All Articles Tagged "finances"

Men Lie, Women Lie, Numbers Don’t: Survey Reveals Men Commit Financial Infidelity More Than Women

January 22nd, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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CreditCards.com surveyed 843 adults who are in relationships about how they manage money with their partners. The results were quite interesting: six percent of the participants have a secret bank account or credit card their partner does not know about. In comparison to the entire American population, NBC reports 7.2 million American commit this type of financial infidelity.

Although the terminology sounds over the top, Jezebel notes when one partner hides their extra financial assessments it makes them appear shady. The survey also concluded that one in five persons spent $500 or more on purchases their partners did not know about. Although an image of a woman sneaking into her house with bags of shoes or clothes may emerge in your mind, it is actually men who spend twice as much and fail to inform their partners of their purchases.

Paula Levy, a marriage and family therapist who is also a public accountant says that financial infidelity is common in most relationships. The reason this occurs is because both partners want to avoid conflict in their relationship and get the material things they desire. Levy also notes, although the phrase “financial infidelity” is intense, partners do not need to share every detail of their financial spending, which helps them feel independent from their partner.

The survey also noted two-thirds of married couples maintain joint accounts whereas others maintain the separate accounts they had prior to marriage. Whatever the financial setup, Levy does claim if a person lies to their partner about their financial habits, there will be a lack of trust in the relationship. The survey went onto highlight the most interesting financial claims made by couples in the survey:

“Younger people are more likely than older people to say they’ve had hidden accounts or large, secret purchases. A full one-quarter (25 percent) of respondents aged 18-29 say they have made purchases of $500 or more without telling their partners, compared with just 15 percent of those aged 65 and up. Seven percent of those aged 18-49 said they had secret accounts, compared with 4 percent aged 65-plus.

Is big spending acceptable? Many survey participants say they’re tolerant of their partner spending money without telling them. Thirty-one percent of men and 18 percent of women say they would have no problem with their partner spending $500 or more without letting them know.

At the other end of the spectrum, 31 percent of respondents said they think their partners should be able to spend only $100 or less without telling them.”

In order to avoid distrusting your partner’s financial spending habits, lawyer Dane Scalise and his wife created a list to avoid the drama:

1. Consider financial infidelity as serious as any other type, as data show the consequences can be equally grave.
2. Be aware of and honest about your financial health. Address problems early and seek help so they do not escalate.
3. Regularly discuss the household finances. Make financial decisions as a team and agree on an amount that each can spend “no questions asked” (as long as it fits into the monthly spending plan).
4. Create checks and balances by taking joint responsibility or taking turns paying the household bills.
5. Agree that all account access will be shared, even if the account is individual (bank, credit, investment and so on).

“I Don’t Talk Like I’m From The Ghetto”: How Does Class Affect Relationships?

January 13th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Class System Affect Relationships

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Growing up and dating in New York City means I don’t usually have to explain my Judeo-Christian Caribbean heritage, which makes things easier to be with a compatible partner. Despite this, one can still find differences with a partner even if they are of the same nationality. On the issue, The Guardian reports:

“If anything, people are more likely than ever to marry into their own class, as a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research showed this year. Of people born in 1958, just over a third of women had a partner from the same class as themselves: 38% married up, while 23% married down. For those born in 1970, 45% married into the same class; of those born between 1976 and 1981, 56% married into the same class, with a far smaller proportion (16%) marrying up. Even the phrases “marrying up” and “marrying down” are sullying to use. You can’t really escape the connotation that the rich are better than the poor.”

In a recent study by The Cut, a focus group of 11 couples shared how they managed through the American class system. Whether their parents are immigrants or country club regulars, The Cut explores how race, wealth, religion and education affect these relationships. Here are a couple of highlights from their study:

She could afford all of this without me.
“When you’re black, it’s an inescapable truth, a full-body experience that’s happening all the time,” says Jack, 35. He says Jill, 35, his wife, who is white, talks about race by “trying to weave it into a higher morality.” He laughs: “I’m just trying to survive! She champions equality!”

