Money Decisions to Make Once You Tie the Knot

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Got money? If the answer leans toward having a little tucked away for a rainy day or I haven’t yet attained my financial potential, both examples show a sense of financial responsibility to a certain degree. But is that enough to hold a marriage together in good and bad times? You be the judge.

Making good money decisions once you’ve tied the knot takes a little more than just a hope and a dream. Many marriages struggle when the topic of money, how to save, how to spend, how to invest and how to organize isn’t addressed. The start of a good financial plan begins by warming up to handy tips like the ones mentioned below to help your marriage find its desired financial footing.

Premarital Financial Counseling

Let’s just begin by addressing marriage and money in the same sentence. Some folks aren’t particularly comfortable with this type of companionship. If this is you, premarital financial counseling could be the biggest gift you give to yourself and your spouse-to-be.

If this is slightly you or not you at all, premarital financial counseling remains a step in the right direction because money, in all of its splendor, needs to be understood for what it really is after you tie the knot. Otherwise, surprises may ensue. Dare to explore and reap the benefits of premarital financial counseling before you tie the knot. That said…

Post-Marital Financial Partnership

Congratulations! The knot has now been happily tied. Supposing pre-marital financial counseling hadn’t been previously on the horizon, let’s celebrate anyway with a few great tips to help financial issues and this wonderful marriage remain happy, strong and balanced.

ONE – Keep the financial conversational doors wide open. Recognize two incomes may be better than one for a variety of reasons. More income means more expendable money, more benefits and more security in most cases. Strongly consider expenses such as household, home/auto insurance, emergencies, vacations and other extra-curricular variables.

TWO – Make a budget and stick to it. Budgeting may sound old-fashioned; but in today’s financially fast world budgeting is highly effective for keeping heads above water, regardless of how much money there is.

Debit cards are a safer spending tool than credit cards. While credit cards can be beneficial to build a line of credit for larger purchases down the road, they also tack on often lofty interest rates that have enormous potential to drain the pocketbook. Credit cards’ tempting and easy purchasing power is a RED FLAG to danger. Simply, if you don’t have the cash, then you don’t get the stash.

THREE – Talk about steps required that will invite unity, peace and equal partnership now and for the future. Talk about different types of reputable investments that can be utilized now without heavy penalties, tax rates or other savings/investment diversions.

FOUR – Learn about debt brought into a marriage. Eleven community property regulated states like Wisconsin, Washington, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, Louisiana, Idaho, California and Arizona require any debt brought into a marriage belongs only to that person and is not inherited to the spouse. Any debt created after marriage is a legally bound and accountable mutual debt of both spouses. Common law states work variably differently.

FIVE – Mutually agreeable financial terms such as being a two-income family or having two savings account holders in a marriage doesn’t always mean both parties must be in charge. In fact, agreeing to one spouse taking the lead as far as budgeting, organizing and maintenance can actually simplify life.

Along with this agreement should be another discussion about getting together routinely to discuss and overview how various money decisions are going. Keeping that important open door of communication, application and execution of all monies is a significant partnership plus. If disagreements of money handling occur, find and utilize professional support resources like https://www.mint.com/ for a fresh perspective.

SIX – Plan for the inevitable. Acquire life insurance as soon as possible. The comfort of this financial benefit is an excellent plan before, during and after the loss of a loved one. Learn more about various life insurance coverage at https://havenlife.com/#needs.

Coming together in marriage is a wonderfully bright and exciting step. When it comes to financial success in a marriage, ask questions.

Sites like www.youneedabudget.com or www.mint.com are two reliable sources to the path of financial resourcefulness.

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10 Ways To Love

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Love is expressed as an action and experienced as a feeling. Yet, love has an essence that resists definition in any single way: it encompasses compassion, determination, endurance, support, faith, and much more. Everyone is capable of love, and there is seemingly no limit to the amount of love you can give or receive. If you struggle to express or receive love, there are ways to help you open to love:

6 Financial Questions You Should Ask Your Partner Before Saying I Do


marc firestone marriageCouples getting ready to walk down the aisle tend to spend a lot of their time focused on things like flowers, color schemes, meals, playlists, guest counts, etc. However, experts say that there is a major part of creating a “happily ever after” that is often not discussed before the long awaited walk down the aisle: finances.

Before you commit to forever with your partner, it is extremely important that you first discuss some strategy for how you plan to make financial decisions. The financial decisions that couples make in the early years together have a huge impact on their future income.

