Financial Advice for Married Couples

One of the biggest challenges faced by modern couples is finances. Getting ahead of their finances takes planning, education and consistency. Although disagreements over finances can and do come up, there are some simple steps that can keep such disagreements to a minimum so you can focus on what is really important.


Maintain Separate and Joint Accounts

A simple way to cut down down disagreements is to maintain your own accounts. Although some joint accounts will also be necessary, each spouse should have the opportunity to manage some money as they see fit.


Track the Money

Tracking income and expenditures is key to maintaining financial well-being. The easiest way to do so is to create a budget. A good budget will consider necessary bills as well as fun money and savings or investments.


Determine Priorities

The same things are not important to every couple. Some may wish to purchase a home while others may elect to rent and travel frequently. Make a plan together, taking into account what your top needs and wants are.


Talk About Money

The best way to keep the lines of communication open is to talk about money and to do so regularly. Frequent conversations can keep you on the path towards financial freedom, while also enabling you to address any issues that come up along the way.


Save Save Save

Make a savings plan and then stick to it. Although the amount of savings will vary based on income and expenses, a good rule of thumb is to look to save at least 10 percent of income.


Handle Debt

Any debts also require planning and execution. Once debts are paid off, make it a priority to remain debt free.


Be Open and Honest

Financial secrets are a great way to ruin an otherwise-good marriage. Make sure to always be open and honest when it comes to everything, especially money. Financial problems can be dealt with, but dishonesty or lying cannot.


Plan for Bumps in the Road

Despite the best planning and strategy, things can and do come up. Unemployment, for example, can quickly change your financial picture. Plan ahead for such issues by building and maintaining an emergency fund.

This post was originally published on Etienne Kiss-Borlase’s Finance Blog. For more info about Etienne, please visit his homepage.

Financial Advice for Married Couples

Six Finance Books that all Financial Professionals Should Read

Make the most out of your career, and stay ahead of the major trends in the financial industry. For a competitive edge, add these six books to your bookshelf.


Security Analysis

Published in 1934, this book positioned Benjamin Graham and author David Dodd to pick the nation up from out of the Great Depression. With both writers being business professors at Columbia University, this book revolutionized fundamental analysis at the time. After looking back on the major losses, it becomes clear; making a big fuss about “reported earnings” may have been necessary.


Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness

“Nudge” isn’t just the name of this book; it’s a financial concept that derives from behavioral analysis. The book looks at how our decisions are shaped—or nudged. It considers how positive conditioning and other-indirect forces influence our behaviors.


Common Sense on Mutual Funds

Since mutual funds rely on a group of stocks, a fund’s price will stay in one steady direction in most cases. It’s for this reason that the book’s author, John Bogle, suggests index and mutual funds for everyone entering the financial markets. This book is a good option for new investors who are ready to see prices in live action.


The Alchemy of Finance

George Soros is dubbed as the only person who “broke the Bank of England,” which happened in the early ‘90s. His work in the foreign exchange gave him a unique perspective, which you’ll uncover within these pages. Each chapter goes into detail about a theory that Soros defines as “human uncertainty.” He describes how consumer behavior makes everything in finance unpredictable.


The Secret Life of a #1 Salesman

Being a sales expert is necessary if you want to elevate your career or to reach your greatest potential. You not only need to sell the products of the firm you work for. Selling yourself will give you better opportunities and greater public respect. This book aims to “develop you from the inside out.”


Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

Finance professionals need to understand that equity and wealth go beyond the stock and bond markets. “Barbarians at the Gate” takes from a group of articles that cover the public buyout of RJR Nabisco. This book gives a firsthand account of what a buyout consists of.


This post was originally published on Etienne Kiss-Borlase’s Finance Blog. For more info about Etienne, please visit his homepage.

Six Finance Books that all Financial Professionals Should Read

Seven Great Women Artists Throughout History

These seven women made an incredible impact on the art world.


Mary Cassatt (1844–1926)

Cassatt was a painter and printmaker who is remembered as the only American artist associated with the Impressionist movement. Frequently, her subjects were women and children. Her famous works include The Mandolin Player and In the Loge.


American Modernist painter Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)

O’Keeffe was heavily influenced by photography. Many of her paintings imitated photographic techniques such as cropping and close-ups. Red Canna and Black Iris III are enlarged floral images that are typical of O’Keeffe’s work.


Painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)

Kahlo closely tied her identity, her artwork, and her homeland of Mexico. About one-third of her paintings are self-portraits, which often reflected her emotions surrounding events in her life. The Two Fridas show her conflicted feelings at the time of her divorce from Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.


Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)

Kusama is known for paintings and art installations featuring polka dots. She has also created mirrored rooms as art installations to explore the concept of infinity. In 2017, Kusama had the distinction of being the world’s top-selling female artist.


