Steve Pybrum: Are You Spending Too Much On Your Wedding?

Steve Pybrum has been hailed by the media as a fountain of knowledge and endless source of financial information. Read his best-selling books, “Money and Marriage – Making it Work Together” and “Money and Marriage – For Engaged Couples”, which are the first of its kind.

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Numerous reports and surveys confirm what I have long suspected: that trouble over money is a reliable predictor of divorce. However, marriage isn’t necessarily the only time such troubles can happen. In fact, even before a couple can tie the knot, trouble may already be brewing in paradise, specifically during the wedding!

According to a report found in Forbes, the national average of wedding costs in the country was around $35,329 last year, or around 8% higher than the previous year’s. While it’s understandable for engaged couples to want to shell out a few extra thousand dollars for the big day, there are cases when such decisions make poor financial sense.

For one, taking on a ridiculous debt to finance a fairytale wedding is a recipe for financial disaster, even before the bride and groom can say their “I do’s.” It’s even worse if the couple in question cannot lay out a plan and timeline for paying it off. This is not to say that you have to scrimp on your wedding. In the same way financial planning can set you on the right path, sound wedding planning can help reveal areas where you can save or find affordable alternatives.

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For example, you and your fiancé can do the invitations yourselves, which can shave off a few hundred dollars from the bottom line. You can also ask friends to provide music and entertainment for the big day, or better yet, tell family and loved ones to fund your honeymoon as a wedding gift, instead of getting you something you may have no real need for.

For more money and relationship advice from Steve Pybrum, visit this blog soon.

 

Steve Pybrum: Top 3 Tips for Retirement Planning

Steve Pybrum is the author of the best-selling finance book “Money and Marriage-Making It Work Together.” In this book, he teaches couples how to work with each other, rather than against each other.

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Young married couples may think of retirement as a far-off matter that they don’t have to worry about any time soon. However, the sooner they begin to plan for it, the better their senior years will be. In fact, sound retirement planning has the potential to shave off a few years of your working life. If you like the idea of retiring in your 40s, for example, then read on to learn a few tips on how to get started with retirement planning:

1. Start today – This can never be emphasized enough: start today. If you don’t have an emergency fund yet, work towards building that first. Ideally, you should have about at least half a year’s expenses set aside for your emergency funds. Once you have that, you can then move on to putting your money in different investment vehicles like stocks and bonds.

2. Your age will dictate your investment strategy – You shouldn’t rely on Social Security in your senior years. Unfortunately, it will not be enough to cover all of your expenses. If you’re in your 20s or 30s, you have the luxury to be aggressive with your investments and invest heavily in stocks. As you get older, say, in your 50s, your goal would shift to preserving money from growing and accumulating it. At this point, bonds would be a better choice for you and your spouse.

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3. Plan realistic estimates – No one knows better how much you need for retirement than yourself. Rather than going with a ballpark figure, start jotting down your expenses today which will give you a more detailed and realistic view of your needs. Don’t forget to account for inflation and other unexpected costs like healthcare.

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Steve Pybrum: Top 3 Warning Signs of A Debt Problem

Steve Pybrum has counseled countless couples across the country, thanks to his best-selling books and national TV appearances on the topic of Money and Marriage. His practical advice covers managing debt and money, which can pave the way for a happy and trouble-free marriage.

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Debt has become so ingrained to the American way of life that married couples should be careful not to be complacent and letting a molehill debt problem grow into an insurmountable mountain. Given that money may already be a touchy, sensitive topic for some couples, the matter then becomes all the more complicated when you add in a compulsive and destructive debt problem. Whether debt concerns you or your spouse, here are some of the warning signs to watch out for:

1. Hiding debts from your spouse – As marriage is based on love and trust, hiding financial matters from your spouse is a red flag you should take notice immediately. Hiding is never helpful and in this case, it can also wreak havoc on your marriage as well. If you fear your spouse will get angry, it’s certainly a sign you need to be more responsible with your finances.

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2. Spending more than your income – It’s easy to be hypnotized by the lure of materialism, which is why if you find yourself spending more than your income allows, it’s time to look into automated transfers to build up your emergency fund, savings, retirement fund, and other equally important nest eggs like college tuition.

3. You don’t know how much debt you have – How can you fix your debt problem if you don’t know its scope? More importantly, you should also know what debts you owe as this will help you prioritize which ones to pay first. In general, you should pay off secured debts first like your mortgage, followed by unsecured debts like credit cards.

