Category: Personal Finance

A Clear Discussion with Your Spouse about Finance Is Eaiser Than You Think

Being married is one of the best things that I’ve ever stepped into. I find that my husband has become truly my best friend with unconditional love for me. Of course, that’s a bit sappy for a personal finance blog. Maybe I should mention all of the times that he’s gotten a one day payday loan for me so we wouldn’t have to ask his parents again for money. Things got rough for a little while but he’s always been at my side, rocking and rolling from one problem to the next.

People ask me what my secret for having such a great marriage really is. It’s not that there are any magic words or anything like that — we just make sure that we talk about anything and everything that comes up. I don’t try to tell him that his viewpoint is invalid. We also don’t hide finances from each other.

It’s that last part, the finance part that I wanted to cover today. So many of my friends are really afraid to even talk about finances with their spouses, because they’re afraid that the conversation will go badly. Why should it? Money is powerful, and it’s something that needs to be treated with respect. Money doesn’t like when you hide it and not discuss it. Money wants to be appreciated, and if you are constantly saying bad things about money, how does money even know that you appreciate it? It really doesn’t, which means that you’re going to have a very hard time taking care of money the way you need to.

Get on good terms with your spouse before you’re even married. I spoke to my husband at length about my views on money. At the time, I only knew that money wasn’t my friend. I could never keep money. I would save, and then something would happen and I would have to tap my savings account dry. I never got around to getting more out of my savings through my checks at work, because I was so busy trying to take care of everything.

My husband was a saver beyond savers. He would even save the little half used bars of soap and roll them into one big bar after a while. He’s a very frugal man, whereas I was feeling miffed that I wasn’t able to spend like I wanted. He never ignored my feelings.

So, what can you learn from my darling hubby and I? Talk everything out. Make sure that you’re on the same page. If someone wants something the other doesn’t, learn to compromise.

I learned early on in my marriage that I really didn’t need to be right. I just wanted to be happy. For years, I thought that being right would yield happiness, but it really doesn’t. It makes me happier to go without something that my husband thinks is a bad buy than to buy it and argue for the next few weeks about how much I want it.

If you find something that you really feel that you have to have, give yourself a cooling off period to look at whether or not you really want it. Impulse buys are pretty common.

Just as your spouse will probably compromise with you, you should make sure that you’re compromising with them. There’s nothing wrong with letting them have some fun and get away from their stressful times too.

Saving for the future is something that makes being married so much fun — you are on each other’s team, always. Debt doesn’t have to be bad debt either — all debt with purpose tends to be good debt, especially when you can pay it off quickly.

Why not have a good conversation with your spouse? Once you find yourselves on the same page financially, you’ll truly be glad that you did!

Can You Financially Handle Divorce?

Divorce is something that is pretty painful to talk about, but there comes a point where you really have to deal with it. I won’t go into the morality of it, nor will I tell you that you need to reconsider divorce as it’s not a good thing to do. You just have to figure out what you want to do at every angle, and work from there. If you are leaving a relationship where there are children involved, it’s very important to make sure that you have strong legal counsel backing you at every turn. If you don’t get a good lawyer, you could end up damaging your children’s future without thinking about it. Don’t let anyone tell you that they have your child’s best interests at heart — they often don’t.

Moving on, the biggest thing that you can do in a divorce is have good communication. You want to be honest with each other. If things are just not working, then arguing over property doesn’t seem like a great use of time. Everything should be divided as fairly as possible ahead of time. In fact, most of the high cost of divorce stems from arguing over who gets what, rather than actually being separated. People feel like they need to fight at the last minute to get back things that really don’t matter to them. They want to fight over things because they can’t fix the things that were terribly broken — that’s the hard part, and it’s hard to feel like you really can move on.

You have to stop wonder if you’re financially ready to handle divorce. If you’ve been saving money and holding on to your job, you might get out of things a lot better than what you might expect. Some people feel that it’s pointless to even think about getting out of their marriage, because they really wouldn’t have any resources. The truth is that if your spouse feels like the only reason you’re holding on is because of the money, they’re going to eventually leave. No one wants to feel that way at all.

Are you looking at how you’re going to move on from these problems? What about finding somewhere to live? It can feel like you have to make a lot of these decisions quickly, and you often don’t get a lot of time. So if you can, find someone that has already been through the divorce process. Everyone’s divorce is going to be slightly different, but they should be able to support you where it counts.

Keep your head up — better financial times can be ahead of you! ~Ellie

Should You Have a Credit Card as a University Student?

