Monday, April 27, 2009

Kids Get Money-Smart

Posted By Chaoran Hu

Tina Vance, a Chantilly stay-at-home mother of four, has been working hard at giving her family a financial education. She makes the kids, ages 4 to 14, contribute 10 percent of their allowances to savings and charity and she includes them in discussions of household finances. Vance heard nothing from her own parents about money or their financial situation, but she laid it all out for her children.
She used Monopoly money.

"I put a pile on the table equal to one month of my husband's salary. I also got out the cable bill, the phone bill, the Giant receipts, everything we had paid for that month," she said. "We went around the table, and each kid took a turn paying a bill. After all the bills were paid, there wasn't much left."

Planning for an Emergency

By: Sarah Horner

April 27, 2009

Hopefully it never happens to you, but it is more likely than not that at some point in time your family may face a financial Emergency. This is why it is particularly important to plan your family budget ahead of time so you have the means to avoid potential disaster.

This article from discusses emergency planning for your families budget.

"While insurance is always an excellent source of funding at these times most often it is not sufficient to cover the entire need. Consider what it would take for you to be able to continue on in the lifestyle you currently enjoy. Don’t buy insurance according to your current need only; inflation is approximately 4% annually so compute that into your planning figures as well.

Often times families insure only the bread winner but what would happen if the family caregiver died? Would you be able to afford to hire someone to care for the children while you continued to work? What about if your child died? How would that affect your zest for life and work? Too often we fail to evaluate all the possible reasons for, what I call, Contingency Plan Funding. Taking the time now can save you much heartache and stress later.

When looking at ways to invest your resources besides insurance you may want to consider annuities and retirement plans. IRAs, Roth IRAs, and Annuities will allow you to put money aside that, in emergency, you can tap into. IRAs are tax deferred and you pay taxes only on the earnings, while Roth IRAs are taxed up front only. With all of these plans you will face penalties for early withdrawal unless you have certain types of emergencies. However with annuities you incur what is considered a ‘loan’ that you will have to pay back or those penalties will hit you hard when you annuitize.

If you don’t have a Financial Planner, find one! If you need advice as to who to hire to help you review your Contingency Plan contact a friend or trusted advisor. Be sure to interview more than one Financial Planner. Look closely at the fees for service. You need to trust this person completely and to be comfortable with them; you will be working closely with them for many years to come."

To read the entire article, Click here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Prepaid Cell Phones - The Right Family Decision

By: Sarah Horner
April 23, 2009

This article from describes the advantages of prepaid phones and how they can help save your family money.

"Cellphone providers are rolling out a slew of new no-contract plans -- in which users pay for service in advance instead of after they use their minutes. T-Mobile USA last year began offering a range of "flexpay" plans that allow users to buy monthly service without a credit check or contract. In January, Boost Mobile, a unit of Sprint Corp., introduced a no-contract plan offering unlimited talking, texting and Web use for $50 a month, and Virgin Mobile USA followed last week with a $49.99-a-month unlimited calling plan."

To read more, Click Here 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Taking advantage of the stimulus

By Michael Boshnack

I am going to blog again about some of the tax benefits and other benefits Americans can receive through the new stimulus package. Mostly because all of these changes directly appeal to our age group considering we are just entering to work for and a lot of the provisions only apply to people making less than $100,000 or $250,000.

Everyone can expect a $400 check, or $800 if you are married. To get this credit you had to have made at least $3,000 last year. Make sure you do your research before making purchases for your first home or apartment, as there are tax credits that apply for buying energy efficient and green appliances. If you need more information on what other credits apply check out white and they will outline all the tax incentives, grants and other stimulus provisions made to stimulate the economy.

To read more click on these articles:
Lawmakers worry whether Obama tax cut will stimulate the economy
How economic stimulus will affect 2008 tax returns

College bang for your buck

By Michael Boshnack

"Is an Ivy League education worth the money?

The debate over the long-term value of a pricey private-school education is heating up, especially in this tough economy. Sure, everyone knows that by sticker price alone, public schools are a sweet deal, with out-of-state tuition and fees that run about 30 percent less than most of their private rivals—and in-state fees running up to three-quarters less.

Indeed, the math is pretty jarring; the difference, on average, ranges between $7,700 and $18,600 a year, obviously no small matter with stock market woes depleting so many people's savings. But in the back of everybody's mind, there's that nagging question: Is the extra money worth it?"

