Review Category : Relationships

When You And Your Spouse Just Can’t Agree About Money

It starts with the small arguments. You don’t agree on where to eat out on a date night during the weekend. Then it turns to small petty arguments with not being able to agree on whether to paint the family room that has been all scratched up by the kid’s toys. Ultimately, it leads to full scale arguments about issues on whether to send the kids to private or public school, whether to vacation in Hawaii, and potentially doing a complete bedroom remodel 10 years after you have lived in your home. Although you tied the knot and agree it would be until ‘death do us part’, there are many nights one of you goes to bed before the other simply over the fuming battle about money. Money creates interesting behaviors in all of us.  Some of these feelings were ingrained is us as children based upon the way we were raised.  Some of us came from nothing and our ...

Read More →

Helping You Save Money On Your Wedding

– Ted Jenkin | Atlanta Money Guy Topic: Ted Jenkin stops by the studio to give you tips on getting married and not spending all of your money! Our own Nate needs a little help with this, unless he takes Bailey’s advice and gets married in a Moose Lodge. Taped 8/30/16 Listen every Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. on ROCK 100.5 | Atlanta’s Rock Station to “Your Smart Money Moves” with The Rock 100.5 Morning Show and oXYGen Financial. Ted Jenkin, CFP® and Kile Lewis, CRPC® are the founders of oXYGen Financial, and our chief financial officers. All your money questions answered Breathe Easier with oXYGen Financial: http://www.oxygenfinancial.net ...

Read More →

5 Cheap Date Ideas For Valentine’s Day

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2016 Valentine’s Day consumer survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, 54.8 percent of consumers will celebrate Valentine’s Day.   If your family is running tight on a budget this year, how will you be able to take your date out and still make it a very special day?   Sometimes the word “cheap” means that it won’t necessarily be good.   However, with these smart money moves you’ll be sure to warm your partner’s heart. Sunday Brunch vs. Saturday Dinner- Technically, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year.  This gives you even more reason to do a special brunch instead of an expensive Saturday night dinner.  While Canoe is one of my favorite places for brunch in the city (I’ll be there on Valentine’s Day), there are so many hot and trendy spots in the city that you can try. Netflix Binging-  I suppose you could binge watch almost any program that you have stored ...

Read More →

Five Financial Mistakes To Avoid In A Divorce

When couples split up, it hardly ever ends up 100% friendly.   While most people think about the emotional strain of divorce, the financial assets of the couple including their retirement accounts must get split up as well.   Making the wrong financial choices during a divorce can cause a great deal of financial strain down the road.   It could lead to unnecessary taxes and penalties as you continue to work toward your financial goals.  Here are five mistakes to avoid financially when going through a divorce. Update Your Beneficiaries– One of the biggest mistakes I see after a divorce is the failure to update your beneficiary information.   It’s likely that your ex was the primary beneficiary and you never named contingent beneficiaries.  It’s a good time to go back and determine what family members should be on your beneficiary designations as your IRA’s and life insurance contracts are an operation of law at death.  They will go exactly to the people ...

Read More →

Should You Loan Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend Money?

“So our relationship is solid. We are both 28. I’m not ready to propose, and there are certainly some kinks. But she has asked if I would consider loaning her some money so she could pay off some of her credit card debt. Details: she has over 8k in CC debt and about 7x that in student loans she makes about 32k a year. Much of this she amassed as she finished graduate school and struggled for a year to find full time employment. Which she has had for the last few months. She expects her income to increase over the next couple years. I have zero debt and make approximately 50k. Additionally, I have about the same as my net wealth. About 1/3rd of which is liquid. We also live in expensive New England and I have been desperately trying to save money for a home in a few years. She would like to as well but her debt ...

Read More →

Is Your Spouse Financially Cheating On You?

Sometimes you might wonder if your spouse is signing away on documents that you will never be aware of down the road.   Or, maybe you are concerned that there is some secret stash of money you didn’t know about because it wasn’t included in the family net worth.   At all times in our lives, we will inevitably have little whispers in your ear about whether or not there is cheating going on in our relationships.   Since this is a personal finance column, I’m really talking about financial cheating.  How can you tell if your spouse is financially cheating on you? Swap Credit Reports- What happens in this situation? You think everything is going well in your family finances and then all of sudden you find out that your spouse has racked up $20,000 of credit card charges.   How mad would that make you?  What would that do to your relationship?   It won’t make sense for most families to have all joint ...

Read More →

Why Do You Stick Your Tongue Down My Throat?

I recently attended a conference and was able to hear Josh Brogan speak about social media. The entire speech was entertaining, but one statement he made during the speech stuck out to me when he discussed the new world of Linked In. He shared a comment something to the effect of I accept you as a connection and you stick your tongue down my throat. I laughed at first, but then I thought to myself, “What in the world has happened with some basic etiquette?” Since I have roughly 5,000 followers myself, people ask to get connected to me all of the time. Here’s a recent scenario of what happened, and then I’ll share my three very simple tips for LinkedIn etiquette because apparently companies aren’t training their sales people anything except to be robots and just keep clicking the send button. An individual on LinkedIn asked to be connected with me.  I chose to accept the connection (as I’m ...

