Helping your Spouse Repair Their Credit

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A poor credit score can certainly hold you back in life. But of course you love your spouse and you want to help them repair their credit. Hopefully the underlying issue that got them there, whether it was overspending or using the credit cards to get over a bout of unemployment has been ameliorated. It’s true that your spouse’s credit can affect your ability to buy a house together, get a mortgage, or a car or business loan. But that isn’t or shouldn’t be the only reason you want to help them. Make the reason be the deep love and altruism you feel toward them. They’ll recognize that warmth and compassion and be more likely to overcome reticence and work with you to form and stick to a plan that repairs their credit and makes both of your financials much easier to work with. The first thing to do is to create a budget. Managing money wisely is the best way to make sure that the budget is stuck to and that one’s credit score improves and stays in a good place. Learn to live below your means and start saving. Buy a used car over a new car. Cook instead of eating out. Shop at discount stores. Save up for what you want to buy. Make serious, smart purchasing decisions and see your savings and your credit score soar.

Find ways to reduce what you are paying for things. With some of your savings make an emergency fund. This way when something goes wrong you don’t have to fall back on the credit cards. Teach your spouse all about their credit score, how it works and how to achieve and maintain good credit. Come up with an exact plan on how you will pay off your debt and save for your future. Write down the list of debts, the income you both have, any assets that can or should be liquidated and places where expenses can be cut. Sometimes cuts can sound painful and really put a damper on your lifestyle. But in the end feeling free of bad credit and being able to have access to a better quality of life, without the stress of financial troubles makes you freer and much happier. Be understanding. Usually money habits are learned from our parents or primary caregivers. Understand that you need to help them change their behavior and get them to understand it as well. Once they do outline all the plans, make the necessary cuts and move things around so you have a healthy financial plan moving forward. This may take more than one meeting. Lots of follow up will have to take place. If you need help seek out a financial planner or nonprofits in your area which help people get their credit score healthy again. To find out more, pick up a copy of Hidden Credit Repair Secrets by Mark Clayborne.

Forming a Retirement Plan as a Couple

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You certainly can’t depend on social security as a means for sustaining you throughout your golden years. One of the most important things you can do in your life is saving for retirement. Financial experts state that the best time to start is as early as possible, generally when people start working full time in their twenties. Even if you are farther along, saving for retirement should start right away. One of the biggest issues couples fight about is money, that’s no surprise. So it’s important for you to sit down with your spouse and decide how you will plan for retirement. If you and your spouse have different visions of what retirement is going to look like, how to save for it and how much to put away per paycheck you could have a problem. Having a sit down meeting or more than one with your partner about saving for retirement and forming a plan as a couple is probably one of the most important things you can do to secure your future. What are your plans? Do you want to live a simple life? Take part in some of your hobbies? Travel or indulge is some dream you’ve always wanted to accomplish but never had time for? Write it down and then share it with your partner. Ask what they envision. Do your visions fit? If not, how can they both be accommodated?

Then there are some more practical questions such as when is it best to retire, how much will you need to live comfortably and what compromises will you both need to make to make your retirement dreams come true? Once you have a figure in mind it’s time to get busy figuring out how you are going to reach that goal. What is your income status? Are both of you working? How much will you put away from the paycheck or paychecks each week, two weeks or month depending upon how often you are paid? If one of you isn’t working or you have children certainly those things need to be taken into consideration. Next look at the retirement options available to you such as an IRA, you or your partner’s company’s 401K plan and others and see which one best fits your needs. Commit to a certain amount that is put away and don’t veer off. Have a system put in place that you both like that will help you retire. Keep in mind any financial situations such as if you are planning to have a baby, start a business, put a second mortgage on the house and so on and take that into consideration when doing your calculations. Revisit the issue every five years and see if your plan is on track or if you need to adjust or even revisit it. Saving for retirement, having a plan and putting it into place will ensure that the golden years are the happiest of your life. For more advice on this topic, read The Big Payoff by Sharon Epperson.

Financial Gifts to Give your Partner

Love and Finance

If you are dating the romantic type, perhaps stock or mutual funds won’t win them over. But for the more practical minded, there are financial gifts you can give your partner that will help them, and you secure your future. Though they may not see it as a grand romantic gesture, the overall message is one of care, commitment and support. Here’s a great gift idea, why not attend a financial consultation as a couple? The number one issue couples fight about is money. And those who cannot solve their issues are more likely to split. A consultation may eliminate or at least lessen this and also put you on the path to financial solvency and health. Meeting with an adviser takes the pressure off both of you. It gives you a good look at what your financial future may look like together. It takes the heat out of the air and puts the burden of financial decisions in the hands of a professional. Of course, you don’t have to take their advice. But it will give you a chance to see how things are and what the best way forward is. For married couples, a life insurance policy is a good idea, just in case something happens, especially if you are the main breadwinner. It can offer piece of mind, and relieve your partner with the embarrassment of broaching the subject. This is especially important if you two have children together.

