Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Make Finances a Family Affair

Posted by Andrew Lipsitz

Written by Motley Fool Staff

Many families delegate chores and other responsibilities by assigning them to particular family members. You might be responsible for mowing the lawn every week, while your partner takes care of making sure your cars get regular maintenance, your son cleans out the cat's litter box every few days, and your daughter puts the toys away every night. By giving everyone something to do, you not only make sure that important things get done, but you also create an environment of teamwork.

Unfortunately, the same parents who do such a good job of incorporating each other and their children into the day-to-day life of the family often fail to extend their efforts to financial matters. Instead of openly including everyone in discussions about family finances, one adult frequently takes primary or even sole responsibility for all aspects of the family's financial plan.

By making each family member aware of elements of the family's finances, you can avoid many problems that can arise when just one person handles everything, and you can contribute to the financial education of your kids at the same time.

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Top Financial Mistakes Made by Parents

Posted by Chris O'Sullivan

Saving for college is often a priority for parents -- as it should be. But saving for school doesn't give moms and dads license to neglect the rest of their financial goals, advisers say.

According to AllianceBernstein Investment's "College Savings Crunch," a recent report that measured college saving trends, 70% of families surveyed don't have a plan that takes into account all of their financial goals. AllianceBernstein is a global asset-management firm based in New York.

Melissa Osuch has seen first-hand proof of those findings.

"In talking to fellow moms and fellow parents, I realized they had no idea what their priorities should be and where they should start. A lot of times they do nothing," said Osuch, a Glenview-based financial planner and educator with Strategic Advisors of Illinois. When they do take action, "they focus so much on college planning that they completely ignore retirement planning."

And the immediate, everyday needs and desires of their families often get more attention than college saving. The AllianceBernstein survey found that of families intending to fund at least part of their children's education, 58% spent more on eating out or ordering take-out food than saving for college in the past year, while 49% spent more on vacations.

Click here to read more....

Homes: Sell at a loss, buy at a discount

Post by Jennifer Chang

By Beth Braverman, Money Magazine staff reporter
Last Updated: September 28, 2009: 10:09 AM ET

(Money Magazine) -- The month Jennifer Galdes moved into her condo in the Albany Park section of Chicago, the local paper suggested that the area was up and coming. Six years later, she's still waiting for a Whole Foods.
Galdes, a self-employed publicist, longs to trade up to a similar-size (2,000-square-foot) apartment in a tonier neighborhood. With area condo prices down 16% since their peak, according to S&P/Case-Shiller, she sees her chance.
The catch: She'll have to unload her current place first.
So is now really the right time to make this move, she wonders? Wheaton, Ill., financial planner Kristopher Johnson says yes. Click here to read more

Saving Again? Here's a Way to Do It Right


Posted By: Robert Katz

Pat yourself on the back.

Government data show that in the face of the financial crisis, we have reduced our debt, cut our spending and, by one measure, boosted personal savings to the highest level this decade.

So now that you're back on track, how are you going to make the most of your hard-won reserves? Will you rebuild your retirement accounts? The kids' college funds? Buy a new home? Or should you put it away for a generic rainy day—or the day the rain comes through that old roof?

No matter how hard you try, there never seems to be enough savings to cover everything, even if you put away the 10% to 20% of your income that many financial advisers recommend. And let's face it, many of us don't save anywhere near that.

David Laibson, a Harvard University economist, estimates that about 10% of Americans save too much, while perhaps 30% of us have a healthy savings habit. And the rest of us? "When there's money in the bank account, people go out and spend it," he says.

Click Here To Read More

Monday, September 28, 2009

What are behind the Dollar Menu?

By Lingxiao Li

I read an article and found it might be interesting to share.
McDonald's "Dollar Menu." Subway's "$5 Footlong." Quiznos's "Million Sub Giveaway." As the U.S. tries to climb out of the recession, these bargain fast-food meals have become familiar subjects of TV and Radio ads. For many consumers, they are some of the best food values around. How much money are local stores making -- or losing? According to a survey, On top of paying royalties (of about 11% to 12% of sales) to the franchisor, franchisees often bear the brunt of a promotion's cost. We also asked franchisees about their wholesale costs for food, as well as labor, rent and utilities, among other things. Prices and menu for a particular promotion also vary depending on location. Here are some facts I found online.
Pre-promotion price: $1.50 (double cheeseburger)
Promotion Price: $1
Bottom line for restaurant: Profit of roughly 6 cents a burger
What some stores normally charge: $5.29 (one six-inch chicken sandwich)
Promotion Price: Free
Bottom line for restaurant: Loss of roughly $2.25 a sandwich
What they normally charge: $5.89 (12-inch turkey sub)
Promotion Price: $5
Bottom line for restaurant: Profit of roughly $1.20 a sandwich