Read More →

Five Financial Tips For Same Sex Couples

When the Supreme Court recently ruled that the bank on same-sex marriages in 13 states was unconstitutional, many same sex couples will now face a different set of rules when it comes their overall financial plan.   We have had specialists in this arena on our staff for years, but now is the time to really revisit the best way to be the CEO’s of your family finances.  Here are five tips you may want to consider for your future. Revisit Your Group Benefits During Open Enrollment Season- More than 50% of U.S. employers offers employees the opportunity to buy life insurance on their spouse through the company group policy.   This is really good news for same sex legally married couples as long as the group policy is covered underneath the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).   You should revisit your personal insurance situation and the best way to maximize your coverage while minimizing your cost for your family. Prepare ...

Read More →

Three Great Pieces Of Software For Divorced Couples

As more couples get divorced, the challenge of managing the aftermath become more and more difficult for families.   Who gets the kids on which holiday?  Is it your week or is it my week?   Calendar management is challenging as it is for families today, but the world of electronics may be making it easier for divorced couples who are managing children and their schedules.  Here are three pieces of software you may want to consider using after a divorce. Our Family Wizard– This piece of software is one of the most advanced child custody management tools for your family.   The joint custody calendar or divorce calendar can help to remove any confusion over parenting time responsibilities.  Having clear records and accurate documentation can help you to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications that could otherwise lead to you back to court.  The OFW Calendar is also compatable with long-distance parenting, blended families, foster care families, and more. (source: our family wizard).  There is ...

Read More →

Should I Lend Money To A Friend?

A late night call comes in from an old college friend of yours who now lives miles away.   You spend an hour on the phone reminiscing about the good old days in the fraternity, and then your buddy hits you up with a question that comes out of left field.  “I’ve kind of hit a tough patch in life and I know things have gone well for you in your business career.  Do you think you could loan me $10,000 for just a short period of time?”   He goes on to tell you that he’s got a new job lined up and things are starting to turn the corner so he shouldn’t need the money long.    How’s this for a tough situation?   Let’s be honest (having seen this a million times), if you loan money to a friend or family member and everything is informal and off the cuff you should NEVER expect to see that money back.  Consider it ...

Read More →

Four Money Phrases You Don’t Say To Your Wife

I have been married almost 21 years, so I like to think that I do a pretty good job as husband.   We all like to think we do a pretty good job as a spouse.  As it stands, what’s most interesting about my day to day job isn’t the nuts and bolts of crunching numbers and figuring out how much money people need for retirement.   The most enlightening part of my profession is seeing the dynamics of the emotional exchange of words between two spouses around their family finances.   We don’t often really think through what we are saying to one another, and just one word or comment could set your spouse off into a 4th of July fireworks session.  Here are four money phrases you don’t say to your wife  or spouse. Is That New? – Hmmmm…. On the surface, this one seems kind of harmless, doesn’t it?   But, there really is no great way to say ‘is that ...

Read More →

5 Financial Wins For Same Sex Couples

In 2013, the Federal Government struck down a law that prevented the Government from recognizing same sex marriages.  It was still banned in thirteen states, including the state of Georgia.  With recent landmark Supreme Court ruling that allows for same sex marriages, the only victory won wasn’t in the wedding aisle.  A slew of financial benefits will come out of this for same sex couples.  Here are five financial wins for LBGT couples. Inheritance- Generally, when you die, everything will transfer from one spouse to another with a legally recognized marriage with the exception of ‘named beneficiaries’ within contracts such as life insurance and IRA accounts.  This should help same sex couples deal with having to write odd wording in wills and trust to do work arounds within various states. Social Security- Same sex couples who were not recognized in those thirteen states could now see even bigger benefits from Social Security.  The key here as with married heterosexual couples ...

Read More →

How Much Should I Give For A Bat Mitzvah Gift?

Most of you are probably familiar with the term “Bar Mitzvah” (you can view my article on how much to give for a bar mitzvah here) but you might get invited sometime soon to a “Bat Mitzvah”.  In the Jewish religion, generally when a girl turns the age of 12 (for Orthodox and Conservative) and 13 (for Reform) there is a celebration where the girl becomes recognized as an adult (woman).  When I turned the age of 13, I had my own Bar Mitzvah, where my friends, family, and distant relatives I saw once upon a family reunion showed up to hear me belt out a poorly sung haftorah.  The Bat (the word meaning daughter) Mitzvah celebration you will attend can range from something that will happen at the home with just a few friends and family, to a lavish style wedding event at a country club. I’ve witnessed some parents spend $50,000 to $100,000 to throw a Bat Mitzvah.  Oy vey!  ...

