More Than Finances

Get your finances in order!

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Couples and joint bank accounts – how to make it work best?

Apart from love, family and an eternity of happiness, there are many other ‘practical’ advantages of being in a couple. A lot of these advantages are to do with affordability. When you decide to take the step of merging two households to become one, you are going to be drastically reducing your monthly payments, but you need to make sure you do this in the right way, and for the right reasons.

Before you get carried away with all that extra cash you’re going to have for holidays, cars and whatever else your heart desires… it’s important you fully understand the situation and make an effort for it to work.

Below we have outlined a few tips, which will hopefully make the situation work best…

Are you comfortable speaking about money together?

Before you sign up to sharing your finances in any way, you need to establish whether you can talk about money together. Some people, for whatever reasons, find discussions around money very uncomfortable. If this is the case, then you may want to wait a while, as it could put a serious strain on your relationship.

You don’t know what financial issues your future holds – good or bad, so it’s important you work out whether your relationship is mature enough for discussions about money.

How many bank accounts do you need?

You need to sit down with your partner and assess your needs. Do you need one bank account for bills, one for saving and one current account? Do you do it all through one account? Do you want to keep a secret savings account away from your partner? You need to discuss this as you may have completely different ideas about what you think is best.

How separate are you going to keep it?

Having a shared bank account doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to get rid of your current account. It could be that you compromise, so that you keep your own bank account and are paid in to this. You could then have a joint account for mortgage and bills or perhaps just a joint savings account that could be easily sorted, if the worst happened and you were to split.

Consolidate your credit cards

Through your discussions, you would have talked about your current debts and how you feel about consolidating these. You may find that your best option, if you have credit card debt, is to transfer both balances on to one account. If you were to do this, then it is essential that you compare credit cards online. Sites such as uSwitch provide an easy to use online tool, to make sure you’re getting a deal that works with your current situation.

Post by Sarah

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Essential Nutrients to Help Older Moms Save Money & Stay Healthy

Six healthy habits that will keep families sound in body and pocket book

In recent years, the birth rates have more than doubled for older women in their late thirties and early forties. However, advances in medical care have led more and more women to the decision to have a baby later for many reasons—including because they may be healthier and more financially sound at this point in their lives. However, as women’s bodies’ age, greater issues may arise anytime during the pregnancy, delivery and post-birth stage that can put thier health and finances at risk. And even though the majority of women over 35 experience healthy pregnancies and deliver healthy, happy babies—age can leave older women at heightened risk of certain medical complications during and after pregnancy that will cost them throughout their lives, and that their younger counterparts don’t experience quite as frequently. For instance, older mom’s need to be concerned with things like:

  • Low fertility rates: which can cost upwards of $24,000 out-of-pocket for in vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Miscarriage: which can incur costs for counselling and depression
  • Fetus placement during pregnancy
  • Problems associated with cesarean births: which can delay the return to work and every day activities
  • Neural tube defects e.g., Spina Bifida
  • Still born babies
  • Down Syndrome

These financial risks highlight why monitoring by a qualified physician should be maintained consistently throughout conception, pregnancy and even post-delivery. Regardless of age, every single woman should consult with their doctors if they are planning to get pregnant. This is especially true for women 35 or older with preexisting health issues, such as diabetes, anemia and high blood pressure that can affect pregnancy, delivery and even healing in post-pregnancy bodies. Your doctor will also prescribe the 6 following essential nutrients and healthy habits for older pregnant moms to keep you healthy as well as financially secure:

1. Prenatal vitamins

Upon learning that you are pregnant, your doctor will immediately prescribed a prenatal multivitamin as part of your pregnancy supplement regime to support calcium, iron, folic acid and magnesium intake, which are all vital for keeping your bones strong, skin elasticized, and baby happy and nourished. These are also worth the cost if you consider paying later in life to cover medical costs for osteoperosis or iron deficiency. Once you have been prescribed a certain brand and dosage of prenatal vitamin from your physician, you can chose to fill the prescription via an online through a Canadian pharmacy, where Canadian drugs are about half the price of those you’d buy from your local pharmacy in the U.S. Plus, your order will be conveniently shipped to your address.

2. Folic acid

Your doctor will likely also recommend a separate folic acid supplement, 3 months prior to conception (if you’re trying to have a baby), which you’ll take up to the 12th week of your pregnancy. Folic acid has been linked to lowering the risk of neural tube defects, like Spina Bifida, which can cost approximately $52,000 in medical costs and treatments for the first year of a child’s life. You can also get a healthy daily dose of folic acid by incorporating leafy green vegetables and green organic produce into your diet.

3. Zinc

Medical research shows that inadequate levels of zinc can lead to lowered fertility, especially in women over the age of 35. This means that while you try to get pregnant, your doctor may tell you to eat foods rich in iron as well as take an iron supplement to lower the risk of Anemia and costly medical treatments associated with concieving.

