A simple guide to combining finances in your relationship

Editor’s note: Rianka R. Dorsainvil, CFP® is the founder and president of Your Greatest Contribution (YGC), a virtual, fee-only comprehensive financial planning firm dedicated to serving entrepreneurs, first-generation wealth builders and thriving professionals in their late 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Rianka also hosts 2050 TrailBlazers, a podcast aimed to address the lack of diversity in the financial planning profession by engaging industry experts and leaders in conversation.


Each of us has something I like to call our “money story.” We learn about money from the time we’re just a few years old all the way through our adult lives, and the experiences we have along the way — both good and bad — shape how we think about and what we do with our money.

So it’s no wonder that nearly half of all Americans in a serious relationship fight about money. When two people try to join their money stories together, things get a little bumpy. The key is figuring out how to communicate and compromise on how to manage your family finances.

Open up communication

Diving into your money stories and opening up lines of communication before you join your finances is paramount. Getting a feel for how you two each manage money individually, what your backgrounds are, and why you feel the way you do is important.

A recent situation a colleague shared with me is a prime example of why communication and honesty in financial discussions with your partner matters. My friend was meeting with a soon-to-be married couple, and one of them wanted to keep a separate account with only her name on it. Her fiancé was, understandably, a little bit put off by this opinion.

“Why would you need to hide money from me?” He wondered out loud, with my friend (their financial planner) in the room.

It took some exploration, but it eventually came out that this woman’s mother was left penniless when her husband walked out on her. Since then, she’d been very drawn to the idea of being financially independent of her spouse — even if she trusted him completely.

This was this woman’s money story. Whether she and her future spouse chose to work through it and completely combine their finances, or respect her wishes and open a separate account that only she had access to, was entirely up to them. But knowing why we look at money the way we do can help to ease tension and avoid judgment.

Spenders and savers

As I said, everyone approaches money differently, but, broadly speaking, there are two basic categories of people: spenders and savers.

If you are a spender and your significant other is a saver, financial tensions might come to the surface more quickly. Remember, your life experiences probably pushed you toward either the spender or saver category. Keeping that in mind, the next step is to lay out a game plan.

If you’re both savers

When both couples in a relationship are savers, you may experience built up bitterness as neither of you ever “splurge” on the things that make life worth living. Whether that’s vacations, fun events, or time spent together — you two should sit down and have a conversation about where these things fit into your budget, because they’re important!

If you’re both spenders

If both people in a relationship are natural spenders, they may experience a communication breakdown around who is spending on what when. When finances are shared, and you’re both spending at-will, it can be tough to stick to a budget, or move toward long-term financial goals like retirement savings or debt repayment.

A to-do list of shared finances

When combining finances with your significant other, I recommend tackling a few different “to-do’s” before you get your new joint accounts up and running:

1. Talk about your money stories and your values.
This conversation isn’t always going to be comfortable! Don’t be afraid to dig deeper with one another to get to the “why” behind how you manage money.

2. Set ground rules.
The only time people are upset is when they’re surprised. This is why it’s so important to set ground rules for spending. The #1 rule to set is how much each of you is allowed to spend without clearing it with your partner first. For some couples, they set a small spending limit to facilitate regular spending conversations. Other couples allow for more flexibility in personal spending but impose a limit to force a discussion about big purchases.

3. Figure out the logistics.
Personally, my husband and I have three checking accounts. We have one joint checking account, and we each have our own “allowance” account that has money deposited into it twice a month. Bills and shared expenses come out of our single joint checking account. But our individual accounts can be used for whatever we’d like.

4. Have a shared budget.
I love You Need a Budget for this purpose. You can set spending categories, financial goals (like saving and debt repayment), and track your progress together using the same software.

Dig deeper

I also think it’s important, especially when you’re about to make a big money move like joining finances with a significant other, to dig a little bit deeper into your unique money habits and stories. Sometimes, not everything we believe about money comes directly from our personal history. Systemic financial oppression, the racial wealth gap, and cultural financial attitudes all come into play when we think about how we view money.

I work with many people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and others from different minority groups. The unfortunate truth is that our money stories are often shaped by what society tells us we can and can’t do with money — and the opportunities we’re given as a result of our privilege or lack thereof.