Read More →

4 Money Moves To Make When You Turn 40

Generation X is classically defined as people born between the years 1965 and 1979.    This means for the next five years, the last batch of Gen X’ers are going to turn 40.   If life begins at 40, then it must be certain that making smart money moves should fold into that master plan.   Whether you are woefully behind on student debt, just getting married, or you are now starting to make some serious money, here are four smart money moves to consider when you turn the age of 40. Admit Your Mistakes . . . They Are Natural Financial Mistakes- If you are spending like a drunken sailor making sure you are seeing all the best concerts and trying the fanciest restaurants, don’t beat yourself up.  If you have piled up debt or lost money on a private investment deal, there is still time.  Just be true to yourself on those mistakes so you don’t continue to make them. Personal ...

Read More →

5 Father’s Day Gifts For Under $100

Father’s Day is right around corner and it’s always hard to figure out what to get for Dad’s. Skip the socks, ties, golf attire, and homemade gifts, and take a look a few ideas that I put together for under $100. Dad is sure to love these and remember to say you heard about it from Your Smart Money Moves. Chillsner ($19.99)– We all know how much Dad’s love an ice cold beer. Especially now that the craft beer revolution is happening. This is a great gift so dad can simply drop this in his favorite IPA and within just a few minutes have an ice cold one ready to go. Carnivore Cookbook ($27)– Do you know how many Dad’s have tried the Paleo Caveman diet? Remember, your dad probably isn’t hitting the latest recipes on Pinterest, so check out Michael Symon’s cookbook on meat eating meals you can make at home. Tarantino XX ($90)– Can you believe it has ...

Read More →

Diamond Jewelry Valued For More Than the 4 C’s

People are flocking to jewelry stores around the country to buy that special someone something that sparkles. So what makes one diamond more valuable than another? Ask any diamond and jewelry professional, and they will tell you the factors that influence the value of diamonds are much more complicated than the commonly referred to 4 c’s: Clarity, Color, Cut, and Carat Weight. But, the 4 c’s are really just the beginning of the factors that make up the value of a diamond. I call the remaining considerations ‘Characteristics,’ making a fifth c if you will. Characteristics include any properties that may affect the overall value of the stone, such as the construction of the diamond, the nature of imperfections, as well as natural or man made characteristics. Proper Ratio of Depth and Table Percentages – Depth and table percentages will affect the value of a diamond because they are an indication of a well-proportioned stone. If a depth percentage is too big ...

Read More →

Four Ways To Ditch Your Chatty Co-Workers

It is 3 p.m. in the afternoon, and you are vigorously working on an excel spreadsheet that has to be done for the boss by quitting time. While you pour over your work and feverishly toil away on the spreadsheet, you pick your head up after hearing a dreaded knock on your door (or the window glass on your cubicle). You look up to see Charlie, the office ‘Chatty Cathy’ lurking on the other side of your door. Unfortunately, there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, but you know if you let him in that he’ll spend the better part of the next hour amusing you with delightful stories on what he ate for breakfast and why Pop Tarts should be making a nostalgic comeback sometime soon. What do you do when you need to play a game of Ding Dong Ditch when the office blabbermouth comes to track you down? Here are four ideas that I think ...

Read More →

Five Sports Dates Ideas For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming up this week and rather than write a blog on how you can do this day on a budget, I thought I would share some different ideas than you might read on the internet.   People always talk about dinner, flowers, chocolates, and jewelry, and while those are classic favorites, you might consider doing something different for a change.   Here are five great ideas you can do right here in Atlanta if you love sports and want to have a great time on Valentine’s Day. Top Golf (http://topgolf.com/us/)-The main location is in Alpharetta, and another one is opening up soon in West Midtown.   What’s makes this venue great is that you can have a great time no matter whether you are a serious golfer or not.   With the lit up targets at night, tasty cocktails, and excellent food, you can spend $100 and have a great time for a few hours of fun. Andretti’s (http://andrettikarting.com/)– As their ...

Read More →

Who Will Take Care of Mom and Dad?

For Boomers and Generation X’ers, you are probably beginning to see the early stages of your parents slowing down or perhaps one of them had a mild health scare over the last five years that got you thinking who is going to take of mom and dad?    Before each one of your brothers and sisters rush to put their finger on their nose and scream “NOT IT!”, it may be time to have a serious discussion about who will bear the responsibility should your mom and dad need someone by their side for financial or medical decisions.   There are several key mistakes that I see families make when it comes to discussing their aging parents’ finances. Who will be the main caretaker for Mom and Dad? – Since many siblings are strewn across the country, you should have a discussion with Mom and Dad so they know who will be taking the lead for potential items such as power of ...

Read More →

How To Avoid A Holiday Financial Hangover

Set yourself a budget. Most people overspend during the holidays because they don’t go in with a budget for each person they are going to buy presents. Typically, when you go on an impulse shopping spree, you often spend more than had originally planned for before the shopping excursion.  My recommendation is to set a clear budget with a fixed dollar amount per person, and then work yourself backwards.  Remember, it isn’t always the amount of gifts that somebody gets . . . it’s the thought of the gift that counts. If at all possible pay cash and stay away from the credit cards. Think about what you are going to give people who work for you, with you, or who help you. People such as the mail person, trash collectors, paper delivery people, etc. If you’ve got people that work in your house or do work for you in a regular basis, think about how much cash or what ...