Prenups Are a Smart Idea

By Jean Chatzky
Post by Lingxiao Li

When Revlon chairman Ronald Perelman and actress Ellen Barkin made headlines with their prenuptial agreement recently, it was familiar: another famous bazillionaire couple who, it appeared, put money before love. But no more are those pieces of paper the sole province of the rich and famous, and no more are they just for people with no faith in their own marriages. In many circles today, a prenup is considered part of any good asset protection plan, like a will or power of attorney, not merely a Plan B for people who aren't sure they trust their spouse.
Today's prenup candidates are not only traditional ones--people entering second marriages who have children, retirement accounts, homes or businesses they want to protect. They're younger folks who've waited a little longer to get married and have accumulated substantial assets in the meantime, and they are people whose parents have done well enough to put the prenup question into play (think inheritances). A prenup can also help you avoid inflicting your credit-card, student-loan or other unsecured debts on your love.

Read more.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

College = Studies = Loans

By – Anshu Dixit

We all know that education in very expansive, especially if you are in private college. There are different ways of getting money for college. Such as, federal grant, work-study, Stafford loan, alternative loan, scholarships, and many more. Alternative loans are the most expensive way of getting money. It affects your credit scores as well. Since lenders quote higher interest rates to applicants with lower scores, some students could end up paying thousands of dollars more in interest over the life of their loans. It may vary if you have a reliable cosigner. This is very hard to find. In addition to the high interest, there is so much paper work to do with these private loans. It is all because of the credit scores and the higher interest rates.

In this recession, the number of people who are not steady with their mortgage payments, car payment have increased. College students have added their name in these people by not paying their student loan payments because there are not so many jobs out there now. This has become a big issue now a day. President Obama has his concern towards the education. President Obama plan calls for the U.S. Department of Education to move from its current 20% share of the student-loan origination market to 80% on July 1, 2010, when private lenders will be barred from making government-guaranteed loans. But would not it be better to avoid taking private loans and try to get scholarships, and other non-returnable grants first before approving for any private loan.





Want to Save Money? Carry Around $100 Bills

Posted By Anshu Dixit

For shoppers in today's economy, there's just too much temptation out there. Sure, your pockets are tight. But there are clearance sales in every store and deep discounts down every aisle. So how do you stop yourself from spending — especially when you know that during this awful downturn, you should be saving every last penny?

Just arm yourself with $100 bills.

According to a new study to be published in theJournal of Consumer Research, shoppers are less likely to spend their dough if they are carrying cash in large denominations. This so-called denomination effect can be a powerful predictor of consumer spending habits. Through a series of experiments, the study shows that if people have an equivalent amount of money, say $100, the folks with a Ben Franklin in their pockets might not part with it, while those carrying Andrew Jacksons and George Washingtons more easily give up the cash.

Click here for more

Coupon Comeback

By: Jennifer Chang

The last time coupons had been this popular was back in 1992, when coupon redemption peaked at 7.9 billion, according to Inmar, a coupon- processing company. Now, with the receding economy, they are making a comeback. Spurred by the worsening economy, and marketing strategies that give more value back to the customer, the money-saving papers are even more popular with the younger generation.
With the internet, you can now find coupons for just about anything; food, clothing, pharmaceuticals, you name it, they probably have it. Families have been able to buy $160 worth of groceries with only $30 and a whole stack of coupons. You can even find coupon codes for online shopping. With websites such as Retailmenot.com and redplum.com, that offer printable coupons as well as online codes, it’s becoming increasingly hard not to find some deal or other. You would think that the recession would slow down the economy, but not necessarily. Websites have taken the opportunity to get coupons for just about any expenditure a consumer would give up during hard financial times. Even eating out has a coupon now. So shop around for coupons online a bit before heading out on your next shopping spree. You could save yourself a lot of money.





Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Planning for Christmas can save more than you think

Posted By: Michael Herscovici

Most families do not see xmas as a huge expense. However, for most, it is a big deal, and can cost a family a lot of money. If a family does not plan according, then they can have a lot of financial hardships, all because they did not plan ahead for xmas.

Most people think that the best time to start shopping for xmas is at the end of Nov, however, it might be earlier than you think. There are many ways to save for xmas and after some research here are the top three ways to do so.

1. Make a list and check it twice. I know it sounds funny, however, making an xmas list is just like making a budget. Most people make an ad-hoc list that they sort of follow but more likely are just buying things here and there. By setting up a list and following it, it is much easier to see your expenses beforehand rather than getting a credit card bill you cannot afford.

2. Save well before xmas and pay with cash instead of credit. It almost seems to easy but most people over extend themselves and wind up paying a lot in interest. However, if you start saving early, then you can avoid paying a lot in interest.

3. Buy at the store rather than online. The average family can save up to $500 a year on xmas presents if they do not rush order the present the week before. This savings comes in the way of shipping cost. If you do not order online then you do not have shipping cost.

