In Honor of Financial Literacy Month: Back to Basics

April is National Financial Literacy Month, and that means it’s a great time to reflect on your finances, and think about what we can be doing to improve financial literacy for our children, and for others around us.

One of the best places to start when it comes to improving your finances is the basics.

It seems unnecessary to go back to basics; after all, many of us feel like we have the basics down pat.  However, no matter how advanced we think we are in the world of finances, it never hurts to have a refresher on the responsible use of money.

Here are some of the basics to get back to during financial literacy month:

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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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Should You Buy a Bigger House?

Because home prices and mortgage interest rates currently are so low, if you are in a stable financial position, now might be a good time to enter the home buyers’ market or sell your current house and buy a bigger one.

Remember all of the McMansions people built and bought before the housing bubble burst?  Perhaps you are tempted to get your own larger, dream home.

The question is, should you?

If you have weathered the current recession and have the funds, those beautiful, large houses that were built just fifteen to twenty years ago may be tempting.  Even if the price on a larger house is one you can afford, think carefully before upsizing.  With an upsize comes many other upsized costs.

Consider the following if you want to buy a bigger house:

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Do You or Your Spouse Handle the Finances Solely? Why This Might Not be a Good Idea

When a couple gets married, one of the first things that have to decide is who will pay the bills and make financial decisions.

Ideally, both people in the relationship would make joint decisions and have open discussions about their finances, but unfortunately, this seems to rarely happen.  Instead, they may talk out large purchases, but the day to day household spending, budgeting and bill paying seems to fall on one partner.

This is generally a bad idea for both parties.

What Can Go Wrong When One Spouse Handles the Finances Solely

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What Would You Do If Your Spouse Died?

There are few things in life as traumatizing as the death of a spouse.

Whether your spouse passes suddenly, in an accident, or suffers from a long-standing illness, it’s hard to face life without your companion and partner.

And one of the most difficult things to work through is the money.

When you lose a spouse, there are financial implications — especially if you aren’t the primary breadwinner.

While it isn’t pleasant to think about the loss of a spouse, the fact of the matter is that you need to consider the possibility, and come with a plan to ensure that your finances survive the blow.

What are Your Options?

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Mint.com Review – Manage Your Money Online Free

Having trouble tracking and managing your finances? Maybe you need a little help!

There are web based financial management tools that can help you get the job done if that’s where you need to go.

At the top of the list is Mint.com.

Should you try it and see if it can help with your money management?  Millions of people are doing just that.

Mint.com Review

What is Mint.com?

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The Three Best Financial Moves You Can Make for Your Child

My grandmother was a young bride during the Great Depression, and some of the frugality she practiced during that time never left her. When I was young, I routinely saw her washing aluminum foil and plastic bags for reuse.

She and my grandfather lived in a trailer park during retirement to minimize their monthly expenses, and when my grandpa died at 88 and later my grandma at 90, they still had a enough money left to give a small inheritance to their nine children.

That type of sacrifice and money management is seen less often nowadays.

In fact, we routinely hear about college students who graduate with thousands of dollars in both student loan and credit card debt and struggle to find a job and pay their bills.

Yet, as a parent, there are three important things you can do for your teen to put them on the financial track that will lead to a life of prosperity.

Three Best Financial Moves You Can Make for Your Child

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