Should You Discuss Money In Front of Your Kids?

The economic downturn beginning in 2007 caused financial hardship for many families who had to cope with job loss, foreclosures, and bankruptcies. 

While not every family may have had such a difficult time financially, there are still other strains on family finances such as rising gas and grocery prices.

As a parent, should you talk about money with your spouse in front of the children?

Of course, this is a deeply personal issue, and many will have differing views.  However, there is a valid reason to talk about money issues in front of your kids.

Benefit of Talking about Finances in Front of Your Kids

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Understand Wedding Customs Before You Spend Your Money On Them

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The summer months represent the peak of wedding season in the United States.

Every year approximately 2 million Americans get married (CDC), and they spend an average of $27,800 on their wedding (The Knot).

While Americans routinely decide to create their own customs such as the recent craze of choreographing a dance for the wedding party at the reception, we also follow customs that have been handed down through generations.  However, a closer look at how these customs came to be may free you to not follow tradition and save yourself some money.

Many of today’s wedding customs are rooted in the fact that weddings used to be less about love and more about business.  Simply put, weddings were a business arrangement, and this can be seen through a variety of customs we still embrace.

Consider the following wedding customs:

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Think of Marriage as a Business Arrangement?

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Many people enter marriage blindly, underestimating how minor annoyances they experience while dating can grow exponentially during marriage. 

While couples may argue about a variety of issues ranging from in-laws to child rearing to household chores, research shows money fights can be the most toxic to a marriage.

Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University analyzed data collected from 2,800 couples and determined that those who fought about money weekly were “30% more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times a month.”  (The New York Times)

Many of us believe in the romantic ideal that love is enough to grow and sustain a loving marriage, but that is certainly not the case. 

While physical attraction is important, what is more important is your spouse’s ideals and convictions, and how closely they are in line with your own.  If you are a saver and you willingly enter marriage with a spender, be prepared for routine conflict, and perhaps divorce.

Jan Dahlin Geiger, a financial planner in Atlanta states, “‘Overspending is no different than being an alcoholic or drug addict’ in its effect on a relationship.  ‘What one person is doing could have a huge negative impact on the couple’s finances’” (USA Today).  Likewise, spenders may hide their purchases from you and incur debt you do not know about.

Of course, overspending is not the only financial problem couples might face. 
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Reflections on a Frugal Japanese Life

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It is no secret that Americans are not good at saving.  

In fact, before the economic downturn, Americans were only saving 1% of their income according to The Atlantic.

Compare that to the Japanese, who save 25% of their income, down from a high of 30 to 35% according to Maki, the Japanese woman behind the blog Just Hungry.

My husband was born in Japan and lived there the first 25 years of his life, so I asked him about his experience growing up.  He was at first hesitant to share because he is nearly 40, so he doesn’t feel his family is representative of the way things may now be in Japan.  Still, this is his family’s experience, which I find to be in stark contrast to many American households, even 30 years ago.

His Parents’ Backgrounds

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The Financial and Physical Toll Caused by Lack of Sleep

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Did you get up today and stumble to the coffee maker to make your coffee because you needed the caffeine to wake up?

Do you have dark circles under your eyes and yawn throughout the day?

If so, you may be part of the growing ranks of Americans who are chronically sleep-deprived.

There are many reasons for sleep deprivation ranging from staying up too late to watch tv, trying to do too many tasks, having children (who are notorious sleep robbers), having an overloaded schedule including working full-time and caring for children and a home, to more serious causes such as insomnia and sleep apnea.

Whatever the cause, chronic lack of sleep can have a high toll on your finances.

We are trained to reward those who push themselves, who stay at the office late, work hard, and short change themselves on sleep every night so they can get more done.

However, this societal norm should change because Americans’ lack of sleep has very expensive consequences.

Consider the following financial and physical tolls caused by lack of sleep:

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Earth Day Freebies and Deals – and a Little History Too

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Earth Day was first held on April 22, 1970, and it was lead by Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin.

Nearly 20 million people participated and today, 42 years later, we still celebrate Earth Day, but now, 175 countries celebrate Earth Day.

Earth Day 2012 will also be celebrated on April 22nd (and will be celebrated on that date at least until 2015).

The primary purpose of the day is to bring awareness to environmental issues as well as to focus on reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Of course, proponents of frugality recognize that the things we do to keep Mother Earth healthy are the same things we can do to keep our finances healthy.  By reducing, reusing and recycling, we become more financially conservative.

When you buy a used car, shop at garage sales or your thrift stores or hold your own garage sale or donate items you no longer use, you are saving money and keeping items out of the landfill, which is a win-win.

To celebrate Earth Day this year, several retailers are offering freebies or discounts.  There are plenty of great offers to take advantage of:

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Should I Climb The Corporate Ladder Or Start My Own Business?

When it comes to accumulating wealth, there are 3 main ways to go about it.

  • One, you can work for someone else, get paid a salary and try to save some money with every paycheck;
  • Two, you can make your money work for itself by investing it wisely;
  • And three, you can start your own business and become your own boss.

The 3 choices above are not all equally effective.  In fact, I would say that investing your money wisely and starting your own business are the only truly scalable ways to make money.

First off, what do I mean by scalable?

Let’s take your day job as an example.  If you work for someone else, chances are you are either paid by the hour or paid a fixed salary.  As a result, since there are only 24 hours in a day, there’s is only a finite amount of money that you can possibly make in a given year.

Sure, you might get a small raise from year to year, but in reality you will never be able to make “life changing” money with just your day job.

Now I’m not saying that having a day job is bad.

After all, having a steady salary is an excellent way to make ends meet and pay the bills.  But the best way to expand your pool of wealth is by starting your own business and investing the money that you do accumulate.

The Trap Of Working For Someone Else

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