Being Happy

It’s obviously ironic that I chose to write to this title at 4 AM on a Thursday morning but I had some thoughts I wanted to put down.

In life, you can prepare for the worst and still get caught with your pants down. You can simply not prepare for anything and have the greatest time. Overall, life throws all of us into different scenarios where we have opportunities to play or pass. Always having a strategy to deal with what life may or may not throw at you is not the solution. Sometimes human beings need to experience hardships in order to appreciate happiness.

It’s also important to point out that small things can make you happy and make you appreciate the positive things in your life on a much greater level. Take for instance, your car breaks down and you get yelled at work for being late the same day. Obviously that’s rough and no one would be overjoyed to be in either situation let alone both.

Using that same example, Instead of being upset that the car broke down, you could appreciate that the car broke down during the day and not at night. Or that your boss got upset but didn’t fire you. Accepting the good even when there is bad always changes perspectives and helps people deal with bad situations.

I relate this to financial blogging because there are times where it’s very difficult to maintain my blog, however, I am very happy that I have loyal readers keeping up with me and appreciating what I post. The positivity is what keeps me going. :)

 

Marriage Finances Part 2

Just a short followup to Monday’s piece about marriage finances. I forgot to add a few small things that me and “P” did as well and wanted people to be aware of what’s up.

Gift Cards for Cash

For our wedding, P and I got many gift cards to many stores. It’s very important to note that stores will give customers cash back for gift cards but they need customers to specifically ask for it. So if for instance, you don’t need anything from Macy because you generally don’t shop there, you can go to the customer service desk and ask for cash in exchange for the gift card.

Many people feel guilty doing this because when someone buys you a present, you almost feel obligated to use it. What I have come to terms with is that the nature of why people give newlyweds presents is to help them get on their feet and get a jumpstart in life. Once you have received the present you are free to do whatever you want with it, and the “gifter” will generally be happy with whatever you decide.

You may ask, why wouldn’t everyone just give cash and let the bride/groom decide. I think most people want to be original and give something that the bride and groom will remember them by. Cash is very general.

Till next time.

Marriage Finances

Marriage Update

I just got married to the love of my life, we’ll call her “P”, and P is literally the best thing to ever happen to me.  That being said, P and I needed to spend time working out our finances as soon as we got married because we got handed so many checks at our wedding. After the wedding, we sat together and drew up a few key pointers that we felt were crucial to setting up our financial future together. Here are a few key pointers we came up with.

Living off one Salary

Thankfully both me and my wife work and make very respectable incomes. I work in I.T. and my wife works in Early Development. We decided that we could afford to live off one of our salaries and dedicate the other persons salary toward buying a home, investments, and savings. Once we came to that conclusion we decided to set up our bank accounts in a strategic way to build toward our goals.

Joint Checking

Keeping a joint checking account was crucial because we decided to have all of our automatic bill pay come out of one account. The salary we chose to live off of, would be deposited into that account and luckily our rent, bills, internet and credit cards all point to that account. We also kept a small savings account connected to that account such that we would have a rainy day fund in case “X” happened.

Avoiding Banking Penalties

The other salary would go to a different set of checking/savings accounts for a very simple but odd reason. The US government tracks how many banking transactions consumers make on their accounts. A consumer with a checking account is limited to six transactions between checking/savings each month. For each transaction above six, the consumer is required to pay a penalty. Me and my wife wanted to avoid having to transfer money from one checking to another and then to a savings which would result in an 2 transactions per month and cost us unnecessary charges.

Investment Accounts

My wife is less risky as me and does not invest her money in retirement accounts, I happen to have a large chunk in investments all across the spectrum, from real estate, to stocks, to mutual funds, to retirement funds. I had to spend a large amount of time writing my wife in as the beneficiary of all the accounts. It’s very important to do so once you get married because banks will charge penalties if they need to go searching for beneficiaries.

Tax Exemptions

I had to do some math to see if it made sense for either of us to claim exceptions on our taxes and file joint or separately. I will touch on this in a later discussion, but in the end I claimed an exception on her the entire year since we had set a date on our wedding. Thankfully my wife agreed!

Gift Cards

Who am I kidding, I gave my wife, P all the Amazon, Macys, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc etc etc so that she could properly use them as she pleased. Our registry/wish list was almost fully bought out so I figured all extra things that she felt we needed could be used by gift cards.

All I asked her was for an IHome so that I could play music as an alarm clock!

Marriage life is definitely the best but it’s very important to make sure you’re both set up properly for financial purposes.