How To Protect Your Marriage In Economic Downturn

Money, Finances, Economic Crisis, And Relationship

First Published Date : March 5, 2009 ADawnJournal.com

Money is one of the major causes of friction in a relationship. Most probably, money issues are second only to infidelity as a cause of divorce. In a relationship or a marriage, couples are bonding together from very different backgrounds. Two different persons with different incomes, different debts, and different ways of managing personal finances are joining together to share and form common values and perspectives. These issues, specially money issues can be a real problem.

An unstable, or even a healthy relationship, can go thru a rocky ride during economic downturn. The reason is very simple. Money and finances get over-heated and threatened during post economic downturn. These issues always exist; however, during good times we tend to ignore these because there is always food on the table and somehow we manage to get by. But things change during economic downturn. When jobs are hard to find, the cost of living is on the rise, suddenly things don’t look rosy anymore. Our emotions and spirits change and our relationships reach on the verge of a breakdown.

What you can do to protect your marriage/relationship in a downturn? Try taking the following steps. These steps are not just good during an economic downturn. You should apply these anytime to make your relation journey a smooth one.

·   Talk – Communicate with your partner regarding money issues and any other issues on a regular basis. Take the current economic crisis as an opportunity to get together and start communicating. Talk about your fears, goals, issues, and so on. Divide financial tasks and work together to make changes on your financial plans.

·   Track Your Expenses – Tracking expenses gives you a visualization of where your money is exactly going. You need to know this to cut unnecessary expenses and increase your savings. You can do all sorts of calculations and thinking in your mind to figure out where your money is going – but the real picture may not be the same as your mind tries to depict. Spending just a few dollars here and there daily can add up to a large amount at month’s end and tracking expenses will show you how powerful it can be to cut once-daily visit to your coffee shop. Tracking expenses will gradually help you make better decisions.

·   Set Goals – Set long and short term goals. Write down these goals in a notebook and setup monthly or quarterly meetings with your partner to review your goals. Goals could include buying a house in three years, kids’ education fund, retirement etc.

·   Budget – I don’t believe budget works; however, follow these two simple rules and avoid the hassle of budgeting: spend less than what you earn and spend within your means, and track your spending.

·   Change Your Outlook – Change your outlook from my money, your money to our money. Once you are married – your incomes, debts, money, finances, everything become OURS. That’s the purpose of marriage or staying in a relationship.

·   Maintain Joint Accounts – Always maintain joint checking and savings accounts. This forces you to work together and it’s easier to manage one account than many accounts. Joint accounts provide the extra boost to become financially successful as couples. It reminds you that you two are one now, and your financial success depends on how you can plan and act jointly.

·   Maintain Two Separate Credit Cards – You need to do this to have better credit scores. Better credit scores will help you to get lower interest rates on your loan to buy large item purchases such as house, car etc.

·   Don’t Hide Anything – Never hide anything from your partner. If you have bought an expensive item impulsively, discuss it with your partner. It is better to tell him something you did without his knowledge now, rather than him finding out years later.

RECESSION-PROOF JOBS

Economic Crisis And Recession-Proof Jobs

First Published: ADawnJournal.com March 29, 2009

In the financial climate that prevails at the moment, there are numerous people who very understandably feel that there is no way they will ever get a job. Companies are laying off workers or asking them to take fewer hours in order to allow them to keep operating, and as a result the number of companies actually taking on new staff is falling sharply. This is the human effect of the recession being shown as clear as day. Newly graduated college students are finding themselves with large scale student debt and without a job that allows them to start paying it off. People who have been in the same job for twenty years and more are all of a sudden finding themselves unemployed and with scarce opportunity to retrain and find a new job.

Despite this, there are some companies and individuals who continue to thrive even in the heart of the recession. Some jobs are seemingly fire-proof, and some companies are experiencing little, if any, fall in profits or marketability. These jobs and these companies are the ones who are recession-proof. As fanciful as that term may appear, the simple truth is that there are services that a huge number of people will continue to need, and these services are not going to suddenly hit the skids in the same way that consumer outlets have been. When people have to tighten their belts financially, the first things to go are the things that they want but do not need. The things that we need will continue to do well because, whether we like it or not, we have to pay out for them.

For example, health care professionals are not suffering unduly in the recession because – credit crunch or no credit crunch – people are still getting sick, getting injured and needing treatment. Although there may be a drop in terms of people with comprehensive medical insurance as workers get laid off, there is no question that people are still going to their doctors in cases of necessity. Just as they will go to the doctor to get themselves fixed, they will also see another recession-proof worker – the car mechanic – when their car breaks down to get that fixed. Living without a motor vehicle, for many people, is simply not something that they can countenance.

The key, then, to making yourself recession proof is not easy, but it is clear. Make yourself indispensable. If you can get yourself into a market sector on which people rely and on which they will spend money, then you will give yourself a big advantage in the credit crunch era. If you are looking to go into business, then yes, now is a risky time for that but if you can get a business plan going for something that is essential it will pay off. Think about what people turn to in times of financial difficulty, and try to make your mark in those areas. It is essential to protect yourself, because the recession may continue for some time.

Canadian Financial Websites & Canadian Financial Blogs

Differences and Similarities Between Canada Personal Finance Websites

First published: ADawnJournal.com Published Date : April 26, 2009

Regular ADJ readers may already know that I maintain another Canadian Personal Finance Web Site along with a few other sites. Today, I am going to describe shortly the differences and similarities between these two sites.

www.adawnjournal.com

1.   1. No fixed posting schedule. Updates are made once or twice a week or none at all some weeks.

