"Money is the sign of liberty. To curse money is to curse liberty - to curse life, which is nothing, if it be not free." - Gourmont

Facebook is Making Breakups Easier for its Users

Facebook Breakups

It seems Facebook engineers understand the heaviness of a breakup and its come up with a tool to make breakups easier on its users. The world’s largest social media network is trying to ease heartbreak and curb feelings after a nasty (or maybe not so nasty) breakup.

Facebook has been a place for sharing life’s most important moments for some time. When you get a new job, you post it to Facebook, get married, it’s on Facebook. The same goes for having children, going to a reunion, planning a party. You share some of your most special moments with your network of friends on Facebook. Sometimes those moments aren’t so happy though. Sometimes those moments include things like divorce and breakups, but the Facebook team has made even those hard moments easier for its users.

Often times, when a relationship ends, it can be emotionally exhausting. If the relationship was “Facebook official,” it can be doubly exhausting, so the social media company has decided to launch a new tool to make the emotional breakup a bit easier. Facebook is testing its new tool on mobile apps in the United States. If the test run goes well here, the company will likely offer the tool to its 1.5 billion users worldwide.

Essentially, the new tool will allow users to stop seeing posts, photos and videos from their ex-lover. Many people end up blocking their exes. However, the new tool will make the harshness of blocking the person unnecessary. You simply just don’t have to see their posts unless you choose to.

Once a person’s Facebook relationship status is changed on the website, they will be able to use this tool which also allows for the removal of any links that connected them to the person in the past.

The company’s push for the breakup tool makes sense though. If there is something that may upset someone on a website or social media, they are more likely to avoid the site and, if people are avoiding the website or the app, the company is losing an opportunity to make valuable revenue.

Facebook collects information based on your likes and dislikes and show ads based on their preferences. They receive money from these ads, so the more daily users the social media site can have, the better!

“This work is part of our ongoing effort to develop resources for people who may be going through difficult moments in their lives,” Facebook product manager Kelly Winters wrote in a blog post.

Winters’ blog post, and the company’s move to offer breakup help, is another reminder to how ingrained social media, and especially Facebook, has become in our lives.

The Menlo Park-based company has more than 1 billion daily users worldwide and those who have the app on their phone tend to visit Facebook more than once a day. The keep-the-users-happy goal of the company seems to be working.

CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg has turned the social media site into a huge success since he founded the social media service a decade ago in his Harvard dorm room. The company’s value now sits at a pretty $300 billion.

10 Reasons to Get a Prenup

important reasons to get a prenuptial agreement

Prenuptial agreements still have a negative connotation associated with them. Some people believe that getting one shows a lack of trust in their partner while some people believe that it’s a sign that divorce is inevitable even before the marriage begins. However, signing a prenuptial agreement doesn’t automatically mean divorce is in your future or that you don’t trust your partner. There are many benefits to having a prenup, and a few are outlined below:

You Already Have One

Guess what? You already have a prenup. If you don’t create one yourself, chances are that the state or city you live in has laws that will dictate the financial aspects concerning what you would write in your prenup. In essence, by not creating your own, you have given control to the government on what the prenuptial agreement is. Creating your own will help you plan as a couple your own rules to live by instead of defaulting to the legal consequences set out by the government. A prenup means you can still have the legal benefits of marriage while also setting your own terms.

Financial Differences

Do you and your partner have vastly different financial situations? Maybe one of you has many times the amount of money the other does. If you don’t like the idea of someone marrying you only for your money, signing a prenup can help you avoid that potential problem down the road.

Obligations Are Clear

Signing a prenuptial agreement is also a good way to make obligations clear before the marriage, especially when it comes to your finances. You might want to divvy up expenses between each other, decide whether you have joint or individual bank accounts, and how finances are going to be handled once you’re married. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on your actual relationship once your financial matters are clearly outlined and understood.

Property

If you go into a marriage already owning property, signing s prenup is a great way to keep everyone’s property separate. For instance, if you’re the sole owner of a house and your marriage unfortunately doesn’t work out down the road, you don’t want that house to revert to your former partner. Or, on the other hand, if you’re going into a second marriage and have a house from your first, you want to make sure that the ownership of the house is all straightened out.

Second or Third Marriage

Going into a second or third marriage means that your finances are very different from when you were entering into your first marriage. You and your partner might have assets you bring to the marriage or even children or other family or financial obligations. Signing a prenuptial agreement can help ensure that if something happens, your assets and obligations are covered. For instance, if you have children from your first and second marriage, you want to make sure that your prenup states that if something happens to you, both families are covered.