Jill comes from a low-income family while Jack’s is middle class. Jill, like her mother, is the breadwinner. “It wasn’t weird to me that he didn’t have much money, and I was used to roles outside gender norms,” she says. “And neither of us grew up taking vacations.”

She paid the down payment on their house, which is in her name. “The house was my first choice, not his, and I’m sure some part of me was like, ‘It’s my money,’” Jill says. Jack adds, “There’s a 10 percent ping in my heart that she could afford all of this without me and I couldn’t afford any of it without her, but I pay half the mortgage.” She makes more money working via satellite from home than he makes working overnight in a warehouse. He gets frustrated when he returns to dishes in the sink. “She’s been home all day! I hate to say this, but I think she thinks earning more alleviates her of chores.”

He sees brown skin and thinks I’m a traitor.
“Some people are rough around the edges — he’s just rough,” Eva, 37, says of her boyfriend, Marcus, 36, who emigrated from Africa as a toddler and grew up in the projects and in foster care. She grew up in a middle-class family in a British colony, attending good schools and sneaking off to go swimming. When he went outside as a kid “he risked being shot,” and he doesn’t have any family. Eva and Marcus graduated from the same American college but at different times and met in a club in New York.

“I’m half-black, half-Portuguese,” Eva says. “I have a British accent. I don’t understand the way Americans view race. Some black people say I’m bougie and I’m acting white, but to me skin color doesn’t matter — I come from a beautiful island with British manners! This is just how I act. One day, Marcus said, ‘You get along so well with white people.’ I said, ‘What do you mean? I get along well with all people.’ … He feels insecure sometimes. I’m not from the ghetto, so I don’t talk like I’m from the ghetto — that doesn’t mean I think I’m better than someone else. He sees brown skin and thinks I’m a traitor.”

Talking with him about his childhood helps her understand his anger. She says, “It took breaking down the barriers. I’ve learned from him not to prejudge.” Both Marcus and Eva are in New York to launch businesses. “We share a common goal. He loves talking about the future,” she says. “His big aspiration is to raise kids the way I was raised.”

To read more on how class affects modern day love, click here.

‘Black’ Vs. ‘African-American': Which Term Has The Financial Advantage?

January 12th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Should we be called “Black” or “African-American”? It’s quite a contentious subject, isn’t it? “African-American” is the preferred nomenclature in the US, but some critics say this term discounts non-American people of African descent — y’know, like Black Africans or West Indians. But the truth is that one of these — Black or African-American — yield better financial consequences than the other.

Can you guess which one?

According to The Atlantic, a new study found that “Black” people are seen as more incompetent and “cold.” The report, authored by Emory University’s Erika Hall, found that there is a perceived distinction in socioeconomic status between the two terms.

Research participants were given a brief description of a Chicago man with the surname “Williams.” In one group, Williams was described as “Black”; in another, he was “African-American.” With this information, subjects were asked to estimate his income, educational background, and professional standing.

When Williams was labeled “African-American,” participants assumed he made $37,000 a year and had a two-year college degree. Almost 75 percent believed Williams worked at a managerial level. But when Williams was “Black,” he only pocketed $29,000 annually and had “some” college experience. Only 38.5 percent perceived “Black” Williams as a manager.

The study points out that the perceived differences between “Black” and “African-American” can effect job applicants of color who add seemingly harmless affiliations to their resume, such as “Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers” or “The National Black Employees Association.” In this case, you’d want your employer to perceive you as the hypothetical “African-American Williams” — not “Black Williams.”

Though Hall made a conscious decision to not discuss the controversial “Black vs. African-American” debate in the research paper, she told On the Media, a podcast, that she prefers “Americans of African Descent.”

“…It’s kind of a mouthful—but I’m hopeful that a new phrase, purged of the old weight, will arrive someday,” Hall said. “I think a lot of the stigma is embodied in the time in which the term was created.”

Which term do you prefer?

This study is poised to be published in the  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology next month.

