Monday, May 21, 2012

Steps for a Happy Marriage, Money-Wise

Newlyweds and couples moving toward marriage, take note: Love, as it turns out, is not all you need. Failing to do so can lead to serious trouble.

"Mature, responsible conversations about money are a sign of a marriage that's going to be healthy and wonderful and enduring," says Brooke Salvini, a certified financial planner based in San Louis Obispo, Calif. "If you can't talk about money when you are dating, that is a red flag right there."

To get the conversation rolling, here are seven steps experts recommend to steer clear of potential marital money troubles:

Before corporations merge, both sides get a close look at each others financial records. Take the same approach before you get hitched.  Swap statements for your bank accounts, credit cards, student loans, retirement accounts and so on. Also share credit reports and FICO scores.

"Not only can you start to put together a balance sheet of what the two of you own and what your debts are, you can start to discuss 'do we want to combine our checking account?'" says Salvini.

A huge part of getting in sync with your spouse begins with discussing major life goals and the necessary financial commitments.  Discuss short-term goals, such as paying off credit card debt or buying a car, and longer-term goals such as buying a house, then craft a budget that sets you clearly on a path toward your goals.

Failing to create and stick to a mutually agreed budget can lead to marital strife.  It doesn't have to be complicated. Start by listing monthly income. Be sure to add in interest earned on money-market accounts and dividends from any investments. Then add up expenses, from car payments and rent to groceries, gym membership and utilities.  If you're making more than you spend each month, you can begin planning how to set aside money for an emergency fund, and for long-term financial goals.
If you are spending more than you earn, it's time to consider ways to cut spending.

Many newlyweds see the money they earn individually as their own, much as if they might merely be roommates. They keep separate bank accounts and pitch in, perhaps equally, or not, to pay bills.
But that can lead to problems, especially if one spouse earns a lot more than the other, says Anthony Chambers, a clinical psychologist at the Family Institute at Northwestern University.  If both spouses work, he suggests they arrange for their paychecks to be deposited directly into a joint account used to pay all shared expenses. If they feel they need to have some of their own money in a separate account, that's fine. But Chambers says that money should come from the joint account, so both spouses know where the household's money is going.

It's not necessary to make your spouse a joint account holder on your credit cards, especially if he or she has a poor credit history, which can drag down your own credit rating. Instead, make your spouse an authorized user of your credit cards. This will avoid any potential impact to your credit rating. Authorized users are also able to check account balances and track spending on the card.

In marriage as in most other scenarios, money is power. Although splitting household costs down the middle may work early in a relationship, it can breed resentment in a marriage when one spouse makes a lot more money than the other. It also can foster a sense that the person who pays more should have more say in financial matters.

"Very few things in marriage are exactly 50-50," says Chambers. "And that can really start to bring up all of these other issues of fairness."  Even if costs aren't split down the middle, it's important that each spouse have equal say in money decisions.

Even after you've reviewed all the financial paperwork, it's even more important to find out how your spending habits match up.  Often those habits are developed early and are entrenched. One person might have grown up in a family that counted every penny. Another might part far more easily with money because shopping became a hobby.  Beyond how much someone likes to spend, there are potential conflicts over what we see as a must-have.  Even small differences can become wedge issues.

"The central task of marriage is the management of differences," says Chambers. "So you want to be able to know early on what those differences are."

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*Article source: USA Today

Thursday, May 10, 2012

3 Top Tips To Get Your Marriage Back On Track

An interesting article with 3 tips for how to get your marriage back on track.


All marriages go through their ups and downs. Unfortunately, when the rough periods outweigh the happy times the marriage can quickly become unbearable.  As a result you might end up feeling stuck in your marriage but are paralyzed by fear and anxiety over what to do.  But doing nothing is the worst thing you can do.  You need to take positive action to remedy the problems and get your marriage back on track

In this article I will be discussing 3 key elements which will help you to get your marriage back on the straight and narrow.

1. Improve communication in your marriage.

You need to identify your marriage issues and pinpoint the areas of conflicts.   If it helps, write them all down on a piece of paper first and then go through them with your spouse.  You both need to have a frank and honest discussion about what upsets you in the marriage.

This should be a positive discussion, so don’t start throwing accusations at each other.  Talking with anger and resentment will sabotage your efforts and stifle your progress.  Start splitting the issues into small pieces and tackle them one at a time. No subject should be out of bounds: sensitive topics like money, sex, housework, or disciplining the kids are often at the forefront of many couple’s marital problems.

Once you have pinpointed the problems, you need to set the ground rules and create an active plan of action on how you are going to reduce the conflict in your marriage, manage your problems and set the tone for a much more peaceful life together.

2) Kill the tension

Stop holding grudges.  Once you’ve tackled the problem areas and decided on a plan of action you need to take the gloves off and start working on making the marriage better.   This often means letting go of your negative feelings and learning how to be more positive towards your partner.

Constant tension in a marriage creates an unhealthy atmosphere full of hostility, resentment and bitterness which tears a couple apart.  It might mean that you both need to forgive each other for things done in the past, but removing the tension will dramatically improve your marriage and will give you a much better chance to be happy again.

3) Make time for your couple
Sometimes, with a hectic schedule of work and childcare, the couple’s basic needs can become too easily forgotten.  If you are both busy with your careers during the week and then try to cram everything else at week-ends, it leaves you no time to nurture your relationship with your spouse.
In a healthy relationship, couples take time to show affection to each other and express their love for one another.

To help you grow together as a couple, you should try and make a date night at least once a week.   This is a time to enjoy each other’s company, reconnect with your partner and satisfy your needs for sexual intimacy.

Conclusion: Marriage is about giving and taking.  To get your marriage back on track requires efforts and commitments from both spouses.  You need to take care of your couple and make time to nurture your relationship with your spouse.

Ultimately to move into a new happier future together you need to make your marriage your top priority.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

We need your help!

Irion Books needs you!  We are looking for individuals that want to help contribute to the update we will be doing to the book Divorce Hell.  The book Divorce Hell is Charles Irion’s cautionary tale about the wild ride of divorce, together with his advice on how to get off the marriage-divorce-marriage merry-go-round. The book contains a history of odd divorce rituals, Irion’s descriptions of his own divorces, other people’s horror stories, lurid celebrity break-ups, offbeat prenuptial agreements, all topped off by Irion’s Salvation Guide to jump start your efforts to avoid divorce and achieve a strong marriage.

How can you help?  We are looking for anyone that can share their own horror stories, or marriage and/or divorce advice they would give someone going through the same situation they themselves experienced.  If we print your story, you can choose to either remain anonymous in the book, or we would love to print your name as contributor.

If you think you have the story or advice we're looking for, please email Jennifer at