America's Cheapest Family Saving Money

Posted By Michael Herscovici
Here is a Video on saving money as a family!
Click Here to View

Baby-proofing the family finances

Posted by: Jennifer Chang

By Yuval Rosenberg, Money Magazine contributing write
September 18, 2009: 5:02 AM ET

(Money Magazine) -- After seven years of marriage, Stephanie and Chad Grant are about ready to start a family. Before they do, the 31-year-olds want to baby-proof their finances.
That means dialing down risk in their company-stock-laden portfolio and in general "balancing our investments to meet short- and long-term goals," says Stephanie. The couple also need a savings plan.
It's not as if the Grants don't sock away money now. Stephanie, in public relations, and Chad, a biomedical engineer, have more than $200,000 invested in a mix of retirement and taxable accounts.
But they have just $8,500 set aside in cash for emergencies. The Grants don't spend lavishly on day-to-day items, but they do devote $20,000 or so a year to travel. They know that will have to change once they have kids... Click Here to read more

Monday, September 21, 2009

Debt, Money Woes Are Top Family Financial Problems

By: Zachary Pienkowski

As the economic slump continues, Americans' top reported personal financial concerns are perhaps among the most basic -- not having enough money to make ends meet. When asked to name the most important financial problem facing their families, 16% of Americans say "a lack of money" or "low wages," and 15% say it is too much debt.


Each quarter, Gallup asks Americans to name -- without prompting -- "the most important financial problem facing your family today." The latest update is from a Feb. 9-12 poll.

Since October, when Gallup last asked this question, there have been significant increases in the percentage mentioning both a lack of money (up from 11% to 16%) and too much debt (up from 9% to 15%).

To continue reading more on this topic click here

Where'd My Money Go???

By: Zachary Pienkowski

Have you ever wondered exactly where your money goes? As a working college student I have quickly found that out that money comes hard and goes easy. On an average day the morning starts with a cup of coffee and maybe a bagel. There goes $4.00. After class I am starving so I head out to get lunch and grab a sandwich and a drink. There goes $8.00. Then after my evening close it is close to dinner time and I decide I deserve to go out to eat at a sit down restaurant. There goes $20.00. After simply eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner I have spent a total of $32.00 and have absolutely nothing to show for it. Now this does not happen every day to every student, myself included, but I am sure that it does happens often. If someone kept up this pace for even a week they would have food expenses alone of over $200! Depending on what kind of job you have that might be pretty darn close to a weeks paycheck. Some expenses can not be avoided like rent, mortgage, utilities, gas etc. However, if you started with $100 in your pocket and counted how much you had at the end of the day, you would be surprised how quickly it goes and sometimes left to wonder where you actually spent it. It is also not realistic to completely cut off any extra expenses because most people do not have the will power to do that cold turkey. Instead a better solution is to set up a budget for food or other expenses. For example, set aside $25 a week that is allowed to be spent on food other than groceries. Whether it be coffee, drinks, lunch, snacks, or dinner. That way once the amount of budgeted money is spent, there is no more to use for that purpose. This is one way that I was able to get myself out of credit card debt and able to save a lot of money along the way.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

10 Questions to Ask Before Saying "I Do"

Provided by Lingxiao Li

Congratulations, IF you've found Mr. or Ms. Right, fell in love and now the Big Day is right around the corner. If you're planning to say "I do" during this traditional wedding month, save yourself some arguments later by talking about your money now.

More important than the cake, flowers or even the invitations is preparing for your financial future together. Make a date to sit down, discuss your goals and expectations and come up with a plan for an effective merger of your financial lives. It may not sound romantic, but considering that quarreling over money is one of the biggest causes of marital discord, a money talk may be just what Cupid ordered.

1. Where would you like to be in five or ten years?
2. What are our assets and liabilities?
3. Should we keep our finances separate or combine them?
4. What about our investments?
5. How will we handle daily spending decisions?
6. Who will be responsible for paying the bills and preparing the taxes?
7. What is your tolerance for financial risk?
8. What are our insurance options?
9. How does your credit report look?
10. How will we tackle existing debt?

Get a full article here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Get the whole Family involved in Finances

Posted by: Scarlett Lu

Several problems may arise if only one person in the family is in control of the families finance. The rest of the family would be dependent on that person; if the person dies, or if the couple splits up, then the rest of the family would have absolutely no idea how to manage their financial matters.

Therefore, everyone in the family should take part in financial decision making; each family member should be aware of their family's finances. Your partner should be involved in knowing the basic information like income and expenses, net worth, investments, estate planning, and a summary of expenses you pay.

Kids should also be involved in your families financial matters. You can start by teaching them the difference between needs and wants. As your child gets older you can talk to them about credit cards, bank interest, and budgeting.

