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

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

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

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

How To Deal With A Financial Crisis

A crisis is defined as a time of intense trouble, misfortune, or danger. A financial emergency can come at any age, to any demographic, in any area. A crisis can come out of nowhere; bank accounts hacked, sudden car troubles, an unforeseen medical expense. Or, they can occur after a series of poor choices and mistakes that culminate in a state of emergency. There are ways to manage and work through a financial crisis; a crisis doesn’t have to be the end of your world.

 

Start by calming down. Decisions made under stress or suddenly can be more harmful than helpful. Take notice of what feelings are linked to your crisis. Do you feel panicked, out-of-control, or full of anticipation? Are you scared, sad, or angry? Your feelings are valid, but do not let them control your decisions. After making yourself aware of what your feeling, try to spend some time calming down. Some individuals find a lot of peace in meditation or prayer. Others find themselves calmer after deep breathing and perspective. Whatever works best for you, lean into the process of calming down. 

 

Move to analyzing what your expenses are. Start by breaking it down into two categories, fixed and fluctuating expenses. Fixed expenses are an expense that happens regularly.  Things like bills, subscriptions, and set budgets for groceries happen weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Fluctuating expenses are expenses that change and vary every month. Shopping, furnishing, eating out are all examples of expenses that change and morph over time. 

 

Next, decide what your wants and needs are. Needs are expenses that you need to pay to function normally. Wants are expenses that you don’t have to fulfill every month. For example, a fixed-needed cost is a payment like a mortgage or rent. A fixed-want is something like a Netflix or Amazon subscription. 

 

From there, try cutting out or cutting down on the things that you want. Minimizing what you pay for is not a fix-all treatment. But it is a start to help ease you out of your financial crisis. 

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

How To Deal With A Financial Crisis

Minimalism and Finance

A strong symbiotic relationship exists between minimalism and finance. Minimalism is the art of living with less. In recent years a plethora of podcasts, books, and documentaries have been produced in concern to the rise of minimalism. The most famous being the documentary titled “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.” The documentary takes the audience into the many flavors of minimalism by following individuals and families through their living-less lifestyle. 

 

The bare bones of minimalism are fundamentally about intentionality. Although there are many avenues and flavors of minimalism, a definition can be broken down into the following; the process of identifying what is essential in your life and having the courage to let go of the rest.” The framework is done by figuring out the difference between needs and wants. The way you approach minimalism relies on what your unique wants are. For example, someone who may put a considerable amount of time and effort into fashion may be challenged to trim their wardrobe down to the bare essentials. Some minimalists can fit their entire wardrobe, shoes and all, into one suitcase. Someone who puts a priority on having the newest and brightest kitchen gadgets may be challenged to having only what you need to cook with—limiting themselves to one set of silverware, pots, pans, and a hot plate. 

 

So, where does finance come in? You may think that the things that you own, that you deem essential, don’t directly correlate to your finances, but the opposite is true. Finance is simply defined as the management of money. Your money management includes fixed income like bills and taxes, as well as flexible income, which can consist of anything from a grocery budget to going out with friends. Our flexible income reflects our priorities. When we prioritize a minimalist mindset, our finances will reflect that choice. 

 

Adopting a minimalist mindset is unavoidably intertwined with your finances. If you consider adopting a minimalist mindset, make sure you adjust your funds accordingly. 

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

Minimalism and Finance

Six Simple Ways To Save

When it comes to money, we all set out with good intentions to spend and save wisely. In the midst of a busy life, constant advertisements, and quick spending, saving money can seem impossible. In reality, we can only save money when we develop healthy habits. Check out a few simple habits that will turn your saving habits around. 

 

Revise your Grocery List

When people begin to make a budget, one of the most surprisingly high categories is their grocery budget. Your grocery budget is one of your more critical funnels. To save money, try making a grocery list and sticking to that list. If you walk in without knowing what you’re going to ger, you’re more likely to buy things that you don’t need. If you’re trying to save money, try buying bargain items over brand name items.

 

Cancel Automatic Subscriptions 

In the age of instant gratification and regular subscriptions, subscriptions like Hulu, Netflix, Ipsy, and HBO can quickly add up. Figure out which subscriptions you use most, and eliminate the ones that you don’t often use to save the extra money each month. 

 

Save Automatically

Automatic saving is your best friend when it comes to saving money. Most banks or cards have the option to automatically save a portion of your deposit. Try saving 10% of your paycheck each month to build up a savings account.

 

Pack a Lunch

The average American household spends around 280 dollars per month on eating out. An easy way to minimize how much you spend is by packing lunch. When you can, pack food, snacks, and drinks when you go out or go to work. If you do need to eat out, buy simple, smart foods that are good for your body, and your wallet. 

 

Freeze Your Spending

A popular way of saving money is by “freezing” your spending. Take a week, or even a month, and only spend money on absolutely essential items. Prep meals ahead of a time and make sure your bills are set up to be paid and cut out spending. You’ll be surprised at how much you save by not spending for set amounts of time. 

 

Set a Budget

Setting a budget is one of the simplest ways to save money. Sit down and figure out where you spend money, and how much you usually set. Set realistic, budgeting goals and stick to them. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends who are in a similar life stage/situation what their budgets look like. There are even helpful online budget makers that you can research and check out. 

 

Saving money is an essential part of being a healthy adult and setting up a good future for yourself and your family. Try to spend the next month being intentional about your spending, and track positives and negatives of your new way of living. 

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

Six Simple Ways To Save

Building Your 2020 Budget

Creating a budget is an important financial strategy for building a future nest egg. One way to conquer the temptation to spend too much money during and after the holiday season is to establish a sound 2020 budget and stick with the plan. The following tips offer helpful suggestions for devising a workable budget:

 

  1. Think About Future Expenses

 

Include all prospective future expenditures in the 2020 budget and estimate the costs for each. For example, include a potential college tuition expense expected to occur in the new year, or the cost of a new car if yours is getting older. It is also important to encompass prospective gains. Whether these gains refer to an expected raise at work or projected investment dividends, an accurate budget must depict all expenses and increases.

 

  1. Learn to Estimate Conservatively

 

Since it is not always possible to know what the future holds, it is wise to make conservative assumptions. Instead of including low estimates for expenses, a 2020 budget should incorporate high estimations. Applying the reverse procedure for income, the budget should include low estimates for expected increases in income.

 

Infusing a budget with these techniques means gives the plan a realistic basis. It is also helpful to think about the possible rising costs of everyday expenses, including gasoline for vehicles and utility hikes. It is better to overestimate and underspend. 

 

  1. Study the Current Spending and Savings Trend

 

Viewing the current year’s expenses and savings enables a person to have a clear understanding of how to set future goals for a 2020 budget. A person may discover that they need to spend less money eating out and deposit more earnings into a savings account.

 

Paying off debts is another important aspect to consider. A golden rule of budgeting is to avoid overspending. Living within a person’s means is the optimum way to develop a 2020 budget.

 

  1. Obtain a Credit Report

 

A good credit score provides the opportunity to take out a loan on a car or mortgage and pay less interest. A poor credit score has the opposite effect. So, it is a good idea to include a debt payment plan in the 2020 budget and eliminate all current debts. After the debts are gone, the next best thing is to limit expenses to one credit card and pay for most expenditures with cash.

 

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

Building Your 2020 Budget