American sculptor Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907)

Lewis relocated to Rome as a young adult to pursue her profession in an environment that did not single her out for her color. (Her father was African-American and her mother was Native American.) Her work depicted neoclassical, biblical, contemporary subjects. The Death of Cleopatra is a masterpiece of realism and was commissioned to celebrate America’s centennial in 1876.


Printmaker and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012)

Catlett was born in the United States but moved to Mexico in 1946, which became her home for the rest of her life. Her work depicts African-American and Mexican life and often has strong political themes. Her notable sculptures include Homage to My Young Black Sisters and Tired.


Agnes Martin (1912–2004)

Born and raised in Canada, Martin moved to the United States in 1931. While Martin’s early paintings are representational, her style evolved during her career. Eventually, geometric images featuring lines and grids became her signature work. Martin is sometimes classified as minimalist although her paintings also show the influence of surrealism, cubism, and abstract expressionism. White Stone, Little Sister, and Fiesta are some of her celebrated works.

This post was originally published on Etienne Kiss-Borlase’s Art-In-Trust website. For more info about Etienne, please visit his homepage.

Seven Great Women Artists Throughout History

How to Spend Your Tax Refund

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the average tax refund was just over $3,000 in 2018. Many Americans treat their tax refund as a gift. However, a tax refund is not a gift. Tax refunds are the government’s way of returning money that workers overpaid in taxes throughout the year. Since tax refunds are workers’ hard-earned cash, this list has ideas for spending the funds wisely.


Start an emergency fund

Personal finance experts agree that building an emergency fund should be everyone’s top financial priority. But, most experts don’t agree on how much to save. The general rule of thumb is to save the equivalent of at least three months of essential expenses. Having this much in your savings may prevent someone from turning to debt in the event of an emergency.


Save for retirement

A retirement saving vehicle like an IRA has tax advantages. Funds in a Roth IRA grow tax-free while contributions to a traditional IRA provide tax deductions in the year they’re made.


Provide for a child’s education

Saving for a child’s college education also can be done in a tax-advantaged way through a 529 plan.


Plan for a major purchase

Saving for a major purchase such as a vehicle, home, or vacation may be easier with a dedicated savings account.


Pay down debt

A $3,000 tax refund is probably not enough to eliminate most people’s debt, but it would make a significant reduction. Paying down one’s highest-interest debt, which for many people is credit card debt, makes the most financial sense.


Make health a priority

People who have skipped medical, vision, or dental examinations due to their expense could schedule the necessary appointments.


Learn new skills

New skills have the potential to increase income if those skills are used to get a better job or start a business.


Make home improvements

Homeowners can protect the value of their investment handling neglected home repairs. If nothing needs fixing, replacing outdated appliances may provide significant energy savings.


Be safe on the road

Road safety requires proper vehicle maintenance. Noisy brakes usually are screaming to be replaced. Worn tires can slip. Taking care of car repairs reduces the risk of an undesirable event on the road.


Treat yourself to an experience

Buying an experience may provide more enjoyment than getting more stuff. Experiences to consider are trips, museum memberships, or season tickets for professional sports.

This post was originally published on Etienne Kiss-Borlase’s Finance Blog. For more info about Etienne, please visit his homepage.

How to Spend Your Tax Refund

Podcasts That Will Make You Smarter with Money

Podcasts are a great way to take advantage of the time you have during long commutes, chores, or even workouts. There are podcasts available for every interest, and it can be overwhelming to choose from the seemingly unlimited options. If you’re looking to learn more about managing your money, the following podcasts are a great place to start!


So Money features Farnoosh Torbai, a leading personal finance authority for young adults. Her podcast features interviews with top entrepreneurs, authors, and influencers. So Money has won a variety of awards from sources such as Entrepreneur Magazine and Inc. Magazine.


For those interested in additional income streams through side businesses, The Side Hustle Show is a great choice. The Side Hustle Show offers ideas and strategies from successful entrepreneurs, and will help you to take your side business to the next level.


Smart Passive Income is another podcast aimed at helping you earn more passive income through a hands-off business. The podcast is produced by entrepreneur Pat Flynn, and will walk you through setting up your own source of passive income.


Radical Personal Finance is led by Joshua Sheats, an experienced professional financial advisor. He uses storytelling and interviews to create an engaging podcast that will help lead you toward financial freedom.


Paula Pant, a real estate investor and blogger, shares her wisdom in her podcast Afford Anything. Her philosophy is rooted in the idea that you can “afford anything, but not everything”. She discusses how to make smarter decisions about your time and money, and how you can use your daily habits to create the lifestyle you want.


Money for the Rest of Us, by financial expert David Stein, helps listeners learn how to take control of their financial decisions and save for retirement through lessons on wealth building and investing.