Ready To Try The Market? How To Invest From $100 To $10,000

January 1st, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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Even if you have never invested before or have a small amount of money, investing might just be worth the risk to grow your nest egg.

According to Stephanie Genkin, New York-based independent fee-only financial planner and adjunct instructor at NYU School of Professional Studies, investing, when done right, can really add to your bottom line.

“One should invest so that savings will outpace inflation. Your dollars left in a savings account for a long-term goal like retirement is guaranteed to lose purchasing power. For most people, investing in stocks and bonds is the best way to ensure that you don’t outlive your money,” she tells MadameNoire. “Most of us will not earn enough at our jobs to produce the kind of savings we need.”

PJ Wallin, CPA and founder of Atlas Financial, points out people can invest with a specific target in mind.  “A person should invest to save money for a longer term future goal (i.e. retirement, children’s education, etc.). Dollars invested in a safe place like a low-interest bearing CD account unfortunately will be outpaced by long-term inflation (3 to 4 percent),” Wallin tells us. “As a result, investing in a certain mix of stocks and bonds will provide a better return (historically 6 to 11 percent) over the long term.”

Investing can have many financial perks. “Investing is like becoming an owner in many different companies as well as a lender to corporations and governments. In exchange you have the potential to enjoy capital appreciation and dividends as an owner of stocks and earn interest (and sometimes enjoy growth) from bonds,” Genkin points out.

And while women tend to shy away from investing, they really should consider the option over the typical savings route. “Women in particular should invest money long term. We still earn less than men, we take time out of the workforce to care for children and aging parents and we live longer than men. All of this means that we need to find a way to grow our money,” explains Genkin.

But remember investing is never a sure thing, “even with a low-cost, diversified portfolio, sometimes you’ll lose money. Sometimes a lot of money,” reports Business Insider.

If you need to start small, try going with just $100. “It can be worth investing small to test the waters and see how you react as an investor. Investors are happy when stocks prices go up. What about when the value of your investments decline. Investing small could help you understand what it feels like and how you will react without inflicting a lot of damage. But you still have to do your homework,” says Genkin.

You may find many individual stocks, but skip those for now if you are investing small. “I don’t recommend investing in individual stocks. It’s like gambling. You want to buy shares in a low-cost fund. Buying a few shares of a financial sector index fund, for instance, could let you stick a toe in the water and for $100, you’d own four shares of a fund that invests in top U.S. banks and is up more than 14 percent this year,” explains Genkin.

Look for investments that match your dollar amount. “As many mutual fund providers have minimums starting at $1,000, I would suggest using a service like Acorns if one was just getting started or had $100 to invest. This service is similar to Bank of America’s ‘Keep the Change’ program except instead of moving the balance of a transaction to a savings account it instead goes into an investment account (i.e. if I buy a coffee for 1.50, .50 goes into an investment account and invests in a low cost, diversified ETF strategy based on my risk preference),” Wallin explains.

For a $1,000 investment Genkin advises, “Consider opening an IRA –either traditional to get a tax break or a Roth to enjoy tax-free growth on your investments. Then pick a low-cost well-diversified fund. If you have 10-plus years until you need the money consider a Vanguard Fund like Vanguard 500 Index Exchange Traded Fund which has no minimums and owns 500 stocks that make up the S&P 500. So when you hear that the S&P 500 is up 12 percent this year, you know your investment is doing the same.”

Got $10,000 to invest? “You want to make sure you hold stocks and bonds. So if stocks rise, your investments are likely to rise too and if bonds have a good year, you’ll be earning more interest. Consider owning three low-cost funds–one total U.S. stock fund, one total U.S. bond fund and one total International stock fund. Each is made up of thousands of stocks and bonds so you don’t take on too much risk but your money should grow if you leave it in long term. Again 10-plus years,” says Genkin.

Researching and learning as much as you can about the market will make you a smart investor. But never forget the risk of investing. And prepare and organize your finances before you start investing.

“You can be a smart investor by investing long term and diversifying your investments in a wide array of funds: large cap, small cap, international, bonds, emerging markets. This way you capture return no matter which corners of the market are doing well. Prudent investors choose low fee well diversified funds and hold them long term,” says Genkin.