Get your child interested in saving and investing money. Parents can create activities at home that gets their children involved in looking at stocks. For example you can have your kids make a list of twenty companies they are interested in write down their ticker symbols, stock prices, and today's date. Every week or so have them record the latest prices and calculate the gains and loses. Children can also follow the companies with you by reading news and magazine articles about the company, they will learn how the news effects the company's stock prices.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Is Money =Time???
By -Anshu Dixit
You might have heard this that “Time is money”, is it not true? Many people might say it depends…means who is wasting time- the Bill Gates or a factory worker or a student. Nowadays there are two categories of people. The first group who works hard in order to make enough for a living. While the others consider money as a way to win more power and better social position, sometimes – even friends. They say “Money makes the world go round” and time represents only money for them. Some people will always believe that time is only money but nothing else; others will defend the opposite thesis. Everyone has their own personal views towards life. of us should be realists. No one can lead normal life without enough money. People constantly work in order to earn. And they need time. It is mainly money for them. In other words, we should take care of time as we do with our money. Jeremiah Owyang, supported and said in his article that “Budget your time like you do money.” Time and money are both scarce commodities. Since time is limited people must learn how to spend their time wisely. Money is also scarcest people must spend it wisely. Sometime we do not use the appropriate alternative according to the requirement, for example use phone class, where e-mail might work fine and vice-versa. People who manage their time properly usually get more things done than people who waste their time. When a person manages their time they will be able to put more effort into what they are doing than others who try to accomplish more things than they can in one day. People who manage their time are more likely to succeed throughout their life than others that do not manage their time well. If a person wants to save their money the best thing to do is to learn how to manage their time well. Time management skills will not only help you be organized and save money but they will also help you succeed in life. For example, if you don’t need something, don’t buy it, make your list of the things that you need, take them and check out form the store. And many other things can make a big difference, such as if you will try to save money you can save time and for saving time you can save money, shopping can be good example. So next time, just try to save some time while shopping and you will see how much you will save.

• http://entrepreneurs.about.com/od/beyondstartup/a/timeismoney.htm
• http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/20-tips-to-save-time-money-in-your-small-business-and-at-home-john-mariotti
• http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/01/23/manage-your-time-like-you-manage-money/

The Greater the Number the More Complex Problems Occur

By: Michael Herscovici

Some people have a hard time maintaining a budget for themsleves. It does not matter if this is due to implusive buying, splurging, or other reasons, some people find it is a difficult task to stay within budget all of the time. This problem increases when you are sharing your money with your wife/husband. Even if you are good at sticking to a budget, your significant other might not be, leading to stress in an otherwise successful marrage. This problem becomes even bigger when children are involved.

Most families do not start out with 10 children. They like an investment grow over time. However, the larger the family is, the harder it becomes to maintain a consistent budget within their means. This problem increases because children do not consider budgets or finances when making requests or kicking a screaming at the toy store. All they know is their needs. Professor Watkins said it best when he stated that "Children are like money vaccums".

One might think that parents often sacrifice the things they want in order to allow their children to gain the things they desire. However, more often then not, parents just like businesses are finding ways to cut cost, and be more efficient rather than in business terms, "try to increase revenue".

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To Lend or Not to Lend...?

By: Jennifer Chang

With creditors charging larger interest rates to loan money, and banks offering less returns on investments, borrowing/investing from family members has become more and more popular. Yes, it is harder to track money borrowed by family, in some circumstances, the advantages outweigh the risks. For example, Brian Hetherington, a home owner, was paying a 7% interest on his mortgage, while his father, Jim Hetherington, had the money but was not earning any return on that money. So Jim lent the money to his Brian at a lower interest rate. This way, Jim earned a return on his money, and Brian was able to borrow money at a lower interest rate.

Mixing family with money can be tricky a lot of times. If you are thinking about lending money to family, here are some tips. First, make sure you can really afford to lend the money and that the loan won’t affect your relationship. Clearly state the terms of the loan; 27% of people who lend money to their family don’t get repaid mainly because the terms of the borrowing had not been defined. Another thing to remember is to keep a paper trail, both for tax purposes and for your own. Having a written statement emphasizes that this is a business transaction, not a personal agreement. Last but not least, don’t lend money out of guilt. Always use reasoning to determine if lending the money is risky or not.

Blending the Money in a Blended Family

By: Mary and Bill Staton
Posted By: Michael Herscovici

First comes love. Then comes the second marriage, and the blended family, and the financial surprises. Blended families face special financial challenges. Should you sign a pre-nuptial agreement? What if he's saved for his children's college education, but your kids have no college fund? Maybe your kids are accustomed to expensive extracurricular activities, and his aren't. How can you unite a blended family when it comes to money?

Click Here to

Love and Money

By:Msn Money Staff
Posted by: Scarlett Lu

Thinking of marriage? Prepare to bare your financial soul. Experts agree that couples need to talk about money -- the sooner, the better.

