.

The day prior, hubby and I spent more time talking about the business. I was presented with several business opportunities and we began weighing them out.. i.e. my investment, return on investment, length of time it would take to see a return. This day, I decided to do some research on other areas and came to a conclusion of how to handle a couple of things.

If you are business owner, do not be so excited that you do not weigh all the factors when it comes to your business. It could be the difference between business success and failure. I am REAL big on not being upside down in my business. I admit when option 1 was presented I was very excited because it would free me up in a certain area when it came to marketing. Upon further review, it would be really upside down – where’s the benefit to me! If it doesn’t benefit me, it doesn’t benefit the family.

Money and Marriage Lessons for Today

1) Maintaining your car is important. I love how my husband had checked out my vehicle and wanted to make sure it was safe for me and the kids.

2) Small things mean a lot. Don’t take even the smallest thing for granted.

3) For business owners, ensure you are looking at the entire picture. Being upside down in your business doesn’t benefit you or your family. Actually can cause a lot of stress and strain.

Money and Marriage Encouragement for Today:
The grass may always look greener on the other side BUT it still has to be mowed!

postheadericon Day 10 of Money and Marriage with Eric and Taffy

If you are continuing to read this, thank you for your diligence. Today I wanted to reflect on what I have even learned to this point from sharing our discussions with you each day. Lessons learned are as follow:

1) Even though the kids and I had planned our meals for each day, there were a couple of days when I found myself still going to the store and buying something that wasn’t on the list. Granted it cut down from prior to meal planning but there were a couple of times when I was in the car driving to the store. I applaud myself though because it was an accomplishment.

2) I am always aware of how supportive my husband is when I seek to handle certain things. I have a proven history of handling things in a proactive way that benefits our overall marriage. It’s never just about me – I’m not that kind of girl anyway. I am all about the family and what works for us. There are some wives who don’t have that support from a husband and it would make all the difference in their marriages, jobs and even businesses if they own a business.

3) We continue to grow in our walk with money and marriage. I am pleased with the way my husband and I handle different things that come our way. We know we are a team and behave that way.

4) As we move forward over the next week, continue to plan our meals and eat healthier. You can’t put a price tag on health!

I encourage you to write in if you have any questions.

postheadericon Finances is a Loaded Issue

Finances is a loaded issue for any marriage whether you are engaged, newlywed or married for a long time. It is loaded for several reasons:

(1) We bring our own preconceived ideas into the relationship about money;

(2) We bring past experiences from other relationships into it (good, bad or indifferent)

(3) We also bring our dreams of what we would like our lives to be when it comes to money

(4) We also try to live up to what other people think we should be doing with our money in our marriages.

When you look at those and you add being married to that component – it may even seem like a “double whammy”. Each of those 4 components above applies to each person in the marriage. Therefore, because it is a loaded issue IT WILL require work and involvement on the part of both the husband and the wife.

When it comes to money and marriage, sure one person may manage the money; however it requires both people to be involved in order for their to be peace in the marriage about how money is being spent, how bills are being paid and financial plans for the future.

In your immediate surrounding between your family and friends, marriages that go the distance are those where they talk about the money. I didn’t say argue – they talk about the money, have a plan and work it together. They realize they are on the same team and not against each other.

postheadericon Turning the Page for Money and Marriage

Its 2011 and there are many that recently became engaged over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and even New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. You are beginning a new page in your lives when it comes to money and marriage.

Sure within the next few weeks to days you will begin planning your wedding and there will be thoughts of a wedding budget. Let me encourage you to also think about money in this regard – your individual financial behavior as a bride-to-be or groom. Are you ready or prepared to begin managing money for two people knowing that whatever you do could affect your future spouse’s credit report?

Money is and has always been a part of marriage. This is not a topic that should be avoided now only to later become a point of contention. Money in and of itself cannot do anything. Truthfully, it is how people handle money that causes stress, strife, decrease in job performance, division in families and much more.

For those of you reading this that are engaged (whether newly engaged or have been for some time), time to write the vision when it comes to your money and marriage and make it plain. If you seek premarital financial counseling, I encourage you to do two things:

1) Sign up for the Bride Groom Money Talk Tips to the left of this page.

2) Go to Brides tab and register for premarital financial counseling today. Don’t set your marriage up for failure by not having a plan when it comes to your money and marriage.

Do not get caught going into your marriage without having a financial plan for your marriage. Think about it, no one goes on a road trip without having a map – you do not plan a wedding without having some direction and without doing your research to make sure it happens the way you want it.

Same thing should be true with your money and marriage. You should not leave it to chance that once you are married it will be what it is going to be. Have direction, vision and goals for you marital finances even before you say I Do. It is a choice between marital financial success or marital financial stress and strain. You decide!

postheadericon Cash Christmas Continues

When I looked over in the next check out lane, there was my husband and our son. I said to my daughter, cover up his present. She did right away. So she stood in line with our shopping cart. Hubby and I touched base briefly and then agreed to meet up for lunch after both of us checked out.

Our son was soooo excited for his sister. He told her when you see what I got for you its going to blow you away! Now, coming from an eight year old – that made me laugh a lot. I knew what he had gotten her. Mind you, he went over the dollar amount and on this one I stretched since I felt it was truly worth it.

After lunch we had a couple of more places to hit and then we were home for the evening. It was sooo much fun and of course the twins were excited for the next day. They had saw boxes being delivered by UPS, the mailman and Fed Ex. Yet, they didn’t know which ones belonged to them and which ones were ours. Oh the fun I was having.

Needless to say that evening, there I was with all of my receipts and budget evaluating what was done with the finances that day. I was very proud of what my husband had done with his lists and dollar amounts as well as myself. When Christmas came, it felt good to know that we stuck to our game plan and didn’t move from it.

It was a great day for many reasons and one which was because it was done in CASH! That’s right. No credit card bills coming in January with huge balances or anything of that nature. I told my husband thank you and that I appreciated him working within the plan because I know that is not what he would like to do.

Lessons from the Cash Christmas:

1) Set your plan whether early or even late and stick to the plan. You (and your family) are the ones that has to live with the consequences.

2) If you are the shopper, shop within healthy financial boundaries that allow you to enjoy life knowing the bills are paid and you have money left over.

3) Create memories surrounding finances that don’t involve stress. Hmmm, there’s a refreshing idea.

4) For those with children, set the example and actions you want them to follow once they are adults.

postheadericon Ready for the Wedding, yet…

This morning on The View, Whoopi said I love the Wedding day, its the day after I have the problem with. That has been in my head all day because I believe there are many that fall into this category.

How many brides should we say are sooo excited about their wedding day and then when they return from the honeymoon its post-nuptial withdrawals? Planning their wedding, meeting with the wedding planner, caterers and such was fun and busy. Once they return from the honeymoon… its quiet.

I think so many are focused on the wedding, yet they forget to plan, prepare and prevent unnecessary issues when it comes to marriage. Plan how you want your marriage to unfold, prepare for merging money in order to prevent blowups regarding financial stress. Of course there is more to it than that, yet that is a place to start especially since there are a lot of financial challenges that can arise in the first year that really tear a marriage apart.

When newlyweds start out with marital debt, it makes it very hard to nurture and enjoy the relationship instead of arguing about the money and pointing the finger which more than likely will happen.

To prevent wedding day blues, talk with your soon to be spouse about what you want your marriage to look like, how you want the finances handled and what are mutual steps you can agree to take in order to prevent stress on the marriage.