Saturday, January 31, 2009

Helping Your Teen Manage Their Money

How to help your teen manage their money
These five tips can help your son or daughter understand budgeting
By: Asim Mohammed

Parents can help teens learn about handling money by going over some simple ideas. These five tips come from the National Endowment for Financial Education, an Englewood, Colo.-based group with a program geared toward teenagers.

Forget the bank: Financing with friends, family

Posted by David Lucas,

As the mortgage market melted down this summer and the credit markets grew chaotic, Michael McCandless, a Lexington, Mass.,software developer, watched with detached curiosity. Unlike most buyers scheduled to close on new homes in mid-August, he knew his lender would come through as agreed.

The reason? The McCandlesses were financing the purchase of their dream home with a jumbo mortgage underwritten by a generous sister-in-law.

Borrowing money from one’s own inner circle is neither new nor uncommon. But it can harbor the kind of mismatched expectations that impact the Thanksgiving dinner guest list for years to come if done with too much informality.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Marriage - Tying the Financial Knot

Posted by Nicholas Hall

So you're getting married? Have you sat down with your fiancé and discussed finances? Have you talked about how you'll combine your income? How you'll pay your bills? Have you talked about your saving and investing goals, your philosophy about money, your spending habits, your debts?

Disagreements about finances is the number one cause of divorce, so getting these issues out in the open and coming to an understanding before marriage can greatly increase your chances of staying out of divorce court.

We've all heard about pre-nuptial agreements among the rich and famous, but do they ever make sense for the average American? Pre-nuptial agreements can save many a bloody battle if your marriage ends up in divorce, but since most of us don't get married with an eye towards the divorce courts, we never even consider a pre-nuptial agreement.

Click here to read the full article

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

State Universities vs.Private Universities

By: Brendan Boesch

Many families are faced with the decision of whether or not to send their children to public or private colleges. Americans are lucky to have many great public universities to choose from, which are often times much cheaper than their private counterparts. These public institutions can sometimes even provide a higher quality of education than private universities. Public schools are usually about half as expensive as private schools, and often keep fees and other charges low. Due to state funding, these institutions can sometimes provide more resources than private colleges.
In these difficult economic times, many families are being forced to reconsider where to send their children to college. With the price tag of many private universities exceeding $50,000 per year, many families can simply not afford these schools. When I was choosing which college to go to, I was able to consider both public and private. However, due to these new economic circumstances, my younger brother is being pushed to go the public route. Many other students are feeling the same pressure. The increase of interest in public universities will cause admissions requirements to go up.  Parents should sit down with their children as early as possible in order to discuss what they can afford, what is reasonable, and what options their children should consider. This will help to ease the pressure of the college search and be easier financially for many families.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Got a Business Get a Prenup

By Craig Rozelle:

When getting ready for an upcoming marriage the last thing most couples want to talk about is a prenuptial agreement. However, they are extremely important especially if you own a business, getting a “prenup” could save your business that you worked so hard to start. A prenuptial agreement or prenup is a contract between prospective spouses that addresses how the financial aspects between them will be handled in the event of a divorce. The statistics on marriage are not very encouraging, almost half of married couples get divorced. Contested divorces often turn nasty and the soon to be “ex” can go for your assets. With no prenup in place state laws will require that marital property be divided equally, or at least "equitably." Depending on your state, your business could be cut in half if you divorce. You are able to protect your business with a prenup by defining your company as an asset that was acquired before marriage, or a prenup can also state who will run the company post divorce and identify who owns stock in the company and how to fairly value the company. While a prenup is not something that a couple about to get married wants to talk about it is the smart move that all couples should talk about especially if there is a business owner involved.