One of the questions that I get asked a lot is whether or not university students should have credit cards while they are still in school. This is assuming that university students are strapped with a low income, which I disagree with. I think that if you have sufficient income and training about personal finance, you can handle a credit card. I really want to avoid demonizing financial products as much as possible.

For example, a lot of people say that one day pay day loans are evil, but I strongly disagree. When you’ve been rejected by every other source, you will find that payday loans step up to the plate to get you where you need to be. When I was badly in debt I couldn’t run home and ask family, and I certainly didn’t have any friends that were doing better than me. That means that I really had to figure things out on my own, and that wasn’t always easy. It took a lot of hard work for me to figure out what I wanted to do, what I didn’t want to do, and how to connect everything together.

The best thing that you can do for yourself as a university student is try to build in passive income that lets you do what you want. We live in an exciting time where just about anyone can make extra money if they put their mind to it. Are you an entrepreneur in the making? You’ll find that you actually have a lot of power to create the world that you really want, versus the world that you really don’t want. It’s just a matter of making sure that you can focus on the things that ultimately and truly matter.

Is a credit card necessary to get through university life? Not at all. You will find that if you focus on actually doing more than just floating through class, the world opens for you. Spending is not the only thing that you can do in college. It’s quite possible to have a fulfilling time at university without breaking out the credit cards.

Remember that you really don’t have to compete with anyone at school. This is something that can get you in a lot of trouble when you really think about it. You have to make sure that you focus on the bigger picture — your goals over everyone else’s. Generally speaking, the people that really think less of you just because you’re not a big spender are usually not even worth speaking to at all. Don’t give them the time of day and they won’t bother you for very long — they’ll go harass someone else.

It’s not always easy to uphold strong financial principles when you’re watching people spend money but think about where you want to be in 10 years. If I had thought this way, I wouldn’t have had to fight so hard to get out of debt!

Take care of yourselves! ~Ellie

Are You Really to Get Married, Financially Speaking

Getting married is truly a celebration and a fun time indeed. You just need to make sure that you have time set aside to talk about a plan.

When I really was struggling, I found that I relied a lot on one day pay day loans. These are awesome resources when you’re really skint, but what about when you really get on your feet? You need to make sure that you have a plan so that you don’t have to pay those fees. Unlike many personal finance bloggers I still stand by payday loans, because they really do get the job done. As I was thinking about getting married though, I knew I wanted to build a much stronger financial foundation than what I had in the past.

So I thought about things from a very logical standpoint. What did I want to contribute to the marriage to be? Would I be at home with any children or would I be working? I’m a working girl at heart, so I wanted to always have an income coming in. This means that I needed to look at things I could do from anywhere.

Folks, we’re living in an incredible time! My mum and dad couldn’t dream of making money online. It’s time to think about what you can actually bring to the table rather than just assume that there’s nothing that you can do at all. It would be better to figure out what you’re really bringing to the table than just assuming that there’s really nothing to be done. You just have to look through your options.

If there’s one thing that I would definitely advise, it would be talking with your spouse to be. There are a lot of things that need to be worked out. If you want children, this is something that you guys need to discuss up front.

When I was engaged, I immediately let him know what I wanted, what I didn’t want, and how I would be good as a wife for us both. A good spouse isn’t something that has to be a product of the 1950’s, if that’s not what you both want. There’s nothing wrong with saying that you want to stay at home — and then making a good plan to make things work on one income.

You want to also look for someone that actually shares your viewpoints. If you’re trying to save and lower your credit card debt, you don’t want to go marry someone that thinks you should rack up as much debt as possible — after all, you only live once! That would just be wrong to do, from all angles.

Keep these points in mind as you begin getting closer to your wedding date. Don’t forget to think about what you actually want when it comes to your wedding. If you want my advice, I would say that you really need to skip the big fancy wedding. The world economy is shifting and changing before our eyes — why get caught up in all of the ceremony that may or may not have meaning for just the two of you?

Keeping things into perspective is what I do, so if you have more questions don’t be afraid to talk to me! ~Ellie

Why Is PPI Becoming Such a Big Deal

Are you trying to figure out the whole PPI issue? I was too. I was trying to figure out what was really going on in the world of finance, and PPI kept coming up over and over again. So I figure if I have this concern, you probably do as well.