Divorce

No one wants to believe that they may get a divorce, and it’s unfortunate that you even need to think of preparing for such a thing. However, no one knows how the future will affect them or their relationships, so signing a prenuptial agreement and outlining who gets what is a smart idea. Often, when people end a relationship they fight over trivial things such as who owns what, so make sure you settle that beforehand.

You Own a Business

If you own a business or part of a business, a prenuptial agreement will protect your business if something goes wrong with your marriage. It can also help ensure that your partner or spouse does not become involved in your business without your approval.

Protection Against Debt

In this day and age, it’s rare that people don’t have some type of debt associated with their finances. A prenuptial agreement can help protect you against any debt that your spouse or partner brings into your marriage or any future debt they may acquire after you’re married. You can tailor your prenup for each person’s individual debt.

Spousal Support or Alimony

Some people are worried that in the event of a divorce their partner will seek alimony or spousal support. If this is one of your worries, you can specify certain terms in your prenup agreement such as setting a certain amount to pay in alimony or waiving alimony entirely. This might be a good idea to take care of so you don’t encounter any difficulties or disagreements in the future.

Learn About Each Other

Of course, planning and writing a prenuptial agreement can also help you learn more about yourself, your partner, and your relationship. Money is one of the biggest causes of disagreement in relationships, so it’s important to know where you and your partner or spouse stand when it comes to finances. Writing a prenup will help you determine how you feel about certain financial decisions you and your partner make. This may make you realize that you and your spouse or partner have very different feelings about certain things or help you come to a better understanding about your finances.

(Photo courtesy of Lars Plougmann)

10 Life Choices That Will Hurt Your Finances

make the right choice

Sometimes people make life choices that end up negatively affecting them in their future. Life doesn’t always make things easy and when things get difficult, it can be difficult to make a good choice. Unfortunately, we live in a society where so much depends on money and financial security that the life choices you make can can have a large negative effect on your finances. Listed below are a number of life choices that you want to avoid if possible since making them will likely leave you a lot poorer.

Quitting Your Job Without Another Lined Up

A lot of people wish they could quit their jobs without a second thought. If you have a job that is aggravating you to the point of quitting, think twice if you don’t have a backup plan. We live in such a poor economy that quitting without another job lined up or without another source of income will end up hurting your finances in the long run. After all, you don’t know how long it may take you to find another job.

Staying in a Dead End Job

While this is a difficult economy and many people take jobs they’re under qualified for, staying in a dead-end job can also hurt your finances. If you know that you’re worth a better job with a higher pay, you’re only hurting by staying in a job that will never give you the pay or recognition you deserve. Of course, there may be other factors making you stay in that job such as bills to pay or a family to support. But instead of just going through the motions and dealing with it, think about also searching for a better, higher paying job to improve your finances instead of keeping them stagnant.

Buying a House You Can’t Afford

A lot of people believe that they need a gigantic, luxurious house and will take out a mortgage that they can never realistically pay back. Choosing to buy a house that you know you can’t afford can hurt your finances down the road. What happens when you have to default on the mortgage? Or what happens when you can’t pay to maintain the house? Choosing to live beyond your means is never a good thing.

Taking Out Massive Loans for College

Most people who have been to college in the past decade are tired of the debate over college loans. On one hand, everyone says that you can’t get a good job without a college degree. But on the other hand, taking out massive loans will push you into a gigantic pool of student debt that you may never be able to pay off. You don’t want to become a slave to college loans. If possible, see what other alternatives there are such as a cheaper college, any financial aid options, or scholarships to help lighten the load somewhat.

Graduate School

Graduate school can be a curse and a blessing. For one, it can help you become an expert in your chosen career or academic field which will only make you more marketable. However, there are a lot of people who have only gone back to grad school because they couldn’t find a job. If you choose to go back to grad school and can’t get financial aid or funding, you might be dooming yourself to an even larger pile of debt once you graduate.

Having an Expensive Wedding

Weddings are supposed to be happy event, so the last thing you want to do is saddle yourself with outrageously high bills just to celebrate one day. A lot of people seem to believe that they need an expensive wedding to commemorate their special day. Except they forget that they might not be able to afford that wedding or may be paying off wedding bills for years. Don’t make the mistake of planning and hosting a wedding that negatively affects your finances. A wedding is great, but you want to make sure you have money that you and your spouse can use to start your life together.

