Wedding Budget Blues: How to Plan the Wedding of Your Dreams Without Breaking the Bank

Wedding Budget Blues: How to Plan the Wedding of Your Dreams Without Breaking the Bank

Written by Lauren Reisig for Sharpheels.com The story is familiar to us all: Once upon a time, there were two people who fell madly and deeply in love. They decided to spend their lives together and host a beautiful wedding to celebrate. They found the perfect dress, the perfect cake, the perfect venue, the perfect rings– they had it all. Then, they lived happily ever after–under a formidable mountain of debt. At times, it seems as though this is how the modern fairy tale is destined to go. After all, in 2015, the average cost of a wedding in the United States was between $29,000 and $31,000, and that’s not including the honeymoon! Unfortunately, wedding planning is only getting more expensive as time goes on. In fact, since 1990, wedding prices have increased 100%! With the whirlwind of emotions you feel while planning the big day, it’s easy to get swept up, go over budget (only 50% of couples manage to stick to their budget during the process), and land yourself in a hole that’s hard to dig out of. It’s definitely not a good way to start your married life together, but thankfully, it’s completely avoidable. Set a Realistic BudgetYou don’t have to be part of the 50% of couples who overspend when planning their weddings if you set—and stick to!—a realistic budget. Nothing is worse than having your heart set on something for the big day and then realizing later that you can’t afford it because you spent too much money on something else. So, do some research. Look up the average cost of everything in your...
Get Out of Debt With the Debt Snowball Plan

Get Out of Debt With the Debt Snowball Plan

Myth: You need to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first to get out of debt quickly. Truth: You should knock out the smallest debt first to create momentum in your debt snowball. Mathematically, it makes sense to pay on the debt with the highest interest rate first. After all, doesn’t that save you the most money? Maybe, but it’s more important to pay your debts in a way that keeps you motivated to keep going until you’ve wiped them all out. If you begin with the biggest one, you might think you’re not making fast enough progress, lose steam, and not finish the job. It’s better to get quick wins that pump you up. Those wins happen when you start with the smallest debt. Once you’ve saved your $1,000 starter emergency fund, list all your debts (except the house) smallest to largest. Now it’s time to get rid of them ASAP with the debt snowball. How the Debt Snowball Works Make minimum payments on all the debts except the smallest, and throw as much money as you can on it. Once that debt is gone, take its payment and apply it to the next smallest debt. Repeat that as you plow your way through them. The more you pay off, the more your freed-up money grows—like a snowball rolling downhill. Here’s a quick example. Say your debt snowball looks like this: Credit card 1: $500 at 13% with a monthly payment of $25. Credit card 2: $1,000 at 19% with a monthly payment of $50. Car loan: $6,000 at 4% over four years with a...
Yours, Mine & Ours: How to Manage Joint Finances Without a Fight

Yours, Mine & Ours: How to Manage Joint Finances Without a Fight

Written by Lauren Reisig for Sharpheels.com It’s happened. You’ve fallen head over heels in love with “The One.” The one who knows you better than anyone else. The one with whom who you want to spend all of your days. The one with whom you feel comfortable sharing all of your innermost thoughts, feelings and ideas. It’s amazing and all-consuming — and the next thing you know, you’re moving in together and combining your lives. While sharing your guilty-pleasure music or the fact that you’re not the greatest at keeping the bathroom tidy with this person may seem relatively easy, there’s one thing that may be a little harder to share…your finances. Why is this?  Well, numerous studies and polls have told us time and time again that couples fight more over how to manage their money than anything else.  In fact, it’s the leading cause of stress in marriages, not to mention one of the most frequently cited reasons for divorce. Money can tend to bring up all sorts of proprietary/ownership feelings. Kind of scary, right? There are ways, however, to ease some of the tension, and create harmony in your relationship…and your bank account. Put in the Time and Communicate As with anything in your relationship, getting your finances on track is going to take time and effort. First, sit down with your significant other and decide how you’d like to manage your finances. For instance, some couples prefer to use the “Yours, Mine, Ours” method which allows both people to still have their own bank accounts and then a “shared pot” from which all bills are...
What Happens When You Meet With an Investing Pro the First Time?

What Happens When You Meet With an Investing Pro the First Time?

It’s no secret that a lot of Americans worry about retirement. But a new retirement study commissioned by Ramsey Solutions shows getting professional help can be a big-time confidence boost: Americans who work with a pro are nearly twice as likely as those who don’t to say they are very confident they’ll have enough money to retire. If you’ve never sat down with a pro before, that first step can feel intimidating. We talked to Chadd Hoeft and Justin Widick, investing professionals from Omaha, Nebraska, to find out what you can expect and how to prepare for the first meeting. Do This First After you schedule your first appointment, you’ve got some homework to do. Don’t worry; it’s a team assignment. Simply sit down with your spouse and discuss your future together. Coming to the table with a clear set of shared goals makes it easer to figure out which direction is right for you. Here are a few questions to get the conversation started: When would you like to retire? What does your dream retirement look like? Do you plan to work in retirement? How will you fund your kids’ college education? Who will your beneficiaries be? Think of Your First Meeting as a Get-Acquainted Session Your investing pro can’t help you reach your retirement goal if they don’t know where the starting line is or what hurdles you’ll need to clear to get there. That’s why it’s important to come prepared with recent financial statements. “As much information as they can bring, the better,” Chadd says. Your pro can give you specific guidance on what documents to...