Hey Madame: Are Low Funds An Excuse Not To Get Married?

September 10th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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Hey Madame,

Is a man’s excuse for not marrying you yet — “because I don’t have money?” — a good excuse? And what about living together before marriage? Good idea or bad idea? What if we both have similar goals? We both want to get married but our finances aren’t exactly where we would like them to be.

Victoria: First question — In my opinion, not having money is a legit excuse. I don’t think we consider all that comes with popping the question and preparing for marriage. A man often has to buy a ring that’s not cheap, and you will have to share finances and prepare to put up money to have a wedding. If he doesn’t feel financially stable enough yet, at least he’s honest about it. But if you all have been together for quite some time and you feel like he’s just using it as an excuse to keep stringing you along, then yeah, it might be a problem. If you’ve been together very long and he still hasn’t considered even trying to save or get his money straight, he’s playing games.

Second question — For me, moving in together is just a no-no. I think when people are engaged, it’s not so bad of an idea, but when you are just dating, you could be setting yourself up for a trap. You could end up living with this man for years and years with no incentive to put a ring on your finger because you’re already living the married life. Folks get comfortable very easy. And I think if you guys decide to go your separate ways, you’re sharing bills and you’ve bought things together and so it’s not an easy exit. But if you’re not worried about those things, your relationship is stable (as in you’ve been together for a while), you really want to share rent and save money and you both have the same goals for the future as you say, why not?

Brande: I wouldn’t consider a lack of money an excuse unless your partner has been using that line for years. Money is a legitimate concern when it comes to a decision this big. Engagement rings, wedding ceremonies, and homes are all significant financial investments and often the monetary burden of these things weighs on men as heavily as, if not more than, the weight of a lifetime commitment. I’m not a fan of living together before marriage, but given what I just said, I wouldn’t move in with your guy unless it was strictly a financial move to save for a wedding. That means you two would have a discussion about why you’re moving in together (it’s the next step toward marriage) and establish a one- to three-year plan for saving in order to pay for a ring, ceremony, and possibly a new place together after you jump the broom. Financial issues are one of the top causes of divorce. You don’t want to go into a permanent union with these things unresolved; nor do you want to marry a man whose commitment you’re unsure of.

Jazmine: For your first question, I would say that financial stability is a major part of getting married. An engagement ring and wedding ceremony are only the beginning of the financial responsibilities that are ahead. In many cases, when a man takes a woman as his wife, he wants to be in the position to provide for her. Are there men who will use their lack of funds as an excuse to avoid marriage? Absolutely. But only you know whether or not your guy is the type to do that. Has he expressed a desire to marry you or is this a conversation that you are the only one initiating? Is he making steps towards bettering his financial situation or does he seem reluctant about the whole thing?

As for your second question, personally, I would avoid living together before marriage. It’s great that you all have similar goals, which means you two can put your heads together and figure out how you can get your finances in order for marriage. If the two of you can afford to continue living separately, I’d stick with that for now.

Veronica: This is a tricky one for me. Rings and weddings and honeymoons cost a ton of money. That’s true. But at the same time you can go to the justice of the peace and get married on a Tuesday. So, while it is a valid point I can’t say it’s a “good excuse.” But if a man wants to have a wedding done a certain way, that’s something that you should be able to respect. In the meantime though, have conversations about when the both of you want to be married–if he does at all– and what you’ll need, financially and emotionally, in order to make that happen when the both of you are comfortable with it.As for living together, that’s a question you’ll have to answer for yourself. Personally, it’s not something I would do because I think it’s harder to leave those relationships when necessary. But that’s my personal preference. If you’re already having issues wondering if this person genuinely wants to marry you, maybe you should hold off on moving in until you see where the whole marriage thing is going to go. We’ve all heard stories of women moving in or moving their man in and they never get married because there’s no incentive. I’m not saying that’s what will happen to you but there are some very vital answers you need first.