Everyone’s situation is unique, but it all comes back to one simple principle — the earlier you have the conversations about money and the sooner you take action on that discussion, the better off you’ll be.

Financial talk in the midst of wedding planning can seem like it might be a buzz kill, but money is a leading catalyst for marital disputes and a top cause for divorce, according to experts. Wouldn’t you rather have a potentially difficult conversation now, before you’ve committed the rest of your life to someone, than a difficult conversation down the line that could end your marriage?  

Couples should understand they are likely to run into disagreement about one or more aspects of finance, but what matters most is how they handle it.

Here is a list of questions to get the conversation started, click here for more:

  1. In case of an emergency, do you know where your financial and legal documents are?
  2. How confident are you in taking full responsibility for your retirement savings strategy?
  3. Everyone pictures retirement differently. What does yours look like?
  4. You just received a large tax refund. What are you most likely to do with it?
  5. Who manages your day-to-day household finances (paying bills, deposits, budgets, etc.)?
  6. When it comes to investing for your retirement, who takes the lead?

More than anything, you want to ensure that you and your fiancé discuss items like these BEFORE you get married. Half of your stress can be eliminated just by making sure that you and your future spouse are on the same page when it comes to your finances. You don’t have to agree on everything. But you want to make sure you share similar viewpoints when it comes to managing debt, budgeting and your future goals. A shared financial vision can go a long way toward ensuring you both live your happily ever after.

Marc Firestone’s Tips On Restoring Balance In Your Marriage

 

couple-counseling-on-black-bridal-blissAccording to a recent Pew Study, researchers found that the overall quality of life for parents is decreasing as the work-life balance becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. This is in part because, more than any other time in history, both partners are working full time positions. There are several discrepancies in the data, which shows that college-educated workers are more likely to feel like they aren’t getting enough family and leisure time. One suggestion is that non-college-educated workers are more likely to work hourly. As such, they may be less likely required or expected to work off the clock. However, they more likely have less daytime flexibility or paid leave options.

Either way you look at it, work-life balance is a delicate thing, especially for married couples— and even more so when children are involved. But here’s a few things you can do to restore that balance and maximize your marriage’s potential.

Set Work Boundaries
This is hugely important and easier said than done. Make sure that your time in the office is productive so that you don’t take any work home with you. Once you step outside of the office, you should be living your life the best you can. When work comes home with you, it may send a signal that your job is more important than your spouse. Take a break from the daily grind, and spend that precious time with the one you love. If you have kids, the same principle applies to them, too!

2. Schedule it if You Must
For some people, their job is an all-day affair, and nights and weekends are never ruled out for work. In that case, make a schedule and stick to it for the sake of consistency. Maybe spend a block of time on Sundays in your office, but outside of that you’re looking at time with your family. Doing this gives everyone in your home some degree of expectation for their spouse or parent.

3. Set Quality Time
It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of a quality vacation. Every once in awhile, you need to be able to step back and remove yourself from the usual stimuli that bombard your senses at work and at home. Now, vacationing can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of sites out there offering tips on how to travel on a budget, and sites like Kayak and Google Flights help you find affordable airfare across the globe.

But who said anything about vacation meaning skipping town? Sometimes a vacation can mean classing it up at home, and doing something out of the ordinary. Why not check out these suggestions for a low or no-cost weekend afternoon?

5 Phrases The Happiest Couples Say

There are a few phrases that, when sincerely used, help strengthen and grow relationships and marriages. These simple phrases may not seem like much, but they truly lead to a better life for both you and your significant other. I recently came across this article that discusses five phrases the happiest couples use to stay crazy in love, listed below:

1) We Can Work It Out

Numerous studies have shown a positive correlation between marital happiness and how often couples refer to themselves as “we.” This probably does not come as much of a surprise, because seeing yourself as a team makes you more likely to cope well with the everyday problems that couple will inevitably encounter. This team spirit leads to more cooperation, fewer disagreements, and resolving issues more quickly.

2) I Hear What You Are Saying

Humans long to be heard and understood. This idea is especially important when it comes to relationships. When one does not feel heard or understood, they tend to not feel important, valued, or connected to the other party. This does not mean that you need to agree with what the other person is saying. It simply means that you at least listen to your partner with an open mind. When you listen to what your significant other is saying, they are more likely to share their innermost thoughts and feelings, leading to a stronger bond.

