All Articles Tagged "money"
It’s that wonderful time of year that we all love to hate. Tax season can be a huge blessing or a major curse–depending on what you did throughout the previous year. While there might not be a ton you can do at this moment to correct your mistakes, it’s good to get some advice that can help maximize your return. Got kids? You might want to check out these tax tips for parents.
Inquire about head of household
If you’re a single parent you might want to hold off on filing “single.” Sure it makes sense but double check to see if you qualify as head of household that helps to claim a higher deduction and pay less taxes. Those who are unmarried, had their children live with them for more than half the year and provided financially for their household tend to qualify.
According to a 2013 study, fights about money that occur during the early years of a relationship could mean that the couple is at greater risk for divorce. After coming across this interesting post on Reddit’s relationships message board, we can certainly see how researchers arrived at this conclusion.
The poster, who we’ll call “Aaron,” is pretty frustrated because his stay-at-home girlfriend of four years, “Lisa,” recently received a lump sum of money that she’s not trying to share. Currently, Aaron is paying all of the bills while Lisa pursues her dreams of becoming a painter.
“During the time we’ve lived together, we’ve budgeted all income as ‘ours,’” Aaron explains. “[We] split up all the money. Extra money after bills and household stuff and savings gets split 50/50, and any money she makes painting goes back to supplies. I think pursuing her art is worthwhile but think it’s relevant to confirm that it is an expensive activity that doesn’t make profit yet.”
Thanks to Lisa’s grandmother, who left her a hefty inheritance, she’s now $15,000 richer, but ole’ girl seems to feel that this money should be handled differently than the way that they’ve been handling their money. Basically, she wants to do what she wants to do with it and feels Aaron has no say in how she spends it.
“She recently inherited about $15k from her grandmother’s estate, that she was not expecting. She hadn’t realized money had been left for her,” Aaron continued. “It’s been a few weeks now since she found out about it, and she does not want to discuss it with me at all. Her stance seems to be that it’s her money and not my business.”
“My opinion is that we should treat it as any other income, and budget towards savings and vacation funds and such. And perhaps get a second car, since we share mine,” he added.
As we shared in the beginning, he’s bothered by Lisa’s seemingly questionable moves, and he’s wondering if he’s wrong for feeling this way. What are your thoughts on this situation?
If there’s one universal New Year’s resolution, for many, it would probably be to not only rake in more money but invest/save more money.
Personally, I’ve been working very hard towards building up a savings for myself being that I’m 24-year-old living in New York City alone and emergencies happen. Plus, my ultimate goal for 2016 is to lessen my four roommates to two by the summertime or maybe a quaint solo studio. So, savings has been on my brain heavy and it’s tough to say the lest.
Recently, I came across one of Power 105.1’s Breakfast Club interview featuring Stacy Tisdale and Sirita Wright from Black Enterprise Magazine, who discussed various financial matters and gave advise to watchers and listeners. As expected, the topic of savings popped up, to which they recommended an app called Acorns. Basically, what the app does is automatically invests your spare change from debit and credit card transactions by rounding up to the next dollar on all purchases.
Once the roundups reach $5, it withdraws the money and invests in a personalized stock portfolio, CNN Money reported.
The fairly new app, which is the first of its kind, is great for achieving both short-term savings goals and building wealth, according to Investor Junkie. “People generally associate investing with lots of dollars,”Jeff Cruttenden, co-founder and CEO of Acorns told CNN. “Once [people] find out that you can invest spare change, it’s a really attractive concept.”
While there are no minimum deposits for the app, there is a $1 fee per month for accounts under $5,000, and 0.25% per year for accounts over $5,000. Not to mention, those that are under 24 years of age and those attending college pay no fees whatsoever!
Find out more information about Acorns for yourself here.
Do you ever feel like keeping up with the Joneses is keeping you from your savings goals? Try something new in 2016 and find out if ditching these status symbols can earn you thousands in savings.
One of the biggest tasks faced by newlyweds is successfully merging finances. Figuring out how to go from allocating your funds as a single woman to sharing accounts and having to make joint financial decisions with another person can be challenging. However, some couples choose to forgo the merging and continue to keep their money separate. For example, Marian Schembari, who recently wrote about her experience with keeping her funds completely separate from her husband’s and why this works for them in an essay for Good Housekeeping. The couple has been married a year and have chosen not to mix their money at all. They split every bill down the middle and couldn’t imagine living any other way.
