Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Money money money

Today's health and beauty buzz is on money and the impact it has on our health and well being. The latest mega millions lotto reached the record breaking amount of 656 million dollars. It was won by 3 Marylanders. Alas, although I am a Marylander, I am sorry to say that I was not a winner.

Money and marriage:
  • Money or the lack thereof often creates friction in relationships being the top reason for divorce. The best way to avoid disagreements as far as money is concerned is to live within or below one’s means. Research has shown that couples who accumulate assets are 70% less likely to divorce than those whom have accumulated nothing. You are 45% more likely to get divorced if you perceive your spouse to be a foolish spender. This applies to both men and women.
  • Have your own money. Just because you are married, it does not mean that you have to give up being your own person. You each want different things and this is what may have attracted you to each other in the first place. Having to ask your spouse’s permission in order to do or purchase something is not romantic or healthy. The relationship begins to feel parental and controlling instead of being a partnership.
  • Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s. When one spouse is viewed by the other as being materialistic this is often a huge bone of contention. Remember that the Jones’s are probably in debt up to their eyeballs.
  • Struggling to pay your mortgage and keep food on your table is no one’s idea of a stress free and happy life.
  • High credit card debt has reportedly been a major cause of driving couples towards divorce.  Discuss and agree upon any major purchases you may make over a pre determined amount.
115 million Americans carry credit card debt of at least $10,000.00.   

Good and bad debt- Know the difference.
Good debt is your home, car and college education.
College debt has surpassed credit card debt in the USA and is currently estimated at 1 Trillion dollars. I don't need any reminding of this fact with both my kids presently in college.
Bad debt is your high interest rate credit cards. 

Money and friends:-
Never lend money to friends or family. Lending friends or family money creates bones of contention often alienating you from each other for years or even a life time. Scrutinizing and judging on how “your money” is being spent leads to ill feelings and resentment.
Borrowing money is the easiest way to lose friends or relatives. You may feel uncomfortable, guilty and obligated.
If you have the money and are willing to part with it to assist a loved one or close friend, give it to them. Allow the money to be used as they best see fit without interference and no strings attached. This should be a gift not a loan and should not be mentioned again.

Every family has their own way of money management. You must agree between you which works best for your family. In my family, I am the one who opens all the bills, pays all the bills as well as being the money tracker. This may not work well for all couples as the burden of budgeting and financial responsibility can be stressful. It works well for us.

Having 3 bank accounts is a good idea. Combine incomes if both partners work and open a joint account from which mutually shared expenses are paid such as mortgage payments, taxes, college tuition payments, car payments and everything associated with the general running of the home. Obviously one spouse will be contributing more than the other based upon income.  Distribute left over money (if you are fortunate to have any) equally between you once your bills have been met and savings set aside. This is your “fun money” to spend or save as you choose without interference from your spouse. There can be no arguments if you wish to spend it on 6 new pairs of shoes!

Set aside a pre agreed time to discuss money matters if the need arises. Try not to discuss whilst angrily paying the bills.

Most of us would love to be independently wealthy and day dream about what we would do with our fortunes. Remember that there will always be someone worse off as well as better off than you.

As said by the Beetles - “I don’t care much for money, because money can’t buy me love”.  
Benjamin Franklyn-  “Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.”
My philosophy -  “If you marry for money, you will end up paying for it.” I would rather be with a generous poor man than with a rich stingy one.

Stay happy, healthy and safe.

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