Divorce

Divorce is an unfortunate event, but sometimes it’s inevitable. Before you go through with a divorce, you should be aware of how it will negatively affect your finances. Even an amicable divorce is going to cost both parties money. If it’s nasty, it can cost a small fortune. At a minimum you’ll have to pay for lawyers, the division of assets and child support.

Not Getting Insurance

There are a lot of people who make the conscious decision not to buy insurance for their homes, cars, or heath. While some people do go overboard when buying insurance, not buying insurance could hurt you sometime in the future. What happens if you have a medical emergency and have to pay full price? What happens if a natural disaster destroys your home and you can’t afford to fix it? Attempting to rectify problems that could have been covered by insurance could deplete your finances.

Being Convicted of a Felony

While being convicted of a felony isn’t a choice, the act of committing one and putting yourself in that position to be convicted is one. Being convicted of a felony has the potential to hurt your finances in a variety of ways. If you’re looking to go back to school, you may have difficulty getting student loans. Or you might have difficulty obtaining a credit card or loan from a bank. While there may be ways to get around this, getting that loan or financial stability may be harder than normal.

Buying Status Symbols

Buying status symbols to make yourself appear richer or keep up with friends or family who are in a higher income bracket is a poor life decision that will negatively impact your finances. As stated above, it’s never wise to live beyond your means. Choosing to buy an expensive car or home to seem richer or to try to keep up with the Joneses is just a foolish decision.

(Photo courtesy of McKay Savage)

Divorce and Finances: Lessons of Being A Financial Single

It doesn’t take an economic downturn to challenge the best financial wizards – it can be something as simple as the end of a relationship.

When two people separate, their financial lives separate as well. Each person assumes more financial obligations while each has to learn to live within his or her means again.

When I got divorced years ago, it was a shock to me how it took almost a year to feel financially stable again. I thought I was someone who was prepared for the realities of being a financial single, but the sheer cost of the changes took me by surprise and used up money I didn’t have.

First, last and deposit, oh my! Moving into a new place is enough worry, but the astonishing amount of money needed to secure some rental homes can be a shock. Many rentals require first and last months’ rent, and a deposit. If one wants to keep a pet, another deposit may be required.

Therefore, it’s wise to keep a significant amount of money set aside for the move. Even if your ex is the one who is moving, he or she may need that money to secure a new place too. And, don’t forget the moving truck rental costs!

Setting up another household can be costly. Besides the moving and new home expenses, there are often setup fees to start utilities. If you haven’t had a utility in your name before, you may be required to pay a deposit as security. Remember those technician fees too. For instance, if you need help setting up your modem, there could be an additional fee to have someone come to you home and do it for you. Consider asking knowledgeable friends to help with the technical issues. You could save a bundle.

You don’t earn as much as you did as a couple. Of course, your financial power as a single person can be less simply because you don’t earn as much as when you were part of a couple. Also, those earnings dwindle more quickly because there are more expenses for you to pay.

You may find it is harder to get credit as a single because your partner isn’t there to offer the stability of a second income. I remember having to defer buying a house because my income was too low as a single person.

On the other hand, if you go back to school to improve your job skills, you could qualify for more financial help with college expenses.

Your partner’s debt could bog you down too. Many states deem property from a marriage as jointly owned. Could that include your ex’s credit card debt from your marriage? Just in case, make sure your ex is paying his or her credit card debt, or encourage him or her to take advantage of free consumer credit counseling. A credit counseling service will talk to creditors to arrange for reasonable payments and interest rates and teach about budgeting and finance.

Childcare is expensive. If you have sole custody or share custody of your children with your ex, you may find you need to hire more childcare than you once did. Perhaps you and your ex might consider reducing this expense by working out a schedule so your children are with one parent or the other. Another innovative solution is to share the same nanny, as a friend and her ex have done.

You may incur some debt despite your best efforts. Even if you have money set aside for the above expenses, there are likely to be purchases you have to charge on the credit card. Keep steady and disciplined and pay the card down as soon as you can. Thanks to the newly reduced income, it seems like it takes an extra long time to pay down credit cards.

You need to revise your budget. Take the time and note your new income and all your expenses. It is worth the effort and will help you understand your financial situation. During the first year by yourself, it is wise to check your budget every month and address any changes. Some expenses will go away and new ones will crop up.

You will be OK. Despite the turmoil a separation can incur, your financial situation will settle down and you will become more comfortable in your new earning and spending powers.