To Read More Click Here

Public vs. Private

By: Li Bin Chen

As a parent, you’re always looking out for your children, trying to make the best decisions for them and their futures. When it comes to schooling, parents often have to work out whether to send their children to private school or keep them in public school.

Public schools are schools that are provided by state and federal funding. Ninety percent of the children today in America attend public school. Private schools include both parochial schools and non-parochial schools. According to a special report published by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 2002, in 1999–2000, approximately 27,000 private schools accounted for 24 percent of all schools in the US and 12 percent of all full-time-equivalent teachers. Clearly, there are many more public schools that provide education to American students than their private counterparts.

Private schools do not receive tax revenues, but instead are funded through tuition, fundraising, donations and private grants. According to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the median tuition for their member private day schools in 2005-2006 in the United States was close to $14,000 for grades 1 to 3, $15,000 for grades 6 to 8 and $16,600 for grades 9 to 12. The median tuition for their member boarding schools was close to $29,000 for grades 1 to 3, $32,000 for grades 6 to 12.

Usually when considering private versus public school, parents will have one or more factors that concern them. When looking at public or private schools, the following factors come into play:
Academic reputation and college preparation
School size and Class size
Safety reputation
Special programs
Religious and Moral instruction

Recession Promotes Literacy

by David Norton

Recession May Promote Financial Literacy

One potentially positive impact of the current recession is that more families are discussing financial issues and learning from the experience, a new survey suggests.

The 2009 Teens and Personal Finance poll - conducted among young people in Houston, Texas - found that 39 percent of respondents said the economy has become a more common topic of conversation than it once was.

Meanwhile, 21 percent say their parents have begun discussing family finances with them, as a result of the current state of the economy.

Planning to have a baby, wait , how much is it?

By Sidney Perez.

Since the existence of the humanity, people have had babies, and it is why we do exist.

But, having a baby has a cost and it seems to have a big influence to the choice of having a baby or not.

However, today it is easier to choose to have a baby thanks to the pill, and then not having a baby does not mean stopping your sexual activity...

So, how much does a baby cost precisely?

Easy. Thanks to an Internet site, you can estimate with precision how much will cost you a baby per year.
It is very well done and you can choose a lot of options to adjust the cost according to your situation.

The site is

So, as most of you are going to have a baby, you should test this site to implement your finance plan and be ready to assume this huge cost of a baby.

The cost is not only money, but time (which is also money...) and sometimes, you have to put your job aside to take care of your child(ren).

So, save money, because after being a baby, it will be also a teenager and cost you even more money ( tuition fees for the university...).

But, it makes you happy and can contribute to your family ideal, so have babies but plan it corectly to offer them the best life you can.

Sources :




Achieving success in an uncertain world

By Sidney Perez

In this bad context of financial crisis, you should think that it is not possible to reach what he call success (or at least less easily than it was for your parents).

But, there are still opportunities to catch, there are still consumers and demand and then a potential possibility to reach this ideal success.

Firstly, the definition od success is relatively ambiguous, what does it mean for you?
I am sure most people would say quickly, having a lot of money is a proof of success. But what about success if you are alone, sick and sad even with all the money of the world??

Success is like happiness it is very hard to achieve and it is a ideal.

The key of success is then be confident in what you do, and here are some tips to help you.

1. Recognize that there are "voices" in your head that are always talking to you. Some of them are helpful, some not. Begin to constantly dialogue with yourself about those voices. Learn to recognize who the voice is. Is it you, or is it a parent, a former teacher, your mate, or whomever? If it's anyone other than you, then tell the voice "thanks, but no thanks" and move on.

2. Don't let past mistakes keep you from trusting yourself the next time you need to make a decision. Remember that we all make mistakes and that key to life is picking yourself up, brushing yourself off and moving on.

3. Remember that all situations are new and tell the "same old" voice to quiet down. Experience is what prevents us from trusting new decisions. (Generally these are bad experiences)

4. Get quiet. When the need for a decision arises, take a deep breath. Take some time, if you have it. One great way to get quiet is to learn how to meditate, or at the least learn what Andrew Weil calls 4-7-5 breathing. (I can explain later on).

5. Embracing the things in life that "choose you" is akin to "going with the flow." Life has its own rhythm and the sooner you can just accept that, the better. Of course, it's easy to accept when the flow is something that works to your benefit. Embrace and remember that feeling the next time the flow doesn't go in your direction. It's all part of that big picture called LIFE.

Sources :




Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How To Prepare Your House For Sale?