Vital Concerns and Tips for Parents when thinking about College Financing

By Nicholas Hall

There is quite a bit for a family to consider when thinking about saving for their children’s college fund. By 2020, you'll need an estimated $225,000 to put Junior through a private college or $105,000 for a public university.  With that being said, it is fairly obvious that planning early and creating a good investment portfolio are essentials for every family looking to put their children through college.  The first tip is to do you research.  You need to figure out how much you will need to save and by what time will you need the money based off number of children and their ages.  There are a number of different types of loans, plans, bonds, and accounts that make this a much easier process as long as you know what you need.  The IRS also offers a 529 plan that allows you extra savings and tax benefits on college plans.  Tip number 2 is that a little extra couldn’t hurt.  Always look for ways to add to your child’s college account, this could be anything from baby showers to just cutting unnecessary costs.  Tip number 3 is to make sure you diversify any risky investments and select the method that makes the most sense for your individual situation.  Finally, don’t pay for your child’s college at the expense of your own retirement and remember that there are always grants and loans that can make up the missing amounts.  The best way to ensure a favorable outcome is to start to save as early and possible and be smart with your investments.



Family Finance Truly is a Family Affair

Posted By: Sean Brown

Family Finances should be handled just as it sounds as a family. All decisions should be explained and passed through the whole family. I’m not saying to involve your three year old child, but between husband and wife both should understand how to handle the family’s finances. I have a personal story that demonstrates the hardships of not discussing family finances. A family that I know recently underwent a tragedy in that their father passed away over night. It was a complete freak accident, and there was no planning for it. This caused a huge amount of trauma due to the fact that the father handled all the finances for the family. When it came to the family finances the wife knew literally nothing. She had never filed the tax returns or paid the bills. He had a living will but they never discussed it together so she has been left to ask, “What would he want me to do?” This is not a situation you want to leave your spouse or your family with. First handle your own finances, then talk and discuss them with your partner because you both need to have a common understanding. Both parents should know how to take care of the family finances as well as having a firm grasp of where the family lies in their current financial standing.
Most fights that occur in a family are caused because of money related issues. When money is coming in than there are no problems, but if times are tight, having a common understanding of current family finances and what costs need to be reduced is a decision that should be made mutually between people in the family.
I feel it is necessary to involve your kids in your finances, and your family’s current financial situation because closing them off from the true realities of the financial world will not benefit them in the long run. They need to understand the importance of properly handling their finances in order to succeed when they finally do depart from the house.
The point of this is to make sure nobody in your family is financially illiterate. People no matter what the age should understand the impact of their decisions in relation to their finances otherwise we will end up staying in this downward spiral of an economy.

Marriage's Financial Pro's and Cons

Posted By: Brendan Boesch

The California Supreme Court's recent decision legalizing gay marriage gives more couples the chance to ask themselves: Should we vow to spend the rest of our lives together?
But before getting swept away with visions of matching tuxes or bridal bouquets, it may pay to ponder the monetary implications of 'til death do us part. Because while marriage—both gay and heterosexual—offers many financial benefits, it comes with potential disadvantages, too. (Only the state-regulated effects, however, apply to married gay couples, because the federal government does not recognize gay marriage.)

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State Financial Plan Loses College Funds

posted by: Sean Brown

SALEM -- Katherine Cleland, who considers herself a savvy investor, started saving for college as soon as her two daughters were born.
But with just a year and a half left before her oldest enrolls in college, she has lost about $15,000se of her $50,000 in the Oregon College Savings Plan.
"We are now facing a very difficult time planning for college for our two girls," she told the Hou education committee Friday, her voice breaking.
The committee called plan managers, state officials and investors to testify about the deep losses in the $770 million plan with an eye toward protecting parents like Cleland in the future.
Under questioning by legislators, plan managers deflected blame for the plan's losses and said they are taking steps to improve the plan and restore investor confidence.

Click Here to read more

Sunday, January 25, 2009

College Financial Aid System Facing Stiff Test

By: Craig Rozelle

Finding financial aid for college this year promises to be tougher than any final exam. The quest for money that begins for students and parents every January has taken on new urgency in 2009 amid fears that loans and grants will be scarcer than in the past due to the recession.

"The financing system for college is in real crisis," said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers. "Every one of the participants in the system is experiencing hardship — higher education institutions, states, aid donors and families all are cash-strapped."

