Till Death Do Us Part – Financial Decisions After Marriage

We insure our cars. We insure our homes. We insure our tech toys. But, many of us don’t insure ourselves. It’s true.

It’s funny how things change once you get married. You are not only emotionally attached to your spouse, but you are also financially attached. When I got married, I never really thought about the impact our financial decisions would have on our future. I also didn’t start planning for our future early enough. I didn’t think about the need for life insurance after marriage.

I always carried the health insurance in our home. When I lost my job of 11 years in a call center years ago we lost the life insurance. Not wanting to get caught with our pants down, I looked into replacing the insurance with a small personal policy. The small policy wasn’t cheap, but that was mostly because I was morbidly obese and hubby smoked. But we by then had two children and wanted to be prepared, so we got it. A while after that I got another job. Life insurance was once again included. Money was tight (it almost always has been for us), so we dropped the personal policy. Then in 22011 all hell broke lose, so to speak. I got very sick. After all sorts of tests they told me that they were pretty sure I had lung cancer. While I was out on disability I lost my job. You know what I also lost at that point? That’s right, the life insurance. So there I was, with no income and no insurance, staring down what I thought was surely the barrel of a death sentence. Scary. Did I mention that hubby wasn’t working full time at that point? Well he wasn’t, making the situation even more complex. What would we do? How would we raise our children? Pay our expenses?

On the morning I underwent surgery I was prepared to lose one entire lung, and was terrified that the potential complications that had been described to me would pop up and kill me. I lucked out. They only had to remove half of my lung. I lucked out again when a few days later the call came in notifying me that I officially did not have cancer. I have not had health insurance, or life insurance, since I lost my job. Hubby recently got a full time job and once again next year we will have health insurance. He has life insurance through the job. I’ve already decided that a small individual policy for myself would be a good decision. I’ve lost weight and am much healthier now, so the insurance will cost less then last time I looked into it. The point here is this. Don’t wait for a scare to realize you never thought about life insurance. Have a discussion about what your plans for your future are. Take into consideration your current and future needs. Play with a life insurance calculator. If you get coverage now it’ll cost less then it would if you wait until later. Plus you’ll have some peace of mind.

This may sound funny, but after marriage but before our children we still didn’t always spend wisely. We didn’t even always communicate about financial decisions like we should have, like we do now. If you’re planning a wedding or are a newlywed I highly recommend maintaining a line of open communication about your financial decisions, including spending and planning for the future. That communication should include having the talk. No, not the sex talk. The other talk. The talk about what happens to your family if something happens to one of you. The life insurance talk. Why does it matter? If you don’t have the talk and tomorrow happens to not come, imagine the shape your spouse and family could be in. I have been there, and it isn’t a pretty thing to imagine.

Post presented by Genworth Financial

My Top Five Tips For Teaching Your Children About Money

Piggy Bank On Money

I learned about money early in life. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up so we lived simple lives and we worked. All of us. I got a job delivery newspapers at about the age of 10. I saved up for the things that I wanted. One of the things I am most proud from my childhood is the fact that I earned and saved enough money on my own to go on a trip to England when I was just 13 years old. As a parent, I believe that teaching children about money is very important.

Learning about money is more then just being able to read, count, add, subtract and recognize denominations of bills and coins. Those are important skills, but they don’t teach you how to manage money. Financial literacy also involves learning what money is and where it comes from, along with how to spend, how to save and how to plan, among other things. It also involves learning how to wait, how to evaluate and how to go without.

Here are my top five tips for teaching children about money.

Money does not grow on trees. But where does it come from? The first lesson you probably ever told your children about money, or one of them, is that it doesn’t grow on trees. I’ve said it. We’ve all said it. I admit, I said it for a while and wondered why I had to keep repeating myself. That’s when I realized that I needed to explain where money actually came from. Explain the actual nuts and bolts of money. Meaning, explain that you go to work and make x per hour. Take them through the whole process. Explain that you may make an hourly (or weekly) wage but at the end of the week taxes and other things like insurance are taken out of your pay. The money you’re left with when you get the actual check is all you have until the next check. Companies will not usually advance you money, often times your pay is a week or two behind. The end lesson – you need to work to make more money, because it doesn’t grow on trees.

Make the most of your own experience. I’ve told my son many times about how I worked and saved and sent myself to England in high school. He knows that what I tell him about saving money is the truth, not just words. At this point in time we do not have credit cards, only debit cards. At first my oldest son thought the two were the same. I explained that I consider a debit card to be a plastic form of cash, and that you can only spend as much as you have in the bank on that card. Good, bad or ugly, share your own experiences so your children can learn from them.

Don’t buy right away if at all possible. There is no buy now, pay later in our house. As such, we think hard about our purchases before we make them. For purchases that are more then a few dollars, I try to think on the decision if I really need that item for at least a couple of days, sometimes longer. Waiting to make a purchase encourages careful consideration if you really need the item, as well as budgeting and planning so you are able to make the purchase.

Budget and plan. You know that question, if your friends were jumping off of a bridge would you? Same principle. Children need to understand that you can’t have everything right now. Sometimes things take time to work and save for. Teach your children how to budget their money and make it go the furthest, as well as how to plan how to save and spend.

Be yourself. Don’t compete with the Jones, or the Smiths, or anyone else. You don’t have to have what all your friends have. It’s ok to want something, but children need to understand that it’s important to be themselves.

Post presented by Genworth Financial