My friend and colleague Brian Thompson, CFP®, has written about how the racial wealth gap impacts individuals. Systemic racism over time has resulted in practices such as redlining (or discriminating against people of color by “redlining” the neighborhoods they lived in), pushing non-white families into land contracts that were priced high and easy to lose. Today, the typical black family with a degree lags behind their white counterpart by more than $200,000 in accumulated wealth, largely as a result of discriminatory financial practices that were culturally accepted for the past several centuries.

It’s worth having a discussion about the racial wealth gap with your partner, or talking about your personal experience with systemic racism because it’s absolutely impacting how you manage and view your money.

Managing sudden wealth: What not to do with your money

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT/SWD) – What should you do if you suddenly receive a large amount of money?

It seems like this would be a great problem to have, but it sometimes gets people in trouble.

Matt Dicken, CEO and founder of Strategic Wealth Designers talks about the first things someone should consider if they suddenly receive a lot of cash.

Want to improve managing your money? Here are 7 tools

South Africa’s financial ecosystem is one of the most sophisticated in the world. With a variety of institutions and products available, it can be complicating sifting through them looking for a simple solution to your problem. 

For the most part, however, finance is boring. Fortunately, with the recent disruption of traditional offerings, new platforms are popping up that look to bring fun into finance and are much more approachable for the user.

This list looks at seven top South African products disrupting the traditional way of doing finance:

1. 22seven is an app that allows you to have a snapshot of all of your accounts at once. You can link banking, saving and investment accounts to the app to give you an easy-to-view dashboard of your finances. It’s visually appealing, user friendly and downloadable on both the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store. 

2. A local email newsletter called Digest helps readers stay on top of the world of finance and economics in SA. What we like about this one is how approachable it makes otherwise complex subject matter. From casual, understandable language to its use of GIFs and emojis to keep things light – it’s worth checking out. Sign-up is free and they only send one short email each weekday morning – a great addition to breakfast.

3. Looking for more practical advice about managing your money? Manage Your Money Like A F*cking Grown-Up is a recently launched book that looks to demystify some of the biggest financial decisions we make. The casual tone and conversational language makes this one an easy read. You can buy it online or in bookstores nationwide. They also have a Facebook group that provides great tips and advice.

4. You may not realise that the product you’re using to save for your holiday or education doesn’t actually give you the best interest rate. Mytreasury is a comparison site for savings products. By providing information on your planned savings, they help you understand how to maximise your interest earnings and even request product providers to contact you. 

5. Looking for more complex investment products? EasyEquities offers a platform for investing in the stock market. It hosts both individual stocks and funds that you can invest into. You can even open a tax-free investment account here. They have a range of educational content as well to help you with your investment journey, but they also have a focus on keeping things light-hearted and fun. 

6. Avoiding once-off expenses is key to avoiding financial woes. Mobile phones and laptops are often not insured despite their high-risk of damage or theft. Insurance can help protect you against a stressful loss. Local startup, Pineapple, makes insuring fun with their image recognition tech to insure your belongings and only takes a couple of minutes end-to-end. Their app is available for iPhone or Android. 

7. For the brave out there, Luno is a local favourite when it comes to trading and investing in cryptocurrencies. With it’s simple user interface and bank of educational content, it makes it easy for the first time buyer to start testing the waters. It has successfully expanded into various other countries – proving it’s user friendliness. 

With an increased focus on fintech, it’s going to be interesting to see what 2019 brings. 

* Dhanyal Davidson CA(SA) is a local cofounder within the fintech arena and is part of the RMB AlphaCode program.

Shatta Wale gives tips on how to manage money and relationships

The “Island’ hit maker engaged his loyal fans in a QA session on Twitter dubbed #TimeWith Shatta.

He was made to answer a host of questions ranging from his fears, regrets and his targets for the year 2019.


Dancehall artiste Shatta Wale

Shatta Wale also offered to give tips on how one can best manage money and relationships after a fan asked a related question.

The said fan asked: “Tell me in one sentence how to manage money, relationship and God.”

The SM boss tactfully replied that in order to juggle the aforementioned effectively, all one needs is to be disciplined.

“Discipline, you have to be very disciplined,” Shatta Wale simply responded.

Asked by another fan what motivates him to overcome challenges, he answered: “Humility, respect and most importantly the fear of GOD.”