Before you get to 'I do'

Consider a prenuptial agreement. It's not just a document detailing how to split the assets after a divorce. It can absolve you of your spouse's debts, maintain assets for children from a previous marriage, keep a family business intact and ensure that the family home stays in the family. (See the video "Do you need a prenup?")
  • Bring up the idea of a prenup as soon as the relationship gets serious. It can help clarify each other's circumstances and goals.
  • Allow at least three months before the wedding to work out the details. A valid prenup involves lawyers and full financial disclosure. (See "The prenup problem.")
  • Most prenups provide that whatever property or debts you bring to the marriage will remain yours if the marriage dissolves. They also protect what you don't have yet, including property you expect to inherit.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Don't you Want to Save $$$$$????

Posted by- Anshu Dixit

by Alfred Fraser

A healthy home budget is the key to wealth, success and even a healthy family life. American and Canadian Families could create a much healthier home budget with a bit of discipline and planning. Ask a Consumer and she may tell you, up front, that paying the Grocery Bills gives the greatest cause for concern in the family’s home budget. Too often, money creates family fights. Paying bills, the Home Budget and family finances too often cause divorce. Parents can avoid such calamities with financial discipline, greater research and some professional help. Unfortunately, areas for greatest financial relief too often lie off limits, outside of the usual scrutiny for possible savings in the family’s home budget.
These three areas: Mortgage Payments, Taxation of Income and Credit Card Debts drain away the family’s fortunes in ways we least suspect. In trying to reduce expenses from the Home Budget, you can dismiss high gas prices as a temporary event. Fluctuations in fruit and vegetable prices due to vagaries of the weather can impact the monthly home budget too. Those numbers pale in comparison to the heavy hitters in a home budget, such as Income Taxes paid, Mortgage Interest and excessive and un-necessary loan or Credit Card Payments...

Monday, September 14, 2009

5 Everyday Items We Don't Need

By Lingxiao Li

If we take a look at those bills we paid in the past,
we would realize that we had spend hundreds of dollars on products we don't need. They might seem like small costs, but they can add up. Simple changes and a little preparation can help ustrim the amount we waste on basic necessities. Here are five examples:
1. Bottled beverages: We probably have a favorite drink and it's not tap water. If you drink too much of it, it will take a toll on your budget. You don't have to give up your favorite beverage completely. Just substitute half the amount you usually drink with tap water.
2. Food: The average person throws away $600 worth of food each year. To keep more money in your wallet instead of the trash can, evaluate the amount of food you eat and consider how much of it goes bad before you consume it. Create a shopping list with more realistic portions and look for deals at local grocery stores.
3. Diet products: Americans spend a lot of money buying meals, supplements and products that promise to help them lose weight, whether it's through a diet program or an impulse buy. These items are typically more expensive than the versions that don't make the same health claims. Read food labels and consider whether a food or product is worth the cost.
4. Vitamins: People spend a lot of money on vitamins that merely pass through their bodies every time they go to the bathroom. Instead of purchasing a wide array of supplements, figure out what your body needs and buy only those vitamins or, better yet, get those nutrients from food.
5. Cosmetics and toiletries: Cosmetic and hair care companies exaggerate the benefits of their products. Paula Begoun, author of The Beauty Bible, says that sunscreen is the only true anti-aging product. Creams that claim to get rid of cellulite or wrinkles usually don't.


10 Things Gas Station Won't Tell You

Posted By Lingxiao Li
By Jim Rendon

1. “Good luck finding the best deal.”
2. “I hate it when gas prices go up.”
3. “My gas isn’t better for your car; it’s just more expensive.”
4. “If you’re smart, you’ll put that debit card away . . .”
5. “. . . and don’t even consider applying for our gas card.”
6. “Looking for the cheapest gas in town? Try the Internet.”
7. “It’s a gallon when I say it’s a gallon.”
8. “I might gouge you on a soda, but my coffee’s a real bargain.”
9. “If you’re having car trouble, you’re in the wrong place.”
10. “You don’t even need gas to run your car.”

Click here for full article...

Save For College or Retirement?

Posted by: Jennifer Chang

By Emily Brandon

Many parents of teenagers are facing a financial dilemma: paying for their children's college tuition bills during the same years they should be shoring up their retirement accounts. Randi Mayer, 51, of Riverwoods, Ill., is currently prioritizing college savings. Mayer's 19-year-old older son attends a public university, and her 17-year-old son is considering public colleges as well. "Since college for us is more immediate at this point, probably a little bit more goes toward the college fund than towards the retirement fund," says Mayer, whose father financed her undergraduate degree. "I feel like college is now and it will be a while until we retire."

"For more and more people, these two big needs, retirement and paying for college, are happening at exactly the same time," says Greg Dosmann, 46, a principal with financial services firm Edward Jones. His own youngest child is 13. Less than a third (29 percent) of parents are saving equally for retirement and their child's college education, according to a telephone survey of 1,497 adults conducted recently by Opinion Research Corp. and Edward Jones. Among parents who can't afford to save for both, more respondents said they're saving only for retirement (22 percent) rather than just their child's college education (9 percent). And 26 percent of parents aren't saving for either.... Click here to read more...