By Elizabeth Weintraub
Posted By Chaoran Hu
Prepping and and staging a house. Every seller wants her home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Does that sound good to you? Well, it's not luck that makes that happen. It's careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will send home buyers scurrying for their checkbooks. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.
1. Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.
Say to yourself, "This is not my home; it is a house -- a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf.
Make the mental decision to "let go" of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours.
Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners!
Say goodbye to every room.
Don't look backwards -- look toward the future.
2. De-Personalize.Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can't see past personal artifacts, and you don't want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can't do that if yours are there! You don't want to make any buyer ask, "I wonder what kind of people live in this home?" You want buyers to say, "I can see myself living here."

The Trouble With Alzheimer's Care: One Family's Story

By Sidney Perez
We lost him a little at a time. In 2000, my Dad, then 80, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and it began: He moved off ever so slowly, calling back at us as he went, trying to keep us in his sight.
For the most part, he was joyful, although keenly aware of what was happening to his mind. He smiled, sang, and danced the Irish jig; often all it took was a ride to the grocery store to delight him, or attending morning mass, or a stop at Bruster's for butter pecan ice cream. A successful, self-made businessman who ran his management consulting company in Pittsburgh for over 30 years, he showed us how to bravely confront a future with uncertainty and little hope. He told us how much he loved us as often as he could. And we, in turn, were lovingly resolute about keeping him at home with Mom as long as possible.

Smart Money Moves for Young Investors

Posted by JieYing Peng

At a conference on financial literacy on Apr. 20 in Chicago, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said it was time for Americans to learn to manage their money. Ramit Sethi couldn't agree more. The 26-year old personal finance guru has made it his mission to help Americans do just that and he tries to make it as simple as possible. In his new book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich, and on his blog of the same name, Sethi shows twentysomethings how they can automate their financial decision-making and learn how not to overanalyze. This is especially true when it comes to investing. He says money should be automatically diverted to investment accounts, then automatically invested and rebalanced, according to a set calendar. Sethi met with BusinessWeek's Ben Levisohn on Apr. 17 to discuss how fearful investors can get started in this vexing environment.

For full article:

Monday, April 20, 2009

New marriage, first home and taxes

By: Li Bin Chen

NEW YORK (Money Magazine) -- Q. My son and his fiancée, who are getting married this month, bought a home last year. She had owned a home before, but he had not. Is he still eligible for the $7,500 first-time homebuyer tax credit?

Carolyn Bigda, staff writer, says ...

A. It's likely that he is. Last year's housing act offered a credit of 10% of the home's price, up to a maximum of $7,500, to homebuyers who had not owned a principal residence for the past three years. Married couples must both meet the criteria to claim the credit, but an unmarried joint purchaser can still claim it, even if the other buyer doesn't qualify.

There are a couple of other eligibility requirements to consider too.

Your son's home must have been purchased after April 8, 2008, to qualify, and his income must be $75,000 a year or less to claim the full amount (for married couples it's $150,000 or less).

Desperate Times

By: Sarah E. Horner

April 20, 2009

In an article from, Gengler, Rosato and Yang discuss how to face some of the worst case scenarios head on. First, they discuss the stock market, buying and selling stocks is all based on timing but even if you think you enter the stock market at the perfect time there is still a significant amount of risk involved. In order to circumvent these high risk situations, the article advises people to turn towards high-yield bonds.

Another troubling situation they discuss is inflation, the reccomendation is to invest in a diversified fund that invests in commodity-producing companies that can give you a hedge against rising prices without the extreme volatility of other investments that reduce the risks of inflation.

Next they discuss the scary issue of mortgages, asking the scary question if walking away from your mortgage ever makes sence. What if you have to turn down a better job in a different city because your mortgage is in such bad shape you cannot sell your house. CNNMoney, says that sometimes, the best option is to walk away. While there are many implications you must consider before making this decision, if your mortgage is keeping you from living your life, you must find a way to do something.

            The article goes on to discuss some other scary issues that many families may very well have to face especially if the economy continues to degrade further into the current depression. To read all of CNNMoney’s tip in facing your fears face on, click here.


Voluntering, Cut Your College Cost

By Chaoran Hu

A big amout of expenses could be on the college tuition. College tuition is increasing 5% to 8% a year. Most of students are suffering greatly from this increase. If you are astonished by the amount of money you have to spend for your college, here are some suggestions to ease this burden.
1. Uncle Sam will forgive your debt loan
In order to be qualified for this program, one has to ve committed into the volunteer work.