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Steve Pybrum on the American Household’s Rising Debt Problem

Steve Pybrum is a nationally-recognized tax and financial planning authority, having authored two books, “Money and Marriage – Making it Work Together” and “Money and Marriage – For Engaged Couples”, both of which have helped countless married couples across the country. Read his blog below for insight on how to tackle debt.

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Apart from the temptation to live out the American dream, the rising cost of living in the country has played a part in the rising debt of the common American household. According to the Wall Street Journal, total household debt reached more than $226 billion in the last quarter of 2016, the most in the last decade, which raises some valid concerns over the public’s income growth and retirement, among other things.

While debt has certainly become a way of life in America, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to live either. For one, the gap between income growth and cost of living isn’t too wide for couples to just give up and neglect tracking where their money goes. If anything, debt can be a great motivator to fix one’s finances and get back on track to a secure and stable future.

For married couples, tackling debt may be trickier as one party may feel obliged to help pay off his/her spouse’s liabilities. However, as the saying goes, “two heads are better than one”, and a dual income household may have more, if not the same, resources as its disposal to trim down this seemingly impossible debt figure.

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It’s downright impossible to eliminate debt overnight, which is why married couples should look to old-fashioned teamwork in controlling small things first. For instance, chuck out all those credit cards—there’s really no need for more than one or two. Paying off the mortgage should also be prioritized over, say, an overpriced latte at a coffee shop or an impulsive trip to the Bahamas.

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Steve Pybrum On The Retirement Years: How Old Should You Be

Steve Pybrum is the author of Money and Marriage: Making It Work Together—A Guide To Smart Money Management and Harmonious Communications, a series of books designed for couples to handle money matters.

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Retirement, unfortunately, continues to be one of those things that married couples put off planning for, only to realize in the end that they may not be retiring as comfortably as they initially thought. Each day married couples let pass without a comprehensive retirement plan is another day they are setting themselves up for trouble. When Money and Marriage: Making It Work Together by Steven Pybrum was first published in 1996, the retirement age was hovering around more or less around the 60-year mark. Today, that number has increased at least five years, to 65 years old. For young couples, this means that they can expect to work far longer compared to their parents and elders before they can settle in and enjoy their senior years. However, with great financial planning and discipline, the future does not have to look so bleak.

It’s a common question, “How old should I be when I retire?” and in a way, its popularity suggests that people are indeed concerned about how their retirement pans out. As with any type of financial planning, there is no one answer to this question, because there are a number of things to consider, such one’s goals, needs, and risks. Generally, one should caution not to isolate one factor from the rest as this can skew and adversely affect the entire picture. One’s quality of living and immediate goals should also not be undermined.

For example, many people are enticed by early retirement packages offered by employers. These retirement benefits are normally doled out much earlier than retirement age, like around 55 years old. While the common argument is that such retirement packages are too good to pass up, one should caution and think about how he or she plans to pay for his or her healthcare moving forward or where he or she will derive his or her personal satisfaction or meaning. As one gets older, his or her job becomes more than just a source of income but becomes part of his or her identity. With that said, it would be prudent if one lays out a comprehensive retirement plan first before giving in to such buyouts.

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For more helpful advice on money matters for couples by Steve Pybrum and Company, stay tuned for updates.

 

Financial Investments: Life Insurance

Why should you get life insurance? Money and Marriage author Steve Pybrum weighs in on this important financial investment with today’s blog update.

At one point in your working life, you may have been approached by an insurance agent telling you to get life insurance to secure your family’s future and well-being. While this soft sell is what has made insurance more popular than ever before, there is no denying that life insurance is still a good investment worth exploring.

Generally, if one has financial obligations that will remain after his or her death, getting life insurance is a must. Going with this view of financial obligations, it is all the more surprising then that some people still wonder about the necessity of life insurance. It is a fact that many people cannot bear to see their respective spouses and children go through financial hardship. This is why insurance companies have chosen to sell this future “security.” Of course, the result has been nothing less than positive and effective, successfully positioning life insurance as a “common sense” decision. This soft sell also manages to get to the heart of insurance and its design, making it easier for people to understand why it is a winning proposition.

Steven Pybrum: Financial Investments

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From the perspective of investment and numbers, life insurance becomes a better deal if you happen to die sooner than expected. In this case, the small amount of premium you have paid to companies would have returned to your beneficiaries ten-fold. Now to the average middle-class working family, isn’t that a good deal? On the other hand, for families who have smaller incomes, this is why many personal finance experts advise saving money first then investing later after pooling emergency funds; insurance is almost always the next step once a family has achieved some financial stability.

