Love and Money

You’re in love and you must deal with the issue of money in your relationship because as we all know, according to attorneys, money issues are the number one reason that relationships fail.

When should you talk about money in a relationship? Well, certainly not on the first date, but as soon as you are pretty sure it looks like love is in the air and you’re going to be moving into a relationship, “let’s talk about money.” The sooner, the better; within, say, the first two or three months.

If you’re already in a relationship, the time to talk about money is now.

What should you talk about?

Over the course of your life, you have developed certain beliefs and ideas about money which are deeply entrenched in you. For instance, you either believe that money I generally in short supply and there is not enough of it to go around, or that money is energy, comes quickly and easily and is in abundant supply.

Beyond those, you might ask, “What kind of money person am I?” unless you already know, and what type of money person is your partner? You needn’t be of the same money type to have a successful relationship. In fact, it is likely that you will have a higher quality long-standing love affair with someone who is unlike you in terms of their money type.

Understanding this, and being respectful of your partner’s belief systems, you are ready to go to the next level of the money talk, which means being open and honest and disclosing your financial affairs.

It’s not uncommon for one or both parties to bring some debt to the table. This should not be a surprise. Full disclosure is important, or else it will be the focal point of conflict in your relationship which could have been avoided.

The largest debt coming into a relationship which can cripple a couple’s potential is student loan debt which can be 50 to 100 thousand dollars or more and can be manageable. So, get it out on the table and discuss it. There are some creative ways to deal with student loan debt, like student loan consolidation (look around, resources are available, such as www.consolidatecollege.com).

Another debt which is usually visited upon a new relationship (or a periodic challenge in an ongoing relationship) is that of credit card debt. It’s easy, depending on your money type, to rack up a sizeable amount of credit card debt. It creeps up on you and can quickly spin out of control becoming unmanageable. Non-profit and for-fee agencies are available to assist in consolidating your credit card debt so that you can get a handle on it.

What’s my credit score?

You should know. When you’re talking about getting serious get to know your credit score, and your partner should know about his or her credit score also. Each party should be responsible for his/her own credit maintenance. You don’t want to wait until you go to buy something to find out your credit score is lacking or has been compromised; then it’s too late. Stay on top of it. There are many online resources, some are free (or say that they are free, then lure you into a subscription, so be careful), some are fee-based. Find one that is suitable for your situation.

Be Proactive

By all means, do not avoid talking about money issues. Find ways to engage talking about money issues. Make watching a regular TV show about money issues, then talk about what caught your attention. Pick a book about money issues and read through it together, talking about it chapter by chapter, honor your love and your relationship by going through this process, even if it’s uncomfortable, but do something… anything! Don’t let this issue of money be the undoing of your relationship.

What Kind of Car Do You Drive?

I hope you’ve picked it well, because your choice of car that you drive tells more about you than you may think.

its-all-about-your-car-luxury-sedan-mercedes-benz-jaguar-bmw-lexus

What does your car say about you?

It could mean,

You are a confident, well-balanced, trustworthy individual

If you drive a car that is not a burden and well within your means, congratulations, you are likely a confident, well-balanced, trustworthy individual and you’re in good company.

To qualify, your automobile will have a value of no more than ten percent of your annual gross income. If so, good job. You are driving a vehicle that is adequately suited for you, and may support the increasing of your income next year, or in the near future, thus raising your budget for an even nicer car.

This is the path of the confident self-supporter on track for increasing his or her personal wealth by not living beyond one’s means.

Financially, an automobile is far more than its adjusted value because there are many others costs of ownership which drive up the overhead for possessing such a vehicle. The monthly drain on your financial resources includes not just the car payment itself, but higher maintenance and insurance costs. And for whatever the reason (there are many ideas and conspiracies concerning) the nicer the car, the more parking tickets and traffic tickets you seem to attract, driving up the costs even more.

A local single mom who drives her kids to and from school in her new(er) Lexus who could afford the car payments, found herself not being able to afford much else. When the vehicle failed to work, the mom found herself fully swaddled in car payment with no reserves available to fix the now useless family ride. While she still had to make the payments, she could not afford to fix, nor replace it. Fortunately, she was able to raise enough money via crowd-source funding to have her car fixed after she and her family became stranded when it became inoperable.