Manage my life: Meal prep parties save families time and money

All this week on Today in St. Louis we’re working to help you manage your life.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase Sunday Funday. Well, it’s taken on a whole new meaning with a trend that’s cooking up all over the area. It’s called meal prepping and it’s helping families eat healthier while saving time and money.

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At a meal prepping party, there are many cooks in the kitchen.

“A messy cook is a good cook,” said host Elizabeth Savens, a personal trainer.  The women at the party are all part of a Facebook group run by Savens.

“I love it. I’ve been doing it for about seven years now,” said Savens.

Sunday meal prep takes a few hours and saves a ton of time during the week. The group comes prepared with ingredients for 5 recipes, and those ingredients need to be quadrupled.

“I have four kids and we have a very busy lifestyle so if I can have something in the refrigerator that I can take out and pop in the oven it will make my life a little bit easier,” said one of Savens’ meal prepper guests.


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When they leave the party, each party attendee will be able to take home five meals to feed their families.

“I just love it because I know I’m making healthy foods for my family and I get to spend time with friends,” said one meal prepper.

“It’s about creating relationships and basically women being on the same journey as one another,” explained Savens.

If you’re interested in joining her fitness group you can find more info here: https://www.facebook.com/mybestfitnessfriends/

If cooking isn’t your thing, no worries. There are a ton of meal planning services all throughout the St. Louis area.

Here are a few:

Time for Dinner has delivery and carry-out options for meals. You can also schedule a cooking class to broaden your menu at home. https://www.timefordinner.com/

The Art of Entertaining is a great place to pick up pre-made meals. They offer frozen or fresh lunch and dinners.  

Pure Plates offers meal plans where you can choose from different diet options. They offer delivery. 

CC Butcher offers classes for meal preppers with a wide variety of meal options.

Teaching high school students how to manage money

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – An organization called Cents Ability teaches high school students how to figure out personal finances and manage money through free financial literacy programs.

The non-profit said 54% of the students they teach never, or only rarely, discuss money with their parents.   Roy Paul, Executive Director of Cents Ability said “parents don’t talk to their children about money today and that leads to common misconceptions.”

Some advice on how Students can secure a financial future:

• It’s never too soon to start saving: Understand the importance of how saving early can create long term financial success. When you save early, you can accumulate more wealth even if you save more later in life.
• Financial impacts of student loans: Know how much you’re going to have to pay back before you take out student loans. Many students are shocked once they graduate and receive their first repayment bill.
• Develop a budget: Many students earn jobs during the summer and in some cases during school and do not put money away for a rainy day – get into the habit now. We recommend 20% of your check should go into a savings account that you should try not to touch until you really need it.
• Good vs. Bad usage of credit: There are good and bad ways to use a credit card. Many don’t understand that you have to pay that money back — with interest! What are your needs versus your wants?

For more information click here.

NKU’s Center for Economic Education creates financial literacy micro-credential for educators – User

Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Economic Education (CEE) announces an Economics and Financial Literacy Education Micro-Credential to address a new requirement passed by the Kentucky Legislature. House Bill 132 set financial literacy standards as a requirement for graduation starting with students entering ninth grade in 2020.
 
Housed in the Haile/US Bank College of Business, CEE’s new micro-credential will provide educators with the content and methods required to teach economics and personal finance to K-12 students– something currently not offered anywhere else within the state of Kentucky.

“Teachers will finish the program understanding how to engage their classroom with financial literacy, but there is also an added benefit for their students and the school,” said Dr. Abdullah Al-Bahrani, director of NKU’s CEE. “Once they complete the micro-credential, educators can to apply to teach Pathways to Financial Success, NKU’s financial literacy course, to their students for dual credit at any state school.”
 
The Economics and Financial Literacy Education Micro-Credential follows national standards and will be aligned to Kentucky’s new standards once they are announced in May. It ensures all Kentucky high schools can implement the required financial literacy standards.
 
Amy Razor, executive director of Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services (NKCES), recommends districts to send their teachers through CEE’s micro-credential, “This micro-credential, along with the current on-going support provided by NKU’s Center for Economic Education, will be a needed resource for our districts and region. With limited professional development funds and gaps in content knowledge for financial literacy, this will be a valued commodity.”
 