Elliot and I have been married for just over a year now, and together for almost three. During that time, we made the deliberate choice to keep our finances 100% separate. We don’t have a joint bank account, and every expense is split 50-50. Time to stock up at Trader Joe’s? We either ask the cashier to split the bill, or one of us will pay and the other will Venmo their half. Half of rent, furniture, utilities, and vet bills constantly whizz back and forth, with a tidy spreadsheet to manage outstanding bills.
As for savings, both Marian and Elliot put the same amount of money away, but they refuse to “police each other” regarding who saves what and when. And when they chose to blow their savings accounts on separate trips last year, neither questioned the other’s decision. Apparently, this lifestyle choice was one Marian chose to adopt after witnessing her parents constantly discussing money during her childhood.
As a kid, I watched my dad ask my mom how much she spent each day, jotting down the particulars in his little yellow reporter’s notebook: $3 for coffee, $15.95 at Barnes & Noble.
I never heard my parents fight about money, but they sure talked about it a lot. To my young ears, whenever they went over the daily spending, it felt like he was more her dad than mine. Growing up, I heard again and again that money was the number one reason couples fight. So when I got married, sharing money just didn’t make sense. Why would I want my husband to question why I bought those $200 shoes? Why would I want him — love of my life that he is — to be able to spend the money I worked hard for? Or vice versa?
Taking her experiences into consideration, it makes sense why Marian would want to keep money separate and while it’s not the most traditional approach, we can definitely see how splitting everything down the middle could reduce conflict in relationships. At the same time, it seems that this approach could also make everyday tasks—like paying a light bill, for example—quite complex.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you keep your money separate from your spouse’s or did you merge your finances once you tied the knot?
The day I got my first paycheck, my mother practically dragged me downstairs to the bank located inside of our office building and made me open checking and savings accounts. She then insisted that I have a percentage of my pay automatically deposited into my savings account each pay period. Of course, I was pretty annoyed with her at the time. I had big plans for what I was going to do with my paycheck and dumping 10% into a savings account that I’m not allowed to touch was not a part of the program. Thankfully, I listened to my mama, and while I wasn’t feeling her at the moment, I’m grateful for the experience because saving eventually became a priority for me. There is nothing like encountering a financial emergency and having a cushiony savings account to fall back on. Unfortunately, more than half of Americans are not very prepared for these inevitable rainy days.
According to a recent Bankrate study conducted in partnership with Princeton Survey Research Associates International, nearly 2 out of every 3 Americans don’t have enough money in their savings accounts to cover a $500 car repair or a $1,000 emergency room bill. When faced with scenarios like the ones previously mentioned, 23% of survey participants said that they would reduce spending to make ends meet, 15% said that they would use credit cards and 15% said that they would borrow the money from relatives or friends.
“More than four in 10 Americans either experienced a major unexpected expense over the past 12 months or had an immediate family member who did,” said Sheyna Steiner, Bankrate.com’s senior investing analyst. “This proves that an emergency savings cushion is more than just a personal finance cliché, yet most Americans are ill-prepared for life’s inevitable curveballs.”
If you happen to be one of those people who falls within the 63%, the great news is that we’re only six days into a new year, which means that it’s the perfect time to get your finances in order and establish better a savings schedule.
Looking to change your financial situation this year? Make these fiscal New Year’s resolutions to put yourself on the right path in 2016.
Do you hear other people’s travel stories and think “Must be nice?” Your dreams of world travel don’t have to be fantasies. There are lots of ways to go on a voyage for next to nothing. You can even get paid to go!
Many of us know the struggle of being a college student or are experiencing it right now as we speak. In particular, the financial burdens of college are plenty and heavy. Between paying tuition while you’re enrolled and paying off student loans upon graduation, many are left in whopping debt that forever (or until you pay it off) looms over your head like a rain cloud.
A recent report by American multinational investment banking firm Goldman Sachs suggests that the expense of a college degree is increasing to the point that it might not be worth the money anymore. “The average return on going to college is falling,” Goldman researchers wrote, and “many students are better off not going to mediocre colleges — ones that rank in the bottom 25% of all universities.”
Goldman also broke down the how exactly a college degree doesn’t pay itself off or even break even. The investment banking firm found that in 2010, the average college student had to work 8 years to break even on their bachelor’s degree investment– they’d be nearly 30 years old.