If you have to wonder further why life insurance is a must, you may think about it in terms of opportunity cost. Is there a better investment for that insurance premium? For example, some people run businesses where that money could have gone, or they might think that investing it in stocks or bonds is better. But generally, if the returns you can get from investing that money elsewhere are insignificant and not even sure at that, then investing it in life insurance is still the best, worry-free decision for your family’s financial well-being.

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For more helpful advice by Steve Pybrum and his company, you can stay tuned to this blog for updates.

Open Your Heart to Finances

Steve Pybrum is the author of Money and Marriage, a book written for married couples to handle financial matters. Half about relationships and half about financial planning, it aims to help couples achieve a strong and stable financial future together.

In truth, managing household expenses is no easy task. While budgeting is delegated to one person who will create and track the budget, its success also hinges on the other party to do their part in following it. And with people driven by emotions at times when it comes to financial decisions, it’s no wonder then that money and financial trouble is seen as one of the top reasons for divorce.

Ideally, it would be better if you and your loved one have already established good financial habits before getting married. This way, any trouble arising from differences in values and money personality can easily be mitigated. For example, if one of you regularly saves away part of his or her income for retirement, then he or she may be tasked with long-term financial goals. Conversely, the other party who may be used to rewarding him or herself every month may be tasked with coming up with the monthly budget and spending.

As you and your spouse grow into each other’s money personality throughout your marriage, it would seem that opening a joint bank account is the natural path. However, if doing so will only mess up the finances as there will be a lack of boundaries, then there would be little reason to push through with such a decision. In fact, a combination of joint and separate bank accounts may be better as the former can give couples a sense of togetherness in achieving their goals while the latter provides healthy financial boundaries.

Of course, boundaries does not mean excluding your spouse from your financial decisions. Rather than keep him or her in the dark, you should seek avenues of dialogue so you and your spouse can help motivate each other. In the book, Money and Marriage: Making It Work Together—A Guide To Smart Money Management and Harmonious Communications by Steven Pybrum, couples will learn how to open their hearts to finances. Apart from household spending and budgeting, couples will be nudged to do some self-reflection so they both can be on the same financial page with each other.

For more helpful advice by Steve Pybrum and Company, you can stay tuned to this blog for updates. You may also purchase his Money and Marriage book series for more helpful advice on communicating with your spouse about financial matters.

 

Steve Pybrum On Goal-setting: Its Importance to Financial Success

Money and Marriage author Steve Pybrum believes that money should not be a cause of conflict between married couples. Learn more about the importance of goal-setting with today’s blog.

To restate the famous quote of Benjamin Franklin, “Failing to plan is planning to fail” is almost the credo of many personal finance experts, and for good reason—this quote couldn’t be more apt when it comes to financial matters. Whether it’s you and your spouse’s retirement years you’re worried about, how to pay off debt faster, or to find more sources of income, everything starts with a goal. Without a goal, you and your spouse’s actions will be without direction, and it will be difficult to establish good money habits moving forward.

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Steven Pybrum: Financial Planning

While financial planning may be construed as crunching numbers, it is also as much about goal-setting. These goals can be as simple as living below or within you and your spouse’s means and building up an emergency fund, or as complex as developing investment strategies and growing a business. What’s important about these goals is that they should be specific and measurable so you and your spouse will be able to track your progress.

For example, everyone wants a comfortable retirement. In fact, when it comes retirement planning, couples are quick to give adjectives on how they envision it to be. They may say they want it comfortable and debt-free, with money set aside for travel, and so on and so forth. However, the difficulty with such goals is that these are prone to changes. Today, you and your spouse may say that $500,000 is a comfortable enough retirement figure, only to realize in the end that this amount is far too small to pay for you and your spouse’s healthcare. Another danger with this top-of-mind projection is that your actual living expenses, which are based on everyday needs, have not been accounted for.

Goals are important, but they are not set in stone. They provide you and your spouse direction and guidance, but these should also be evaluated regularly to see whether they still apply. With that in mind, it would help if you and your spouse set both short-term and long-term goals. Make it fun and reward yourselves whenever you both reach your short-term goals. Not only will doing so motivate you to reach other goals, but it will also make you realize that you and your spouse can achieve anything once you both set your mind to it.