The first thing that you need to know is what this stands for: payment protection insurance. In theory, it’s designed to protect you against defaulting on the loan product in case of illness or unemployment. Unfortunately, many of the people that signed up for PPI or had it automatically bundled ended up being unable to actually claim it. They were denied in heavy amounts for something that they put in a lot of money in terms of past premiums.

If you’re part of this group that did that, you could actually have been mis-sold PPI, especially if the terms weren’t explained to you.

At this point, I know you’re pretty upset. I would be too. I didn’t have a loan product that had PPI, so I had nothing to claim. However, if you do have money to claim you might be wondering how to fight back against PPI.

Make sure that if you’re entering into an agreement today that your financial product doesn’t have PPI of any kind. This is a lot easier than you think. And if it does have PPI, make sure that you actually qualify for it. For example, if you’re self employed you probably don’t qualify at all.

From here, to claim anything you are going to need to get a solicitor on your side. This isn’t difficult, as there are plenty of shops now offering PPI claim assistance. Having a legal advocate is always a good idea when you’re trying to claim a monetary award. If you don’t go with this you could end up hurting yourself in the long run, and who really wants to do that?

You don’t have to pay the solicitor anything up front. There’s no fee if you don’t win, since they’re taking it on a contingency basis. You just have to make sure that you focus on what can actually be obtained at this point — it really could be a lot more money than you think! The time is right to go online and at least look if there are any solicitors in your area. From there, you just need to fill out an online contact form and someone will get in touch with you. This is a hot button issue right now, and there are many firms trying to help fellow Brits get things together.

Take care of yourself first and the rest will follow! ~Ellie

Is Bankruptcy Avoidable?

One of the hot topics going around lately has been bankruptcy. It’s something that definitely weighs on me, since I am the daughter of parents who declared bankruptcy once upon a time.

When I got to college, I didn’t really pay attention to their bankruptcy. I thought that such a thing would never happen to me. I came very close to declaring bankruptcy because of how far down in the hole I got with my debts. But I got things turned around, so I’m able to say that I never had to file. However, is everyone that lucky? Not really. You have to make sure that you figure out how your situation will be affected by a bankruptcy. I will cover mostly UK bankruptcy, though I haven’t forgotten about my US friends — I will cover this in another guide for you!

You see, bankruptcy is a way to deal with the debts that you really can’t pay. And by “really can’t pay”, I mean when you have given it your best effort and you just can’t seem to get ahead. That’s when you have to really think about whether or not it’s really a good idea to keep paying the money in the first place.

You might want to go ahead and tend to something else, anything else than constantly worrying about something else breaking in your financial life. When my parents finally decided to declare bankruptcy, I found out that they had honestly tried to do everything but file. However, you come to a point where you really know that you just don’t have another option. If you’re in that position right now, you have my apologies.

Getting Your Finances Back On Track After a Breakup

Are you worried about getting your finances on track after a breakup? So was I. Though that’s not really giving the story the justice that it deserves. You see, it’s really all about making sure that you have the right mindset.

A few years ago, I was with a guy that I really thought would become the one for me. I thought he and I would have a great life together. So the first thing we did was combine our finances. It was a real mess for a lot of reasons. One of which was we never really communicated on who was responsible for what.

So our breakup was already messy because of personal issues, and then when you add in the pain of separating your finances, it really becomes a mess. No one knew what was due, and we racked up extra late fees because everything was late! We also had a shared cell phone plan on contract — who was now responsible for that?

Bringing Peace to the Chaos

One of the first things that you are going to have to do is make sure that you actually talk it out. Don’t just pretend to talk it out -0- truly try to figure out what the problems are and fix them. Don’t get sucked into the emotional side of the breakup. I had to really get over my pride and work these things out. We didn’t want to ruin each others’ credit, but we just didn’t want to be together.

If they are moving out of the house you both shared, make sure that their mail gets forwarded to them. It’s something that doesn’t take you a lot of time, and it can really help get things under control in a big way. It will also make the other person see that you do still care about them enough to give them respect. They are much more likely to respect you in return when you do this.

Another point that I will make is that there will be a lot of personal financial information lying around the house. Please shred it. Don’t get any stupid ideas just because you are angry.

Take the time after a breakup to focus on you, and how you’re going to make your life better from here. Don’t forget to budget because it’s very easy to overspend. You’re hurt, you’re upset, you’re ready to just explode.

Calm down. Rest in the knowledge that you are so much bigger than your problems at hand. You have the power to get back on track. Will you? Well, that’s up to you, isn’t it? Trust me — it’s worth it! Go get ’em!