Couples & Money: Do Whatever Works for the Relationship

I’ve worked in financial services since 2000. During that time, I’ve had a chance to see how couples handle money together. It’s been insightful. Why?

Because when I first started helping clients manage their money I thought that EVERYTHING should be handled together. Helping them ACTUALLY manage their money changed that idea.

What I came to realize and what should have been obvious from the beginning, is that everyone is different. And that includes how people think and feel about money. Some people don’t care that much about it. Others see it as the ultimate form of security. Again, everyone is different.

What has also emerged from these experiences with couples and money is that there are 3 types of money relationships that couples have. Here they are:

  • Everything together
  • Everything separate and
  • Some joint and some separate

I’ll give a quick summary of each.

The first couples’ relationship type is the type that handles everything together. They have nothing but a joint bank account. They do their taxes together. They have joint investment accounts. The home is in both of their names. They see separate anything as almost “hiding” something from the other and could result in problems in the relationship.

The second couples’ relationship type is the type that handles everything separately. They bank separately, they file taxes separately. One doesn’t know what the other has in credit card debt or student loans or anything else. They just allow each other to handle what they are responsible for.

And finally, there are couples that mesh the two prior ideas. They not only have a joint account for shared bills and responsibilities but they also have separate accounts to handle their responsibilities.

But no matter what type of money couple a couple is, I’ve come to realize that as long as the relationship works for them, that’s all that matters.

So when it comes to handling money, couples just need to see what works for them.

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An Excerpt from Bank Magic: Financial Literacy for Young People

Here is an excerpt from Bank MagicFinancial Literacy for Young People written by TaxAssurances’ owner, Kolonji Murray. The full book can be purchased on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback.

QUESTION: Why are budgets so important?

ANSWER: Budgets help to ensure that you cover all of your expenses, pay your creditors on time, and save, invest, and make money for the future. You will be surprised at just how fast money can go through your pocket without a plan for how you will spend, save, and invest it. So often, people think of budgets as being restrictive, but budgets actually give you the freedom to track how much you spend and to adjust your habits so that you can make better financial choices in the future.

QUESTION: What happens if I go over my budget?

ANSWER: it’s OK! Fortunately as a young adult, you don’t have to worry about big financial responsibilities, like a mortgage or car payment, for now. If you spent a little more than you expected, find out where you can cut back or adjust your expenses until you receive your next allowance or paycheck. Maybe you can cut out one day at your favorite pizzeria or a drink at Starbucks. Little things add up. You can also download spending apps to help you track your expenses.

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Co-Parenting and Tax Returns

I’ll say this in my experience with tax refunds and parents with children. Most cases, the mother takes care of the child(ren) most if not every day. New clothes, colds, doctors visits, bedtime stories, homework, sleepovers, school trip money, juice in the middle of the night etc. Also, daycare is not cheap Usually, because of all of this, the mother gets most if not all of the tax refund money.

Depending on the relationship, some mothers may share a portion of the refund. Especially, if the father is very involved but the child(ren) doesn’t live with him.

Some may even trade who claims the child(ren) for a particular year. Even year is for the mother and odd year is the father. If there are multiple children, they may split who claims which child.

But for the most part, mothers claim the child(ren) and keep the refund to use for the remainder of the year or so.

Now every so often, the couples hate each other and they race to the tax preparers’ office to file the return.

Here’s how the IRS decides who gets to claim the child(ren) and get the refund.

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An Excerpt from Bank Magic: Financial Literacy for Young People

Here is an excerpt from Bank Magic: Financial Literacy for Young People written by TaxAssurances’ owner, Kolonji Murray. The full book can be purchased on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback.

Excerpt:

QUESTION: How can I ask the adult in my life for more allowance money for my chores?

ANSWER: Not all adults will give you an allowance. But, for those who do, create a list of all the things that you already do around the house. Next, think about the rewards that you would like to receive for getting good grades or doing a special task. Talk with your parents, guardians, or a trusted adult about what you would like to earn by keeping a regular schedule of your chores and maintaining good grades in school for each marking period. When they see that you are serious and have a commitment to keeping your word, they will be more than willing to give you the extra money you want. Adults love to see that you are serious and taking responsibility. You may also want to tell them that you promise you won’t argue with your siblings as an extra bonus!

QUESTION: I’m interested in taking on my first job in the neighborhood. How do I know what to charge?

ANSWER: If you want to take on your first job as a babysitter, dog walker, or lawn mower in your neighborhood, talk with an adult in your life about what you should charge. If there are older kids in your neighborhood who are already doing what you want to do, ask them how much they are charging and you can create your prices based on what they say. More formal jobs will tell you what they are willing to pay.

Bank Magic
QUESTION: Why is it so important to save my money? Why can’t I just spend it now?

ANSWER: While you may be eager to spend your money on clothes, snacks, toys, or other things, you also have to think about your life choices as you continue to grow and decide what to do next. Maybe you want to attend a special afterschool program, take up a new sport, or attend college. All of those things require money. Adults can certainly help, but it will be far more rewarding when you can save up your money now for that goal in the future. You’ll need to have that kind of discipline throughout your life.

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Nurses Recommend Nurse to Patient Ratios

We as a country spend a lot of our federal tax dollars on medical care. Medicare, medicaid and the  affordable care act (Obamacare) are large parts of that spending.

Much of that care money is spent on the hard work that our country’s nurses provide. But they are human beings and not robots in an assembly line. There is a physical limit to what they can do to deliver optimal care to patients.

The image above is their recommendation on what the nurse to patient ratio should look like. Here is what they further say:

National Nurses United(NNU) — the largest union of registered nurses in the country — is proud to announce the introduction today in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Sherrod Brown (S.1063) and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (H.R. 2392) NNU-sponsored legislation setting specific safety limits on the numbers of patients each RN can care for in hospitals throughout the U.S.

The bills, both known as the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act, establish minimum RN-to-patient ratios for every hospital unit at all times. They also provide whistleblower protection to assure that nurses are free to speak out for enforcement of safe staffing standards.

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What Income is Taxable and Nontaxable According to the IRS?

Did you or someone you know receive money and you’re not sure if you have to pay taxes on it? Well, here’s a quick video from the IRS that lets you know whether or not you have to pay taxes on the money.

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Bill & Hillary Clinton’s 2015 Full Tax Return

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Bill & Hillary Clinton’s 2015 Full Tax Return:

2015 Tax Return

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