Read More →

Four Financial Ideas On Your Work Anniversary

It’s another anniversary and a good time to reflect on where you are in your career both professionally and financially.   It couldn’t be a better time to also take stock of where your overall financial plan is currently, and whether or not you are on track to make work optional.  Here are four smart financial ideas to consider on this work anniversary. Rule of 1/3rds– Your work anniversary often signals a time where you could earn an additional pay raise.   Most individuals often don’t deploy the important rule of 1/3rds.   What this means is that at least 1/3rd of the raises (and bonuses) you get every year at work should be captured immediately with some form of forced savings.  This should be priority number one.   So, if you got a $10,000 pay raise, a 1/3rd is likely to go to taxes, a 1/3rd should go to some type of savings, and a 1/3rd should be spent on something you enjoy.   ...

Read More →

Til Debt Do You Part

My team is extremely fortunate to get to work with so many successful Gen X’ers. Many of them have done phenomenally well in their careers, and then begin considering marriage at a much later stage in life toward their late 30’s to early 40’s. This often brings up the question when we do financial planning with them about whether or not it is a good idea to get a prenuptial agreement. There are pros and cons to getting this type of agreement, but the one important item many couples do not remember to put in these agreements when they execute them is what will happen with the DEBT. Most couples remember to talk about the bank accounts, the retirement accounts, the family inheritances, the real estate, and the closely held businesses. However, most people assume that all prenuptial agreements are only dealing with people who have significant wealth. What happens when a couple gets married and you still have outstanding ...

Read More →

Gift Happiness Is About Expectations Met Or Unmet

The holiday season will be upon us soon and what could be better than having your parents give you a large gift of cash, real estate, or stock? Now think about wrestling with unwrapping the emotional paper that will come along with this gift for the rest of your life. I have shared with people that happiness in life is largely dictated by expectations either met or unmet. When a parent gives a large gift to their children or grandchildren, there is often no discussion around the expectations that come along with the gift. (i.e.what type of wedding you need to have, what type of house you must buy, where your children must attend college) Consequently, most parents believe they have the right to start telling their children what to do with the money, and most kids feel obligated to listen to their parent’s advice part in fear of disappointing their parents or even worse worrying about never getting a ...

Read More →

Don’t Invest In The Dreams of Someone Else

As we age in our financial lives, each of us has had that pit in our stomach feeling of a major financial mistake we wish we had never made. For some people, there will be no recovery from these mistakes while others still have the opportunity to make up for lost time. Although I’ve been fortunate to have very few blemishes in my own personal financial life, the financial move I would welcome doing over again would be to invest in a friends dream with the hope of getting some return on my money. Unless you are a really savvy and experienced investor, I am not a big fan of investing money in a business of a friend unless you are going to be an owner operator yourself. The majority of the time it will take you three times as long to get your money back if you are lucky enough to get it back at all. Almost 15 years ...

Read More →

Why a Prenup Needs to Include Debt

My team is extremely fortunate to get to work with so many successful Generation Xers.  Many of them have done phenomenally well in their careers, and then begin considering marriage at a much later stage in life toward their late 30s to early 40s. This often brings up the question when we do financial planning with them about whether or not it is a good idea to get a prenuptial agreement. There are pros and cons to getting this type of agreement, but the one important item many couples do not remember to put in these agreements when they execute them is what will happen with the debt. Most couples remember to talk about the bank accounts, the retirement accounts, the family inheritances, the real estate, and the closely held businesses.  However, most people assume that all prenuptial agreements are only dealing with people who have significant wealth.  What happens when a couple gets married and you still have outstanding ...

Read More →

Four Money Moves To Make When You Get The Pink Slip

The Pink Slip.  It’s the dreaded official notification from your employer that they no longer need your services.   You’ll often hear the corporate rumors flowing within your company about the impending layoffs, but you’ll never suspect that you might be a person on the hit list.   We never imagine that we will be that person who gets called in for dismissal time.   While getting a pink slip is an awful feeling, it’s also a phase in your life where you need to immediately get your financial act together.  Here are my four smart money moves to make when you get laid off from work. Time To See The Doctor- Health insurance is one of the biggest items for consideration during a layoff.  You should make all doctor visits before you separate from service with your current employer.   You should get the details of what happens to your health insurance plan if you get laid off. Are you under COBRA or ...

Read More →

Is Disney World For You Or For Them?

For dual income families with children today, you often burn the candle at both ends trying to be the best you can be at work and the best you can be at home. You want to create magical memories for your children because some days you don’t get to see them when the sun comes up or until the sun goes down. Due the frenetic pace you are running every day, it’s not that your competency shrinks, but your capacity shrinks often forcing you to make bad financial decisions. The dumbest financial lesson I see parent’s teach their children today is to take fancy vacations that simply aren’t in the family budget. As a side note, over the top birthday parties aren’t far behind on my list. Vacations are still at the top of the list. Take the average parent today who has a 4 year old and a 2 year old and they get the bright idea to wipe ...

