All Articles Tagged "Personal Finance"

Should Parents Demand Their Children To Pay Them Back For College?

June 2nd, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Person asking/borrowing/begging for money (handout)


You might want to be careful how you treat your folks. They just might hit you up for the money that helped to pay for your college education.

Forbes magazine reveals a growing trend where parents help finance their child’s higher education, so long as they get their money back. It looks like the days of saving for your child’s college because you want to help are over.

I’ve heard of a few parents asking for their money back after college, but it certainly wasn’t the norm. Most parents I knew (mine included) did what they could to help make sure their child earned a degree. While I took it upon myself to search for scholarships my junior year in high school, I can remember a period of time when my dad worked additional hours to bank money for tuition payments. Luckily 80 percent of my college was financed by grants and scholarships, but I can’t imagine my parents tapping me on the shoulder after I graduated looking for their money.

Now that I’m a mom, I want nothing but the best for my children. Yes they’ll need to work hard and establish independence, but that doesn’t mean my husband and I won’t come out of pocket when needed to make the road a little easier to navigate. When it comes to their college education, they too will have to search for scholarships and grants. We have 529 college savings plans in place that will help cover some — not all — of the costs. Sure it’s not a parenting “mandate” but something we want to do and think is right.

Everyone has their own stipulations when it comes to who gets their money and requirements for keeping up the arrangement. Some parents just aren’t willing to foot a college bill if their kid fails to get good grades, or messes up in another way.

That’s pretty understandable.

I have a little trouble understanding a parent’s reasoning for wanting their money back considering many today allow their children to move back home, and in some cases, still help pay their bills. Obviously these “allowances” have the potential for parents to come out of their own pockets. So what’s the difference? There are some people who believe providing financial assistance to a child in college is more acceptable than a grown adult who can work for themselves.

Maybe these parents are experiencing hard times of their own and can’t afford to help their child with college. If that’s the case, is it better for the student to apply for tuition assistance like a student loan? It’s certainly not uncommon to take one or a few out. The average amount of student loan debt is on the rise.

Parents who expect college contributions repaid should establish this sooner rather than later. The last thing anyone needs is to assume one thing and have something completely different occur. I can only imagine the impact that would have on future communication and the relationship between a parent and their child.

Money has a way of making situations very ugly. It’s important to be upfront and honest so it doesn’t get in the way.

Do you think it’s right for parents to ask for their money back?

Happy 529 Day! Why Saving For Your Child’s College Future Is Easier Than You Think

May 29th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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College saving (money) for child/family


Happy 529 Day y’all!

Okay so this isn’t a Hallmark card or anything but does mark a special day so to speak. Financial outlets like Forbes are celebrating 529 Day to commemorate the 529 college savings plan and Save for Education Day.

For those who don’t know what a 529 plan is, it’s a pretty nifty investment outlet that allows for tax-advantaged savings (exempt from federal taxes) and the ability to grow your money in outlets like mutual funds. There are two types of plans available: college savings investment plans and prepaid tuition plans (typically state-run with limitations).

My husband and I created a 529 plan for our son last year, as soon as he got a Social Security number. Any college graduate can testify to how expensive higher education can be, and the thought of having to help pay down the road is a very scary reality. Shoot things are pricey right now. Can you imagine what the going rate of tuition will be in another 20 years?

Lord help us.

Signing up for a 529 college savings plan was effortless. Our provider only required a $25 opening amount and making an investment choice from an assortment of options. You might think this whole thing will fly over your head, but in reality, it’s pretty digestible — so long as you don’t rush through the information. As with our 401k plans, our son’s contributions will be invested into different portfolios that each hold a series of mutual funds with different targets. As he gets older they will switch from moderately aggressive to conservative. This is a course of action that works for us but there plenty of others. You just have to figure out your family goals and what works best for you.

I don’t think many people realize that 529 plans are available at their banking institution. You don’t have to go the fancy financial institution route unless you feel it’s necessary.

The reason I’m waving the 529 flag is because a new Edward Jones study reveals close to two-thirds of Americans still have no idea what one is. To make matters worse, 83 percent of us admit we can’t afford college, yet don’t take advantage of opportunities to invest and grow our money.

