9 Saucy Money Lessons for Newly Married Couples

“Money” arguments,“financial infidelities” are the main cause of marital conflicts. But, when you say “I do”, and have set your mind to spend your life together, you must even think of possible ways to manage your personal finances. It’s because, both of you have different financial opinions, habits. So, it is quite essential to stay on same money page after getting married. Thus, you’ll be able to ensure a happy married life.

Money Lessons for Newly Married Couples

9 Post-marital money lessons you must learn

It’s quite normal that each person has his own perception regarding personal finance. You should coordinate with each other to put your finances in order. Here goes some lesson you should learn to manage your personal finances post-marriage.

Communication is ultimate

In marriage, communication is a key factor when it comes to financing. You must have the courage to talk to your spouse about financial matters. Don’t feel ashamed if you have student loan debts or other financial obligations. Feel free to share every financial truth with your spouse. You must be honest of your accounts and how much debts you owe. Also, share your opinion and the way how you want to handle your finance. Thus, you’ll be able to build a truth from the beginning and have a better understanding of where you stand financially and your expectations from each other.

Sit with your spouse and decide your goals

After marriage, you need to set up your goal. Thus, you’ll be able to secure your financial future. There are a lot of things which you need to manage after marriage such as parental cost, child care cost, and education cost. So, try to set up your financial goal and work together in order to achieve it without any hassles. Try to write down your goals and check them periodically to assess them.

Formulate a monthly budget together

After marriage, you should formulate a budget together as early as possible. Thus, you can certainly reduce unnecessary expenses and manage the household finances well. Search on the Internet to find out budgeting software which will help you to create a budget according to your lifestyle.

Make sure the budget is realistic

Only formulating a budget is not enough, you’ll have to follow it. You should be careful that the budget you both have made is realistic, or else it’ll become difficult for you to follow it. Following the budget is important because it will help you understand what amount of money you can afford to spend from your income and how much you can actually save. A realistic budget will help you to save a considerable amount of money with which you can pay off your financial obligations as well. But if you have a too rigid budget that you can’t follow anymore your expenses may increase than your expectation.

Organize weekly financial meetings

Weekly financial meetings are very useful for couples to talk about finances. Thus, you can make a spending plan, review all the accounts, and discuss the budget. These meetings will help you to sort out any problem area and strengthen your communication in marriage as well.

Ditch multiple bank accounts

In a marriage, two people become together. So, there’s no point in keeping multiple accounts. Try to keep a single bank account, including a single debit card, bank card, and savings account. Thus, keeping track on finance become simple for both of you. You no longer require dealing with financial hassles.

Build an emergency fund

Emergencies are uncertain, so you should build an emergency fund for securing your financial future. Communicate with your spouse and set aside some amount of money to beat the unexpected happening such as losing your job, family illness, the natural disaster etc.

Open a joint bank account

A joint bank account not only secures your future, it will strengthen your relationship as well. Control your spending habits so as to save the most part of your earnings. Thus, you can build trust in your relationship and meet other responsibilities in the future as well as.

Secure your retirement

Don’t forget about your retirement days. It will be a wise decision to set aside money for your retirement just after you have got married. Don’t forget to take advantage of the 401k plan if you’re working for a company.

Final words

Post-marital personal finance is a vital factor that needs to be taken into account. Try to share all the responsibilities and work together. Thus, you’ll be able to manage your hard earned money without affecting your relationship negatively and stay away from financial obligations as well.

]]>

Top 10 Tools & Apps to Manage Personal Finance

Budget bookkeeping is getting more efficient each year. With specific programs designed to help you see how your money is spent, manage your bank accounts, and recommend strategies to curb spending, you can more easily save money and build your personal wealth. Take advantage of digital platforms by downloading a few personal finance apps on your phone or computer.

Personal Finance apps

Here is a list of the top ten tools and mobile apps to help manage your personal finances.

BillGuard—Total Security from Your Phone

BillGuard is a fantastic mobile security app that alerts you to any suspicious charges. Even duplicate charges will set off the alert to ensure that there aren’t any careless mistakes that end up costing you money. You can comment on charges and dispute alerts for maximum security and convenience purposes.