What a disappointment, to have a nice vehicle that sits broken down in the driveway while you’re still paying the monthly freight of car payment and insurance.

That’s just one example of being upside down in your vehicle purchase, there are many stories including losing homes, families, job and investment opportunities due to possessing a car for which you are not well suited for, nor can adequately afford.

Nicer cars tend to attract not only the attention of law enforcement, but they attract other cars (either in accidents or in the driveway) and a sort of “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality, affecting your home, belongings and other creature comforts, adding even more financial and emotional stress to the purchase.

You might be surprised to find that almost three-quarters of all over $250,000-a-year income earners drive more modest consumer vehicles (Hondas, Toyotas, Fords and Volkswagens), leaving only twenty-five percent of them driving luxury vehicles that the rest of us covet.

Yet, nearly one out of every ten less than $100,000-a-year income earners are driving a luxury vehicle that is well beyond their means.

If you’re one of the unfortunate individuals who has fallen into the trap of being over-sold a luxury vehicle, it may indicate that you

Lack self-confidence, are easily swayed by what other people think or say and may likely to be headed for (or already up to your neck in) financial difficulties

Or alternatively,

A success and attention-seeking risk-taker, using the car as a status symbol, who aspires to become (or to persuade others to believe they are) a member of the nouveau riche

What Can I Do?

If you’re upside down in your vehicle, your best option is to get out from under it by selling it. Let it go and get something more moderate that is within your budget.

It’s probably not advisable to return it to a dealership, as that may not turn out the way you had planned.

If you really want that fancy car, no problem. You can use the money you’re saving every month, invest or grow it into raising your income to the point necessary to make your car choice make more sense, then finance it (or maybe even pay cash for it).

Personally, I don’t think its a good thing to try to judge (or categorize) a person by their appearance, source of income, their home or what they drive. Regardless, our society insists on doing so. (Which is good for business.)

Free Things to Do

When someone has let their finances get out of control and is trying to get a handle on their cash flow one of the first concerns is reductions in quality of life. The novice budgeter is likely to assume that maintaining a strict budget will mean having no fun.

While your new budget may only have a minimal amount set aside for entertainment, it only means that your former more expensive entertainment will be curtailed. You can have so much fun without having to spend too much, and you might be surprised to discover hours of enjoyment from activities that are even free.

While this list is far from complete, it is only offered as an idea springboard to get you thinking about entertainment in different ways, realizing that just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. As a matter of fact, it is important to have as much cheap or free fun as possible while you’re reeling-in your expenditures.

Free things to do

Free Community Events

Check the local newspaper or online magazine for free events happening in your local area. Local organizations often sponsor free activities for residents. Find out what’s happening near you.

Visit the Library

Remember libraries? Though they are fading away, they are still around. You can easily spend hours perusing the treasures at your local library. Plus, this is an excellent free location to meet others at as an alternative to a restaurant and they may have a separate meeting area for you to use… for free.

free things to do with friends for fun and a better life

Explore Your Local Outback

Find natural areas to explore not far from where you live. Take a hike, go geocaching, walk around the lake, frolic at the park, feed the birds, party at the beach or have a picnic.

Party at Home

You can start your own at-home event, invite friends and host a murder mystery game, karaoke night, poker night, open mic night (sing, play an instrument, read poetry, standup comedy, etc.). Make it a potluck and an evening of it.

Create a Book with Friends

Join with friends to create a recipe book, or collection of stories, Chicken Soup for the Soul-style, or otherwise. Publish it in Amazon’s Kindle format and donate the proceeds to a good cause.

Book Club

Get a group of folks together who agree to read a particular book in tandem, one chapter per week. Meet somewhere in person, virtually, online or via a free conference call to discuss insights from the chapter.

Book Exchange

Host a book exchange, where you and avid book readers each bring a box of books and an hors d’oeuvre appetizer to exchange with other readers. Exchange meeting could be held at home or an off-site location.

Host a White Elephant Exchange

Everyone gift wraps and brings an unwanted gift they have received from someone else (within a specified price-range) at some point in time and exchange them (in a variety of ways). It’s fun and everyone leaves with something.

Get Dirty

If you have access to some dirt at home or nearby, cultivate a garden or weed community landscapes. Many people enjoy the feel of the earth in their hands while nurturing the planet.

