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Archive for September 2013

5 money moves to make during a divorce

Published 9/20/13

5 money moves to make during a divorce By Holly Johnson

When I was 18, I married my high school sweetheart and moved 800 miles away from home. Shortly after that, I realized that I had made a terrible mistake. Fortunately, since we didn't have much, it was fairly easy to divide our assets and move on with our lives.

Still, I did learn a lot from the experience, and I managed to escape the situation without any financial impact or damage to my flawless credit report. How did I do it? For one thing, I hired an attorney who knew exactly what I needed to do and when. But I also picked up some other helpful tips along the way.

If you're in a marriage that isn't working out, you're probably wondering what steps you need to take to protect yourself financially. After all, if your marriage is like mine was, your finances have been intermingling for quite some time. You may have joint checking and savings accounts, joint credit cards, and, unfortunately, joint debts.

So, how should you separate your finances when you're getting a divorce? Consider starting with these five simple steps.

1. Educate yourself

Often, one spouse takes the lead in the family's financial matters. If that spouse isn't you, you'll need to educate yourself on your family's financial situation.

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The real story behind credit unions

Published 9/13/13

The real story behind credit unions By Justin Boyle

In August, I visited a professor I'd gotten to know back in college. Her son had turned 16 in February, and she had co-signed with him on an auto loan from a credit union. But now that the income from his summer job was about to slow down, he was balking on his promise to keep up the payments.

"I shouldn't even have to pay them!" he told his very patient mother. "It's not even a real bank!"

At the end of the conversation (inasmuch as that sort of conversation with a teenager ever ends), the boy did acquiesce to continuing his loan payments. But nobody explained to him what exactly a credit union was, so here's a little help. Matthew, this one's for you.

How credit unions work

According to the World Council of Credit Unions, credit unions go back almost 300 years, to mid-19th century Germany.

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4 ways to fix an unsteady cash flow

Published 9/7/13

4 ways to fix an unsteady cash flow By Georgie Miller

When I was still a student, I was pretty much broke all the time. I didn't mind too much though. I knew that when I graduated and got a "real job," my money worries would be over. Right?

But even after I found a great job with a decent salary, I noticed something weird. At certain times of the month, my checking account was overflowing. There was a couple thousand dollars in there! Other times, I would have less than $100, prompting me to worry about what would happen if a check cleared my account a day earlier than I expected.

Feast or famine

Why was this happening? I had added up my monthly spending repeatedly and came out in the black. Then one day I was putting the due dates for my bills on my calendar, and I noticed something.

The first of my two student loan payments was deducted from my account on the 28th. The second was deducted on the first. My rent was also due on the first. And the credit card that I used for my monthly spending was due on the 29th.

In other words, more than 75 percent of my spending occurred during the same one-week period every month. No wonder I was broke around that time! If you are finding yourself in a monthly cycle of rich one minute, poor the next, here are some strategies to better manage your cash flow.

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