Pay Yourself First, Then Pay Bills

By: Zachary Pienkowski

It may seem counterintuitive, but the secret to getting into the savings habit is to put yourself first. That doesn't mean buying every CD or kitchen gadget that catches your eye — it means including yourself among the regular creditors you pay every month.

Set some realistic long-term goals and then "pay" yourself by putting money aside in a savings or investment account on a regular basis. If you wait until the end of the month to see what's left over after paying for essentials and shelling out a few more dollars here and there for extras, you (like most people) will probably find that there isn't much left.

To read more on this topic click here

Talk to kids about finances

Posted by: Scarlett Lu

74% of parents say that recession has increased stressed in their families, 33% say their children have expressed concern.

When parents are struggling with their finances, it affects their children as well. Children may suffer from anxiety or depression when they see their parents fighting about money. Parents who are unemployed often have bill collectors come to their homes and disturbing their children’s comfortable lifestyles.

It’s difficult to raise children when you are struggling financially. You will not be able to give your child everything they want or provide enough nutrition for them. To save money families often times move to neighborhoods that may not have the best environment for their kids. The environment your child grows up in affects their lives.

Adults may not realize that their children know more than they think they do. Kids know when their parents are having problems; instead of hiding their financial problems parents should talk to their kids about their money issues. Explain to your child that you are going through a difficult time and need to save money now. Kids often like to contribute in helping their families; he or she may help think of ways their family can save money.




We Just Had a Beautiful Baby!!..Now How Do We Pay For It???

By: Zachary Pienkowski

So your planning on having a child soon or know someone who just had one. Once the initial joy of birth settles down, many couples are left with the daunting question of how do we support this child? While most people consider it an obvious fact that children are a financial burden, many couples overlook this and are left to figure out a way to survive. Housing, health care, and everyday expenses have risen consistently over the past 10 years, while family income has stopped growing or in many cases taken a step back. Dealing with a pay-cut is never easy, but when expenses stay the same most people find a way to get by. It may be by cutting back on excessive spending or going without in some cases. However, now imagine that you just took a pay cut, and are looking for a new house to accommodate the addition of new family members. According to Amilia Warren Tyagi, co-author of The Two Income Trap, housing costs rise by 78% for couples with children as opposed to couples with no children. A major reason for this hike in cost in not just size of the home to fit the children, but getting a home that is near the best school districts. Competition for real estate near the best district is fierce, and prices skyrocket in a matter of no time. Families are finding it much harder to make mortgage payments when they only have one income and are used to having two in order to make the payments. Years ago families were not relying on two incomes in order to cover expenses, but due to these rapid rising costs, they may no longer have a choice.




Thursday, September 10, 2009

Price tag of divorce

By Lingxiao Li

Divorce is a major life change that can leave a person reeling. Suddenly being on your own to deal with issues such as money, children, career changes and downsizing the family home can seem overwhelming. The statistics was shown that 50% of all marriages in the America end in divorce. Besides the sadness and frustrations that are caused by divorce, how much do people need to pay to end their relationship? "Two divorce experts said the legal costs of an average divorce could range from $2,500 to $10,000. A contested divorce, however, can cost up to $100,000 in legal fees alone, if several large assets and children are involved" (Clark-ney). To avoid litigation is the single best way to reduce legal fees. “If the parties are willing to negotiate, compromise and agree, the costs can be reasonable. If they decide to litigate, the costs can be considerable,” “Keep emotions in check and work toward a respectful settlement seems can save some money." Ultimately, the price tag of a divorce is dependent almost entirely on the parties involved in their different cases.

Life is not all about money but life always reminds us how much it costs.

Family Finance: Teen paychecks as learning tools

By: Eileen Aj Connelly

Posted by: Scarlett Lu

It isn't the economy that has the teenager bypassing pricier stores and heading for Target these days. It's that the money she'll spend there comes from her own paycheck, not from her parents."I'm definitely more frugal with it than when it was being given to me," said Sarah, 17, of the money she earns working her first job at Amelia's Wheels, a bicycle and Segway rental shop on Amelia Island, Fla.When Sarah got the job at the start of the summer, her parents set just two rules about what she should do with her earnings: She must pay for her own clothes, and she had to repay the $750 they spent on car repairs needed after she had a fender bender. They didn't require that she try to build up savings, but Sarah discovered a penchant for penny pinching as she realized how much she would have to work at $7.50 per hour to afford things she used to take for granted. "Now I see it that may just be lunch, but it's also an hour's worth of work," she said.That insight puts her well ahead of most of her peers. Research shows that high school students are mostly unaware of the basics of personal finance -- tasks like how to handle checking and savings accounts, how credit cards work and the importance of savings. click here to read more.