Stacking Benjamins seeks to make finance more approachable and entertaining. The tone is light and friendly, and features a wide variety of interesting characters. It’s no wonder the show has won so many awards!


If you’re looking for a tried and true podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show has over 3,000 five star reviews and over 200 million downloads! It’s also been ranked the #1 business podcast on Apple Podcasts. The podcast covers more than just finance, but you can pick out the financial episodes if that’s all that you’re interested in.
These podcasts will help you learn more about money in a way that’s both entertaining and informative, whether you’re a finance professional, entrepreneur, or just someone looking to take control of your personal finances.

This post was originally published on Etienne Kiss-Borlase’s Finance Blog. For more info about Etienne, please visit his homepage.

Podcasts That Will Make You Smarter with Money

How to Choose the Right Auction House for Your Art

The high end art market is dominated by three main auction houses, Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg. These three powerhouses have existed for centuries. When choosing an auction house from these three for your art, it’s important to take a variety of factors into consideration.


Obviously money is an important factor in selling your art. Many auction houses’ success has stemmed from their guarantees, which ensure that the seller receives the amount of money they expect for their art regardless of how much it is is sold for at the auction.

Guarantees, however, can lead to conflict, especially when the top three high end auction houses are trying to work with a limited number of the same collectors. Remember that money is not normally the deciding factor when collectors are choosing an auction house. Clients often place more importance on personal relationships and the auction house’s past record.


Personal relationships are one of the most important factors in choosing an art auction house. These days, clients have a lot to be worried about: dips in the economy, terrorist attacks, and talk of price fixing. They’re looking for an art auction house that is reassuring, personal, and professional. In a consignment based industry such as art auctions, networking and word of mouth referrals are extremely important. Each of the auction houses have different connections with sellers, clients, and fields.

Field Speciality

Each of the three high end houses have unique specialties. Sotheby’s is known for their expertise in American furniture and photography, while Christie’s specializes in European furniture, as well as books and manuscripts. While to an extent Phillips is still establishing its business, the auction house seems to be focusing on Impressionist, Modern, and contemporary art. Phillips now also includes one of the top automobile auctioneers, Bonham & Brooks. The best auction house will have a specialty that matches your art.

Track Record

Past performance is another important factor to take into consideration when selecting an art auction house. Christie’s is one of the world’s top art auction houses. In 2000 they had $2.3 billion in sales! Sotheby’s, on the other hand, has won 20 of the top 25 single-owner sales. These included the estate sales of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. It’s important to choose an art auction house with a track record that matches your goals.

When selecting one of the top three high-end auction houses, you need to consider their financial guarantees, the relationships you’ll be able to build, their field speciality, and past track record.


This post was originally published on Etienne Kiss-Borlase’s Art-In-Trust website. For more info about Etienne, please visit his homepage.

How to Choose the Right Auction House for Your Art

Inside the AI-Created Piece of Art

The day has come where Artificial Intelligence is now creating works of art. Many of us never thought we would see the day, and for many more of us, the thought that this day might come never even occurred to us. But, “robots” are creating art – and the first piece has sold for $432,500.

The high price tag was unexpected, as officials predicted it to go for anywhere between $7,000 and $10,000. That is the beauty of auctions such as Christie’s, the art house in NYC where this was sold. Christie’s wonders if AI art creation is the next big medium for the world stage.

The AI system that created this artwork, which is titled “Portrait of Edmond Belamy,” was constructed with a learning algorithm; both the AI system and the algorithm were designed by an art collective in Paris called Obvious.

There are similarities to this painting that compare to those famous ones through history. Many believe the subject matter, Edmond Belamy, is a man of the church due to his white collar and dark clothes. The man looks toward the painter in an austere manner with a fixed but abstract background. Conversely, the face is less defined than those in many paintings which it would be compared to. Christie’s offers this difference, along with the empty areas of the background.

The painting was described by Richard Lloyd, sale organizer at Christie’s, as not being much different from those that they have been selling for hundreds of years.
The process, on the other hand, was vastly different than any other painting that has been through Christie’s. Obvious, the art collective, put a total of 15,000 portraits from between the 14th and 20th centuries into the Artificial Intelligence learning system, then activated the “Generator” to create a new image. After the “Generator,” the next step is the “Discriminator,” which works to find the differences between the original portraits and those generated. The goal is, essentially, to fool the discriminator.

Obvious has experienced with AI-created art in many subjects, from portraits and life scenes to nature, but have found their best results with traditional style portraits.

While this may open up questions about who the official artist is to receive credit, Obvious chose to “sign” the painting at the bottom, not with a name, but with a part of the algorithm they created.

This post was originally published on Etienne Kiss-Borlase’s Art-In-Trust website. For more info about Etienne, please visit his homepage.

Inside the AI-Created Piece of Art