Volunteering Loan Forgiveness Programs:
Americorps: Serve for 12 months and receive up to $7,400 in stipends plus $4,725 toward your loan -- that amount is likely to increase.
Peace Corps: Cancel 15% of your Federal Perkins Loan per year.
Volunteers in Service to America: Provide 1,700 hours of service and receive $4,725.

2. Loan forgiveness for teachers
If you would like to become a teacher for the low income families in the elementary school when you gradute, you can get a portion of your Perkins Loan Forgiven.

3. Cut medical or law school bills
Many law schools forgive the loans of students who serve in public-interest or non-profit positions. Go to the American Bar Association for a summary of loan repayment assistance programs.
Here's a sampling of some student loan forgiveness programs in health care:
National Health Service Corps
Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program


Saving for College

Written by: RON LIEBER

Posted by: Stephanie King

Want to pick up the tab at Harvard for a child born today? It will probably cost about half a million dollars come 2027.

Hey, at least you have 18 years to plan. Parents footing the bill for tuition this fall are facing down a perfect storm of ugliness. Unemployment is rising, while bonuses and commissions aren’t what they once were for those who still have jobs. Others have no equity left in their homes thanks to declining housing prices. Those who do may have trouble finding a bank willing to hand out home equity loans that they can use to pay for college.

Beyond a more generous tax credit, President Obama’s moves so far don’t add up to much for most middle­-class families. For low-income students, Mr. Obama wants to guarantee Pell grant financing levels and to match inflation increases, and his stimulus package provides more Pell and work-study money. He is pushing to change the way federal loans are dispensed and to expand access somewhat to federal loans. But students who borrow already graduate with an average debt of $22,700.

Meanwhile, the devastation in the stock market has eroded not just families’ savings but university endowments that underwrite scholarships and grants.

How bad is it? Earlier this year, Kevin McKinley, a financial planner and college savings expert at McKinley Money in Eau Claire, Wis., received his first-ever referral from a psychotherapist, who thought the patient could reduce anxiety by seeing a financial professional.

“That’s not something that happens when the markets are doing well,” Mr. McKinley says.
Still, if you can break the process of saving for college into smaller pieces, it starts to seem more manageable. Start by reminding yourself that almost nobody can save enough to pay for four years of private education, let alone for more than one child. That’s not the goal here.
Mr. McKinley suggests an approach he calls “20-20-20.” Take the current average cost of attending four years at a public university: roughly $60,000. Save $20,000 before your child begins college by putting aside $50 a month starting at birth and assuming a 6 percent annual return. Then, pay $20,000 out of current income while the student is in college. Finally, have your child take out $20,000 in federal student loans over four years. The $200 monthly payments afterward are not a horrible burden for people in their 20s to bear, and they’ll be debt free once the 10-year payback period is over.

“It’s all doable with several very small sacrifices,” Mr. McKinley says.

For full article, click here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Responsible Credit Card Use

By David Norton

Spending wisely is key to keeping your family afloat during these tough times. Racking up hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unneeded purchases on a credit card is a bad idea, especially since spending on credit can be extremely costly if bills aren't paid in full every month. Still, plastic can help you build credit, accumulate reward points, and limit liability for unsatisfactory purchases or theft.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

National health plans CDHP delivers ROI

By Sidney Perez

The WellPoint Institute of Health Care Knowledge has released a study indicating WellPoint’s employer groups save money through consumer-directed health plans.
The findings are consistent with Cigna’s and Aetna’s CDHP studies.
Carl Doty, principal analyst for Forrester Research, is not surprised. “Over the last couple of years I’ve seen a few compelling examples of CDHP from a cost-containment perspective,” he said.

Click here to

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tips to Family Budgeting

By: Sarah Horner
April 15, 2009

In this article from, Judith Zwolak talks about how families should track their spending and develop a budget.
"Start with dining out and groceries Take budgeting baby steps and start by tracking your grocery and food budget for a month, including restaurant meals, coffee shop treats and vending machine snacking. Keep all receipts and write down what you spent for an entire month. You may be surprised how quickly the Chinese restaurant deliveries and extra bag of potato chips add up. When the month is over, you have already tracked a major category of your household budget—congratulations!

Now set up more categories Some expenditures vary little from month to month, such as housing (mortgage or rent), utility bills, insurance, daycare. Others can fluctuate—entertainment, travel, home improvement, auto repair. Devise some basic categories, adding or combining categories after you have a few months of budgeting under your belt. Get your partner involved in the process. If he or she doesn’t want to take part in the recording or analyzing, at least make sure you get receipts for any purchases your partner makes."