Sure wealthier folks are more likely to finance something as expensive as college, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t get a leg up on the process — or at least put away here and there to have it accumulate. Here are some tips on ways to invest in your child’s financial future.

Get real about expected costs. Resources like have calculators that can help you determine just how much your child will need to go to school. Even though these are estimates, it will give you a clearer picture of what to expect.

Start planning now. The “laws” of compound interest determine that more time for your money to grow at a certain rate can translate to extra dollars. Those who start to save for their child’s college sooner than later will have extra time to see their investments grow.

Put away what you can. Sure it would be awesome to set aside $1,000 a month for your child’s education, but that’s not very realistic for some people. Don’t let the bottom line cloud your decision to start now. Remember, many 529 college savings plan only require a small deposit. If you can put away $50 each month, please do so. Always do what you can, and work to pay down your debts so you have more available funds.

Treat savings like a bill, not an option. In addition to paying yourself first with your income, consider saving for your child as a monthly requirement and not an option. This mindset will help you to make necessary edits — like cutting back on eating out — in order to find the money in your budget to invest.

Shop online. One of the things I learned with 529 plans is how you can link most to, a website where proceeds from your shopping are added to your child’s account. Aside from hating shopping in person, this has allowed my son to receive hundreds of dollars in his account last year alone just for purchasing items through participating companies (there are tons). Who doesn’t enjoy getting money back?

To learn more about 529 college savings plans, check out these reads:

The Ultimate Guide to Understand 529 College Savings Plans

What is a 529 Plan?

529 Plans: Questions and Answers

5 Ways To Deal With Stress When Shopping & Eating No Longer Work

April 20th, 2015 - By Kara Stevens
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One of the great things about working as a personal finance coach is that I get to help women enjoy breakthroughs as it relates to their relationship with money.  Recently, I was working with Susan, a client who was accustomed to relieving stress through shopping and eating.

She recently had a breakdown and resorted to buying herself something or treating herself to something sugary to eat, but realized after all of our work together, that these strategies no longer served her.

She was torn. On the one hand, she was proud that she no longer looked to food or shopping to regulate her mood. At the same time, though, Susan felt out of control because she hadn’t identified alternative ways to deal with her stress.

After a brainstorming session, here are four strategies we came up with that she found helpful for managing stress:

Weekend blackouts: Susan turned off her cellphone 5pm on Friday and wouldn’t turn it back on until Monday morning. She said the most important people in her life had her landline number so they could be touch in case of an emergency.

Cleaning: When Susan was stressed, she had little or no motivation to clean. The irony is that the messy house made her feel even more stressed. To beautify her environment without overwhelming her, she decided to tackle one room at a time and for a certain amount of time. For example, she set a goal to clean her kitchen for thirty minutes. Once the 30 minutes were done, she would stop and leave the rest of the cleaning for the next day.

Preplanning how she wanted to feel ahead of time: Susan had three jobs so she was always running. One of the ways that she focused herself was to be intentional about taking time to think positively between transitions. For example, in the morning, before she got out of her car and entered the office, she would say an affirmation of her choice. At the end of lunch hour, she would center herself before she returned to work. Between her first and second and third jobs,  she would take a moment. Pressing pause and setting intentions throughout the day helped her feel lighter.

Clearing her evening schedule. For some reason, Susan always felt the need to have something to do even after working three jobs every day. But this sense of “busyness” was starting to make her feel like her time was not her own. The irony was that she created this schedule. So, we talked about clearing her schedule, especially the hour right after she came home from work. No calls. No errands. No nothing. Just sitting and regrouping.

Going to bed at a set time: Susan is a perfectionist and has a “no excuses” mentality, which often has her taking colleagues’ work home to do to ensure that team deadlines are met. We discussed how destructive this was for her morale and her self-care. We established at bottom line when it came to her night schedule: lights out at 10pm for Susan.

After implementing these strategies, Susan feels better about her ability to manage her time and by extension, her life and her happiness.


Connect with Kara @frugalfeminista. Learn more about The Frugal Feminista at Download her free ebook The 5-Day Financial Reset Plan: Eliminate Debt, Know Your Worth, and Heal Your Relationship with Money in Just 5 Days.


Does Your Man Have A “Lotto Mentality” When It Comes To Money?