Read More →

5 Ways For Women To Build Confidence

So I know what you are about to say.  What does a 44 year old guy know about women building confidence.  I’m not about to tell you that I know the secret of women, but I thought I would attempt to list some things women can do to build confidence.  After reading  from the book The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, I picked up these 5 ways woman can build confidence: You don’t have to make things perfect, so stop tinkering You have to keep moving forward and tinkering takes time.  Even if you are wrong, failing fast can reduce the time going down blind alleys. Leave your comfort zone Try something you thought you’d never be good at.  The old saying  “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” is so true. Take credit for your successes Don’t just brush off a compliment, accept it.  Use it to give your next step confidence. Give rid of ...

Read More →

Five Financial Moves To Make On Your Birthday

Our birthdays are usually a day of reflection and celebration all at the same time.  It’s often the one day of the year we measure ourselves against our goals, take stock of where we are in life, and think about what may be coming in the near term horizon for our future.   You’ll often compare how you look versus your friends on places like Facebook and think about where you are in life when it comes to your money and savings.  Here are my five smart money moves tips you should be considering on each and every birthday. Insurance– When it comes to life insurance, every year you get older there is more of a chance that you will die.  Thus, the cost of life insurance will continually go up.   You may need to decide what kind of insurance to buy whether it be a 10, 20, or 30 year term insurance or maybe this is the year you should ...

Read More →

Get Educated On One Word: RISK

You are a big spender and she’s a mattress stuffer. You like the idea of house flipping and she prefers a money market. You’ll go for the IPO and she’ll go for the blue chip stock that has been around forever. Now that you are newly married or living together, how can you ever see eye to eye on the best way to manage the family investments? Here are three quick young couple tips to deal with opposing investment styles. Get educated on the meaning of the word RISK. It’s likely nobody ever explained all the types of risk associated with investing to a young couple. Did the money mattress person realize they could be safely going backwards each year with the risk of inflation? Did the IPO investor realize the risk of losing all of their money with the latest social media stock? The young couples of today need to get informed on what risk really means. Get educated ...

Read More →

Don’t Let Your Kids Fritter Away The Money

I salute all of the parents in America.  By far, it is the toughest job that we will ever have, filled with moments of both sadness and euphoria, as Billy Joel would put it in his music.   It’s hard watching our kids make mistakes, but sometimes it is the only way they can learn.   However, there are three smart money moves scenarios that I’d like to share with you in order to help you help your children become smarter about their money. Zero to 18 years old- INSTITUTE A 50% RULE– Since we continue to move to a cash and gift card society, physical presents are something we don’t see as often anymore.   The gift card as we know it actually makes you spend more money because it doesn’t really feel like cash.   That is mentally how younger people get into problems like credit card debt, because you never actually see the money.   The 50% rule is simply this;  take ...

Read More →

The Lost Art Of The Hand Written Thank You Note

I’m really not sure why any of us get excited about going to get our mail every day.   Even though we know that ultimately the mail will deliver us three pieces of mail that are bills, five different types of non-sensical catalogues we didn’t order, and one incredible bulky Val-Pak stuffed with coupons, we still never get tired of the intrigue of opening up mail.   Even the halfhearted effort of companies that send us birthday cards unsigned still doesn’t seem to be able to break our spirit around the excitement of getting the mail.     Every once in a while when the sun shines bright and the weather is oh so perfect, it comes to our amazement that somebody today actually sends us a hand-written note and there it is; our day is made. For more than twenty years now, I have never stopped sending hand written thank you notes. Notes that have a personalized message so ...

Read More →

Five Vices That Could Ruin Your Financial Future

We all have vices.   For some people it is biting their nails when they are stressed out.  For others it is taping and watching every single episode of the Real Housewives on Bravo TV.   Some vices are innocent while others can get you in big trouble.  Here are five financial vices you want to avoid if your goal is to become rich. Gambling- I am not talking about placing a $5 bet on the NCAA basketball championships.   The lottery for most people (especially scratch off tickets) can be a very addictive habit and one that is tough to break.  Spending $40 a week on lottery tickets vs. $40 a week saving in an IRA could mean a large differential in your ability to be able to retire one day.  The odds of your numbers coming up are slim to none. New Cars- I know that there is nothing like the smell of a new car.   There’s also nothing like the ...

Read More →

Social Media May Be Your Best Freshman Class

It’s likely that students starting college in September have spent the past four years of their lives become experts at social media mediums including Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. Without ever taking a class on social media, these platforms are indelibly integrated in the way an 18 year old communicates with their friends and family. In 1987, I didn’t even have a computer to bring to Boston College with me. Rather than give advice on student loans, budgeting, and other financial topics, I’d like to encourage the upcoming freshmen going to college to expand their social media networks and learn how to use these platforms to build their future. You see, it’s simple that life teaches you it’s not what you know but who you know that will ultimately get you further in life. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to become an excellent student, but rather leverage your expertise and begin to build your networks out today so when you ...