Goldman also offered projections of breaking even for future graduates:
— 2015 graduates won’t break even until age 31
— 2030 graduates won’t break even until age 33
— 2050 graduates won’t break even until age 37
However, Goldman did also note that the payback time varies widely by major, as some degrees are more valuable than others. “The choice of college and major are more important than ever to students given the changing return profile,” writes Goldman. In particular, students who also attend top-tier universities and major in business, health care and teach, regularly have higher salaries. “Graduates studying lower paying majors such as arts, education and psychology face the highest risk of a negative return,” notes Goldman. “For them, college may not increasingly be worth it.”
For myself, who has now been out of college for a year and a half and graduated with a B.A. in Print Journalism/Film Analysis, college was a great experience. I can attest to the fact that my friends and peers who did study in fields like health and business got jobs and way higher salaries than I did straight out of college. However, the experience and knowledge I learned along the way equipped me with the skills to get out in the real world and find a way to make a living off of writing — my true passion.
So, would I say that college isn’t worth it? Yes and no. The amount of loans I have to pay off are a headache and a real pain in the a**, but for someone like myself who loves learning and believe in making do with what I have, I understand the trade-off.
What do you think?
“Can we go see ‘The Lion King’?!” ask your five-year-old daughter, while you’re getting her dressed for school. It’s a question that comes up every morning when they start showing these Broadway theater advertisements. Yesterday it was ‘Cinderella.’ Usually you tell her that you’ll be going soon, but today you just wanna be honest. “We don’t have the money.”
Holiday shopping is not always a spending spree. Sometimes you’ve just got to tell your kids you’re broke…
She looks at you like, not that again, we never have any money. You want to say something comforting, but the truth is, money has been tight and a lot of those fun things you used to do when money was more plentiful have been put on hold. The money issue is being addressed, but you and the hubby are doing well to put three square ones on the table a day. It’s a reality that you would like to shield her from because while you want her to know that money is necessary to do and buy things, you don’t want her to start feeling poor, that without money she can’t have a life. It’s a concept that you’re still coming to terms with as an adult. One that started when you were young and saw your mother struggling to make ends meet.
So you have a real question about how to deal with your daughter during this challenging financial time. Do you tell her when you don’t have money for things or do you just say no without an explanation like your mom did you? ‘No, because I said so,’ was her go-to answer.
It’s a question you pose to your girl Milla during a play date. Milla is originally from Hungary and off of one paycheck, holds down a family that consists of her unemployed husband, two kids–ages four and seven–her hubby’s out-of-work brother and two-year-old niece. She is never not broke. What does she tell the kids?
“Just last week I bought them some new clothes and didn’t realize that I had dipped into our grocery money. So I explained to them that milk for cereal was more important and I took the stuff back.” She promised to get the clothes on her next pay check. “It’s important that they know it takes time to buy things. That’s why I give them money for chores. Even if it’s making their beds and brushing their teeth. I want them to know the value of money.”
On one hand you get it, but is seven and four-years-old too early to start earning their keep? What if they start wanting to be paid for everything? “Look ma, I wiped my a*s. Where’s my $5?”
Perhaps it’s wisdom from someone older that you seek. You call your friend PaMela who you know from a California Goddess group. She’s got four grown kids and from prior conversations you know she went through it.
During the toughest times, what did she tell the kids?
“Well,” she recounts, “There were times when I had to tell them that we couldn’t afford a tree or presents for Christmas, but we would eat well. That was my motto. As long as they didn’t go to bed hungry. During those crucial times when our lights got turned off I told them that no one knows our situation unless you tell them, so always keep your head up.” The good news is the kids didn’t get too scarred because they’re all doing well. Two own their own Daycare business, one is a news anchor on the number 1 news channel in Hartford, Connecticut and one is a cable tech.
Okay, perhaps you’re making too much of this. It sucks to be strapped for money, but nobody is dying. The kids always have something to eat and they will survive you having to tell them no for a while. Sometimes you will explain that the reason is money, other times they won’t get the details. When you really think about it, a lot of times money isn’t even the reason you tend to say no. Sometimes what they want isn’t necessary.
Once again, this is less about them and more about you and your insecurities around money. How it starts making you feel like your wealth as a mom is dependent on how much you can spend. It’s not true. PaMela shared a story about how they huddled around a candle and played cards when the lights got shut off. Far be it from you to romanticize the situation, but it sounds like it brought them closer together as a family. Maybe this is an opportunity to get creative and do some things you wouldn’t normally do. Funny, because just the other day you pulled out a deck of cards.
Game of Fish anyone?
Check out Erickka Sy Savané’s column, Pop Mom Daily, right here or visit PopMomDaily.com. Before Erickka became a writer/editor, she was a model, actress, and MTV VJ. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Jersey City. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.