4. Adequate hydration

Water is important to keep your body functioning for two at the optimal level. The recommended daily intake of water should be 8 glasses of water or more each day for pregnant women, which will keep your skin healthy, and flush away sodium retention that results in that dreaded swelling in the feet, hands and legs, and lead to more serious and costly sprains and muscle tears later on.

5. Consume a health, balanced diet

A healthy diet is the perfect balance of fresh fruits, leafy green vegetables, lean proteins, calcium-rich dairy products, heart healthy fats and complex carbohydrates that feature whole grains. Pregnant moms really “are what they eat”—that goes for you and affects your baby too. And of course, this includes cutting your fatty food and caffeine intake, and quitting drinking and smoking, which can cause significantly lower fertility rates and exposes a developing fetus to toxic carbon monoxide and nicotine as well as cut off vital oxygen.

6. Yoga and other exercises

Ensuring your body is in healthy shape, without putting undue stress on you and baby, can help prime your body for pregnancy, birth and recovery post-pregnancy, as well as the costs associated with troublesome births and post-pregancy recovery. Gentle, low impact exercise—including brisk walking, swimming and stretching exercises will put less strain on your joints. Yoga is one form of exercise that serves as beneficial form of activity during pregnancy by gently stretching the pelvic floor and core to help ease back and joint pain throughout pregnancy and aid delivery with minimal discomfort. Yoga is also helpful during the post-natal phase, which new moms can start approximately six weeks after the birth to help strengthen the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, and help the body restore its pre-pregnancy shape.

Post by Brenda

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Working Overtime – A Blessing Or A Curse?

Working Overtime - A Blessing Or A Curse
What would you do if you were asked to work overtime? Jump at the opportunity? Protest adamantly?

How do you decide if working overtime is worth it? It may not be an easy decision to make. Here are some factors to consider when arriving at a decision.



Pay

This is probably the most important factor. How do you know if you get paid to work overtime? Find out if you’re an exempt or non-exempt employee.

If you’re non-exempt, you’ll get paid for overtime. And not only do you get paid for those extra hours, but it’s at a rate of one and a half (1.5) times hour hourly wage. Not a bad deal at all.

If you’re exempt, then unfortunately you’re not entitled to overtime pay.

Purpose Of The Extra Money

If you do get paid for working overtime, do you need the extra money? What would you do with it?

Treat yourself to something nice? Pay off debt? Build up an emergency savings account? Invest for the future?

From reading Your Money Or Your Life, you know that you trade your time and energy for money. If you don’t need the money, maybe you could decline the overtime and put that extra time to better use. What about strengthening your relationships with family and friends? Getting more exercise? Working on a side-business?

Family

If you have a family, consider their input. How will they respond to your decision to work overtime?

Will they be okay with having less time to hang out with you, doing some of the things you usually do together after work? Things such as preparing dinner? Helping the kids with homework? Taking care of the parents?

If you can talk through these issues and come to a resolution that everyone feels good about, then working overtime won’t have a negative effect on your family life.

Health

Do you think the extra hours will have an adverse effect on your health? I did a Google search on working overtime, and some of the top results showed reports that working overtime may be harmful to your heart.

Personally, I can’t say I truly know how stressful working overtime could be, because I don’t like working any longer than 40 hours a week!!!

Could added stress lead to more doctor visits? Could this in turn lead to bigger doctor’s bills, and thus throw away the extra money you just earned?

Time

How much overtime are they asking you to work? How long is it expected to last? If you can get clear expectations from your boss, this may help you in reaching your decision.

Perhaps five extra hours a week for a month or two is okay for you. On the other hand, ten extra hours a week for three months may not be worth it to you.

Opportunity

Maybe this is a chance to build up your list of accomplishments. Could this lead to better opportunities in the future? When your review comes up, could you point to the extra work you completed as a reason to deserve a raise?

What other factors would affect your decision to work overtime? How would you respond if you were asked to work overtime?

This article was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance during the week of May 24, 2010. Check out Adam’s Money Relationship blog for a variety of great articles!

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What’s More Important – Your Money Or Your Life?

In your job, are you making a living? Or are you actually “making a dying”?

Nowadays, many are working more, saving less, and getting into more and more debt. We compensate by living it up on the weekend.

Then it’s more of the same the following week. How many people feel more alive at the end of the day than at the beginning? If you don’t, maybe you’re really “making a dying”.

If that’s how you feel, then reading Your Money Or Your Life will transform the way you relate to money.
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What Financial Season Are You In?

As people move forward in their lives, there is a tendency for the majority of us to go through different financial seasons. During these seasons, our objectives change due to changes in our financial circumstances. These seasons, or phases, can be described as the asset accumulation phase, the conservation and protection phase, and the distribution and gifting phase. Although not all people go through the seasons at the same time or even reach a particular phase, a good amount of people do go through all three phases at some point in their lives. Here is a typical timeline for each phase, along with the common objectives and concerns associated with it.

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