Communication

Twenty Powerful Tips for Discussing Money Topics with Your Partner

Throughout our engagement and the first few years of our marriage, Sarah and I never really sat down and had a real conversation about money. We each just more or less followed the pattern we learned from our parents. We dealt with any shared issues that were absolutely required in the briefest way possible. Needless …

Categories: Communication, Marriage

A Few Thoughts on Couples and Spending

This past weekend, Sarah and I enjoyed a “getaway weekend” in the Amana Colonies with another couple that we’ve been friends with for many years. Whenever Sarah and I have a “getaway weekend,” we plan ahead for a budget for that trip, setting a soft limit on how much we’re going to spend on food …

Categories: Communication, Marriage

Talking About Money Issues Without Fighting

Before Sarah and I began our financial turnaround, we largely avoided talking about money issues. We’d talk a bit about basic things that we had to talk about, like making sure bills were paid, but in terms of seriously evaluating long-term goals and how we were spending our money, we just didn’t talk about it. …

Categories: Communication

The First Word Is Always the Hardest

One of the most valuable personal finance tools in our repertoire is communication. Communication with your boss. Communication with your partner. Communication with your children. Communication with the IRS. Communication with your friends. Communication with a retailer. Communicating well with these people is incredibly valuable. It opens the door to understanding each other better and, …

Some Thoughts on Building a Successful Friendship

Early this year, I posted a popular article, Some Thoughts on Building a Successful Marriage. In it, I gave my thoughts on what it takes to make a marriage work – and since your spouse is your most important partner in your finances and your life, it’s important to have a successful relationship there. Recently, …

Categories: Communication

The Art of the Apology

One Saturday during one of my previous employments, I received an interesting phone call from my supervisor. He informed me that one of my coworkers had took a work laptop home with her and that she was unable to log on to the laptop. When I asked what this had to do with me, I …

Is It Time to Drop Your Land Line?

Several months ago, I mentioned that we’ve been experimenting with using Skype at home for many of our telephone calls, and that I was ready to switch to using Skype as our primary phone. Skype, for those unfamiliar, is a service that allows one to use their broadband internet connection as a telephone line. In …

Talking to a Child About Home Foreclosure

I received a heart wrenching email from a reader that I’m going to call “Peggy.” Here’s a few excerpts from that email: [...] In short, we are going to have to be out of our house by October 24. We’re going to move in with [my brother] and his family for a while and then …

Categories: Communication, Family

Shared Dreams: How My Wife and I Got on the Same Financial Page

When my wife and I approached our financial meltdown, our financial planning and spending was in pure chaos. We both spent according to our whims and we tackled bills and such without any real pattern or consistency. Neither of us had any real idea what the other was doing financially, and we certainly didn’t have …

Categories: Communication

The One Skill That Will Earn You Money, No Matter What You Do

Communication. No matter what you do in life, communication will earn you money. You’re a person working in a cubicle on hard problems. The ability to present your work to the boss during performance reviews will make or break you. The ability to present your work to coworkers will help your project go better. The …

Categories: Communication

You Can’t Buy Love

About two weeks ago, I did something incredibly stupid. Without even really thinking about it, I let my wife down. I made one of those careless, thoughtless little mistakes that when you realize what you’ve done, you might want to slap yourself in the head about it, but a mistake can’t be undone. My first …

Categories: Communication, Marriage

Our Experience with Skype

A few days ago, I made an offhand reference to using Skype to nearly eliminate the cost of a land line phone at home. A surprisingly large number of readers were curious about this and wrote in with interesting questions of all kinds, so I thought I’d walk through what Skype is, how we use …

The First Money Talk: The When and How of a Conversation Every Couple Needs to Have

At some point, as a relationship grows and becomes more serious between two people, questions begin to arise about long-term plans, particularly as it begins to become clear that at least a significant portion of two lives are going to overlap and become one. For my wife and I, these discussions started about a year …

A Talk With My Niece

My niece is fifteen years old. She’s a social girl with a kind heart and just enough social awkwardness, intellectual curiosity, and introspection that after spending five minutes with her, you can’t help walking away thinking that the world is potentially her oyster. Among school subjects, she’s most passionate about mathematics, but she tends to …

Categories: Communication, Family

Twelve Important Things To Talk About When Your Relationship Gets Serious

One thing that I feel I did very right earlier in my life was building a strong, communication-based relationship with my wife in the years before our marriage. We talked about everything, building up to a point where no topic was off limits between us and we could expect a truly honest answer from each …

Parents And Finances: An Uneasy Mix

A reader wrote to me recently with the following concerns about the financial health of her parents: I’m still repairing my own finances (I’m out of debt but still working on retirement, I don’t yet own a home though I am 34)… but my parents have NO health insurance and NO retirement funds whatsoever. How …

Six Things To Do When Shopping For Cell Phones And Service

In addition to our move, we’re about to switch cell phone services from a regional provider to Verizon, primarily because of signal availability in the area we’re moving to. We also happen to be not under a lengthy service plan, so we’re also looking to upgrade our phones as well since our old ones are …

Separating The “Wants” From The “Needs”

My wife and I have a monthly financial review meeting where we sit down with all of our bills, credit card statements, and so forth. We go through everything together, item by item, and try to figure out where we can trim our spending. Most of the time, we’re in pretty clear agreement on things, …

We Share A Joint Account… But I Don’t Trust My Partner’s Spending Habits

Marriage and finances can at times be a difficult mix. Each person has distinctly different experiences with money, and each person may have completely different philosophies on how that money should be spent. This often creates marital troubles, but these troubles usually boil down to a lack of communication at some point along the line. …

Categories: Communication, Marriage