3) I’m Crazy About You

All too often, couples keep their nice thoughts about their significant other to themselves. You forget how important it is for your significant others to hear about how smart, charming, attractive, or important they are to you. These constant reminders from the person that matters most keeps spirits high and his connection to you closer than ever.

4) Wow, Thank You!

Couples in the strongest and happiest relationships make it a point to acknowledge all the little things that their significant other does to make their life easier or better. This includes anything from making your favorite meal to picking up dry cleaning. Adding “Wow!” to the phrase only helps to emphasis these feelings of importance and appreciation.

5) Go For It!
Research shows that couples who serve as cheerleaders for one another are not only more optimistic about life and love, but are far more likely to live happily ever after. A significant other that is there to support you with your decisions and push you to take on life’s challenges is incredibly valuable.

The Three Kinds of Fights

When you and your spouse are fighting, it’s been said that Fighting coupleyou should “fight naked”.  The idea behind this is twofold: it’s very hard to stay angry when you’re both stark naked, but being emotionally and utterly transparent in your communication will lead to a better conflict resolution.  In marriage, you won’t always agree, which means that you’re going to end up fighting.  It’s inevitable, so you shouldn’t ask yourself “what if we fight?” but rather “how can we fight in a healthy way?”.  I recently came across an article that discusses three different types of marital fights, and how you can seek reconciliation, listed below:

Annoyances and bickering: When you’re living with another human, you’ll end up getting annoyed sometimes.  It might have to do with how you brush your teeth, whether or not you clean up after yourself, whether or not you leave the lights on, the list is endless.  However, these annoyances are never deal-breakers; they can always be worked out or around.  If it is a problem, then voice your concerns in a constructive way and time.  If you or your spouse do end up using an inflammatory stone, then try to hear what they’re saying before how they’re saying it.

Fights that stem from deep hurts: These are the fights where the heart is involved.  There are various types of scenarios that can illustrate this type of fight, such as spending habits, family frustrations or being ignored.  However, as the author of the article pointed out, each time the fight seems to come from “bottling it up”.  When those fights do occur, you need to seek reconciliation as opposed to a way to vent your hurt.  Make sure you talk; you both need to commit to talking it through, and look to hear what isn’t being said.  Ultimately, don’t let pride drive you further apart, and admit if you’re wrong.

Core issue disagreements: Not every couple shares the same values.  Some of them can be based on political or religious persuasion, but they can be about plenty of other things: disciplining the kids, strategies for saving money and career choices, among other things.  If you’re dealing with such an issue, seek agreement and understanding.  If you’re still at an impasse, then you’ll need to compromise.  When you do compromise, don’t let it poison your marriage by fostering long-term bitterness and anger.  

5 Phrases to Encourage Your Husband

As a husband, your role is to serve your family with deep love and tenderness, yet figuring out how to do that can prove difficult.  And often-times, what a wife says and how she responds to her husband can make all the difference in regards to how effectively he can treat her with the love and tenderness that she deserves.  I recently came across an article that discusses five phrases that wives can say to “deeply” encourage their husbands, listed below:

1. “I trust you”: When two spouses are in the continuum of day-to-day life, the big picture can become much harder to see.  When you’re knee-deep in bills, work and children, things can get frustrating.  As a husband, it’s part of your job to understand and sympathize with your wife.  This is where words mean so much: when things get particularly hard, simply saying “I trust you” can make all the difference.  When a wife tells her husband that she trusts him, it gives him a special degree of confidence like no other.

2. “I believe in you”: Anybody in the world can tell you that they believe in you, but hearing it from your wife means something special.  Your wife knows you better than anybody else, and sees in you what nobody else can; if anybody can be accurately critical, then it’s your wife.

3. “I’m with you”: Since Adam and Eve, husbands have longed for the partnership and complicity of their wives.  When a wife says to her husband, “I’m with you”, it’s enough to make him want to break out in song.

4. “I desire you”: While ladies get a lot of “press” for wanting to be desired and pursued, most men want that just as badly.  Men want to be attractive to their spouses or significant others.  They want their women to think that they’re strong, handsome and charming.  Even as you’ve been married for 10+ years, being able to make your wife swoon is a great sign of a great marriage.

5. “I know you’re not perfect, but I love you anyway”: When a wife recognizes her husband’s faults, but still loves him (and vice versa), then that’s pure grace.  When a wife tells her husband that she still loves him in spite of (or even because of) his faults, then it disarms his defenses and helps build up his strength in a truly remarkable way.