Read More →

How to Combat Wedding Fatigue

Now that June has passed (statistically the most popular month for weddings), you are out of the woods in regards to attending weddings, right? Think again. The next three months, from August to October, rank 2-4 in popularity (Source: Majesticmixers.com) and are sure to put a crunch on your wallet. More Americans are getting married this year than the last few years, the first upward swing since the Great Depression (Source: MarketWatch.com). If you are like me, you start to dread the fancy envelope with the script writing in the mail. In the last calendar year I have been invited to 12 weddings located in Georgia, Florida, New York, Las Vegas, and Mexico. I have been invited to 5 bachelor parties from Vegas to Austin and New Orleans to Charleston. Is there a way for a normal 28 year old to afford all this? The answer is yes, and no. At some point, it is ok to say no. A ...

Read More →

Who Will Take Care Of Your Aging Parents?

Generation X will have its first official fifty year old group next year.  It’s hard to imagine for a  Gen Xer because we are still convinced that bands like Huey Lewis and The News and Foreigner are kind of cool when officially on the music circuit they are considered ‘oldies’ already.    Most of our parents are hitting that late 60’s to mid 70’s range and now we are wondering who is going to take care of Mom and Dad.   You may have even joked last Thanksgiving by putting your finger on your nose and declaring NOT IT when asked this very question by your sister or brother.    Here are four important ideas to be thinking about when it comes to who will take care of your aging parents. Who Is Playing Quarterback? The bigger your family, the more of a likelihood that someone has become the favorite son and there is a black sheep lurking in the family as well.  ...

Read More →

5 Mistakes To Avoid At Your High School Reunion

“Dude! I can’t believe it’s already been 10 years!” This is something I am starting to see a lot on my social media feed as I brace for my first high school reunion. I had mixed feelings about attending but in the end, $70 to spend a night hanging out at a country club with some old friends, reminiscing on old stories and having a few cold ones, sounded like a good time. Here are a few tips I am planning on following myself: DON’T overdress. You aren’t Justin Timberlake so don’t show up in a skinny suit and tie and act like it. It’s intimidating to others and makes you look more like a loser than a winner. And I hope you weren’t planning on going in a T-shirt and jeans…Did you want Best Looking 2004 to think you are a dish washer at the local Taco Mac? (if you are, well…its been 10 years, move on!). A simple ...

Read More →

Five Cheap Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer

If your children aren’t off at camps or their job is only part time, a few weeks into summer they might just be driving you up the wall.   If that’s the case, then you become the full time Julie The Cruise Director at your home.   Here are your smart money moves on five cheap things to do with your kids this summer that won’t put a dent in your wallet. Go For A Bike Ride In Your City- Most cities and suburbs today have carved out some type of greenway or beltline like trail as witnessed in my hometown of Atlanta.   It could be for a walk or a bike, but taking in one of these trails while bringing along a little picnic can really make a fun day. Go See A Matinee- Prices for movies (especially 3-D and IMAX) have soared through the roof for kids.  Don’t wait until the nighttime or the weekends to see a new release ...

Read More →

How To Teach Your 5 year Old About Money.

We do a poor job of teaching our kids about money in this country. In order to get my kid started in the right direction I set up the following system. I threw out my son’s piggy bank and gave him three jars. I labeled one, money to spend, one money to save, and one money to give. I told him any time he got any money he had to split it into thirds. Then I explained that he could use the spend jar money on anything he wanted. I would never question what he wanted to spend that money on. The money to save jar could never be touched. And the money to give jar was not only for church offerings but when he got invited to friends birthday parties he had to buy the birthday presents with his money to give jar. (I was tired of spending my money on his friend’s presents). I was amazing to see ...

Read More →

Advice From A Jeweler On Buying The Engagement Ring

Congratulations on your decision to formalize your relationship. Studies show that married people are happier and live longer, so you’re on the right track. First, allow yourself enough time to think through and understand all the new information that you will be involved with in your search for the perfect diamond ring. One of your first decisions will be to decide whether to surprise her with a ring or shop together. That will depend on your relationship. There are advantages and disadvantages in each case. A good middle ground and one that will keep you in budget is to let her pick out the engagement ring mounting and you come back to select the diamond. The most important thing is to make the occasion a romantic one to remember. There are many factors to consider: the shape of the diamond, the size versus quality of the diamond, deciding on white gold or platinum or yellow gold or a combination of ...

Read More →

Does Anybody Cook Anymore?

Driving down Highway 9 in downtown Alpharetta the other evening, I noticed that the parking lots were packed like a bunch of sardines in a can. Restaurants are popping up one by one as weeds would in the front of our yards. Crust, Salt, Pure, and others are all just a stones throw away from one another. Since this wasn’t a Saturday night, I gave pause for a moment to contemplate whether anyone in Atlanta actually cooks anymore. Have the kid’s sporting events, hectic work schedules, and brain overload just made us all say screw it and just give in to the fact that it is easier to just go out and eat? With our family of five, I’ve noticed that even taking out casual fare restaurant food can run $50 to $60. Go out to a middle of the road type restaurant and you are talking $70 to $90 with basic fountain drinks. Add in a couple of appetizers, ...

