Erik Folgate Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.
It’s no surprise that money is one of the biggest sources of arguments among married couples, and it’s also the number one cause of divorce in North America. When it comes to money, we often butt heads with our spouse.
I could come up with a million different reasons for why we often disagree with our spouse about money, but most of it is simply due to pride, selfishness, and a lack of communication. What we often overlook is that many times we’re not fighting with our spouse over principle, but rather we’re just fighting over details of a certain financial aspect.
Last spring when the iPad came out, I said to myself, “Okay, I guess that means they’re getting rid of the Macbook Air.” Why? Because when the Macbook Air first came out, it didn’t have anywhere near the response that the iPhone or iPad had in terms of amount of sales in record-breaking time. A lot of people did the “Oooo and Ahhh” about the razor thinness of it, but questioned if it was a solid laptop solution for people who had heavy computing needs. Well, I was obviously mistaken about Apple getting rid of it in their product line. Instead, Steve Jobs came out yesterday and said, “The Macbook Air is the next generation of Macbooks.” This didn’t sit well with some of the Mac-heads that rock a 17″ Quad-Core Macbook Pro tricked out with a 2 terabyte hard drive and 8 GB’s of RAM.
Football season is in full swing, and that means you’re probably consuming a lot more beer than you usually do. I’m definitely a fan of beer, but I don’t throw them back like many of you probably can. I also need to admit that I’m sort of a beer snob. I actually drink it for the taste, not just to get a buzz.
I’ll drink Bud Light and Busch in a can if it’s my only option, but otherwise, get that junk out of my face. So, if you don’t like beer and you just drink it because everyone else is, this post isn’t for you. But, if you do like the taste of beer and you’re into the craft beer scene, then I’m sure you know that beer drinking can get a little pricey.
I’ve told you once and I’ll tell you again, playing with credit cards is like playing with snakes. The more you play with them, the more you have the chance of getting bitten. Everyone knew that the fees associated with credit cards were getting completely out of hand, and finally the government acknowledged the predatory fee structure of these cards. As a result, the government recently passed legislation that limited which fees credit card companies are allowed to charge and how much they’re allowed to charge.
If you’ve been following my posts on Money Crashers, I revealed a couple of months ago that my wife and I are expecting our first baby! We’re really excited, but just like all new parents, the fear of the “unknown” is always there. Will I be a good parent? Will our baby be really fussy? Will the day-to-day parenting stuff come naturally once he arrives? Was it the right financial time to have a baby? The last question wasn’t too big of an issue for us. We’ve been trying for our first for a long time now, so we’ve been putting away a “baby fund” for a while now to cover both the expected and unexpected baby expenses.
I read an article today on USA Today about friends and family moving in together to save money during the rough economic times. It got me thinking whether this trend is because the economy isn’t great and unemployment is higher than usual, or if it’s because people are moving back to the “old days” when we seemingly wanted to be closer to our loved ones? Maybe people just want to save money, but it could also be a change in the way that we want to live.
There aren’t a ton of IKEA retail stores in the United States, but if you live in or near a large metropolitan area, you might have one of the Swedish retail behemoths near you. Even if you don’t, you can order some of their products online or from their catalog and have it shipped to your door. IKEA has built a frenzy around the concept because it offers some insanely cheap prices on many of their items, and they get away with it by keeping overhead as low as possible and using extremely efficient operation processes. However, not everything at IKEA is a great buy or worth it.
One of the most important aspects of running a small business is to keep an organized office. With a small operation, there typically isn’t a lot of money in the budget to put into an expensive IT infrastructure, and most small businesses don’t worry about it too much because their small amount of employees allows them to communicate and collaborate easily. However, email is still a huge part of the business world, shared calendars are invaluable, and collaborating on documents that are constantly changing is a big part of service-based small businesses. Google Apps offers all of those features and A LOT more. If you own a small business and you don’t want to pay $300 per MS Office license, then keep reading.
My pastor has been doing a mini-series on stewardship and personal finance the past couple of weeks, and a lot of it was very practical, but the final week was more about how our hearts and personal tastes dictate how generous we are and how that affects the choices we make with our money. When you boil it down, making a financial decision with our money comes down to needing something versus wanting something. There is sometimes a very fine line and sometimes it’s very obvious, but one thing is for sure: we all have different opinions on what is a need and what is a want.
Most of your companies will be holding their open enrollment period this fall and the beginning of 2011 for your health and retirement benefits. With the recent health care reform changes, health insurance premiums will rise even higher each year. Recent financial reform legislation may also increase the fees that stock brokers charge within your retirement plans. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of changes to your current health care options and 401(k) options. Expect more out-of-pocket expenses with your health plans and your boss to be throwing incentives at you to get and stay healthy. Here are some quick facts from CNN Money Magazine about what you can expect at your next open enrollment
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, even more exciting than Christmas for big college and pro football fans. I’m a huge college football fan. I bleed orange and blue. Yes, I’m a Florida Gator fan, Go Gators!
Now that I’ve made a ton of enemies by revealing that, I’ll try to win you back by helping you come up with alternative ways to fund your tailgate parties.
When I was convicted to change the way I handled money at the young age of 22, it wasn’t an educational revelation. It was an emotional and behavioral revelation, because I realized that the problem was ME. A lack of education was definitely one of the factors why I didn’t handle money well, but ultimately, it was my bad behavior and irrational thought process about money that led me to a ton of debt at a young age. If you’re sailing along in life with debt and you think that you’ll be okay once you start making more money, you might already be exhibiting bad financial behaviors and ways of thinking that could lead to a financial disaster. I completely agree with Dave Ramsey that personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge/education. Here’s 7 warning signs that the problem is YOU.
This past weekend, for the first time in my adult life, I was the victim of identity theft. We were walking into the movie theater about to sit down for a movie, and I got a phone call from a weird phone number. I listened to the message as we sat down in our seats and it was Bank of America saying there was suspicious activity in my bank account. My first reaction was that it was a scam, some kind of phishing attempt to get me to call them back and give them personal information acting like they were Bank of America. I have an iPhone, so I logged into my online banking from the BOA iPhone app, and sure enough, there were two $1,000 purchases and about a dozen smaller charges. My heart sank to my stomach. I couldn’t freakin’ believe it. Someone hijacked my account or one of our debit card numbers and was buying crap online. I couldn’t sit through that movie knowing what I now knew, so we left the theater, got rain check passes to see the movie another time, and I quickly called Bank of America.
Eliminating your credit card debt and all of your debt is the single most important thing you can do to help you start winning with money. But, it’s one thing to just pay off your credit card debt and get right back into debt. When you decide to eliminate your debt and achieve the goal, your next goal should be to never get back INTO debt. Wallet Pop has a great article about how to pay off your credit card debt once and for all. So, are you ready to cut up your credit cards? It’ll be a HUGE weight off of your shoulders, I promise!
We often think that getting hospitalized due to an illness or injury is something that we cannot predict or prepare for, but that’s not true. Over half of the people that file for bankruptcy do so because of extremely large medical bills that they cannot pay back. Now, this may be partly due to unbelievably high medical expenses and unaffordable health insurance, but it if you plan for bad things to happen, they won’t seem so bad when they don’t put you in bankruptcy. Here’s a good article from Bargaineering on how to prepare for a sickness and/or injury.
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