April 17th, 2015 - By Kara Stevens
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First of all, who does not want to win the lotto? I know that there are very few, if any that would say that they don’t want a bucket load of money to drop into their laps without having earned it.

The difference between those of us who occasionally play the lotto and those that consistently play it is that the former do not view playing the lotto or any other form of gambling as a sound financial strategy. The latter do.

If you are dating a guy and he shares (or you notice) that he spends a substantial amount of his money playing the lotto and all of his time thinking about how to hit it big without working, you have just been introduced to a man with a “lottery mentality.”

While there are a ton of definitions for this phrase, a basic definition is that the desire for unearned success. A man with a serious lottery mentality looks for external, quick solutions to money problems.

These type of men will hedge their bets on a possible (not probable), future, random, windfall event that has the potential to change their lives and “make them happy.” The problem is that the “jackpot” is generally out of their control and completely (or at least mostly) subject to chance.

Despite all mathematical evidence, they simply become totally obsessed with the prospect (no matter how small the chance) of winning it. Research shows that people who play the lottery were raised to believe that wealth is not within their reach of power.

Implicit in this looking for external, easy-to-make solutions to personally created money issues is that he does not have confidence in himself. He does not see himself as a solution to his problems.

The “lottery mentality” robs a person of the truth that real wealth is created through hard work, saving, planning and spending less than you earn.

If you are thinking about a long-term relationship with this guy, please consider the financial and emotional consequences of the lottery mentality in your marriage and it’s impact on your financial security.


Connect with Kara @frugalfeminista. Learn more about The Frugal Feminista at Download her free ebook The 5-Day Financial Reset Plan: Eliminate Debt, Know Your Worth, and Heal Your Relationship with Money in Just 5 Days.

When Faced With Tough Financial Decisions, Do You Sacrifice Your Dreams Or Your Marriage?

April 7th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Go Back To My Ex


There comes a point in every marriage when you need to ask whether your personal goals are more important than your union.

I’m thankful for my relationship with my husband and more importantly, the balance we’ve created when it comes to personal pursuits and family needs. We couldn’t be more different with our careers. He’s an engineer who has worked for the same company for the last 10 years. He enjoys the traditional 9-to-5 life with a consistent schedule and general concept of the things he needs to accomplish. I on the other hand pursued the self-employed and freelance route. While things have thankfully been steady for many years, the times when they weren’t made us buckle down and figure out a few things.

Needless to say there needs to be compromise and a general respect for each other. Too bad some friends can’t seem to find their balance. At a recent gathering at a family friend’s house, my husband’s friend and his wife spilled a little too much tea.

She revealed that she left her job as an educator in a neighboring state to marry her husband. Unfortunately she didn’t know it would require a sacrifice on her part, one totaling close to a $20,000 loss in salary. Because of this, she has pleaded for the past several years to move back to her home state so she can make more money. Her husband on the other hand feels their current residence is the best place to launch a business, which is his plan. In many ways, he’s correct; there are lots of opportunities for small businesses in Oklahoma.

Once I was able to sift through the resentment, I discovered the wife and husband just weren’t on the same page regarding their goals and financial endeavors. Needless to say their marriage is at a standstill. This impasse has caused strife, resentment and the inability to think clearly about their future. There’s so much anger between the two of them that counseling doesn’t appear to be working.

It’s really hard to hear about their problems, especially since my husband and I can understand their situation. Both are good people but must learn to sit down and try to find some sort of middle ground. While my husband’s friend works side jobs to fund his entrepreneurial endeavors, he has seen some pretty good success. Sure they aren’t rolling in the dough, but things appear to be working. In addition to building up a nice clientele, he’s making progress he wants to see. Unfortunately that means he wants to stay in an area that doesn’t pay teachers very well.

Does this mean his wife must sacrifice her career so he can have one of his own?

As someone who takes the non-traditional career approach, the endless possibilities of success can blindside you from reality in some way. Not everyone wants to follow the same path and that’s okay.

While I do pretty well for myself, my husband is still the main breadwinner. But I don’t think that means he automatically gets to call the shots. Does money determine direction, or equal power in a relationship?

Hopefully they can come to a compromise. Perhaps he can research markets for his business outside of the area and try to establish a new location that would also benefit his wife?

Who knows.

Are You Just Hard-Headed? Money Advice You’ve Heard But Don’t Follow

April 1st, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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There comes point in your life when you need to stop and give all the advice you’ve heard some real thought. While you might think you know the ins and outs of being money savvy, few people put recommendations into action. That leads to more poor decisions and debt. Here’s a look at money advice you’ve probably heard but might not have followed.

Should Married Women Have A Separate “In Case Of Divorce” Emergency Fund?

March 31st, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Call me an optimist or a believer in happy endings, but I truly pray my marriage can stand the test of time. As much as I love my husband and our union, I’m well aware of the divorce rate in this country and how quick folks are to call it quits. Marriage isn’t for everyone and takes hard work. You need to hold each other down during the happy and the difficult times.

Does this mean I need an emergency fund in case things don’t work out?

I never really thought about one until a (single) friend of mine asked if I had one. Now I consider myself a pretty savvy person when it comes to personal finances, but had no idea about this concept. Sure most of us heard about prenups and having your own retirement accounts, but a fund in case your marriage ends in a divorce?

As horrible as it might sound, it kinda makes sense.

While I’m only three years into my marriage (I’ve been with my guy for a total of seven years), I have heard horror stories about some marriages. How many of us have heard about a wife being shut out of money from the very man who talked her into staying at home? Or what about women who were clueless their husbands had double lives? This stuff isn’t just for television.

Even though I enjoy “traditional roles” in my marriage, I also have independence when it comes to my husband and our finances. Yes I do stay at home but I also collect checks through freelancing and my own personal business ventures. There’s something about relying on a single person for everything that just doesn’t work in my book. Plus, we’re able to save for our children’s college, a house and other endeavors with two incomes. Having my own pot of coins helps to make certain wants a reality, even if my husband is still the main breadwinner.

In fact, I’m the main one between my husband and I who always has their head inside a financial magazine or looking for ways to invest our money. While I am thankful we have a pretty good portfolio that’s growing, I’ve always considered creating an additional account for myself. My husband and I have a joint checking account and savings for emergencies. I also have a separate checking account since I’m a gal on the go, but perhaps I need a separate savings too? It has been on my mind considering I tend to have the flexibility in my finances to try different investments.

I just hate the idea of having it in case I get divorced.

Maybe I’ll call it the “Tanvier fund” or something. As much as I hate the “D” word, I also can’t be oblivious to the idea. After all, who enters a marriage thinking, “Hey, I’d like to get divorced in a few years?” As a wife and mother, it’s very easy to fall into the role of caregiver as you’re always working to take care of your household. Having a separate account or emergency fund is a great idea that empowers you to invest in yourself.

There are dreams I have that are separate from my family and will require an investment. Building up a fund for myself–that’s not associated with retirement–sounds like a smart money plan. And God forbid something happens to my relationship, I have coins in the bank to take care of myself.

Headed In The Right Direction: Signs You’re Making Progress With Your Finances

March 31st, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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It feels really good to have a plan, work hard to accomplish it and see amazing results. Even if you haven’t made it to the finish line, you can–and should–be happy about the progress you’re making. Here are some signs you’re headed down a healthy financial path. It’s okay if you stumbled as there’s always room for improvement.

5 Signs That Your Miserly Relationship With Money Has Improved

March 26th, 2015 - By Kara Stevens
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A lot of personal finance advice goes to overspenders, ballers, and people living way beyond their means. It’s important to know, though, that people that always save and never spend also have a toxic relationship with money. Super duper compulsive savers or misers tend to think that they are one biscuit away from being broke. As a result, they become stingy, chintzy, and often times predatory when it comes to keeping the bulk sum of any money that comes their way.

You may have these types of people in your life. Heck, you might be one. Even if it’s baby steps, misers can show promise of a healthier, less obsessive relationship with money. Here are five signs things are changing for your favorite cheapskate.

They reward themselves for an accomplishment or a major milestone. Misers tend to want to skimp on everything– including celebration. But if a miser is pulling out their wallet to reward themselves for a promotion, weight loss, a completed personal project, even in the most modest of ways (i.e. massage, dinner, a new dress), then that is sign that they see that money can be used to bring pleasure or buy experiences.

Leave better tips When it comes to misers and money, they can be very selfish and refuse to tip or woefully undertip great customer service as a principle. When misers see that giving a few extra shillings won’t kill their account and possibly improve the quality of life for a hard worker, they have started to change their thinking about money– instead of focusing on what money can do for them alone, they are beginning to realize that money can be used to help and reward others.

Buy for quality and not price. For an old-school miser, the cheaper the better no matter the item and no matter their personal preference. But when misers start thinking more rationally about money, they begin to see that the cost of the combined life cycles of several cheap items is actually more expensive than the purchase of one high-quality items. This goes for handbags, shoes, luggage, clothes, and in some cases, cars.

Don’t rationalize why they can do without a necessity. If it’s time to replenish the bathroom cabinet with essentials like toothpaste, deodorant, or hair products, they are not trying to find an excuse as to why they don’t need these items. “Well, smelling natural is what Mother Nature intended,” or “Rinsing with mouthwash is just as effective as brushing.” One of the biggest hurdles that I have noticed about misers is their underestimation and attention to self-care. When they start handling their self-care routines with a hitch, it’s a positive sign of growth and financial maturity.

Paying bills doesn’t cause anxiety and resentment. Most people get anxious around bill paying time because they actually don’t have the money to pay what’s due. But misers get upset about having to repay anything because they just don’t want to, despite having more than enough to repay. When misers feel less stressed about bills, they are losing some of their miser mindset.


Connect with Kara @frugalfeminista. Learn more about The Frugal Feminista at Download her free ebook The 5-Day Financial Reset Plan: Eliminate Debt, Know Your Worth, and Heal Your Relationship with Money in Just 5 Days.

If Creating A Million Dollar 401k Is So Realistic, Wouldn’t More Of Us Be Rich?

March 25th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Does anyone else feel like there’s been a flood of “become a millionaire” articles from finance-related outlets? I can’t seem to scroll through my Facebook page without reading about how us millennials can become millionaires by investing in our 401k. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome concept, and a wonderful mindset to have. But exactly how realistic is it for today’s professional?

While I’m certainly am no financial expert or guru, I do my best to stay abreast of recommendations and save what I can. Working for myself, I have my own individual 401k that allows me to choose my own investment platforms, which can be a daunting but rewarding task. Given there’s no company match (it’s just me, myself and I), I invest at least 10 percent of my monthly income in my growing nest egg. My husband, who also works from home, has been with his company for a decade and invests a similar amount with his company, matching seven percent. He’s also enrolled in the pension they no longer offer to newer employees.

We don’t consider ourselves “rolling in the dough” but think we do okay with what we have. We pay down our debts as much as possible in efforts not to owe anyone, are saving for our children’s educational future through 529 college saving plans and continue to build up our savings, which includes purchasing a home in the next couple of years.

No matter how much we try to do, I’m not entirely sure we’ll hit the million dollar mark–at least not with our 401k alone.

I don’t want to sound like a Debbie Downer (I’m a pretty hopeful person), but can’t imagine growing a million dollar portfolio is that easy. There’s just too many variables: high student loans, unequal pay, company layoffs and non-existent raises that seem to make it really hard for the average person to put away a big chunk of their income for retirement, just to name a few.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some of us who would rather spend what little riches they have on frivolous things instead of thinking about their financial future. I know quite a few professionals who talk about what they don’t have, but drive fancy cars and wear designer clothing. News flash! You aren’t going to reach any goal by putting away two percent of your income each month–at least not one where you don’t have to work during your golden years. Sometimes we need to make a few sacrifices right now in order to enjoy a better life down the road.

One thing that’s pretty clear throughout many of these articles is the importance of starting early. In fact, most examples use young professionals in their 20s to help steer their point. While the laws of compounding interest are true, what happens to those millennials in their 30s who–for whatever reason–didn’t start saving in their early years? Obviously certain invest recommendations wouldn’t apply as they would need to play catch with their contributions.

While I’m not exactly sold on the numbers, I am hopeful my family and I are headed in the right direction. One can only hope it pays off!

What are you doing to save for your financial future? Here are some tips to help you on your journey.

I’m Ready to Be More Financially Savvy? How to Start Investing

401k Financial Moves to Make in Your 30’s

10 Important Financial Goals to Have on Your Bucket List

10 Wrong Ways to Pay Off Your Debt

Take Your Money to the Next Level: How to Build a Financial Portfolio