How to Budget as a Couple

Finances can cause stress for any family, and it’s hard to sit down with your significant other to draft a budget. The process of combining both your incomes and your needs can take some adjustment. If you don’t talk about your financial situation, though, you’ll be more likely to experience stress about financial responsibility.

 

To create a life together and have a successful relationship, you’ll need to commit to budgeting together.

 

Budgeting might seem overwhelming, but you can start with the basics. Before even bringing numbers into the situation, talk to your partner about what each of you wants, buys, and aims to achieve. It’s important to understand the relationship that each of you has with money.

 

This part of the process isn’t about arguing or proving who’s “right.” It’s just about understanding the other person and respecting what they need.

 

After you’re comfortable with each other’s basic financial thoughts, the first part of budgeting is setting down the needs of the household. This covers month-to-month bills like rent and utilities, transportation costs like gas and car maintenance, food, and required debt payments.

 

You must cover all of these costs before you can begin spending money on extraneous items. However, you can reduce the costs by purchasing less expensive groceries, getting a used car, or moving to a smaller space. Needs must be given higher priority than desires.

 

Long-term goals are the next thing to set down. As a couple, you should have a long-term financial plan. This plan may help you determine when to meet milestones like having a baby or buying a house. Specific monthly goals make it easier to save. If you aren’t saving for anything specific, you’ll be more likely to spend the money instead.

 

Now you can talk about the desires and needs you each have outside of the home essentials. These might involve clothing costs, hairdresser appointments, gym memberships, and online subscriptions.

 

You will likely have different needs and priorities than your partner. You might also not understand all of your partner’s priorities. But budgeting is about finding compromises that allow both of you to have the things you want to live your ideal lifestyle.

Some couples use an allowance to use on their personal desires without needing to okay it with their partner.

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

How to Budget as a Couple

How to Create a Backup Plan For Your Personal Finances

If COVID-19 has taught us one thing, it’s that an earth-shattering event like a pandemic can happen at any time, and it could even cause you to lose your main income. Even if not, it could affect your financial future, such as setting back your retirement plans or hurting your investments in other ways. The good news is you can always create a backup plan if future disasters or common life events disrupt your original goal.

 

Build A Sizable Reserve Fund

 

You should use a savings account or a short-term CD account to save up money for a worst-case scenario like a job loss. You’ll want to make sure it can cover your rent or mortgage payment over the course of six months to a year. It takes some discipline and focus to set aside funds in savings, but even a little bit set aside here and there can add up to a lot of savings.

 

Choose The Right Life Insurance Policy

 

Life insurance is also something you should have as a protective measure against the unforeseen. Not only is it used for covering the needs of beneficiaries if the policyholder passes away, but it can also be used to cover other financial setbacks. With a cash-value life insurance policy, you can take cash distributions depending on how much you’ve paid into it so far. But you will deplete your death benefit amount if you aren’t careful about how much you cash out.

 

Know When To Change Your Investment Portfolio Strategy

 

Sometimes you need to change the kind of investment funds you have in your portfolio when markets go through major changes. It may be better to invest in bonds over stocks if the stock market is struggling, or if bonds are more stable and offer more consistent returns. There are even other assets you can invest in for retirement, including real estate and precious metals. It’s good to have a knowledgeable advisor working with you letting you know when you should buy or sell your assets to match the market conditions.

 

The bottom line is financial setbacks are always a possibility because of circumstances you can’t control. However, you can always be ready to reallocate your savings, investments, and insurance policies into new savings opportunities when your original ones don’t work anymore. 

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

How to Create a Backup Plan For Your Personal Finances

Personal Finance Tips to Better Your Retirement

Planning for your retirement is something you should begin to think about whether you just started a job or you’re just about done. The truth is that it’s never too early, or too late to start saving and investing. For those who didn’t start early, know that other people are on the same boat as you. No matter where you stand in life right now, you are capable of boosting your retirement savings. Here are some tips that can help you grow and better your retirement plan. 

 

Start Today

 If you haven’t already, start saving and investing today! Compound interest allows you to generate earnings off your assets. By investing a smaller amount of money over a longer period, you can make a greater impact than investing a larger amount of money in a shorter amount of time. With that being said, start saving for your retirement as young as you can. Putting a little something aside every month can make a huge difference.

 

Work on your 401(k)

Many places offer eligible employees a 401(k) plan where they can add pre-tax money to their retirement account. Let’s you’re in the 14% tax bracket and want to put $200 into your 401(k) every pay period. The money will come out of your paycheck before federal taxes are taken away, meaning instead of taking home $172 in your paycheck, the full amount will be put into your savings plan. This helps individuals invest more of their income without it feeling like they’re cutting into their monthly budget. If you happen to leave your employer before retirement, here are a few choices on what to do with your 401(k) account.

 

Open an IRA

Consider building more retirement savings aside from your employer with an individual retirement account. There are two different types of IRAs that you can choose from. There’s the traditional one that gives your earning the chance to grow tax-free until you begin to make withdrawals during your retirement. The Roth IRA includes after-tax contributions which means that once you retire your earning are federal-tax-free if they were in the required holding period. Many factors play a role in choosing an IRA, so do some research before picking which is best for you. 

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

Personal Finance Tips to Better Your Retirement

What to Know About Licensing Your Art

Being an artist can be a hard job when it comes to making money and getting customers. One of the best ways to turn your art into income is by licensing your artwork. When you license your art, you’re allowing a bigger company to reproduce it on their end. This isn’t something that needs to be done for all of your pieces, but every artist should have a few in mind that they would like to share with a larger audience. Many times licensed artwork is put onto tote bags, phone cases, pillowcases, and many other products. Licensing agreements state what percentage of sales an artist will receive. Before jumping the gun and licensing your art, here are important things you need to know about licensing.

 

Manufacturing

There are so many ways and places you can license your artwork. Many times opportunities of collaboration will come up with someone you know or even a brand that saw your art on social media. Check out small local businesses that may be interested in teaming up with an artist to work on their products. Some restaurants might want to rebrand themselves by having new cups and coasters for tables and selling merchandise. If you’re interested in working with a larger manufacturer, then check out options on online stores. Redbuddle is an online shop where over 700,00 independent artists sell their art on just about any product you can think of. This option is great for artists who may not have time to create products themselves.

 

Understand your Deal

Every licensing deal is different, so it is important as an artist to sit down and understand the terms. For some companies, you may be asked to create art that is specifically designed for them to manufacture. If you team up with a well-known company to license your art this most times means that they take care of work behind the scenes. From manufacturing, shipping, and customer service, none of these things will be on your hands. Look deep into your deals to see if you can license the same pieces of art to more than one company. The most important thing to consider in a licensing agreement is the responsibility of you as an artist and the amount of money you receive from sales.

 

Enjoy the Benefits

After licensing your art you will begin to gain new customers and attract followers on social media. Your sales won’t only increase through licensing but as well as your selling. It can take some time for your art to be noticed, but once it is, it’s up from there. By continuing to create art and selling it from your home or a local store, and licensing other pieces of art, you’ve created multiple streams of income for yourself! 

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

What to Know About Licensing Your Art

The Basics of Crypto-finance

f you’ve ever heard of Bitcoin or Blockchain, you have some of the basics of crypto-finance. If those words don’t mean anything to you, you must learn about them quickly, and they will lead you on the way to understanding and engaging in the unique world of crypto finance.  

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is where it all started and is the basis for the field. Putting it simply, bitcoin is a digital virtual currency. You can purchase bitcoin like it’s foreign money and spend it on shops online. You can also use bitcoin as an investment option. Although that is a risky choice considering the worth of bitcoin often fluctuates enough to make investment a high-risk decision. The most significant difference between bitcoin and the physical currency is that bitcoin is not linked to any particular country or province; it’s universal. So as you engage in crypto finance, remember that bitcoin is the universal currency that solely exists virtually. 

Blockchain

Bitcoin is based on the platform blockchain. Blockchain is considered a distributor ledger. The distributed part of that term means that it does not exist on one single computer but instead is distributed upon all computers. The ledger part of that term refers to a means of recording and tracking bitcoin. Who is spending what, where the money is being transferred to, who has how much, and much more. Consider it a large book that is growing all of the time. Just like the pages of the book are all bound together for a greater story, the blocks of blockchain are interlinked. Imagine the effect of the usage and spending of bitcoin like dominoes falling, and each domino is tracked and recorded.

Cryptofinance is a unique form of spending, that is here to stay. As we evolve and change as a world, and technology becomes an inescapable part of that, we need to learn the ropes, even as they are changing. 

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

The Basics of Crypto-finance

The Use of Light in Photography

Lighting is an incredibly important factor when it comes to an image. Light doesn’t just apply to the literal dark and brightness of the picture. The way lighting presents itself also affects the mood, tone, and atmosphere. If you want to make an impact with your photo, you need to consider how you manipulate and control the light. 

Shaping

Using a diffuser on your light source can alter the light’s glare and harshness when it falls on your subject. It gives your artificial light a more natural and softer looking result. You can diffuse light in multiple different ways without having to purchase additional equipment. Using umbrellas, sheer material, or softboxes will do the job. 

Manipulating

Light can be adjusted to fall on a specialized area of interest on your subject. An effect can be gained through the use of the previously mentioned diffusers. You can also use reflectors to manipulate the light. Collapsible reflectors are used to shape light or bounce a flashlight on the area you are attempting to highlight. Spotlights can also be covered in light shapers that allow you to have more control over how broad the light falls and the shape of the beam. 

Positioning

Positioning the light is another essential way of impacting how the light affects your image. The light that shines from behind the subject and points to the camera eliminates shadows and may make it more challenging to see. If light shines from behind the camera onto the subject of the image, it demonstrates flat lighting. Side lighting can also be used to throw a spotlight on certain features of the image’s subject as well. 

The most important rule to follow when it comes to experimenting is remembering that the process is just that, an experiment. Try out different diffusers, lighting shades, and angels until the story on your heart is able to be communicated to the world.

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

The Use of Light in Photography

Why Everyone Should Learn About Finance

Nearly everyone deals with finances on a daily basis. From receiving a paycheck to buying produce at a grocery store, people are constantly exchanging money to live. Many schools, however, don’t teach their students much about finance even though it is such a crucial part of life. As a result, it is important for people to do their own homework and educate themselves about the many financial opportunities that this world has to offer. There are several things that people should strive to learn about finance as soon as possible.

 

Credit

People don’t understand the importance of credit. Though many people use credit, through either credit cards, bank loans, or student loans, many don’t understand how much it matters. Credit can be very good or can be very bad depending on how it is used. Many financial professionals use credit to their advantage when making deals, but for most people, credit places them at a huge disadvantage because they misuse it. When using credit, people should aim to always pay back as much as they can. In the case of credit cards, when they aren’t paid back in full, additional interest is applied to the loan amount on a daily basis.

 

Budgeting

Budgeting is one of the most important financial skills that most people don’t really understand. Many people struggle because they don’t track their expenses and end up overspending based on the amount of money that they have coming in. Budgeting is used by even the savviest of financial experts, including large investment firms. Budgeting teaches a person how to spend based on their income.

 

Life is Fluid

Most people fail to realize that their current financial situation is changeable. Whether they have to work more, invest smarter, or change their complete approach, no one has to be stuck in the same financial position. Though it may be harder for some than others, depending on the stage of life that someone is in, changing a financial situation can be as simple as placing aside a few dollars with every paycheck. Small changes really do lead to big results and the best way for someone to realize this is to try it for themselves.            

 

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

Why Everyone Should Learn About Finance

An Introduction to Color Theory

Color theory is the science and art of using color. Color is a powerful element in art when used effectively as it can invoke specific emotions; be sure to check out my blog on color psychology. For artists, painters, and designers, color theory provides guidance on the relationship between colors and the physiological impacts of certain color combinations. By understanding color theory, you will better understand the relationship between colors and how we perceive them.  Color theory is complex, but today’s blog will cover just the basics. 

The general principles of color theory have existed since the 15th century, evident in the writings of figures including Leone Battista Alberti and Leonardo da Vinci. It wasn’t until the start of the 17th century that Sir Isaac Newton developed the first color wheel, a powerful tool still used to this day. Altogether, the color wheel consists of 12 colors: three primary colors, three secondary colors, and six tertiary colors. 

Primary colors allow artists to mix virtually any color on the spectrum. These are the building blocks for all other colors and cannot be created by mixing any other pigments. The primary colors are blue, yellow, and red. Secondary colors are created when any two of the primary colors. They are equidistant from each other on the color wheel and are orange, green, and violet. Tertiary colors are formed when mixing a primary color with a secondary color. 

There are a few terms in color theory that you will encounter, including hue, value, and saturation. Hue refers to the “root” color, and is often used similarly to color. It generally refers to the dominant wavelength of color out of the twelve colors on the color wheel. For example, the hue of navy is blue, or for burgundy, its hue is red. Value refers to how light or dark a color is. A color can be lightened with the addition of white and darkened by adding black. However, different colors can have the same value! Saturation is a measure of a color’s intensity or purity. To reduce the saturation of a color,  add grey or the color that is opposite of your color on the wheel. Adding the opposite color essentially neutralizes the colors, thus making it less intense. 

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

An Introduction to Color Theory

New Rules of Finance

The concept of finances has existed since the beginning of time. In Mesopotamian days people would trade goods for other goods and services, which would quickly morph into a form of currency. Some rules have existed since the beginning of time about finance. Budget, save for retirement, spend less than you earn to build up your wealth.

Other financial advice holds up less than adequately in the 21st century. With a new financial culture and the everchanging way of the younger generation viewing finances, the rules of the trade have changed. A common rule preached throughout the late 20th century was to save six month’s worth of living expenses for emergencies. That includes rent, utilities, and any fixed necessary expenses. While saving for emergencies is incredibly important, it’s not necessarily doable for Millenials in today’s market. Most individuals have trouble saving 1,000 dollars for emergencies, much less 6 months’ worth of expenses. There are now new and other ways of looking at finances and saving money.

Another old rule is that buying an old home is better than throwing away money on rent. While that may be applied in the 1920s when buying a house was equivalent to now buying a smart refrigerator, the same can not apply now. Since the 2008 housing crisis, buying a home has become an increasingly difficult process. Instead of that old rule, make your new rule of thumb is to examine your expenses, and don’t rule out renting. Often in today’s market, renting is the safest option, especially for Millenials and Generation Z.

Another old rule had to do with investing. Previously it was recommended that you do not invest in any stocks until you pay off your debts. The thought process that investing in stocks with the risk of not paying out debts was greater than reward. With the current options for not only paying off debts but investing, the opposite may be true. As a new rule of thumb, focus on paying off your high interest and regular debt payments, while investing in a low-stakes stock. The ability to grow your portfolio can help in the long run instead of hurting.

While trends come and go, the importance of finances do not. Don’t be afraid of new lines of thinking, and more relevant options for your financial journey.

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

New Rules of Finance

The Intricate Tragedy of Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh is possibly one of the most talented painters of all time. He certainly is one of the most well known in art history, his story and life as tragically beautiful as his bold impressionist art work.

Van Gogh was born in the rolling hills of Groot-Zundert, Holland on March 30, 1853. The son of a pastor, he was brought up in a very religious and cultured environment. As a boy, Vincent was categorized as highly emotional, self-conscious, and struggled with his life’s calling. At first, he believed that he was called to preach the gospel message like his father, before discovering his true calling was to be an artist. Between 1860 and 1880, around the time of his blossoming into art, he already had a multitude of failed romances and job prospects.

In 1886 he joined his brother Theo in Paris and got connected with the art community. He tried to copy the style of techniques of other artists but failed in those endeavors as well. The mounting stress, failure, and mental health issues landed him in the asylum in Saint-Remy for treatment. During his time in the asylum, he painted some of the most beautiful and notable art pieces of his career. After he recovered, he continued to paint and express himself through his art.

He was never a successful painter during his life. Selling less than a dozen paintings, living in malnourished poverty, and struggling consistently with mental health. He took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1890, wanting nothing more than to the end of it all.

One of Vincent Van Gogh’s death’s most heartbreaking parts was that he died believing his artwork was worthless. His neighbors, fellow artists, and family members considered him a time-wasting madman. He barely sold any paintings, and left this world thinking he failed. Not knowing that he would become one of the most beautiful and intricate artistic icons of not only the impressionist movement but in most of art history.

When you look at the last three years of Vincent’s art, you see something incredible. His technique grew more and more impassioned, his brushstrokes dramatic and frenzied. His use of color and surface tension was simply mesmerizing. His inimitable work was full of imagination and pure unbridled emotion. Looking at his artwork is like listening to a lonley violin solo or witnessing a dramatic play come to life; it kidnaps your attention and your heart. Through fits of madness and deep depression, Vincent took the pain of life and translated it into a pure ecstasy of color. Pain is easy to portray on a canvas, the blues and blacks like a familiar rhythm tapped on the heartstrings of the human experience. But Vincent Van Gogh took the crushing pain of reality and turned it into the beauty of life.. One of the most dramatic and skilled processes an artist can ever hope to achieve. Vincent did it naturally, genuinely, and honestly. Like puzzle pieces falling together, all leading to the same conclusion, the brilliance of Vincent Van Gogh.

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

The Intricate Tragedy of Vincent Van Gogh