Read More →

Who Was Your Investment Role Model?

Each of us has a very special relationship with our money.  Whether it was a family member, a work colleague, or somebody famous, the lessons we learned from our investment role models shape the way we think about our money decisions later in life.  Fortunately, I had an unbelievable role model in my very first job out of college.  My previous boss indelibly etched three powerful principles back in 1991 that guide my investment decision making more than 20 years later. Pay yourself first.   As simple as this seems, he forced me to begin deducting $166.66 a month into an IRA account when I was just twenty one years old and struggled to make those payments each and every month.   No matter how much or how little money you make, one of the most powerful lessons is to take the savings off the top and then learn to live off the rest.  Take a third of every raise and add ...

Read More →

You Only Love Your Child One Quarter Of A Page?

When I came home on Friday, my daughter proudly handed me the new edition of the school yearbook. The new yearbooks are more bright, colorful, and insightful than my Hightstown High School 1987 edition where we barely got in photos of all of the varsity sports teams. Like most yearbooks, photos were displayed of the different classes from seniors to freshmen. Sections showed photos of energetic students displaying school spirit and pictures of the best dressed to the class clown. After all of the normal content, I stumbled on to the next section where parents wrote heartfelt notes to their children along with pictures of the students with their family or even growing up as a baby. What mystified me initially about this section is that some of the graduation notes were on a full blown page while others seem to be shrunk down to one-third or one-quarter of a page. I naively asked my daughter how the school went ...

Read More →

6 Badass Moms Making It Happen

Since today is Mother’s day, I thought it would be cool to salute Moms that are carving the business world up and making money in all kinds of different businesses.   It is still true that the hardest job in the world is raising children.  I’m not sure you could really put a price on what that is worth, but here are a few moms who are doing double duty and putting themselves in a work optional position. Tina Fey– With eight Emmy awards and Two Golden Globe awards, Tina Fey is recognized as one of the leading comediennes in the entire country.  She gained her notoriety as the head writer for Saturday Night Live and who could forget her portrayal of Sarah Palin.   Tina’s got two children and often donates her time to Autism Speaks. Coupon Mom– Stephanie Nelson is The Coupon Mom™ and has taught television viewers and readers how to save in many areas, including groceries, restaurants, online shopping, gifts, and ...

Read More →

5 Amazing Technology Gifts For Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is less than a week away and word on the street is that spending is up this year.    The National Retail Federation estimated that consumers will spend 20.7 billion dollars on Mom this year in 2014.  If you are counting that is an average of $168.94 per consumer which is an 11% increase from 2013. Moms work hard and they are entitled to a show of appreciation on their special day. Most consumers will acknowledge that appreciation with a greeting card (81.3%), though it appears her loved ones will also look for special gifts. Two-thirds (66.6%) of those celebrating will buy mom her favorite flowers, spending a total of $2.3 billion, and 33.5 percent will look for spring sweaters and blouses, spending a total of $1.7 billion on apparel and accessory items. Mom’s loved ones will also buy books and CDs ($480 million), housewares or gardening tools ($812 million), personal experience gifts like a day at the spa ...

Read More →

Five Ways Social Media Can Make You Money

There are still some people who are avoiding the whole game of social media.   They don’t quite get Twitter or have no interest in Facebook.  In fact, even if they are in the business community they haven’t added their entire professional summary to LinkedIn.  If the whole idea of social media hasn’t garnered your attention, perhaps the notion of putting some dollars in your pocket would be more intriguing.  Here are my five smart money moves on how social media can help you make some cash. Coupons and Deals- If you “follow” the financial people who are ‘frugal’ or cheap on social media websites like Twitter, you can get great advice on coupons, deals, and savings ideas.   Getting these deals just in time can even give you ideas on weekend events where you can receive discounts to places like fairs and festivals. Job Opportunities- Being in relevant groups and paying attention to discussions may help you land your next greatest ...

Read More →

The Biggest Financial Mistake People Make During Divorce

Divorce can often bring about tumultuous times for a family. Sometimes they can go very smooth and others can literally be the ‘War Of The Roses’. In the midst of being between the lawyers, couples often make financial mistakes that can lead to problems down the road. The number one mistake that I have seen amongst divorcing couples is their lack of consideration around liquidity of assets. It’s pretty common after a separation that one spouse will end up with the primary residence and in turn the other spouse may wind up with a commensurate amount of assets between brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, and savings accounts. While the math may show a true 50/50 split of the overall net worth of the couple, the reality is that one of the spouses will be stuck with a paper asset that could be tough to dispose of if cash flow becomes an issue. This can also occur when one spouse is the ...

Read More →

Can the Government Inherit your Estate?

By: Patrick R. Norris* When a new couple comes to visit me to set up the base of their first estate plan, one of the common questions that I often receive is: “can the government really inherit [or take] my property if I don’t have a Will?”.  This is a question that always make me smile because while the technical answer is “yes”, a much more practical answer is “highly doubtful”. You see when someone does not have a Will, the laws of their State essentially make a Will for them.  State statutes place your relatives in an orderly line for inheriting your estate.  So long as they are living, the first person in line receives your property when it comes time to inherit.  If they are not living, the next person in line just steps up to inherit. If you do have a [valid] Will, the State Statutes are “trumped” and your Will (not State Law) dictates who inherits ...

