Ladies: Do You Keep Things From Your Husbands?

According to Self Magazine, women keep five things from their husbands. Among them:

    Personal successes

    Bank accounts

The other three items on the list are beyond the scope of AFM.

My wife works. I don’t think she has ever had a problem sharing her successes with me. I’m amazed at her success.

We also have our finances 100% combined. I couldn’t see it any other way.

What about you?

Money Matters Key to Marriage Success

The New York Times claims that money matters are the key to wedded bliss in an article published last week. Consider a few quotes I found interesting:

Marrying a person who shares your attitudes about money might just be the smartest financial decision you will ever make. In fact, when it comes to finances, your marriage is likely to be your most valuable asset — or your largest liability.

Today, while most of us marry for romantic reasons, marriage at its core is still a financial union. So much of what we want — or don’t want — out of life boils down to dollars and cents, whether it’s how hard we choose to work, how much we consume or how much we save.

A lot of the debates people have about money are code for how we want to live our lives.

The rest of the article gives tips on how to get and stay on the same financial page as a couple, but they’re pretty much the same old “talk about your goals,” “enjoy responsibly,” and “maintain some independence” tips.

I think financial compatibility is either there or it’s not in many cases. If you are fighting a lot about “money” in actuality you are probably are disagreeing about goals, values, and priorities which can be a difficult mountain to overcome.

After reading this article it inspired me to write one of my own called “Financial Relationship Deal Breakers.” What do you think are important financial elements to take into account when choosing a lifelong partner? Or do you think it matters at all?

More from Meg at The World of Wealth

Dateline NBC Investigates Equity-Indexed Annuities

Thanks to reader, “Pal,” for sending me this link.

I just watched Dateline NBC’s seven part undercover series on equity-indexed annuities. This is a must watch for everyone. It is pathetic the lengths that some people will go to to make a sale.

For instance, one of the video segments shows an annuity training program called “Annuity University.” At this training session, sales agents are able to purchase books that they did not write but can put their names on anyway to make it look like they are the book’s author. They can even purchase a magazine that will insert the agent’s picture along with a fake question-and-answer article with the agent inside the magazine. Even though this probably isn’t illegal, it sure as heck is misleading. It gives fake credibility to the agent. One of the agents actually pulled out a copy of the magazine and gave it to the prospect in one of the video segments.

Wouldn’t legitimately building credability by actually writing books and articles be the better way to go?

One other thing I thought was funny was one of the agents got really upset when he found out that he was being taped. He called the Dateline reporter a liar because he [the Dateline reporter] wasn’t upfront with the agent. The agent was probably just upset that he wasn’t going to make a sale. Funny stuff.

I also enjoyed the conversations with Joseph Borg, Director of the Alabama Securities Commission, and Minnesota Attorney General, Lori Swanson. Watch the videos and you’ll see what I mean.

I think this exposé should be watched by everyone—not so much to say that all annuities are bad—but rather to give people some things to think about BEFORE they sign on the dotted line of one of these contracts. I don’t think any ethical salesperson would object to that.


Another Follow-up on Equity-Indexed Annuities (Sorry Muddlehead)

My Response to a Comment on My Equity-Indexd Annuity Post

A Look at an Equity-Indexed Annuity

Do You Attend Retirement, Investment, or Annuity Seminars?

Think Before You Buy

Do You Have a Financial Confidant?

OneFrugalGirl asks: Do you have a financial confidant? In her post, One Frugal Girls wondered why one of her friends was comfortable telling her the price of a home she was thinking about buying while another friend wouldn’t divulge the information. It’s an interesting question. Could modesty play a part? Maybe her friend felt that talking about the price might come across as bragging. Or, maybe the price was low and she didn’t want to give the impression that she was strapped? Who knows.

I’m pretty open about our finances with my dad only because we talk fairly often. I don’t blog about the miute details of our finances here on this blog because I’m not anonymous. I’ll just tell you that we are in the middle of the middle class.