Assessing Your Spending and Saving Habits

Posted by Lingxiao Li - Group 3B
One of the reasons couples disagree about money is that money means different things to each of them. For some people, money provides a sense of security, of being taken care of; this kind of person would tend to be cautious about spending money and would try hard to put money in the bank. For others, money provides a sense of freedom; they might exercise a more carefree attitude. Of course, most of us fall somewhere in between. There is no right or wrong way to think about money, but it's important to create a budget that works for both of you.
The first step is to figure out where each of you stands with respect to money. Go through the following lists and decide what best describes you. Some of the advices maybe can help you to build up your finance in the future. Read more...

Gold for Bucks

By: Jennifer Chang

Gold is an item every person has some kind of investment in. However, with the recession, and increase in families short on cash, it has become a common practice for everyone to trade in gold for some quick bucks. Almost every channel you watch on television today has some commercial or other about trading in your old gold jewelry for cash. Many people today are digging through their jewelry boxes and drawers looking for long forgotten gold trinkets to trade for some extra cash. A middle school teacher from New Jersey, Wendy Kushner was surprised to receive as much as $180 for two gold trinkets she dug out from the back of her drawers.

This new trend has started a new hobby for women. Cash-for-Gold parties at home. Rather than mailing their gold, when it could get lost in the mail, a gold specialist comes to the home with all the proper tools to valuate the gold. With gold prices rising to more than $1000 per ounce, many people are willing to part with old jewelry that they do not even where anymore. They get quick cash, the cash-for-gold companies get more business and the women have a social gathering; a win-win for all. With gold prices at an all-time high, sellers have an excellent opportunity to get the most from their gold.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why we spend more?
By:- Anshu Dixit

Among a man or a woman, who spends more money? There are many other things which affect a person’s way of spending money, other than how much money that person has; such as, a person’s upbringing, gender of the person and emotional state of the person.
“Education starts from home” as David Bach author of “Smart Couples Finish Rich” and Sanyika Calloway Boyce, author of “Give Yourself Credit.” It is true if you were taught to save or spend wisely, importance of managing money and so on when we were a kid we would have acted differently when we grow up. Mothers teach what they think about money to their daughters, for example, clothing, cosmetics, and lifestyle etc. in addition of how to spend wisely. On the other hand, usually fathers teach their sons about how to invest and how to spend in cars, homes, other electronic items.
Being a woman is not inexpensive in itself. For example, if you imagine a woman you might imagine her in nice dress, nicely done hair, with some makeup on, is it not? And to look good and to maintain that impressing is not easy. It is also supported by, Sanyika Calloway Boyce, she said that ‘It cost more to be a woman.”
Does our emotions and how much money we spend is related? The answer is yes. “A survey conducted by Professor Karen Pine, from the University of Hertfordshire and author of Sheconomics, to be released on 21 May 2009 found that 79% of women said they would go on a spending spree to cheer themselves up.” Therefore, it shows that spending money can also have some positive effect on us.

Are spending related to our emotions???

By: Anshu Dixit

ScienceDaily (May 23, 2009) — At times of crisis women are more inclined to spend themselves out of misery than at stable times, a new survey suggests। Psychologists say that the recession could force more women to overspend or increase their risk of mental illness.

A survey conducted by Professor Karen Pine, from the University of Hertfordshire and author of Sheconomics, to be released on 21 May 2009 found that 79% of women said they would go on a spending spree to cheer themselves up. Professor Pine’s research concludes that some women use shopping as an emotion regulator, a way of anesthetising themselves to negative feelings or dissatisfaction with life. So worrying about money could, paradoxically, lead women to spend more...

Click here to read more

Quit Spending More Money than Needed

Posted by: Scarlett Lu

People tend to spend thousands of dollars on items that they don't need. The items may seem like they do not cost much but the cost of each item adds up. We sometimes go to stores and look for what we want and forgetting what we need. Always think twice before purchasing an item, ask yourself if your really going to use it. Sometimes we buy things that set on our desk for months and end up throwing it out in the end; this can be prevented we evaluated what we need to buy before actually buying it. Saving can make a big difference in your income. Every penny counts.

Some ways to save money is to not use money on things you don't necessarily need to. Instead of spending money on bottled drinks drink tap water, diet products are expensive and may not work, you can obtain vitamins from what you eat so you don't need to buy vitamins, brand cosmetics are the same as store brand cosmetics. Store brand cosmetics are cheaper, buying the brand ones are not necessary.

When shopping for groceries, making a list can help you eliminate what you don't need. You can start with creating a meal plan of what you are going to eat within a week, so you don't end up wasting money on food your going to throw away. Also look through grocery store ads to find coupons and see where you can get the best deals.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Food For $100 Per Week

By: Melinda Fulmer

Posted By: Michael Herscovici

Feed a family of four for $100 a week -- no coupons, no backyard garden or mystery meat.

That was the challenge MSN Money gave me (and, indirectly, my husband and two children).

I knew it wouldn't be easy. Even a food stamp allowance for a family of four is $117. With gas and corn prices surging, the retail costs of basic items such as milk, apples, pork chops and potatoes have gone up 8.5% in the past year, according to the most recent American Farm Bureau Federation's Marketbasket Survey.