Read More →

Stop Trying To Impress People With Your Money

If you are really trying to get wealthy, there are important life lessons to learn that will make you a smart money moves person.   It’s very difficult to pull down your guard when it comes to money.  You might be ashamed or embarrassed around poor financial decisions you made, and then tend to overcompensate by spending too much money just to prove that you can keep up with your friends or neighbors.  Here is a great post on how to build up your bank account and leave the right impression on others. You don’t have to dress for success anymore– Has anyone seen Mark Zuckerburg as of late?   Jeans and a hoodie will do just fine.  Don’t worry about the label on your clothes or your pocketbook. It just doesn’t matter. Be a leader– Perhaps you can be the one to suggest walking around a local fair or flea market, or even going to a free park to throw a ...

Read More →

Is It Time To Take A Sabbatical?

The corporate treadmill is pushing people to the point of breaking. With longer hours, more responsibilities, and 24/7 access to your e-mail through technology, you achieved your dream of making it up the corporate ladder. Only one problem. You don’t like it. You like the money, the perks, the benefits, but it is killing you and it’s hard to talk about it because nobody wants to hear your story. Well, I do. Imagine escaping the 8 to 8 (since 9 to 5 isn’t even available anymore) daily grind and spending a month in Tuscany, taking a cruise around the world, or simply tucking your feet in the sand without a care in the world. Wouldn’t that be unbelievable? Can you feel the sun beating down on you while you kick back and have a Corona with lime? The phrase sabbatical is actually derived from the biblical Sabbath which in ancient times allowed people for periods of rest and rejuvenation. Admit ...

Read More →

Financial Considerations For The First Marriage After 40

You almost gave up hope that you would meet Mr. Right.  Or maybe it is Ms. Right.  However fate struck lightning and you finally met the person that you are convinced you were meant to spend the rest of your life.    At some point, reality sets in as the wedding date gets closer and it starts to dawn on your that there may be real discussions that need to be had around money and financial goals.   Not something you typically discuss when you are enjoying fine dining, front row concerts, and swanky hotels on the beach. Remember, everybody has a financial story.  Especially the person that you are about to wed.   It is important to peel back the artichoke to better understand your partner’s attitudes and feelings around money and planning for overall financial goals.   Here are my five smart money move financial considerations for those that are getting married for the first time after 40. Should you get a ...

Read More →

5 Money Saving Tips When You Go Out For Dinner

I went out to Hal’s Steakhouse in Buckhead (Atlanta) the other weekend and thought to myself that clearly we are in no sign of a recession.  In fact, walk into any of the mid priced to higher priced restaurants on a Friday or Saturday night and you’ll quickly come to the same realization I did when I dined at Hal’s.    Eating out is something we all like to do especially with the breakneck pace most of us are running every single week at work.    A dinner experience can be something that you go all out on with your monthly budget, or you can figure out ways to enjoy your meal without breaking the bank.   Here are five money saving tips I have that will keep a few shekels in your pocket and still have a good time. Skip the Fizz, Flat, and Stick with the Tap – Whether or not you decide to partake in some type of alcoholic beverage, ...

Read More →

Tricks and Scams to Avoid When Buying a Diamond or Engagement Ring

So you’re ready to start shopping for a diamond engagement ring?  Congratulations!  But how can you be sure that you’re dealing with a reputable diamond dealer or jewelry store? Unfortunately, most people do not have the opportunity to sit with a jeweler who truly understands the nuances involved in the selection of a beautiful diamond and properly-crafted engagement ring. Not only can working with the wrong store result in the selection of an inferior diamond, it also can leave you open to being taken advantage of by someone just trying to make a quick sale. The purpose of this article is to inform consumers of the most common ‘tricks and scams’ that buyers encounter while shopping for a diamond ring.  We’ve discussed this topic when potential buyers mention they have found a seemingly ‘great deal on a diamond,’ but feel we need to shed light on this information for the general public as well. Here are a few things to lookout ...

Read More →

How Much Should I Give For A Bar Mitzvah Gift?

When a Jewish boy turns 13-years-old he has a “bar mitzvah”, whether or not the event is marked with a ceremony or celebration. According to Jewish custom this means that he is considered old enough to have certain rights and responsibilities or suit for the upcoming wedding this summer. (source: about.com).  I actually know quite a bit about bar mitzvahs.   When I turned the age of 13, my friends, family, and distant relatives I saw once upon a family reunion showed up to hear me belt out a poorly sung haftorah.  I can remember the long hours of practice and study it took to be able to read my portion of the Torah on that special day.   I also have vivid memories of the food, the dancing, and the gumball filled Pepsi bottles we gave to each of the kids.    With today’s Bar Mitzvahs reaching prices of epic proportions, people often wonder how much they should give when attending a ...

Read More →