To read more of Zwolaks tips, Click Here.

How To Manage Your Family Finance?

By Teri Cettina
Posted By Chaoran Hu
1. Money has to be considered seriously
If you or your partner gets sick, loses a job, or you divorce, you both need to know where your money is. More immediately: "Two heads are always better than one when it comes to money, even if one of you is less experienced," says Janet Bodnar, deputy editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and author of Money Smart Women.

2. Keep a seperate account for each member
Why: A joint checking account is a smart and easy way to pay for shared expenses like your mortgage, utilities, and childcare. This is true whether you and your husband pool your paychecks or each contribute a percentage of your earnings to "together" bills, or if only one of you has an income. After that, though, it's a good idea for each of you to have a small, separate account for your own, no-questions-asked spending money. This is especially important if you're a stay-at-home mom -- no one likes being on an "allowance" and having to constantly justify her spending to a working spouse.

3. Protect your own fiannce
Why: If you had a healthy credit history before you married, hang on to it. It's useful for joint purchases -- and if life throws a curveball and you need credit on your own.

4. Must have a life and diability insurance for parents
Why: Anytime people are dependent on your income to pay for their living expenses -- that would be your darling kids -- you need insurance. Life insurance is intended to help pay for family living expenses until your children are 18 or on their own. Disability is another important, but often overlooked, form of insurance that provides money in case a working parent is ill or injured and unable to work.

Do your research

By Michael Boshnack

I know this may be a little early for most of us, but the Obama administration recently put out a $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers. I personally like the move and do not see it as something that will go away in the near future thus we might be able to use it in a few years when we are finally in the financial position to begin thinking about our first home purchases. A key component of this is that it is not a tax deductible $8,000, but rather a legitimate tax credit. This means that if you do in fact purchase your first home and excersise your right to use this, you will pay $8,000 less in taxes.

The key component to all this is not the fact that you have to remember this 5 years from now, but rather that there are a lot more financial incentives and tax incentives available to the American public that a large majority of Americans do not even know about. This class and these types of tax credits have made me realize how important it is to do a thorough analysis of what I can do to save the most money in the future. This includes all large purchases including health care, automobiles, homes and paying your taxes. Always keep checking the updates as you never know when changes will be implemented.

To read more on this subject click on the articles below

Tax Credit aims boost first time buyers

First time buyers get $8,000 tax credit in stimulus bill

New Tax credit for homeowners

Protecting Your Family's Money

By David Norton

How To Protect Your Family's Finances

Here are five things mothers should know to protect their families finances. 

1. Money has to be a couple things
Why: If you or your partner gets sick, loses a job, or you divorce, you both need to know where your money is. More immediately: "Two heads are always better than one when it comes to money, even if one of you is less experienced," says Janet Bodnar, deputy editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and author of Money Smart Women.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The future wallet

By Michael Boshnack

This is an interesting article about the future of retail finance

"In many countries, the cell phone has become the new wallet. Forget cash, checks or plastic: In places like Japan and Finland, consumers can pay for train rides or even merchandise with a wave of their phones or via text message."

To read more click here

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Your Cell Phone as a Wallet

By: Li Bin Chen

Upstart Paymo, with the help of wireless carriers, aims to help U.S. consumers make mobile payments

In many countries, the cell phone has become the new wallet. Forget cash, checks or plastic: In places like Japan and Finland, consumers can pay for train rides or even merchandise with a wave of their phones or via text message.

Then there's the U.S. The mobile phone has yet to become a tool for payments here, largely because the different players in the mobile payment ecosystem ­--wireless operators, banks, credit card companies and software providers ­ -- have tended to squabble over how to divide the fees from such transactions.

Now one promising upstart thinks it has cracked the code. Paymo, a two-year-old mobile payment network, says it has forged deals with four U.S. carriers ­ AT&T, T-Mobile, Cellular One and Virgin Mobile -- that will allow users to buy digital goods online and pay with their mobile phone.

Click Here for Full Article

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How to save money on moving

By JieYing Peng

After graduation, many of us have to move for our new jobs. If your company is picking up the relocation tab, you are lucky. For those who do not have that luxury, I am going to show you ways to save money when you move.