Mint—Pocket Financial Tracking System

Manage personal finance transparency with Mint. This app is easy to navigate and simple to set up. You can access graphs, charts, and a personal financial analysis depicting your spending habits so that you can understand exactly where your money is going.

Betterment—Plan for a Better Future

With Betterment, you can take more action on your investment strategy and portfolio from your phone. You can set up and track specific financial goals with asset allocation tools. Long-term investment is the emphasis of Betterment, as you can only use the app with a $10,000 lump sum or a regular deposit of $100 per month.

PocketGuard—Analyze and Predict

The PocketGuard budgeting app connects directly to your bank accounts to give you constant access to your current transactions and balance. The app allows you to simply view your money, whether it’s how much you’ve spent or how much is in your bank account. This app also analyzes your spending to identify habitual payments to help you control your spending. With simple charts that outline how you spend money, PocketGuard keeps you informed.

Key Ring—Maximize Your Loyalty

It can be a hassle to remember to bring along your loyalty cards each time you go to the store. Simplify your life and leave your wallet at home by using Key Ring instead. It allows you to file all of your loyalty points and accounts in one place. Check out with your phone to collect points without carrying around a bulky wallet filled with cards.

PriceGrabber—Get the Best Deals

PriceGrabber is a mobile app that allows you to scan product barcodes to find out if it is available at another store at a cheaper cost. In seconds, you can find out whether you are overspending or about to make a budget purchase. You can even set up alerts for when certain products go on sale. This app can save you a lot of searching around for the best deals on certain products.

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

You Need a Budget is a sweeping, multi-faceted, budget-tracking software. On top of the standard bookkeeping abilities, YNAB also features a rich community of tutorials, handbooks, and Q&As. The program runs independently of financial institutions, so you can access your budget spreadsheet without logging into your bank statement. YNAB is a great place to start when it comes to managing your personal finances.

GnuCash—Unaffiliated Budget Tracking

Some people prefer to keep an eye on their finances through a free, open-source program. GnuCash is an accountant-friendly program designed for those who like to have all of their figures laid out in front of them. With this program, you can make sure your records are properly documented without running them through any financial institution. You can also customize your books to include a variety of miscellaneous expenses.

BudgetSimple—Quality Spending Advice

If you’re the kind of person who wants to hand over your books and obtain solid budget advice without having to do the work, BudgetSimple may be the program for you. After quickly analyzing your finances, the program will recommend where you can trim spending to help grow your savings. The ultimate goal is to prevent you from having to live paycheck-to-paycheck.

Helpful Features on Your Bank’s Website

Many people don’t realize that their banks offer valuable resources that are effective and widely available on digital platforms. Web features can be particularly helpful through banks that also handle investments and brokerage accounts like Schwab and Fidelity. Members can news, updates, and financial advice. Speak to a representative at your bank to find out about all the features you could be taking advantage of.

Whether your goal is to curb your spending habits, increase your investment portfolio, or settle your debt, there are plenty of high-quality digital platforms available online to help you seek the financial life you deserve. Manage your personal finance today and get back on track with your credit score, savings account, and spending habits.

Carolyn Clarke is a financial analyst, consultant, and freelance financial writer from Los Angeles, California. Her experience with financial management and investment strategy, as well as contracting work with companies such as Financial Solutions of America, has helped stabilize the many clients’ financial lives. When she is not busy helping others or strategizing new financial freedom plans, she enjoys painting and reading.

]]>

There’s a Way Out of Even the Deepest Debt Crisis

Consumer debt is at an all-time high, and even though it could be argued that much of our economy is sustained by debt, that’s probably a scant comfort to you if you’re drowning in debt yourself. But there is a way out of even the deepest debt crisis. You may be able to get yourself out, or you might need to enlist some help. But as is the case with most recovery programs, you first have to recognize the problem.

Debt Crisis

You’re certainly not alone

One very common element among people who find themselves over their heads in debt is a tendency toward self-recrimination. They tend to feel that their “failure” is unique to them, and often the product of some moral or intellectual shortcoming. The facts belie that tendency, however, as the average American household debt is over $90,000 in debt, and that average includes households that are debt-free. If you remove the debt-free households from the equation, the average jumps to a staggering $130,922, of which $15,762 is from credit cards alone.