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For more helpful advice on money matters for couples by Steve Pybrum and Company, stay tuned for updates.

 

Harmonious Communications About Money

In his celebrated book Money and Marriage: Making It Work Together, Steve Pybrum gets to the heart of the time old problems of money and marriage, and offers helpful advice to married couples on what they can do to resolve their conflict. Steven Pybrum has toured around the country to help couples stop fighting each other and start working together to build a bright and stable future.

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There are many sources of conflict among married couples regarding money matters. Differences in values, saving and spending habits, income—these are just few of the many things that couples have fought about decades ago and still continue to fight about to this day. It’s no wonder then that financial woes are seen to be the primary cause of divorce.

While the divorce rate in the country is higher than ever, this doesn’t mean however that all hope is lost. In fact, with a little work and effort to improve your communication skills and money management smarts, you and your spouse can leave those financial problems at the door and ultimately, save your marriage.

If there’s one serious money problem for most couples, it’s probably that difference in values can drive a wedge between you and your spouse. To be more specific, if one party starts to value money more over the relationship itself, this may almost spell disaster to the couple in question. Materialism may loosely be used here to identify the deeper issues.

For example, one party may want to spend more than what he or she and his or her spouse can afford. He or she may want that big house with a large manicured lawn, and an expensive car in the garage. There’s nothing wrong with spending on big-ticket items but only if the couple in question can afford these and have mutually agreed to proceed with the purchase. In this case, one person’s wants may even cause the demise of the relationship entirely, bringing it to the brink of bankruptcy.

Difference in values can also manifest problems even when there is an abundance of money. Using the same example mentioned, one party may actually be pinning down his or her happiness to owning such material possessions, rather than his or her spouse and their marriage. That could be the reason why he or she wants that big house with a large lawn, to keep up with the Joneses.

If this is you and your spouse exactly, your marriage may be in great need of a wake-up call already. Ask yourself, when was the last time you and your spouse talked about financial matters? Is he or she receptive when financial matters are discussed? Is he or she defensive or do you come off as confrontational? These are helpful questions to ask in order to change the way you communicate with your spouse.

In the book Money and Marriage, there is a chapter dedicated on communication styles. There you and your spouse will learn the keys to communicating effectively and in a way that reaches the heart.

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Money Management Skills

Steve Pybrum is a nationally recognized financial planner who combines marriage counseling and smart money management skills in the Money and Marriage series of books. For his valuable work and contribution to helping couples, Steven Pybrum has been featured on CNN Morning News, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNBC, and in the Washington Times.

 

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When it comes to money management, one does not need to be a CPA or any other financial professional in order to handle money well. In fact, financial literacy is as basic as learning the alphabet, and should be taught at an early age, so that children do not grow up to be adults with horrible spending and saving habits. With that in mind, even the most basic of money management skills can go a long way in helping individuals and couples alike to stay financially healthy.

Here are two basic money management steps you can easily do for you and the household. If you already follow these simple techniques, congratulations! Now what you can focus on is consistency and discipline, and tweaking these steps to align with your financial goals.

1. Track Expenditures – Do you take note of where your money goes? Tracking expenditures is not only a good way to control spending, but it can also help you figure out what expenses you can cut back on. Do you really need that gym membership? Have you been splurging on junk food and eating out? Have you saved away a portion of your monthly salary already for retirement? These are some of the questions that can arise when you go over your log.

You do not have to jot down everything down to the last cent, though that will certainly help. But the point of this exercise is to be mindful of how quickly money can go out of your bank account. In the end, there are more advantages to tracking down spending than there are disadvantages, so go out and buy a small notebook or keep tabs on your devices.

2. Don’t Forget to Save More – As mentioned earlier, you may be shocked to find out how quickly money can disappear from your hands. A person who earns six digits a year but has zero stashed away in savings is doing a poor job compared to a person who earns a little more than minimum wage but tries very hard to save 5-10% of his or her monthly income.

If you are earning more, whether in your job or you have acquired more sources of income, this is certainly good news for your retirement, but it’s only half of the equation. As you earn more, you should also be saving more, if not saving just as much as you did before your income increase. Having a target percentage of your income for savings and investments will be easier to keep track of as well. A general rule of thumb is 10-15% but this figure largely depends on your circumstance. Are you the sole breadwinner? How many kids do you have? Are you and your spouse nearing retirement?

For more money management tips by Steve Pybrum and Company, stay tuned to this page.