1. Ask the moving company's sales rep or booking agent how much the discount is and then see if you can get a slightly better deal. You should be getting at least three estimates, so you may have some leverage there.
2. Do not assume that the moving company or sales rep will tell you about additional fees. Make sure you find out ahead of time what services might be needed.
3. Be flexible. You'll stand a chance of cutting a better deal if you can be flexible about your moving date. Movers are very busy from mid-May to mid-September. They are usually looking for work in January and February.
4. Junk is junk. If you haven't used it or worn it in more than a year, movers suggest that you pitch, sell or give away the item.
5. Doing some of your own packing is one of the best ways to reduce costs.
6. The mover will sell you boxes, tape and packing paper. But you may be able to get them cheaper at a do-it-yourself mover such as U-Haul or Ryder. You'll save more money by getting boxes from your supermarket, but make sure they're in good shape and weren't initially used for produce, or they may attract bugs.
7. Plan for a moving budget. This will keep you on track and remind you of what you are able to spend and ensure that you have enough money to cover all the needed expenses.
8. Keep all receipts; you'll be able to deduct allowable expenses from your income taxes.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Cost of Raising up Your Baby

By: Li Bin Chen

A newly married couple enjoy a few years of alone time. Few years into the marriage, the couple decided it’s time to have a baby. They think that the baby will add live energy and love into the marriage. Most people just want to have a baby, but how many of those people really considered how much will bringing up the baby cost? Let’s put it simple: the couples will have to alter their way of living and spending because of the arrival of the new baby.

Having a child is very expensive. Financial experts say a home is the biggest investment most people will ever make, but they're forgetting about the cost of raising children, which far exceeds the average home price in the US.

First, the couple had to consider how they’ll manage on the reduced income caused by time off for the pregnancy and birth? The biggest expense that parents will incur is child care, which is especially expensive for infants. Even when your child is old enough to go to school, you'll have after-school care, summer camps, and other related expenses.

Parents need to buy more life insurance, write a will and start a college fund as soon as the little baby has a Social Security number. A 2005 survey found that 87 percent of people with a baby on the way fear being stressed out by the expenses. Worse, 81 percent of new parents confirm those fears.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a middle-income family will spend more than $250,000 to raise a child. And that total does not include private schools, infertility treatments, or special lessons. College costs alone can add another $100,000 to $300,000.


Financial Advice for Married Couples

By Chaoran Hu

For the new married couples, they normalcy lack a good sense of financing a family, though they might have success experiences in managing their personal finance in the past, but family finance is a different story. As to family finance, they still have a long way to go to learn the finance skills, here I have provided some financial advice, and hopefully they could help them.

1.Sharing the Wealth: When you deciding whether you have to combine your finance with you spouse-to-be or keep separate, you have to consider individual money styles and find a system work for you. For the couple that they already have established their money habits are more inclined to keep their money separately. But, younger couples may be more receptive to change and could benefit from a combined income.

2. Keep tracking: Calculating cost in a regular basis, and discuss how the bills will be paid. Monitor the investments and take care of the taxes. Consider setting a date every month to view the transactions and discuss how to finance in the near future.

3. Create Separate Accounts and One Joint Account: To mingle or not to mingle your money is one of the most important decisions the two of you need to make regarding your finances. It provides you more flexibility to handle your money if money is separated; however, having a separate account will lessen the sense of the unity in marriage and shows a lack of trust in each other.

4. Massaging Debt. Couples should setting up a plan to pay down the existing debt, starting with the highest interest rates.


The Cost of Having a Baby

By: Sarah Horner
April 8, 2009

An article from entitled, "Budgeting for Baby: What does it really cost?" outlines exactly how much having and raising a child will cost you.

"If you've never been a budgeter, now's the time for a financial reckoning. Experts recommend that parents-to-be and new parents dedicate themselves to whittling down their credit-card debt (ideally — and here's some tough love — to zero), while at the same time, building an emergencies-only savings account of six to nine months' worth of expenses. Do whatever it takes to meet this goal: Spend on a cash-only basis and write down every expense — or use a free online spending tracker like or — so you have a visceral idea of where your money goes. And be prepared to sacrifice. "If you want to prioritize the expense of a child, well, you may not need as many minutes on your cell phone and you may not need as many meals in a restaurant," says Chatzky. "And by the way, you're not going to be going to restaurants much once you have a child, anyway!""

To read the entire article, Click here

Manage and organize your family budget with these savvy Web sites

Posted by JieYing Peng

Need help with the family budget? Manage and organize your family's finances with these savvy sites

Robert Love didn't pay much attention to his finances as a college undergraduate, and it cost him a lot of cash. Now Love, 24, is a graduate student at the University of Florida, and he's also graduated to tracking his finances at

The free money-management Web site lets users view and track all their accounts: checking, savings, credit, loan and investment. Each account is updated automatically every day, and each expense is tagged by category, such as "groceries." The site can turn even the ugliest financial mess into a thing of beauty, organizing expenses into neat grids, pie charts and bar graphs.

