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Money Management International Improving Lives Through Financial Education
SUCESS NewsletterFinancial Education Newsletter
 
Love and money matters

MMI Community Manager

By Kim Mcgrigg, MMI Community Manager

If you’re looking for love, getting your finances in order now will not only make you a more attractive prospect, but will help build a healthy relationship. If you’re already in a relationship, recommit yourself to building a stronger and more financially secure partnership by following a few helpful suggestions:

Don’t be afraid to share your feelings. No matter how unromantic, having an open and honest discussion about your financial past and future is vital to your financial success. Remember that everyone has their own money style, which has been shaped by their past experiences. Approaching money issues honestly and openly gives you a much better chance at a strong, healthy financial relationship. 

Learn how to communicate with your partner about money by attending the
free webinar titled Let's Talk: Couples and Money.

Make a commitment. No one cares more about your financial security than the two of you. Make a promise to each other to take joint responsibility and take steps to better your overall financial position by paying down debt and establishing a savings cushion. Establishing a savings cushion could keep a financial setback from becoming a financial disaster. And, reducing debt allows you to make smart financial choices in the future. 

Set financial goals and vow to keep them. Make sure that your goals that are both specific and achievable. Try to set goals that are equally rewarding so that you're both working towards the same goal. Depend on each other for support and encourage one another to stay focused and committed.

Spend some quality time. Schedule a time to meet each month to discuss your financial goals and expectations. Review your budget regularly in order to identify problem areas. Don’t be discouraged by the occasional setback. Make adjustments as often as needed to ensure financial success.

It is a well-known -and unfortunate- fact that financial problems are one of the leading causes of disagreement for couples. Because money matters, it’s important for couples to devote more time to improving their financial standing.

For more tips on harmoniously marrying two financial situations, download Love and Money: Your Guide to the Coupling of Finance and Romance. It's free!

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Love and Money Free eBook

Free eBook about the coupling of finance & romance

Fifty-six percent of people who are unhappily married say financial problems are to blame. As the numbers from Money Management International’s (MMI) recent survey show, no two subjects spark up more heat than love and money. While a financially sound relationship can help kindle romance, a relationship plagued by financial problems can lead to decreased levels of happiness and, potentially, a relationship meltdown. MMI’s new eBook, Love and Money: Your Guide to the Coupling of Finance and Romance, addresses both the fun and serious sides of marrying two financial situations.

Couples are often advised to set a date night, like dinner and a movie, once a week to help them reconnect with one another. This is horrible advice! For couples who are living on a shoestring budget (think newlyweds or couples trying to get out of debt), shelling out that much money every week can actually strain their relationship.

A weekly date night is a good thing, but only if the date is within the couples’ means. Love and Money offers creative cheap date ideas that are affordable, so couples can focus on each other rather than worry about affording the steak they're eating. Here are some creative, cheap date ideas from the book:

  1. Plant something green. If either you or your love has a green thumb, you’ll enjoy this eco-friendly date. Plant a tree to commemorate your anniversary. Or, instead of giving flowers that will wilt away, plant a Knock Out Rose bush together. This abundantly blooming plant thrives in most parts of the country.
  2. Get inspired by the silver screen. Check out a favorite romantic flick for inspiration. For example, don your bed sheets in the Grecian fashion. Hand feed each other grapes and olives and watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
  3. Write your life lists together. What dreams do you have for the future? What do you want to accomplish in life? Compile a list of all the things you hope to be, see, and do. You’ll get to know yourself and each other better. Plus, you can bond over the fact that number 29 on both of your lists is to visit the Eiffel Tower. Ooh, la, la!
  4. Games people play. Three may be a crowd but four is a party. Get some of your coupled friends together for board games at your house. Serve inexpensive snacks and satiate your thirst for competition. Games like Battle of the Sexes, Cranium, and Pictionary are always hits.
  5. Reenact the Lady and the Tramp spaghetti scene. For a steal of a meal, cook up some Italian. Spaghetti marinara and garlic bread are inexpensive to make and taste delicious. Spread a checkered cloth over the table, eat dinner by candlelight, and enjoy the bella note. Who knows, maybe you’ll even share a spaghetti smooch!

For more date ideas and tips on harmoniously marrying two financial situations, download Love and Money: Your Guide to the Coupling of Finance and Romance. It’s free!


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Sharpen Your Financial Skills with Free Online Courses-

The goal of our highly trained professionals is to arm you with the knowledge necessary to take control of your financial situation. Our online seminars stress the development of skills that can assure long-term success. You will gain the peace of mind that comes from improved spending habits, increased savings, and the wise use of credit. Take the first step toward financial wellness by enrolling in a web seminar today!

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View upcoming financial education workshops

 


The high cost of tax refund loans

 

It's tax time and that means payday for many American workers expecting a tax refund. After a tough economic year, many cash-strapped taxpayers may be feeling a bit desperate and don't want to wait longer than necessary to get their money. Unfortunately, this could drive consumers struggling to make ends meet to seek a refund anticipation loan.

Basically, a refund anticipation loan is a short-term cash advance that uses your expected tax refund as collateral. The loans allow you get your money a little bit earlier, but at a hefty price. According to consumer advocates, refund anticipation loans fees translate into high Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 50% to 500%.

Low- to moderate-income taxpayers are usually the target of tax refund anticipation loans. These consumers end up paying a total of more than $900 million in fees for their easy money. Although the IRS does not take an official stand on refund anticipation loans, it also does not endorse the practice.

Unless someone is facing a true financial emergency, the fees are just not worth the convenience. Instead, taxpayers should consider taking steps to ensure they receive the maximum amount owed to them:

  • Double-check your work. According to the IRS, even a small mistake can cause problems with your tax return, which might lead to delays in processing your return and receiving your refund.
  • Use Free File - a new service offered by the IRS, which enables low and middle income taxpayers to file electronically for free and have their refund deposited directly in their checking or savings accounts in about 10 business days.
  • Take tax credits. The IRS announced several new benefits this year like the Recovery Rebate Credit and the First-Time Homebuyer Credit offering a tax credit up to $7,500. Visit IRS.gov to learn more about other tax credits and benefits.
  • Remember your charitable donations. The IRS might just be the only group that will give you extra credit just for being nice. The value of all donated items including clothes, furniture, and cash is deductible. Proof of the donation is required.
Finally, if you are anticipating a tax refund for more than $500, consider reducing the withholding on your W-4. Calculators at IRS.gov can help you figure your appropriate amount. More money on your paycheck will help during this time of economic recovery.

MMI Debt Management Plan Client Corner
Tips for Success

Don't risk missing a payment-sign up for DepositDirect. DepositDirect Authorization allows us to withdraw your deposit from your bank account and save time and money each month. It's secure, convenient and easy! Enroll online today!

Update your account balances online. When you receive your monthly statement from your creditors, login to your MMI account and update your balances. It is important that we have the most accurate balance information possible on file. 

If you would like more information about signing up for a Debt Management Plan through Money Management International, visit MoneyManagement.org.


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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
800-762-2271 or visit moneymanagement.org.


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