Go Dumpster Diving

If you’re like me, this will probably never be on your radar, but I have come across so many people who absolutely love dumpster diving (don’t worry, I won’t mention your names) and you’d be surprised to hear some of the treasures they’ve uncovered doing so.

Start a Collection

Start a collection of something without cost, like drink coasters, rocks, shells, glass, feathers, bugs, themed photo collections, etc…

Barter for Entertainment

If you have a particular skill set (which we all do) you may offer to trade your services with any purveyor of recreational activity you like, in exchange for partaking in their offering. Good for anything from fancy restaurants and concert tickets to high end lodging and cruises.

Walk the Dog

Obvious for someone who has a dog, but if you don’t have a dog, you could sign up via the SPCA to walk someone else’s dog.

Start a Blog

Have a passion or opinion that you would like to share with the community at large. Start a blog. It’s free. You can post as often as you like and get the word out about what’s important to you.

Learn Something New

You can teach yourself just about anything these days, just by pouring over data from Google searches or viewing hours upon hours of free how-to videos on YouTube.

Volunteer

Give some of your time or talent to bless others via your local community organizations, or offer to mow the lawn for a neighborhood widow, you get out, plus you’re helping to make the world a better place.

Express Gratitude

Make a list of all the people who have been a blessing to you at some point in their life, and send them a note, email, private message thanking them for inspiring you. Include anyone from grade school teachers and friends to celebrities and family members. (Maybe write a memoir delineating their positive influence.)

Do you have any ideas to share regarding free things to do?

 

What Type of Money Person Are You?

Money is one of those hot topics that make many people feel uncomfortable about discussing it. Money breaks up relationships between people more than just about anything else. If you can get a handle on your relationship with money, your other relationships are less likely to be impacted negatively by your financial affairs.

Do you see money as an obstacle or a tool?

If you see money as what stands between you and what you need or desire, you will rarely, if ever, feel as though you have enough to feel adequately safe and secure.

what type of money person are you spender miser slacker hater money personality

Seeing money as a tool to get the things you need or want, is a healthier perspective as it doesn’t take much more than adopting a more positive attitude about money to begin using it more effectively.

What type of money person are you?

Money Spender

You gotta love the money spenders, especially if you’re in a retail business. They love to have things, lots of things, nice, new shiny things. They use money as a therapeutic instrument, if they’re feeling a bit out of sorts, buying something new will make them feel better.

The downside is they are less likely to pay attention to their finances, over-finance, have excessive debt and file periodic bankruptcies. They’re more likely to overspend and buy things they do not need or will not use. They have the spending part down, not so much the responsibility piece.

Money Miser

There is no other more frugal person than the money miser, who counts every penny, tucks away money in savings and retirement, is likely rarely buy, but when they do, they’ve clipped coupons in advance or only buy items on sale, seconds or at thrift shops.

The downside is their relationship with money is based on fear and lack. Afraid that at any moment the sky will fall, and they would be devastated. They will often have barely enough to get by, and satisfy their need to hide some money in savings and investments in the hopes that one day, they can retire.

Money Slacker

The money slacker avoids anything that has to do with money at any cost. Doesn’t mind spending it, but rarely knows if they can afford whatever it is they’re spending it on. They avoid balancing their checkbook, opening or paying bills, saving or investing money is not on their radar and retirement is, “whatever.”

The downside of money slackers is that it’s hard to even have a conversation about money with them, and dealing with money issues is so far removed from them, that they’d rather do just about anything to avoid opening an envelope to expose a depressing bill. To the money slacker, discussing a budget is considered a brutal attack.

Money Haters

Money haters think there is something inherently evil about money. Those who have it are money-grubbing mongrels, punishing, stealing and living off the blood of the less fortunate and poor. They are not likely to spend money on nice things and see nice things as trappings of the greedy and oppressive wealthy, or the wannabe. They’re more likely to give their money away to good causes or to someone more deserving than themselves.

The downside for the money haters, is that there is nothing for them to fall back on and they’re likely to self-perpetuate their poverty, which to them, is likened to a badge of honor indicating selflessness and martyrdom.

People find they are commonly a combination of two or more money personalities but normally will have one dominant money person type.

Coming Up: What Can I Do About It?

What type of money person are you?