For more information:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Being Married vs Being Single

By: Asim Mohammed

Everyone knows there are many financial advantages of being married. However, not many people realize that there are financial advantages of being single too. Married couples have the benefit of sharing responsibilities and financial duties. Having a double or pooled income can help a couple reduce stress when bills and expenses need to be paid. The ease of having shared health-insurance coverage saves money for a couple. The big plus of being married is having the ability to claim additional deductions and credits. Increased earnings or shared income can result in some considerably and generous tax breaks that are not available to people who file their taxes separately or if they were to file as single.
Even though there are more advantages of being married, there are some advantages of being on the other side of the fence, being single. Liability is a topic where being single is advantageous. For example if a couple are both doctor's, which is a high-liability profession, if one gets sued that means the other persons assets are just as liable whereas if it was one doctor only one set of assets would be at risk. Another example is if two people were trying to get married and one was in good financial standing and the other was buried in debt, it might be a bad idea for the financially stable person to get married to someone who is buried in debt. It would bring them down as well. In a situation like this it would be better to stay single. Being single usually comes without the responsibility of providing for children, whereas for a married couple being responsible for children is common. In this case, single people save more money for themselves because their expenses would be a lot less compared to a married couple with kids.
The tax breaks of being single are great too. For instance, if you had an unmarried couple who both owned property they could have a larger write off compared to a couple who owns property, even though the couple’s property might be worth more.
The advantages of being single vs. married vary, though the positives of being married may be greater, it is just a matter of which life style fits you better.

Millionaires in the making: The Rodrigueses

Posted by: Asim Mohammed
By Paul Keegan, Money Magazine contributing writer
Last Updated: August 18, 2008: 9:46 AM EDT

Only 27 years old, prodigious savers Gina and John Rodrigues are determined to retire with a million-dollar nest egg by the time they turn 40. Here's the odd part: They just might make it.

John and Gina Rodrigues have always been good with numbers. John is a software engineer who manages a team at Microsoft, and Gina spent years processing mortgages at Wells Fargo and Countrywide Home Loans. But the numbers they are especially good at are the kind with dollar signs in front of them.

Teaching Children Good Money Habits

By Lara Turner

The life-long benefits of teaching children good money habits make it well worth the effort. children who are not taught these lessons pay the consequences for a lifetime. It provides an overview of the topic as well as teaching suggestions for addressing earning, spending, borrowing, sharing, and saving. It also includes a quick self-evaluation and developmental charts that discuss specific teaching activities parents can do for kids at different age levels. This resource would be an invaluable tool for parents and would make a great "give away" for schools, parents educators, and other service providers...

Public vs Private Education

By Lara Turner

Public and private schools are both great ways for children to get an education, but for different families different aspects of each type of schooling are important. One of the biggest differences between public and private schools is that the government pays for public school and private school has a tuition that families must pay. This can be a huge factor for parents when deciding which type of school their children should attend. This has always been a big issue, but now with the economy in the state that it is in, more and more families cannot afford private schools so they are either directly sending their children to public schools or pulling their children out of private and switching them over. Another big difference is that public schools admit anyone who wants to enroll and private schools are selective with who they let in. These different types of administration lead to different programs that are offered at each school. Public schools tend to offer more of a broad range of subjects and sports because they have a wide variety of students with different interests and goals and they want to be able to make sure that everyone is able to excel and learn to their full potential. Private schools on the other hand, tend to accept students who have something in common with what the school offers and because of this, even though the students may be from different backgrounds, they all still have a common goal with their peers. A third difference is that teachers at public schools must be certified and teachers at private schools do not need to be certified. Both public and private schools have the same purpose, which is to teach children and get them ready for the time when they become adults and lead their own lives, so going to a public or private school depends on parents and how they think their children should be taught.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Six Financial Mistakes Couples Make

Posted by Nicholas Hall

IF YOU AND YOUR partner are like most couples, chances are, you fight about money. Numerous studies have shown that money is the No. 1 reason why couples argue — and many of the recently divorced say those battles were the main reason why they untied the knot.

While anyone will tell you that talking about money is the first step in resolving problems, talk alone won't do the trick.

In fact, a 2004 study commissioned by SmartMoney magazine and Redbook, another Hearst publication (SmartMoney magazine and are jointly published by Dow Jones and Hearst), found that more than 70% of couples talk about money on a weekly basis. So what's the problem? "Most of us don't know how to talk about money," says Mary Claire Allvine, a certified financial planner (CFP) and co-author of "The Family CFO: The Couple's Business Plan for Love and Money."

"People tend to be emotional and reactive about money, not strategic," she says.

Read the full article