The Home 
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Welcome Connie!

Connie BrooksLast week, I had the pleasure of introducing Gary Bonner, who will be giving his perspective on current personal finance issues, and this week I have the pleasure of introducing Connie Brooks. Connie is a personal finance blogger and author about to release her first book – How to Retire Comfortably and Happy on Less Money Than the Financial Experts Say You Need: Insider Secrets to Spending Less While Living More. She regularly blogs at ThriftyMamas.com and recently started a family with the addition of a baby girl.

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 Personal Finance 
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7 Deadly Sins of Personal Finance: Don’t Plan For the Future

7 Deadly Sins of Personal FinanceHot on the heels of a pretty bad sin yesterday, Failing to Budget, comes its brother in arms – failing to plan for the future.

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 Personal Finance 
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Dr. Bonnie Answers Coupled Finances Questions

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil of Financial InfidelityLast month I reviewed Financial Infidelity by Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil and then followed it up with a giveaway in which I asked you for relationship and finances questions. Well, as luck would have it, Dr. Bonnie was gracious enough to take the time to answer each of your questions!

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 Personal Finance, Reviews 
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Review: Financial Infidelity by Bonnie Eaker Weil

Financial Infidelity by Bonnie Eaker WeilFinancial Infidelity by Bonnie Eaker Weil is a book all couples should review. When I first saw the title, I immediately thought to myself – “Awesomedude (yes, I call myself Awesomedude in my brain), you and your wife communicate openly about everything so probably won’t get much out of this book.” So I let it sit for a couple weeks before I took a look at it, however I’m glad I did. Financial Infidelity isn’t a book for people dealing with financial infidelity, it’s a book for people in relationships and establishing a framework for open communication about everything (but focusing on the effect of money). If you have problems (and you’re not alone, financial infidelity is rampant), this book can help. If you don’t have problems, this book will uncover what you don’t know or simply confirm all is well going forward.

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 Taxes 
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When Does Married Filing Separately Make Sense?

Married Filing SeparatelyAfter the wedding, I started taking a closer look at the tax numbers and incorrectly concluded that the only time someone would ever file as “married filing separately” would be if one partner earned a whole lot and one partner earned not as much. The logic was that the lower earner wouldn’t be subject to the same tax rates as the higher earner and thus the difference would overcome the different tax brackets. The only correct assumption I made was that the lower earner wouldn’t lose access to any tax advantaged accounts, like Roth IRAs, because they’d still be over the limits for those types of accounts. I already gave out my hypothesis and my result (I was wrong and am now clueless as to why anyone would file separately if both options were available) but here’s what I did.

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 Personal Finance 
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Marriage and Money Advice for Newlyweds

Since Jim is newly married and off on his honeymoon, I thought I’d take the time to focus on marriage and money. I’ve been married almost 13 years, and though my husband and I don’t argue about money much these days, there are a few things I wish I would have realized at the beginning of my marriage. It would have made the first few years a lot easier.

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 Personal Finance 
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Simplify Your Personal Finances

One of the benefits of creating my Personal Finance Users Guide was that I learned that we an overabundance of unused bank accounts and credit cards. In years past, each one had their purpose but have since been made obsolete. For example, one is a credit union near my home town that linked my finances with my parents and was important while I was in college. Having graduated many years ago, this link has become less and less important.

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 The Home 
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Chores For Computer Time, Not Allowance

Here’s a clever idea I never thought about (mostly because I don’t have kids): Children perform chores in return for computer or video game time, not allowances. That’s the idea behind an article in the New York Times today in which children earn “screen time” as opposed to dollars and cents for good behavior.

I really like this idea because it’s a lot like carbon credits (please bear with me). So a company does something bad for the environment, like pumping more CO2 into the air, in order to offset that they can do something good, like planing more trees. Well, this is the same idea as earning “screen time” because playing video games is “bad” whereas studying, reading a book, doing chores, is “good.” You can even throw in wrinkles like trading your chores for screen time with siblings, sort of like a secondary market for screen time!

Now, some parents might say that chores should be part of one’s duties and children shouldn’t feel like they should be rewarded for the things they should be doing. It’s the same argument as not tying allowances with chores but if you can get over that then this is a pretty solid idea. It’ll be a few more years before we’ll have a chance to implement it but it’s always good to be prepared. :)


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