DOMA Goes Down: What Does it Mean for Same-Sex Finances?

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies federal recognition to same-sex couples is unconstitutional.

Due to the ruling, there are a few things that same-sex couples need to consider as they plan their finances in a post-DOMA world.

First: What the Ruling Doesn’t Do

It’s important to note that the ruling doesn’t force all states to recognize same-sex marriages.  In fact, some rather thorny issues are being raised by the ruling, which essentially says the federal government has to recognize as marriage what a state sees as marriage.  So far, only 13 states plus the District of Columbia recognize same-sex unions.  Here’s a list of the states that currently allow same-sex marriage.

If you live in a state where same-sex marriage is recognized, and you are legally married there, there is no problem.

Things get a little dicey if you are married in a state that recognizes same-sex unions and you live in a state that doesn’t recognize such marriages.  If you are married in New York, where same-sex marriage is legal, but move to Utah, where your marriage isn’t recognized, what happens?

That’s something that hasn’t been worked out yet.
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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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Five Ways Fantasy Baseball is Like Personal Finance

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I had my draft for my fantasy baseball league I’m in earlier this week.

I’ve been in the league with these particular guys now for over ten years.  It’s not a money league but we’re real competitive nonetheless.

I gotta say I’m real excited!  Real baseball starting soon (go Mets!!) and I love following baseball along-side my fantasy league.

As I was going through all of my work for the draft I realized that fantasy baseball is a lot like personal finance.  We could probably learn a thing or two about personal finance from fantasy baseball.

Without further ado here are five ways fantasy baseball is like personal finance:

Fantasy baseball and personal finance

Research

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Unsexy Personal Finance: 6 Things You Need to Take Care Of

Personal finance isn’t always the exciting place that we personal finance bloggers seem to think it is.

While there’s something sexy about finding the right index fund for your Roth IRA, there are plenty of other unsexy things that you just have to do.

Unfortunately, some of the most important items related to your financial situation are often the things that are overlooked.

So, while it might be unsexy, here are 6 personal finance actions you need to take:

1. Create a Will

Thinking about death isn’t usually a lot of fun.  But it needs to be done — preferably before it happens.

What will happen to your assets if you die unexpectedly?  Who will care for your children?

These are questions that deserve serious thought, especially if you care about your family.  Consider how you would make sure your children are cared for, and how you would make sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
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Ten Things The Walking Dead Can Teach You About Life and Money

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You don’t really believe a zombie apocalypse will come to fruition, do you?  [Well, not really…]

But you may be one of the millions that loves the AMC show The Walking Dead.

Like most great series you get more than just entertainment from The Walking Dead.  If you pay attention you can learn a lot of great lessons that can help you, even without a zombie-pocolypse.  (This is a continuation of our previous article on our site, 10 Life Lessons from the Television Series “The Walking Dead”.)

Here are ten things to learn from The Walking Dead about life and money:

1. When It Comes to Survival Tools, Simple Is Better

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4 Money Attitudes that Will Lead to Financial Failure

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Sometimes, the way we think about money can have a big impact on how successful we are financially.

It seems strange that your mindset could matter so much, but how you think about money, and what you think is possible, can affect your financial success over time.

Take a few minutes to examine your money attitudes, and determine whether or not they are healthy.  Think about some of the attitudes you have that might be bringing your finances down the road to financial failure, including:

1. I’ll Start Saving When I Make More Money

My husband and I fell victim to this attitude early on in our marriage.  We thought we had to be making a certain amount of money before we could start saving.

Eventually, though, we realized that we needed to start small.  Building the habit, especially with our low income, was more important than anything else.

It’s important to get in the habit of saving.
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Last Minute Fiscal Cliff Deal Kicks Can Down Road and Links

As expected our saints in Congress “came through” at the last possible moment to kick the proverbial debt, tax, and spending can down the road for a little bit.

A deal was struck, the middle class was “saved” — or was it? — and everyone can focus on using this small planned victory in the next election cycle.

…said the cynic.

Nonetheless your taxes won’t be jumping up by 27% next year.  Instead, a 2% discount in the Social Security tax that has been in place for a few years will disappear.  Many will moan and complain about having less money in their pockets and how this is a tax increase.  I see it more as you used to be able to use a coupon someplace, but now the store isn’t accepting 2% off coupons anymore.  The drop from 6.2% tax to 4.2% was meant to be temporary to boost the economy.

Considering the rate has been 6.2% since 1990, hasn’t been below 5% since 1973, and hasn’t been below 6% since 1988… I’d say it is the removal of a discount.  But people will still complain about losing 2% next year, and that’s understandable I suppose.  Just realize that you shouldn’t have had that extra 2% for the last few years, move on, and try to save or earn more money this year.

You can cover that extra 2% in Social Security tax easily by implementing a great financial plan to pay off your debt, earn more money, and save for a rainy day.  Here are some articles to help you do just that:

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