Second Marriage? Have a Financial Date Before You Tie the Knot

With a divorce rate that is commonly quoted as being 50%, second marriages are common. 

However, according to the Wall Street Journal, many experts cite the divorce rate of second marriages to be 40%.

Second marriages come with more baggage — ex-spouses, stepchildren who may or may not like the new step parent, and, of course, financial complications including spousal support and first family obligations, just to name a few.

It’s no secret that money disagreements can be one of the top causes of divorce.

According to a study conducted by Jeff Dew of Utah State University, “Couples who reported disagreeing about finance once a week were over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times a month” (The New York Times).

So how do those in second marriages, who perhaps bring more money issues and baggage into their marriage with them than they did their first marriage, avoid financial conflict?

One strategy is to have a financial meeting before they marry (and some may argue before they even get engaged).

Make sure to consider these financial topics before that next marriage:

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Is it Better to Rent Or Buy Stuff? – Renting Items To Save Money

My friend’s parents were recently locked in a marital battle.

They wanted to travel from Michigan to Florida for a wedding, and she wanted to fly for free using frequent flier miles they had accrued.  The transportation cost for the trip would be limited to the car they would rent for three days when in Florida.

He, on the other hand, thought it was silly to rent a car when theirs worked perfectly fine.  He wanted to make the 24 hour drive down to Florida for their three day trip.  He was sure this was the cheaper way to travel, even though they would have to pay for gas and put wear and tear on the car.

Ah, the rental battle.

Is it worthwhile to pay for a rental?  The answer, in all honesty, is often that it depends.  However, in this case, simple math would have shown him that her plan would have been the cost saver.

Marital battle aside, we Americans don’t often think of renting outside of cars and apartments.  Instead, our first thought tends to go to ownership.

There are just a few things we automatically think of renting–of course, cars when we are traveling, tuxedos when our children are going to prom or when men get married, apartments, sure.  But for most other temporary needs, we tend to buy instead of rent.

However, if we could let go of this mindset, we may save a substantial amount of money.

How to Determine If It Is Better to Rent or Buy

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Multi-Generational Living – Is a Next Generation Home for You?

The economy has hit many hard. 

Retirees have seen their investments drop leaving them with less money to pay their living expenses and ever rising medical and prescription costs.

College students struggle to pay their college and living expenses while not going too deeply in student loan debt.

Meanwhile, the so called sandwich generation, those who have elderly parents who need support as well as children that also need support, struggle to make ends meet and take care of both generations while also saving for their own retirement.

Multi-Generational Living:  Coming Back in Style

The idea of generations living together is not new.  One hundred to one hundred and fifty years ago, 3 generations living together was quite common.

Yet, as our society changed and people became more independent, multi-generational living fell out of vogue.  It is no longer necessary, so most people don’t do it.

However, the current economy has changed the most recent housing dynamic. 
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The Dark Side of Health Care – Paying Extra Because of Our Health

There’s no doubt that obesity is an epidemic in the United States. 

Our children may be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents thanks to obesity and the many related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disease.

Among adults, according to the CDC, 35.9% of U.S. citizens ages 20 and older are obese.  Another 33.3% are overweight, but not obese.  That leaves slightly less than 31% of United States citizens who are at a healthy weight.

It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that those who are chronically obese or overweight will likely cost a company more in health care.

In addition, those workers are absent from the work place more often.  “A 2011 Gallup survey estimated obese or overweight full-time U.S. workers miss an additional 450 million days of work each year, compared to healthy workers, resulting in more than $153 billion in lost productivity” (Wall Street Journal).

While we may consider obesity a personal issue, each person’s obesity and related health issues affect not only themselves, but their employers and their families.

Should You Have to Pay Extra for Health Insurance If You’re Overweight?

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Can We Break This Spending Cycle? Do We Want To?

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Amy Dacyczyn, author of the wildly popular 1990s The Tightwad Gazette, wrote a post one time about the television show Roseanne.

She noted that Dan and Roseanne are always struggling financially.

One time, they get an unexpected bonus of $50, and each Dan and Roseanne spend the money on things for themselves without discussing their purchases with one another.  Now, instead of having an extra $50, they are $50 in the hole.

Dacyczyn noted that every time Dan or Roseanne got extra money or worked overtime, they developed a “Yipee!-We-can-spend” attitude.  Yet, when money is tight, they scrimp and save and “feel poor” because they can’t spend.

Is America a Nation of Dan and Roseanne Connors?

The last several years have been rough ones financially for American citizens.

Many people lost their houses, and even if they were able to keep up with payments, they may have found themselves underwater.  People lost their jobs, and even if they were able to stay employed, they may not have seen a raise for years while health care and other costs escalated.

Yet, there are signs that the economy is improving.
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The 4 Most Common Tax Return Scams and How to Protect Yourself

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It’s tax season which typically means hours gathering your data and slogging through the year’s records

Most don’t look forward to tax season, but the usual tax time headache can get even worse if you’re the unfortunate victim of a tax scam.

Every year, there seems to be more ways scammers find to rob you of your tax refund.  According to CNNMoney, nearly 2/3rds of Americans get a tax refund, and the average refund in 2011 was more than $3,000.

With that kind of money at stake, it’s no wonder scammers continue to find creative ways to get their hands on your cash.

As you prepare to file your taxes this year, be aware of these four common tax return scams:

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Is Telecommuting Bad for a Company: A Look at Yahoo!’s Decision to Ban It

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Several weeks ago, Marissa Mayer’s decision to send a memo to all Yahoo! employees letting them know that effective June, 2013, there would be no more telecommuting allowed set off an Internet fire storm.

A barrage of articles hit the web arguing everything from the fact that this memo would not be an issue if Mayer was a man instead of a woman with a young child to the fact that this decision could spell the beginning of the end for Mayer’s career and Yahoo!.

Now that the dust has settled, so to speak, and emotions have cooled, it’s time to take an objective look at the decision.

Is Telecommuting Beneficial to a Company?

On the surface, it appears that telecommuting isn’t really beneficial to a business.

Having everyone working in the same building where they can be watched and where they can interact with one another seems best, which is Mayer’s argument.  But is it best?

There are three distinct advantages for companies that allow their employees to work from home at least part of the time:

Performance

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