After a year, the system has helped Love save $1,000 and dozens of hours in front of the computer. The downside: The site tracks only information available through your bank electronically. You can't add transactions manually to your Mint account, so you can't keep count of what's in your piggy bank or tally cash dealings.

To keep the books for her family of six, Kelly Whalen prefers The Exton, Pa., stay-at-home mom manages her credit, savings and checking accounts on the site, although she has to go elsewhere to keep track of the mortgage and her husband's 401(k). Still, since joining Wesabe last June, she's cut her family's expenses by about $1,000 a month.

For full article:,0,2546667.story

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Children in a Recession

By David Norton

When you think of inflation, housing bubbles, and leverage, one would tend to associate these conversations with an older and more educated crowd. But is it a bad thing to expose children to the realities of today's market? The answer obviously lies in moderation. But, maybe exposing the youth to some of the realities of a recession is not necessarily a bad thing. 

Studies show that now more than ever, parents are talking to their children about money and the importance of prudently saving (quite possibly very hypocritically, but that doesn't matter). In this world which is inundated with technology, it is nearly impossible for children to completely be oblivious of the financial world around them. With this being said, often times they selectively hear the truths about such any given situation, and these notions could affect them down the road for better or worse. 

From a parental standpoint, it is very important to educate children on the value of the dollar from a young age. Children are very impressionable and many of their traits and feelings about finances are acquired at an early age. For these reasons, it is advisable to discuss the status quo of the economy with children. Obvious discretion must be used. No matter how smart your five year old is, he's not going to understand financial leverage, but still talk to young kids about money and remain positive, yet realistic. As children get older, more sophisticated concepts can be addressed. 

It is good to shelter kids from the perils of the outside world, but it is also good to expose them to these realities such as an economic recession. Everyday we see an ever-increasingly strenuous world only get more complicated, and today's youth needs to be up for the challenge. Though finances may not be the best talk you ever have with your kids, it may be one of the most important. 


Can you lend money to a friend or a relative safely?

By Sidney Perez.

With the financial crisis, banks are not able to lend a lot of money anymore. So, maybe, if you need some money, you may think about asking some loan to a friend or a member of your family.

However, you know that it can be dangerous for your relationship with the person who lends you money.

Indeed many stories tell us that the loans between friends or brothers have often a very bad end when the borrower cannot reimburse or, worse, do not want to reimburse his loan.

Have you ever heard these stories in which the borrower is very nice with his potential loaner and calls him almost every day to have some news and talk with him?

However, once the borrower gets the money, he begins to call less to his loaner ( a friend also). And after 6 months, not only he doesnt call him anymore but he never answer his phone when he sees the phone number of his loaner.

These stories are horrible, and most of the time, the loaner has no power to get his money back.

However, normally a good friend will do his best to reimburse you, and in order to make these good friends able to lend you money without the fear or not being reimbursed, I found one company that ensures your loan : Virgin Money.

Thanks to this company, you can lend money without being afraid of deteriorating your friendship because of money and be able to act as a true friend and help your friends.

So, keep your friends, help them, but be careful and take some precautions to avoid conflicts.


3) Personal experience

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mortgage Scams: Obama’s plan to help these Families.

By: Sarah Horner
April 6, 2009

In an article from today, Jennifer Liberto talked about the increase in recent mortgage scandals and how President Obama plans on combating this fraud. During this terrible recession families have absolutely no room for error and these shameless mortgage scams are reaching new lows.

Another article from a website called,, they laid out “Equity Stripping,” which is described here, “the con artist "rescues" the homeowner by helping her get rid of the house. In one way or another, the scammer convinces (or tricks) the homeowner into surrendering the title to the house by promising that she can stay on as a renter and then buy back the house once things have been "fixed." In the end, the homeowner can't afford to buy back the house and the rescuers bleed the house of most (or all of) the equity.”

The second con is called “Phantom Help” this scam involves the following, “the supposed rescuer charges very high fees for basic phone calls and paperwork that the homeowner could have done himself. Often, the scammer promises to represent the homeowner to his lenders in an effort to "work things out," but never follows through.”