Click Here To Read More

Even Sports Families Are Hurting.

By: Michael Herscovici

On June 29th 2009, Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison for the Ponzi scheme he was operating. Many notable celebrities and millionaires invested money into his scheme and lost millions of dollars. One notable family, the Wilpon family, lost over $700,000,000. The Wilpon family is the current owners of the New York Mets organization.

The Wilpon family insists that the money that they lost is separate from the baseball money they have set aside, however losses to the amount of $700 Million have had a devastating impact to the family and they way they are managing their money. The Mets owners claim that the scheme has in no way impacted their ability to effectively run the franchise and to bring in free agents or make trades, but multiple reports elsewhere suggest otherwise.

Reports show that the Mets plan to cut their payroll to $100 million next season, which is equivalent to 33% of the organizational payroll. It appears that the amount of money the family has lost is directly effecting their other investments such as the Mets organization. It is clear that although the Wilpon family is in no means poor, or in financial trouble it does appear that the family is tightening its belt around its other investments.

Only time will tell how the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme will affect the Mets organization, but for a team that has not won a championship since 1986, a major financial setback and budget cuts can lead to a much longer wait then Mets fans were bargaining for.

Sources Listed Below:

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/14/sports/baseball/14wilpon.html?em
2. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/2009/08/29/2009-08-29_mets_owner_fred_wilpon_denies_need_to_sell_team_due_to_financial_difficulties_.html
3. http://www.nydailynews.com/money/2009/02/05/2009-02-05_bernie_madoff_tie_to_mets_money_prompts_.html

All about family: Finance powwow puts focus on future

By Jen Kayton
Posted by: Scarlett Lu

I have certain parts of my life for which I don't enjoy setting time aside. For example, organizing files, dusting, cleaning baseboards and garages, paying bills, updating my calendar, sorting through a child's outgrown clothes.

Even more, I do not particularly enjoy setting aside a Saturday morning to discuss my family's financial status.

Adding up debt, estimating annual daycare cost, and discussing income levels can be a bit stomach churning to say the least- especially given a recent decision on my behalf to become self- employed in order to grow a business.

Last weekend, my husband and I did have that exact Saturday morning meeting. The family was packed and ready to head to a park by 10.

This meeting was set between my husband and a former colleague of his who currently works for New York Life. While our kids dispersed to swings, slides, and monkey bars, we got down to the nitty gritty.

Where do you work?

What is your current life insurance policy?

What kind of savings do you contribute to?

Assessing the net value of children

The U.S. birth rate is falling. One explanation: a diminishing return on investment.

Posted by: Jennifer chang

By Ben Stein,

(Fortune Magazine) -- What is the value of a child in modern Western industrial society? More specifically, what is the value of a middle-class or upper-middle-class or upper-class child in America? And does this have anything to do with the fact that the birth rate among American women has been falling for decades and that the age of first childbirth among educated women is far higher than among less-well-educated women?
Start with economics. People in a free society will choose to have more of something if its return exceeds its cost. On the other hand, people in a free society will choose to have less of a good or service if its value is less than its cost. ... Click to Read More

Monday, September 7, 2009

Recession-proof Your Portfolio

By : Zachary Pienkowski

Kevin and Lucy Aikman are emerging from the financial scare of their lives.

The upstate New York couple have been confronting worries about their income, their investments and the possibility that the job picture could get far worse before it recovers.

Not only were the Aikmans heavily invested in the stock market last fall, but Kevin Aikman's employer, AIG, nearly collapsed. Although he is in home insurance assessments, which is considered a stable end of the business, the dual crisis -- rocking his investments and employer -- was particularly jarring.

"The first thought is fear," he said. "What about all these years I've put in hard work? All the money I invested? Is there going to be any money left at the end of the day?" For Lucy Aikman, the financial crisis has been terrifying. "I ended up having to go get pills because I couldn't sleep, so much anxiety," she says.

To read more of this article click here

Dealing with an Economic Crisis

By: Zachary Pienkowski

Most people can agree that surviving this past year's economic crisis has been nothing short of difficult. Families across the country have had to cut back not only on luxuries, but also on everyday necessities once took for granted. Men and women who have worked and saved for 30 years saw their 401k's be chopped in half in a matter of months. So how do we survive this? What options do we have? Financial advisors are trying tirelessly to come up with a perfect answer to these questions, but unfortunately there isn't one. The reality of the situation is that families have been forced to scale back their financial goals in many cases and invest in safer options. For example, instead of investing in risky stocks that have already burned them before, people are purchasing life insurance to make sure their loved ones are taken care of. Although no one has enjoyed or wanted the economic crisis we have faced, it may not have brought about all bad results. Making financially conservative decisions to survive the economic crisis has forced many families to create better habits of saving, investing, and spending wisely. Habits that will stay with them when the economy is booming as well. The end result is a more stable financial situation that can handle the ups and the downs of life, and make sure your family is taken care of along the way.