Another place you can save yourselves from an uncomfortable conversation is having a will. According to AARP 71% of those under 40 and 40% of baby boomers do not have a will. A will can make sure your assets are distributed accurately and exactly to your wishes in the unlikely event of your death. There are intestacy laws in place, or laws that state how a person’s assets are allocated should they pass without a will being made. But these do not take into account cohabitating partners. Even if you are married, state laws may prevent all of the assets to go to one party. Lastly, and one that is more fun, what about starting a “special occasion” fund? Psychologists Thomas Gilovich and Leaf Van Boven conducted research with 1,200 American couples and found that saving for and looking forward to things such as a nice vacation, an event, a concert and so on increased their happiness. Giving someone a bankbook for a special birthday party, a retirement party or a second honeymoon is a great way to make them overjoyed with you and your thoughtful gift. For more financial planning tips, read the advice of Matt Bell in his book, Money & Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples.

Managing Money when you are Financial Opposites

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The number one biggest issue married couples fight about is money.  Lots of relationship and marriage experts suggest discussing money matters, assets, debt, their style of handling money and more pre-marriage. However, lots of couples don’t do this. Or they decide to get married anyway, the pull of love and mutual attraction being too strong to resist. So how do you manage your money together when you are financial opposites? First, take a deep breath. If one person loves to spend money while the other does nothing but save, the relationship isn’t doomed. In fact, there are lots of couples that operate this way. What needs to happen is a lot of communication, negotiation and good intentions when it comes to understanding your spouse and how they feel about the issue. Next, realize that upbringing has a lot to do with it. It isn’t just that she is a spendthrift or he is a shopaholic. Most people learn their money habits from their parents. It’s important to remember that not all families are the same. Their financial situation and outlook on money can be quite different. Don’t just take what your spouse says or how they handle money at face value. Probe deeper. Perhaps they came from a poor family and learned the value of money and saving. Or maybe they had parents who spent lavishly giving their child what they never had.

So what do you do when you disagree about how money is spent? Look at what the item is. Is it merely a status symbol or will it truly enhance your or both of your lives? Make sure to write a budget and put in discretionary spending for both of you. If you cannot agree on a budget, perhaps both of you make a budget and negotiate the particulars together. If you are a dual income household, open three savings accounts, theirs, yours and the household’s. That last one gets an equal portion from both of you to pay off the bills and for savings. If one person makes much more than the other, consider taking the same percentage of each person’s salary to pay it off. Consider the debt situation. Does one or both of you have student loan debt, a car loan, or credit card debt? Perhaps make important moves to pay these off as part of discretionary spending. You don’t have to get a divorce when you find out that you two have different opinions when it comes to money. Of course, it is going to be an issue and an argument you may ensue from time to time. Remember to compromise. Instead of the big vacation to Hawaii, try something closer like Costa Rica, or even Florida. Orbitz.com often has good deals on airfare and hotel packages, too. Negotiation and compromise are at the heart of a healthy marriage, and healthy finances, too. For more help managing your finances, read the advice of Dave Ramsey in his New York Times best-selling book, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness.

Signs She’s Immature

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Are you dating someone and you think she’s not mature enough for you? Sure, at the outset of dating a woman this isn’t always on the top of your priority list. But as things move along a little you start to notice things about the woman you’re dating and if she has what you’d consider qualities capable of coming along for the long haul. Not only are you looking for a woman who has that spark, you want someone who is going to help you move up, not hold you back. And an immature woman can be quite a hassle. But how can you tell if she’s just girlish, playful, coquettish, or downright immature? First, if she’s offering to fight, slap, confront, or get even with some other girl, she is way too immature for you. It isn’t cute or funny and it’s going to cause a lot of trouble in the end. She may also be the type that flies off the handle over little things, or is a cry baby. If you want a headache, date this woman. She’s too immature for you. Start putting space between you and her right away, or else she’ll suck you into her conflicts. Or you’ll be a constant shoulder to cry on. If you’ve noticed that all of her conflicts are dealt with in a passive-aggressive manner, you might want to pass her by, too. It’s better, but do you really want to be in a relationship where she gives you the cold shoulder, or snide little remarks start creeping in?

Women whom you’ve noticed have dated a series of bad boys, or guys that were no good for them. They are usually warned by those around them that care about them. But she usually goes back to the same guy, or dates a carbon copy of him. Steer clear of her. She may be fun for a while. But if you get emotionally invested, unless she’s changed, you’re going to get your heart broken when the next tough guy rolls into town. Look out for the shopaholic. The woman who buys everything and anything and never has any money. Managing money carefully is a mature act. As is staving off what you want for what you need. If she can’t pay rent but has more shoes than a shoe store, back away. Those money problems will quickly become yours. Unless you have the net worth and a carefree spirit, shake yourself loose pronto. If she has kids, pay careful attention to how she treats them. Does she drop them off at her parents, the neighbors, the in-laws, or her babysitters constantly? Is it to do selfish personal things? If so, she’s way too immature for you. Not only that but she’s self-absorbed and has horrible parenting skills. Steer clear of these behaviors and seek to find a woman who is mature, holds you up, is interesting, has a great sense of humor, and who helps you and fulfills you in more ways than one. She’s not so easy to find, but she’s out there. You’ll see. For more guidance on how to find the right woman for you, try reading the advice  of Bruce Bryans in his book, Attract The Right Girl: How To Find Your Perfect Girl And Make Her Chase You For A Relationship.