The micro-credential consists of two courses Economics and Financial Literacy for Educators and Teaching Economics and Financial Literacy Topics, with offerings beginning in June. The courses will be delivered in a hybrid format lasting four-weeks and plans are underway to create a fully online curriculum.
 
“We are excited to meet the need of financial literacy in high schools,” said Johnna Reeder Kleymeyer, interim dean of the Haile/US Bank College of Business. “Learning to manage money is key to financial success as an adult. The Haile/US Bank College of Business is proud to be the first to market a program that aids educators in delivery this important content.”
 
The CEE promotes financial literacy and economic education through direct training and partnerships with teachers at all levels (K-16). By providing educators with the resources and curriculum, the center helps bridge the gap of professional development and supporting Kentucky teachers. For more information about participating in the Economics and Financial Literacy Education Micro-Credential, please call (859) 572-5799 or visit its website.
 

5 Money Questions to Ask Before Moving in Together

When I first moved in with my boyfriend, we only talked about money once. Specifically, we discussed how much to spend on rent, and I’m pretty sure it was settled via text (actually, BBM — this was 2010), and quickly. Not that there was much to hash out. We both wanted to pay about the same amount that we had previously, which was about the same as each other. That was that.

Once we officially co-signed a lease, we celebrated by co-purchasing a doormat with both of our names on it. Then we continued to split costs the way we always had — down the middle, like roommates. We wrote separate rent checks. If I ate the yogurt he’d bought, I replaced it. We even paid for separate laundry services, for reasons I don’t remember but apparently made sense at the time. We skirted the topic of money so thoroughly that we didn’t have our first financial disagreement until we were planning our wedding five years later. (Flowers. I still wish we’d had more of them.)

Learning to manage money… The fun way!

Upon entering Chick’s Burgers in Baldwin, Tuesday, the greeting on the chalk board to the right of the door read, “Today is the day to do something great. Welcome to Chicks.”
Tuesday was the day for it, to be sure. That was the day Community of Friends met at Chick’s for their Valentines lunch and monthly get together.
However, COF Founder Jennifer Collins-Lanceslin had prepared something special for this Valentines lunch.
She gifted each of the program’s participants with their own calculator and a $10 budget.
They were given menus and told that they could order their lunches after calculating the cost of their meal, including tax, to stay under the budgeted $10.
One-by-one, participants and their caregivers approached the counter, after plotting out their choices according to cost and means, and made their orders.
It was a real-time, real world exercise in money management.
If the smiles were any indication, the exercise was a success.
“The whole idea,” Collins-Lanceslin said, “was to give them (participants) a life-skills lesson in budgeting. So, they budgeted a Valentines lunch for $10. They have experienced coming to a restaurant, making their order and paying for their order while having a wonderful and relaxing time in a beautiful atmosphere,” she said, gesturing to the Valentines décor in the dining room.
The lunch had also been made possible with the help of Chick’s Owner Tricia Mestayer, who Collins-Lanceslin said assisted with the idea’s implementation, and who took all the orders with the help of staff, and presented participants with Valentines gift bags for dessert.
COF usually meets on the second Tuesday of every month at the Baldwin Branch Library, but this Tuesday was an exception.
Collins-Lanceslin said her inspiration is that she always felt like “there is so much we can do, and I just want to be that person.
“It doesn’t take a lot. It just takes the willingness to do whatever you can do.”
COF is always accepting donations as they are a non-profit organization.
Donations can be sent to: Community of Friends Incorporated, PO Box 316, Baldwin, LA, 70514.
The next COF event is March’s Motorcade and Walk of Love/Community Resource, Health and Career Fair to be held on the 12th.
The motorcade and Walk of Love will begin at 10 a.m. on Main Street in Baldwin and will end at the intersection of Chitimacha Trail and Martin Luther King Street.
The Community Resource, Health and Career Fair will begin immediately following the Walk of Love and will be held at Baldwin Community Center from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The event is open to the public and is in celebration of March as Developmental Disability Awareness Month.
For more information, contact COF at: communityoffriends2014@yahoo.com or call Jennifer Collins-Lanceslin at 337-346-1006 or call Janice B. Mitchell at 337-940-2792.
Collins-Lanceslin thanked the public for all its support and closed with, “It doesn’t matter how little you give, our hearts are big and receiving.”

