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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Contemplating Marriage? Love Is Not All You Need

Close up of young couple fighting

The Beatles famously sang, “All you need is love, love, love, love is all you need.”

So many of us buy into this simplistic belief and think that love conquers all.

Many of us rush into marriage and ignore the red flags that are before us, thinking problems will work themselves out after we are married.  The sad truth is that marriage often serves to amplify problems, not solve them.

Kathy Chu of USA Today puts it perfectly when she states,

“If love is the tie that binds couples together, money is often the wrench that pries them apart.”

Maybe in the past arguments about money in marriage could be blamed on societal pressures for people to marry early and for the expectation of the wife to quietly allow her husband to make the financial decisions, but those days are long gone in our society.

Now, women often make more than the men they marry.
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Is Your High Power Job Worth the Sacrifice?

Many students go to college and pursue known money-making degrees—engineering, computer science, and business among a few of them.

They may pursue these career tracks because they are truly interested in the field, or they may choose them because they want to be financially comfortable during their lifetimes and they know that a lowly English major, while pursuing her passion, will never be rich.  (Ask me how I know.)

Follow these individuals 20 years later when they have achieved a great deal of financial success, and you may find them less delighted with both their lives and their chosen career paths.

A High Power Corporate Job Isn’t All It Seems

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