Marital Money

Couple’s Financial Planning

Financial College Saving PlanAlthough saving for baby is a good idea, it can also feel like a big task. However, with a little determination and a little help along the way, you will be sure that your little ones are cared for far into the financial future. Below is information about The College Life Grow Up Plan from Gerber, which is a good example of the kinds of savings accounts and plans available to make couple’s financial planning and saving money for those college bills easier down the road.

There are various products out there that allow you to save for college, obtain life insurance, and set aside some money for the future of your kids. The Gerber Life College Plan is great because it is a secure and flexible way to save for your baby. The plan features:

  • A secure way to save money that is free from market fluctuations.
  • Unlike more traditional plans like the 529 plan or educational IRAs, the grow up plan is flexible and allows you to use the money for college, or anything else!
  • Coverage doubles when the policy matures at age 18, 19, or 20 years of age, as long as premiums are always paid.
  • Life insurance is also included and paid in full upon death of the policy holder.
  • The policy has a guaranteed payout upon maturity of $10-20,000 or the option to continue coverage.

College FundThe Gerber Life College Plan is unique, but there are more plans out there that include savings for college and life insurance, or a combination, that will fit your family’s needs. The most important thing here is that you are getting peace of mind. Knowing that there is money tucked away is a great factor in feeling sound and secure. Reap the rewards of your hard work by setting aside money for the kids – it’s the best thing you can do for them and for you.

The important thing is that you are saving for the future of your baby. You could use a regular savings account or even a plain old shoe box stuffed with bills in the closet and you would be doing the right thing. The Gerber Life College Plan is one of many that offer great ways to save for college or just about anything. Remember to pat yourself on the back for taking this big step. Consider the help of a financial therapist to discuss your concerns with money and couple’s financial planning.

Money and Emotions

How to Disentangle Them . . .

emotional spendingMoney and emotions are intricately linked. Most of us know the feeling of wanting to spend to make ourselves feel better after a hard day at work or after a stressful activity.

Even if we phrase it to ourselves different — “I want a manicure as a treat” or “expensive chocolates would taste good now” – the desire to have those things is linked to a desire to spend in order to care for ourselves, to reward ourselves, or to protect ourselves from stress.

Spending emotionally is only a problem when you are overspending. To some degree, everybody spends emotionally, whether it’s for a great suit to make oneself feel important or entrance to a nightclub to dance the night away.

If you’re overspending because you spend emotionally. You need to curtail it.

The first step out of the web of money and emotions is to become aware of why we might be spending when we either binge spend (rack up big purchases or a lot of little ones suddenly, for things we don’t really need) or go way over budget for the month.

First, plan a rough budget for all the necessities: rent/mortgage, food, transportation, clothes, anything else you need on a steady basis.

Second, if you binge spend or go way over budget, examine your purchases. Why did you make them? Write it down or record it on your computer. Why? Well, in order to take action, you need to define what the feelings were. You need to get it out of your head, too, and into someplace else, like a journal or an audio/video diary.

Once you know why you did something, analyze what you can do differently the next time you get a trigger like that. Ex-husband driving you crazy? Call a friend and share emotions rather than spend.

Combining Finances as a Couple

couples and their financesSometimes there seems to be a lot of hype surrounding couples and their finances.  Everyone is looking for a magic formula that will somehow allow them to comfortably fill their bank account, while effortlessly bringing peace and harmony to their relationship.  In reality, there is no one magic formula that works for all couples.  What works for one particular couple might create issues if another couple tried the same method.

Managing money is simply one more task that most individuals have to address throughout their lifetime.  Just as with household chores, childcare activities and work responsibilities, couples must carve out a plan that works for their unique needs.  Above all, couples must understand the peace and harmony of their relationship is their number one priority.  Once they understand their relationship’s integrity is what is truly important, they can negotiate and delegate the various responsibilities of life between the two of them, including money management.

Some couples might find it works best to put one of them in charge of the finances who makes sure all the bills are paid and the other partner receives what amounts to an allowance for inconsequentials.  Other couples find it works best to keep separate accounts.  They divvy up the monthly obligations and each partner ensures they pay their portion of bills every month.

For long-term financial goals, an annual or semi-annual discussion with each other, much as they would with a financial planner, is a good way to touch base with each other.  Sharing ideas and thoughts and ensuring both parties are comfortable with the trajectory of their long-term plan will go a long way to keeping couples feeling good about their financial future.

As with any partnership, there might be times when the two parties simply do not agree with each other.  This is where compromise and negotiating comes into play.  For example, if your spouse wants to save 20% of your combined take-home pay and you want to save 5%, compromise at 10% or 12%.  Each partner might not get everything they wanted, but both parties did receive at least a portion of their desires and that is probably enough to maintain harmony within their relationship.

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