Lessons From the Rich and Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah to Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage


Seven-figure paychecks are enough to buy a lifetime of financial security, right? Well, not exactly. Despite making millions, seemingly wealthy celebrities often have a tough time keeping their heads above the financial waters. Johnny Depp spending $3 million to fire Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes out of a cannon, or Nicholas Cage shelling out $150,000 for a pet octopus, are both prime examples of how lavish lifestyles can quickly lead to debt. The two A-listers are part of a long list of actors, musicians, athletes, etc. — including Floyd Mayweather, 50 Cent and Curt Schilling — who have all experienced financial troubles.

Related: 6 Habits Longtime Millionaires Rely On to Stay Rich

While there’s nothing wrong with celebrities enjoying their earnings, a little budgeting can go a long way. Just take a look at Tori Spelling. After failing to pay a balance of more than $35,000, the actress was taken to court by American Express. Another example is 80s movie star Corey Haim. He became so desperate for cash after filing for bankruptcy he tried to sell his own tooth on eBay for $150, which didn’t get any buyers.

Avoid falling into any of these situations by keeping a close eye on your spending. Regardless of how much you make, the following few budgeting tips promise to help you practice safe and responsible money management.

Put a plan in place.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans lose sleep over their finances. Get a good night’s rest by figuring out where your money should be going long before it’s in your bank account. Spending without a plan, even if it’s only splurging on a one-time event, can have unintended consequences. One example of this is former NFL star Vince Young — after dropping $300,000 on his own birthday party he was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Another example is Mike Tyson, who went into debt after overspending on Bengal tigers, 110 cars and a $2-million bathtub.

That doesn’t mean you can never treat yourself, but make sure you’re not spending money faster than you can earn it. Set up a series of “fun funds” each month to splurge on nonessentials. Depending on what else you have going on that month, each fund should be adjusted accordingly. If, for example, you’re heading out to a friend’s wedding, there may be a little less left over for eating out. Stay up to date on your spending by downloading a budgeting app. The easier it is to see where you are for that month, the better chance you have of staying under budget.

Related: A 26-year-old Woman Racked up $10,000 of Debt After Trying to Become an Instagram Star — and it Reveals a Huge Issue With the Platform

Carry around some cash.

Credit cards are becoming the most common payment method among consumers. The average American currently carries around three credit cards at any given time. While they may be more convenient, credit cards can easily lure consumers into a false sense of security. After all, a simple swipe or tap is often all it takes to complete a purchase. However, it’s important to take time to research any costly items thoroughly and ensure you won’t regret them like Nicholas Cage. He learned this lesson the hard way when he blew $276,000 on a dinosaur skull that he was forced to return after it was discovered to be an illegal import.

Curb some of your impulse spending during a night out by bringing enough cash for the occasion. In addition to avoiding spending money you don’t have, you’ll also sidestep costly ATM fees at establishments that only accept cash. Whether it means stopping by your bank on the first of every month or getting cash back at the grocery store, do whatever it takes to have a little bit of cash on hand. As you cut back on credit card purchases, your chances of falling into debt should begin to dwindle.

Related: 11 Effective Ways to Trick Yourself Into Saving Money

Lean on an expert.

When it comes to your finances, take a lesson from the likes of Oprah, Tyga and Hugh Jackman, who invest in financial and life coaches. Many celebrities, including Oprah, attribute their success to their coaches helping put them on the right path. Even celebrities are human and can find it difficult to stick to budgeting goals. Personalized features of a comprehensive coaching program, such as daily check-in texts and bi-weekly budget reviews, promise to provide you with the encouragement needed to remain accountable even as the going gets tough.

Better yet, a financial coach can take your individual goals into account. Say you decide to start a family or need to make a cross-country move. Instead of wondering what that might mean for your budget, you can work with a financial coach to modify your spending habits and investments long before a change comes to fruition.

Budgeting goes beyond class. No matter how much you make, responsible money management has shown itself to be a necessity. Avoid following in the footsteps of celebrities who face serious financial trouble by keeping a close eye on where your money is going. As we’ve seen all too often, failing to do so can mean losing millions. Simple steps — including creating a spending plan, occasionally relying on cash and reaching out to an expert — can help you achieve financial security sooner rather than later.

And if you plan carefully enough, you might just end up with the funds you need for that pet octopus.