Lauren: If your significant other is not financially stable, it would be best for you both to financially plan how you will pay for your wedding and eventually, married life. If your partner isn’t willing to make a plan, you should take that as a sign he’s not ready for marriage or may not want to marry you. I think it’s perfectly fine to live together before you are married but if marriage is the ultimate goal you are striving for, have that conversation with him before you move in together. Living with your boyfriend gives insight on how he manages household duties and his level of cleanliness. These factors help you understand him better as a person and it also adds another layer of intimacy.

Un-Break Your Bank Account! How To Bounce Back After Bankruptcy

September 9th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be both a tough and devastating decision. Not only will it remain on your credit report up to a decade (depending on the type of bankruptcy you file), but can also place a scarlet letter on your chest, making loans and purchases more difficult to obtain.

There have been many celebs who filed in attempts to wipe their own slate clean. So what’s a person to do once they have undergone the necessary actions to become bankrupt? While it might seem like your life is over, there are some steps you can take to pick yourself up.

Check out the trailer for “When The Checks Stop Coming In,” the latest from Moguldom Studios here. Purchase your copy today!

8 Tips For Mothers Who Want Side Hustles

April 21st, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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money-pf

 

From Latina Madre 

Every woman should have some type of income that is hers and hers alone. Sure you can share it with your family (who wouldn’t) but heaven forbid things take a turn for the worst. There should be a financial cushion to keep things going.

Whether you are working a 9 to 5 job or are a stay at home mother, there are tons of ways to make money on the side. 

Read more about financial tips at LatinaMadre.com 

Straight From His Mouth: How Much Do A Woman’s Finances Affect Her Marriage Potential?

April 7th, 2014 - By Dr. J
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Woman's Finances

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When a man sits down and thinks about the woman he’s dating and if he wants to move on to marriage, there are several things that go through his mind. I wouldn’t say that a woman’s finances are one of the first things that come to mind but it can quickly become the elephant in the room if the matter is out of order. That being said, I also wouldn’t recommend a man get too into the details of her finances either because the process of marriage will do that on its own. I personally have never asked a woman for her credit score or an exact amount of her debt. I have noticed the way she handles her finances, though. Does she pay her bills on time? Does she avoid phone calls from certain numbers? Does she have a twitch in her eye when she hears the words Sallie Mae? Those are the things that I pay attention to early on in the relationship so that they don’t become the elephant in the room later.

Taking a step back, to the people who tend to think that it’s acceptable to dive into someone’s finances when they’re assessing if they can date them or not, that a bit off. People are more than welcome to approach dating however they see fit but they should know they will turn some people away with their behavior. It’s okay to ask someone you’re marrying about their finances but dating — that’s just invasive. And yet people feel like they have a right to know but to be honest, you just have a desire to know. It’s a desire that is personal in nature and really doesn’t have any indication on whether you will continue to date them or not. You can certainly date someone with bad credit or debt; it doesn’t affect you.

I encourage people to keep in mind that we’re currently in a financial crisis in this country. You’ll meet more people who have college loan debt than you will people without it. You’re going to meet people who have made bad financial decisions (we all have done it at some point in some regard) and you’re going to meet people who’ve struggled financially. I would go as far as saying that you’ll meet people who may have gone bankrupt or even foreclosed on a home. This is an indication of the times that we live in and I don’t think those people should have to walk around with a scarlet letter.

What really matters is what a person does when they face financial crises. Do they run away and avoid their problems or do they face them head on? Are they working to deal with their problems? If so, then you can likely deal with that and accept it. It also shows you the resilience that comes with working out a hardship. That’s a trait that goes a long way in a relationship because it shows you that when things aren’t easy, you’re with someone who can work through it with you.

That’s the real thing you want to address and find in a partner. It’s not necessarily about their financial position or the amount of debt they have but how they handle tough issues in their life. Nobody wants to be broke but you can live without being rich. Anyone who is dating on the basis of how much income they will have in their household is not going to find true happiness. The couples who do it well don’t make finances an issue; they make it something that they can work through together. What they’re doing is their working through life together. It can be anything in the form of hardship that comes into a relationship. A person could have a perfect credit score but they can’t figure out how to keep their past from ruining their present. That could be more of a deal breaker than a sub-500 credit score.