9 Pieces of Marriage Advice

Marc Firestone Happy coupleThere are a countless number of relationship-advice books out there.  Going to a bookstore, going to the “love & marriage” section can feel overwhelming.  There are probably some sage pieces of advice put into these books, but nobody has the time to go through every single one of them.  I recently came across an article by a woman about to be married, who collected what she thought were the best pieces of relationship advice from a wide array of sources, from researchers to her grandmother.  The list of tidbits below might feel eclectic, but the author does make some interesting points:

Regularly compliment: For nearly 30 years, relationship expert Terri Orbuch has been conducting research following 373 married couples.  She’s discovered that couples who regularly give each other “affective affirmation”, such as compliments, encouragement, help and support are the happiest.  According to Orbuch, men actually crave affective affirmation more than women, since women typically get it from people other than their husbands.

Forget about bills: Orbuch has found that the happy couples in her study talked to each other frequently about things other than their relationship.  She recommends setting aside about 10 minutes every day to talk about anything other than work, family, the household or the relationship.  For example, ask what your partner’s favorite movie is, what a happy memory from their childhood was, or what they want to be remembered for.  Such small change infuses relationships with new life.

Mix things up: In Orbuch’s study, she found that couples who felt bored or were in a relationship rut tended to be less happy over time, so mixing things up can help you to escape that rut.  Such changes can be small, but they have to upset the routine enough to make your partner take notice.  According to anthropologist Helen Fisher, novelty drives up the dopamine system in the brain, which can help sustain feelings of romantic love.

Stay positive: Fisher says that when you’re feeling irritated about your partner, resist the urge to think of the things you don’t like and focus on the good.  Psychologist Harriet Lerner agrees, saying that nobody can happily survive in a marriage if they feel more judged than admired.

Look for the soft emotion: Stephanie Coontz, author of of “Marriage, a History”, says that marriage counselor she’s spoken with look for the “soft” emotion lying beneath the hard one.  Therefore, respond to the soft emotion, such as fear, anxiety or embarrassment that hides behind anger or accusation.  This piece of advice extends to all relationships, not just marriage.

Live your own life: Harriet Lerner emphasizes the importance of independence in a marriage; connect with friends and family, pursue your own interests and help others.  If your primary energy isn’t directed to living your own life, then you’ll be over-focused on your partner in a worried or critical way.

Don’t wait for the mood: Fisher advises to stay intimate with your partner on a regular basis, even if you’re not in the mood; you shouldn’t always expect to be overcome by desire.  Regular sex stimulates the dopamine system to sustain feelings of romantic love.

Pick a good lover: It’s important to note that a good lover isn’t necessarily somebody with exceptional skills, but rather somebody who brings the right attitude to the bedroom.

Don’t be too idealistic: While writing “Looking for Love in the Age of Divorce”, Dana Adam Schapiro traveled across the country asking divorcees for marriage advice.  He said that one of the best pieces of advice he came across was from one interviewee, who said that the utter grandeur and magnificence of what actually is gets overshadowed by disappointment that it isn’t what people fantasize it to be.  He says the best you can hope for is somebody who will respect you and go through life and be honest with you.

Why Marriage Matters

Marriage is one of the most important aspects of our lives. If you are already married, you’ve probably already discovered why it is so important and all of the good that comes from maintaining a healthy marriage. On the other hand, you also may have experienced some of the hardships that coincide with marriage. Either way, marriage is a way for us to grow with our spouses and starts by the recognition that the unity between two is more powerful than anything in the world.

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One reason that marriage is so important is because it brings a sense of oneness to our lives, hence the saying, “when two become one.” A bond of marriage is a bond like nothing else – it gives us someone we can learn with, grow with, and help along life’s crazy journey. Being one means that you are no longer lonely, that you can face challenges together, and that you always have somebody to help you out when you need it most.

In addition, the first stages of marriage are the beginning of some of life’s greatest treasures. Marriage is the beginning of having a family and presents opportunities for use to have children and expand our families. Marriage is also an emotional and spiritual union (not just physical). Being married means you are bonded by more than a ring or a certificate – marriage means feeling each other’s presence when one isn’t there.

Marriage also equates to love, the most powerful feeling of them all. Marriage is a love that will always be there, unconditionally, and brings joy and peace to our lives. When you are going through hard times in your marriage, always remember that it is a love that cannot fade, and think of the joy that both of you bring to the world when you are together.

Throughout your lifetime you will recognize that marriage matters most in life. So always treat your spouse with utmost respect and remind each other that love is the answer to all of life’s questions.