Why are so many people struggling under such a huge debt burden? A significant part of that leap can be attributed to the fact that inflation has far outpaced increases in individual income. While income since 2003 has increased by roughly 26%, the costs of food, housing, higher education, and especially healthcare have risen considerably more, with some more than doubling in the same time period. If you go back even further, to the early baby boom generation, the cost of the average house back then – the biggest single expenditure for most people – was less than the cost of the average automobile today. When you add in how aggressively debt is marketed, it should come as no surprise that individual debt has skyrocketed, not just for the few, but for the many. It’s not about morals; it is simple math.

So if you were feeling alone in your indebtedness, rest assured that you’re not. Millions of people in the US and elsewhere are in the same boat as you. But if you’re ready to disembark from that crowded boat, it’s going to take some determination and hard work.

Finding your way out

There are probably almost as many “expert” opinions on how to get yourself out of that credit hole as there are people who are deep in debt, but a few basic actions are essential in any viable process. Among them:

Get a clear picture of your indebtedness – Most people actually have a very unclear picture of their actual indebtedness. They are aware of the major items such as mortgage, car payment, and the like, but often fail to consider other monthly expenses when composing their debt analysis. Take into account every expenditure that you face on a monthly basis, even the most minor ones. If they amount to nearly as much as or more than your monthly income, you definitely have a debt problem. And if you don’t have at least enough money left over every month to cover unseen expenses such as car repairs or replacement of a major appliance, you might not be in a debt hole now, but you’re probably already digging a hole that you’ll fall into in the future.

Don’t incur additional “bad” debt – Obviously, the essential first step toward getting out of a credit hole is to put down the shovel and quit digging yourself deeper in. That means not using credit to make non-essential purchases, no matter how tempting they might be.

Recognize and make use of “good” debt – Not all debt is bad. Some kinds of debt, such as a mortgage, should be viewed as an investment in the future. If you have a significant amount of high-interest debt such as credit card balances or even an old mortgage that charges at high-interest rate, you could save a significant amount every month by consolidating those credit cards into a single loan at a lower interest rate and/or refinancing your mortgage to take advantage of historically low rates currently being offered by lenders.

Shop for the best credit deal – The credit market is very competitive right now, especially for people whose credit scores are good. Shop around to see what kinds of deals different lenders offer, especially on mortgage loans. And don’t forget to check out credit unions, which tend to offer better terms and interest rates than banks, as they are typically owned by and more favorable to their members, rather than corporations whose sole objective is maximizing profits.

But sometimes debt problems can seem overwhelming, and you may despair of ever being able to get yourself out of debt. That’s when you may need to turn to someone who can help you do just that.

When you need a helping hand

Sometimes, straightening out debt problems is simply beyond what most people can handle. The complexity of the process alone has probably contributed to as many debt crises as any other single factor. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your debts, avoiding them is the absolute worst thing you can do. At that point (or hopefully, well before that point), you probably need to get some advice and assistance from someone who is a certified expert in resolving debt problems. A certified credit counselor can help you unravel all the complexities of your financial situation and advise you on ways to climb out of a debt hole.

You will want to ensure that the credit counselor or service is reputable, and not just in business to make as much as possible from their customers. Start by seeing whether the service is a member in good standing of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) or the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA), both of which impose strict ethical guidelines upon their members. Certified counselors can offer much more than assistance straightening out credit card debts, and most are even prepared to help you with student loan debts, which are rapidly becoming one of the highest categories of individual debt. The important thing is to seek out assistance as early as possible.

Recognizing that you have a debt problem and taking the right steps to resolving that problem can be both a logistical and emotional challenge. But the sooner you take steps – the right steps – to get back on track, the easier it will be, and the better the results will be. So don’t punish yourself. Just realize that you’re far from the only person who is in this situation, that the conditions that got you here are not all of your making, and that there is light at the end of the debt tunnel in which you find yourself.

]]>