Other than my dad (and of course my wife), I don’t talk specifics about our finances.

What about you? Do you talk about your personal finances with friends?

Rather than comment here, why don’t you head over to OneFrugalGirl and comment there (I don’t want to steal her topic).

Which Would You Rather Have?

A $30,000 wedding or $30,000 to help get you started in life?

Interesting question.

That’s the question a father asked his daughter in an article by Jonathan Yardley that I just finished reading. The daughter chose the wedding! I expect that most women (and probably a few men) would choose the wedding, which I think is kind of sad based on the fact that 50% of marriages end up in divorce. I realize you can’t put a price on love but $30,000 seems like a lot. I think it has become apparant that to many people, the wedding is more important than the marriage.

I thought this quote taken from One Perfect Day by Rebecca Mead was interesting:

“If a bride has been told, repeatedly, that it costs nearly $28,000 to have a wedding, then she starts to think that spending nearly $28,000 on a wedding is just one of those things a person has to do, like writing a rent check every month or paying health insurance premiums. (Or she prides herself on being a budget bride and spending a mere $15,000 on the event.) She is less likely to reflect upon the fact that $28,000 would have more than covered a 10 percent down payment on the median purchase price of a house in 2005 and would cover the average cost to a family of a health insurance policy, at 2005 rates, for a decade. The bride who has been persuaded that $28,000 is a reasonable amount of money to spend on her wedding day is less likely to measure that total against the nation’s median household income — $42,389 in 2004 — and reflect upon whether it is, in fact, reasonable for her or for anyone to spend the equivalent of seven and a half months of the average American’s salary on one day’s celebration.”

I remember when my wife and I got married nearly 14 years ago. We had a beautiful wedding and I’m pretty sure it didn’t cost anything near $30,000 even after adjusting for inflation. A lot has changed in fourteen years. Weddings are now big, big business and a lot of brides and parents feel like they “have” to spend a lot on a wedding in order for it to be legitimate. Of course this is coming from a guy’s point of view. I’m curious to hear what you women think about this.

Parents of the World Unite!

Remember when I posted this Question of the Day asking parents if they ask for help in funding their kids’ college savings accounts? It appears that I (and those who agreed with me) are not alone. According to this article that reader Stacey emailed me last night:

A survey by San Francisco college savings company Little Grad has suggested that parents prefer friends and relatives give college money as gifts.

The survey found that 61 percent of responding parents preferred their children to receive college funds on holidays rather than toys, with 13 percent dissenting.

As I stated before, I think this will always be a problem because it simply isn’t fun for relatives (and even parents) to give money as gifts. It seems impersonal and most kids hate getting money because they can’t grasp the significance of the gift. That’s why I’m an advocate of moderation. Why not spend half of the gift budget on a toy and give the other half to mom and dad to put in the college fund? Of course, this idea has a shortfall because it could be embarrassing for those who don’t normally spend a lot of money on gift-giving.

There’s no easy answer. I think each family has to approach (or not approach) this topic in a way that they see fit. But, based on the above survey, parents are at least thinking about college funding. This is a good thing!

4 Important Questions to Ask Your Parents

I was reading Jean Chatzky’s column (sorry, no link yet) in the October issue of Money when I came across four questions that adult children should ask their [older] parents. This is all a part of “the conversation” about finances that every family should have. The questions, which come from John Migliaccio, an expert on aging and the president of the American Institute of Financial Gerontology, are:

1. How expensive of a lifestyle do you want to live for the rest of your lives?

2. Where do you want to live, and in what kind of home?

3. What sort of health-care and lifesaving measures do you want taken, if necessary?

4. Who do you want to put legally in charge of carrying out all of these wishes?

According to the article, Migliaccio’s parents did not like being asked these questions, which is understandable considering how private most people are when it comes to their finances. Also, coming from a child, these questions might make the parents feel stupid so be careful how you ask them. The answers to the above questions were Migliaccio’s 50th birthday present.