The Final scam is entitled the “Bait and switch,” in which the, “scammers masquerade as legitimate housing counselors, armed with mounds of legal documents -- often for new loans that are going to "solve" the homeowner's problems. In reality, the owner signs forged documents that give the scammers ownership of the home and to make things worse, the victims still owe money for the mortgage, but no longer have the asset!

These scams devastate families and while Obama has promised help, it cannot come quickly enough. Liberto’s article listed some pretty shocking statistics about mortgage loan frauds. Currently, the FBI is investigating more than 2,100 mortgage fraud cases, up almost 400% from five years ag. Obama has promised $75 Billion to try and rescue some of these families from mortgage debt cause by fraud.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

How to Make Financial Plans for a New Baby

By Lela Davidson
Posted by Chaoran Hu

Making financial plans and going through the process of budgeting for a new baby will help you become aware of the many costs that are involved in raising a child. Although I don’t believe you can ever really be ready for a baby – financially or otherwise - there are some things you can do before baby arrives to make life go a little smother.
How Much Does a Baby Cost?

As of this writing in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the average middle class family will spend over $180,000 to raise a baby from birth to age 17. And that's before you even consider college tuition. It can be an overwhelming figure and the truth is you’re paying that over time. What most expectant parents are interested in is how their finances will be affected as soon as they bring baby home.

"Give your kids an Allowance!"

By Sidney Perez

How do our kids really learn to manage money? Most don't until they're adults and then they learn primarily as a result of their own successes and failures.
There's usually no course at school, no helpful hints on TV and observing parents can be confusing at best. Typically, parent's money management skills are often either not what we'd like them to be or our finances are so complex that how we handle our money doesn't mean much to a child.
To make matters worse, kids today have more money to spend and develop financial styles at a younger age than ever. Before you know it, kids can develop bad habits that can last a lifetime.
In fact, most parents don't deal with their kids' money management problems until their children are adults. By then, these problems can be both costly and emotionally charged. Young children provide parents the best opportunity to encourage good financial habits and avoid problems that will develop latter in life if this area is neglected.
The only way kids will learn to manage their money is through their own experience and the guidance you, as parents, may give them. In other words, kids learn from trial and error and role models just like the rest of us. And if they can't learn as children, the price of adult mistakes can be great in terms of money and relationships

Click here to

Pop Quiz: Financial Literacy

By David Norton

Testing Your Financial Literacy

Managing your finances has become especially challenging. Decisions are likely to be influenced by record low home mortgage interest rates, new tax breaks from government stimulus programs and the volatile stock market.

Are you up to taking a short quiz to test your knowledge of some key aspects of family financial management? Give it a try and see how you do (answers at bottom):

The 7 New Rules of Financial Security

By Michael Boshnack

"In a world turned upside down, you must re-examine some basic assumptions. A good place to start: understanding the true nature of risk.

Rule No. 1: Risk

Old thinking: If you can stomach the ups and downs that come with risk, you'll be rewarded.

New rule: Risk isn't about your stomach. It's about making or missing an important goal"

To learn more about this topic click here

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Five Things to Buy Before the Economy Improves

By: Li Bin Chen

Get ready to blow the cobwebs out of your wallet. Sadly, someday this recession is going to end.
After 17 months of steep decline, both the president's Council of Economic Advisors and the Federal Reserve now believe the economy will begin to recover sometime in 2009.

Great news, to be sure. But it's also a warning to consumers: The deals you're seeing on everything from houses and cars to televisions and furniture won't last forever. Luckily, for a host of goods and services, the sale of the century (literally) is still on.

The reason is simple: no buyers. Personal savings in 2008 were nearly six times greater than in 2005, amounting to $191 billion or 1.8% of the nation's disposable income. In 2009, annualized savings for January and February exceeded $450 billion, or more than 4% of disposable income.
For those feeling bold enough to bargain shop, opp

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Cheap Alternative to the Grocery Store

By: Sarah Horner
April 1, 2009

This article from explains how during this recession some families have begun to grow their own produce instead of shopping for it at the Grocery store. 

"Last year, Burpee released a report saying a family will get an average 25-to-1 return on its investment in a garden.

So, by that count, a family that spends about $200 on a medium-to-large garden, as Michelle Obama reportedly did, will save $5,000 in grocery bills over the course of a year.

That statistic is inflated, said Mike Metallo, spokesman for the National Gardening Association.

Metallo's group says a $70 investment in a garden will yield $600 in produce for the year.

To get those savings, a gardener has to know what to plant, when to plant it, where to plant it, how to deal with different soil types and how to care for the garden. "

To read the entire article, Click Here.