2.   Covers various topics in a wide array of subjects.

3.   Content mixing still weighting a little heavier on the financial side.

4.   Contents are more personalized. I try to mix my personal experiences, opinions, and feedback along with articles.

5.   Lots of social media content, such as video clips, pictures, and so on.

6.   It’s a journal encompassing all aspects of life.

www.canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com

1.   Updates are made usually once a week.

2.   Covers only personal finance topics.

3.   No content mixing; you will get only financial articles.

4.   Content is more professionally inclined; I will rarely be talking about personal matters.

5.   Social media content is almost absent.

6.   It’s a global and a Canadian personal finance website written in simple and understandable terms from a Canadian perspective.

Currently, there are three other websites I am actively maintaining: The Green Living Blog, Simple Personal Development, and Entrepreneur Journey. I am also planning to launch two other websites shortly. Most likely, these sites will be launched as Travel Now Simply at www.travelnowsimply.com and Real Estate Expedition at www.realestateexpedition.com

Furthermore, as an Internet entrepreneur, I own many other websites and domains. However, only the sites mentioned here have my name attached to it. Other sites I maintain as an Internet entrepreneur are incognito sites – meaning you will never know who owns it if you happen to come across one of those sites. Here is an example: www.1tourtravel.com. That’s all for today.

10 Tips to Save Money at Restaurants

How To Save Money At Restaurants

First Published: ADawnJournal.com January 15, 2009

We all love to eat out at restaurants. Have you ever noticed that if you follow a few simple steps, you will be able to cut down your restaurant bill in considerable amount, e.g., 20% to 30%. Below, you will find ten tips which will save you some money at restaurants. You may not be able to use all of these; however, I don’t see why can’t you use at least one tip.

1. Beverages Are a Rip off Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, juices etc at restaurants. These items have a high markup and you will be saving a lot just by drinking plain water. 

2. Eat Out With Friends and Family Always try to visit restaurants with a few people. The more number of people you have, the better. It’s simple Economies of scale. Your meal will cost more if you are alone and you will be wasting foods because items are so plentiful. Example: if you have five people, you don’t need to order five main dishes. Order three main courses and two appetizers or salad. 

3. Coupons Save You Money Use coupons. Find coupons in the newspaper, in the mail, on restaurant’s website, sometimes on the takeout menu. Also, if you join their emailing list, restaurants send out promotional coupons via email once in a while.

4. Look for Deals Always beware of special day deals, e.g., “kids eat free night”, “parents eat free night”, “birthday deal night”. Restaurants often offer deals on one slower night of the week such as Monday night, Tuesday night etc. By eating on these nights you will be able to save a lot. 

5. Lunch is Better Than Dinner Lunch will always cost you less than dinner. Lunch menus are often similar to dinner menus but you will be paying a lot less just for eating at a different time of the day.

6. Leftovers Should Not Stay Behind Do not leave your leftovers behind. Pack them up and they will save you money at home on the next day.

7. Avoid Appetizers Appetizers  or deserts are unnessery, wasteful, and usually cost a lot (another high markup item). By the time I finish eating main course at a restaurant, I find it hard to eat anything else. 

8. Special of the Day Before start browsing the menu, ask if they have any special of the day. Special of the day always provides better deal than items on the menu. 

9. Combo Makes Sense When ordering, pick combo or tiered meals instead of picking individual items. Combo means always cost less than if those same items were picked individually.

10. Plan Ahead and Stay Within Your Limit Plan ahead. Decide how much you want to spend and check a few restaurant websites to see where you can get a better deal. Also, plan how many times in a month you want to dine out. Do not cross your monthly set limit to visit restaurant and do not go over your decided amount to spend. 

Bankrupt Nortel, Mutual Funds, and Invest Now

Stocks, Mutual Funds, and Your Financial Goals

First Published Date : January 22, 2009 ADawnJournal.com

In my book Invest Now I mentioned that mutual funds are a less risky investment product than stocks and really suit those who are looking to keep risks at a minimum. I always come across financial gurus and regular investors complaining about the cost of mutual funds. However, they always fail to mention that stock investors may lose all their money if they pick the wrong stocks, but mutual fund investors are very unlikely to lose everything even if they pick the wrong mutual funds.

Just look at what happened to recently bankrupt Nortel. At the peak of the tech bubble, this superhero was trading at $1,231. And now its stocks are worthless. Let’s say you put in $100,000 in Nortel stock a week ago, or a year ago. How much is your $100,000 worth now? Nothing. How about the same $100,000 invested in a mutual fund a week or a year ago? It’s hard to say how much it would have been worth now (based on what you bought); but you can say in confidence that you would not have lost all your money—although you may have paid $2000 fees. Which one do you think is better? Paying a few thousand dollars in fees and keeping your money, or losing all your money without paying any fees?

The problem with stock is that it is extremely hard to pick winning individual stocks. On the other hand, mutual funds are designed for average investors; as a result, it’s not that hard to pick a mutual fund with a moderate rate of return. However, you need to be careful so you don’t end up paying hefty fees. In Invest Now, I discussed how you can invest in mutual funds without paying lots of fees. Also, I emphasized low-cost index funds. Index funds are not actively managed funds: no portfolio managers run the fund. Index funds mirror the market performance of an index by buying stocks or other instruments that match the underlying index’s composition.

In order to be a successful investor and realise your financial goals, you need to avoid unnecessary risks and paying sky-rocketed fees. Mutual funds, especially index funds, can offer all these with minimal effort and time. Even when everything goes wrong, it is unlikely that you will lose all your money with mutual funds. However, such is not the case with stocks. Just ask investors across the globe that were holding Nortel in their portfolio; they will be glad to tell you, had they known it before, they would have held mutual funds. Even the riskiest fund on earth with the highest fees would not have wiped out all their money in one day like Nortel did.