7 Games Men Love To Play In Relationships

March 28th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Single Black Male 

We all know that men love games, often to our detriment. For whatever reasons, men have been wired to play games and have killed many relationships as a result. Below are 7 board games that men have projected into their own lives and romantic relationships.

1.)    Candy Land: Men love sweet, delicious, “candy.” They will walk, run, and camp out on the road to get that sweet, delicious  “candy.” The greatest offense that men make in Candy Land is letting their imagination drift too far from reality.

2.)    Scrabble: Making women work through information (lack of information, mis-information, false information) to determine where they stand in your life. The greatest offense that men make in Scrabble is that think transparency is not a part of the game.

3.)    Jenga: Physically/mentally moving blocks from the bottom of the tower without making the tower fall. Men do this all the time in relationships, removing foundational pieces to the relationship (trust, honesty, communication) and believing that the tower (relationship) won’t fall. The greatest offense that men make in Jenga is that they don’t value those foundational blocks.

4.)    Monopoly: Forsaking everything, including relationships for financial advancement and power. The greatest offense that men make in Monopoly, they get consumed with more of the wrong things.

Read more about love and games at SingleBlackMale.org 

 

Liz Weston’s ‘The 10 Commandments Of Money’ Teaches The Rules Of The New Economy

March 26th, 2014 - By Michelle Alerte
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10-commandxLooking for a way to get your head above financial waters? In The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive & Thrive In The New Economy by Liz Wetson, readers get 10 comprehensive chapters detailing 10 clear and simple strategies for surviving and thriving in the current economic climate. Each commandment starts with three rules: The Old-School Rules, The Bubble Economy Rules and The New Rules. Each rule demonstrates how the financial world continues to evolve.

The first commandment — “Create a Budget That Works in the Real World” — sets the stage for the type of advice you can expect throughout. Weston breaks up the financial advice with the definitions of Insider Terms like 401(k), Enrolled agent, and Personal Savings Rate. And she ends each chapter with action steps to guide readers. Sections are blocked off to answer frequently asked questions or give valuable tidbits of information.

Although for most of us, myself included, wrapping our heads around financial terms and action steps can seem daunting, Weston makes The 10 Commandments of Money comprehensible, filling it with practical advice that anyone can use to get started with making important changes today. “Aim for a spending plan where your ‘must-have’ expenses don’t exceed 50 percent of your after tax-income. Wants are corralled to 30 percent and you’re saving or repaying debt with the remaining 20 percent,” she writes.

With commandments like, “Pay Off Debt the Smart Way,” “Treat Your Marriage like a Business,” and “Defend Yourself in the War on Consumers” everyone will find answers to the questions they’ve always had. Many readers may find the Insider Terms to be most valuable since understanding difficult financial terms makes approaching finances a whole lot less intimidating.

Besides the practical issues, Weston turns her attention to special cases in order to help people who aren’t living within life’s usual circumstances. “How to Budget if Your Income Isn’t Regular” will be particularly helpful for the millions of self-employed people working in today’s business landscape. And Weston offers advice on creating multiple income streams, which includes work from administrative assistant to pet service provider. Each job outlines creative tips on where and how to get in the door. Even on the topic of remodeling your home, Weston takes the time to explain how to discover which remodels make sense and how to pay for them.

The 10 Commandments of Money may not answer all financial questions or solve all financial mishaps, but readers will definitely get a major head-start in a multitude of directions. Weston’s advice in the book touches on as much as any single book can and offers a “Resources” section of additional books to further provide readers with invaluable sources.

According to Nielsen NetRatings, Weston is the number-one most-read personal finance columnist on the internet. She writes for MSN Money, AARP The Magazine, and has a syndicated newspaper column called “Money Talk.” Weston is also a regular contributor for Marketplace Money, Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered on public radio. She has also written a bestselling book titled, Your Credit Score.