For most of our lives many of us have heard the old adage “Money can’t buy happiness.” And we can all think of numerous examples of individuals where this certainly seems to be true – whether among the powerful and famous, or within our own family or group of friends. But is that really true? Research over the last few decades suggests “NO!” In fact, many studies show that in one sense money can buy happiness. But it’s not the amount of money we have, but rather how we SPEND our money that can indeed increase our happiness – although perhaps not in the way Madison Avenue or Amazon Prime would like us to think. First, let’s address the skeptics among you who feel sure that if you simply had MORE money you would indeed be happier. Statistics show that certainly isn’t true, since 70% of all lottery winners or those with a sudden financial windfall end up bankrupt within a few years.1 Carl Jung, famous psychologist, said in fact that the keys to happiness were five things.
Atlanta Financial Blog
Change in Marital Status, Change in Lifestyle?
Divorce brings many emotional losses, and often a sense of loss of control over the future. A common response is to cling to elements of your past lifestyle. Many parents understandably fear the impact a divorce will have on their children, and want to keep their lifestyle as much the same as possible. But often, holding on to the past can often come at a high cost. I have seen parents insist on their children continuing to attend expensive private schools that are no longer affordable for either parent after divorce. Many women in particular, make staying in the marital home their top priority, even when the housing costs no longer fit into their post-divorce budget. Often these choices mean that the financial future of one or both parents are compromised. Funds that should have been invested and growing to provide for retirement are eroded, savings reduced or eliminated, and the financial future more bleak than it needed to be.
Remember that divorce inevitably means change for both parents and children. Lessons learned through the process can be life-changing, but not necessarily in a bad way. Children can learn valuable financial and budgeting skills that will help them later in their adult life if allowed to participate in family decisions in an age-appropriate way. And often the fear of change is far worse than the actual change.
In my own family, I rashly promised my children that we would not leave the marital home for at least two years to try to “soften” the impact of the end of my 31-year marriage. I knew better, but was overwhelmed by a desire to ease my children’s suffering. In a few months, I realized that maintaining that home was not a healthy or financially-wise decision, and had to back-track from that promise. As you would expect, my children initially resisted the idea of leaving their childhood home. All they could see was “loss.” Once I involved them in the house-hunting process, they quickly got excited about a new and different location. And, when we found our current home, their emotions quickly transitioned from loss and fear of the unknown to excitement about new possibilities.
Even if your children aren’t initially “excited” about such a change, you owe it to yourself and your children to be sure you are on a financially sustainable path. That is the greatest gift we can give our families.
“How did the new tax bill affect me?” was the question on everyone’s minds this tax season, and for good reason. Even though this was touted as the greatest simplification of the tax code in my lifetime, I didn’t notice any reduction in time spent preparing returns. Those of you who reviewed your returns in detail noticed that the schedules look drastically different although contain all the same information. The short answer for many is that it didn’t materially change your overall tax liability. The outliers fell into one of a few buckets…
No one enjoys thinking about what will happen after they’re gone, but we all want our families to be well cared for. Many people set up trusts to provide for their loved ones, but the trust is only as good as its trustee.Choosing a trustee is one of the more difficult decisions in creating your estate plan. Some attorneys suggest choosing several trustees to promote checks and balances, but sometimes choosing just one trustee can be difficult in light of family relationships and other factors. Choosing a trustee is a very personal and complex decision, but there are some basic guidelines one should consider.
It is that time of year again where school years are coming to a close and many parents are gearing up for a bitter-sweet high school graduation or are celebrating their child being one year closer to a hard-earned college diploma. Whatever the case may be, it is hard to deny the heavy lift education costs can be. You may not be able to shrink the bottom-line cost of attendance any further, and you surely can’t impact how fast many costs are going up, but, you can reduce the weight this line-item carries within your financial plan by remembering these 5 things: