Category Archives for "Finances & Careers"

How to Pay Off Student Debt as a Couple

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

So, you are married now, congratulations!

You’re about to experience a wonderful ride.

If you are like most people, you probably have some student loan debt that you are holding onto and now that you are married, it may have doubled.

Since you both share debt now, you may want to think about paying it off at the same time together to ensure both you and your partner are working towards a better financial future.

Below, we will explore some ways that you and your partner can team up and work together to pay off student loan debt as a couple.

Let’s take a look.

Consolidate Your Student Loan Debt

When you get married, you may automatically think that yours and your spouse’s debt instantly merge together. They do not.

When we mention that the amount may have doubled, we are saying that if you had $10,000 in debt and your partner had $10,000 in debt, you collectively have $20,000 in debt. If that is the case, you should look into consolidation if you want to put a ring on your debt.

But, there are limitations to this.

If you are your partner have student loans (federal or private), it is important to know that you CANNOT merge your loans together and consolidate them with a federal consolidation loan. Federal consolidation is offered to individuals only, so you cannot lump them together through the government.

Bummer, right?

There is a solution though. You and your spouse can consolidate your loans through a private lender which is more commonly known as student loan refinancing. There are many lenders out there who will consolidate your loans, so you and your partner can work on paying the debt down.

There are some advantages to consolidating yours and your spouse’s loans together. Some of those benefits include:

• Higher credit score is used to determine the loan
• No worry about annual recertification or tax filing statuses
• Lower your interest rate
• Decrease monthly payments and payment amount
• Adjust the length of the loan terms

Consolidating your student loans is a good idea if you have big plans in the future such as buying a home, a car, or even starting a family. Here is more on private student loan refinancing and its differences with federal consolidation.

Since federal consolidation is a bit different than refinancing your student loans through a private lender, so you must explore both options thoroughly to see which one will work for you.

Refinancing your student loans with your spouse may be a good idea and can help save the both of you thousands of dollars.

Refinancing works to reduce the interest rate that you pay on your student loans. When you head to a private lender, they will take all of your student loans and combine them into one loan.

From there, a repayment term, monthly amount, and interest rate will be generated.

Many people choose to refinance their student loans because you can get a rate that is substantially lower than that of which you pay now. For example, many borrowers, who qualify, receive an interest rate somewhere at 3% to 5%.

Things to Think about Before Making the Leap

Before you choose to consolidate or refinance your student loans with your spouse, you want to make sure it is the right idea.

You should think about whether or not you are ready to give up the benefits that come with the Federal Direct Loan program.

When you refinance or consolidate through a private lender, you will no longer have the option for deferment of the loan, forbearance, or convenient payment amounts. This is something that needs to be discussed upfront, so that you can make sure it is within your budget.

In addition, you and your spouse need to be on the same page as to whether or not you both want to combine the loans and make payments together. Some couples determine that this is not the best option for them and it may or may not be the choice for you.

Lastly, take some time to think about how much the payments will be, how they will be made, and what your goals are.

For example, if your total monthly payment combined is $350, who will make the payment? Do you switch month to month, do you split the amount in half every month, or does someone take on the whole amount and the other pick up another bill in a similar amount?

The choice is up to you, but you should have a plan in place to prevent default or late payments.

Final Thoughts about Paying Down Student Loan Debt as a Couple

You may be making a wise choice by paying down your student loan debt as a couple. You can save a lot of money in interest if you choose to consolidate or refinance.

With that said, you do need to make sure it is the right financial move for the BOTH of you before you sign any new paperwork.

Top 5 Ways Newlyweds Can Combine Their Resources

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

Now that the wedding bells have rung, the preacher has pronounced you man and wife, and the honeymoon is over, it’s time to settle down in the real world.

For most newlyweds, that means everything from buying new furniture to combining their lifestyles, from clearing out the clutter to combining their resources.

Combining finances can be a struggle because, as newlyweds, one of the biggest points of contention seem to be money issues and keeping their independence.

However, there are a few ways that you can combine your resources and still keep your independence.

Shop Together

Nine times out of ten, when it comes time to move in together, you are going to need new furniture, especially a bigger bed.

In most marriages, it’s out with the old and in with the new, if you can afford it.

One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t fight over the money you spend on a bigger bed is by going shopping together. Instead of heading out to shop for a bigger bed alone, make the time to go shopping together.

Stores like Bedding Mart carry a large variety of everything from mattresses to bed frames so that you can get what you need in one fell swoop. In this way, you know exactly what your budget is and what you both agree is affordable to spend, which will avoid arguments later on down the line.

Decide on Bank Account Options

Another big fight that newlyweds have is deciding on bank account options.

Is it better to keep your accounts separate or combine the two accounts into a joint bank account instead?

Many couples, women especially, feel that giving up their bank account is giving up their independence. They like to keep their own money so that they know if things get tough they have it to fall back on.

If you want an open and honest marriage, however, studies show that a joint bank account is the best way to go. There are no secrets, and the money is right there on the table for both of you to see.

The choice, of course, is up to the couple and every marriage is different.

Always be Honest and Open

One of the easiest ways to destroy a marriage is by keeping secrets.

Sit down together and be honest and open about your finances.

While it can be a little embarrassing to sit down and talk about debt that you incurred before you got married, trust is very important early on in a marriage, so it’s best to put it all on the table, so you both know what you are dealing with.

Create a Plan Together

Debt has been a marriage killer since the beginning of time.

Sitting down together and coming up with a plan to get out of your combined debt is your best option.

There is no his and hers once you are married. All debts become one, and you have got to have a plan and the motivation to get out of debt so that you can move on to a secure future together.

Start Planning for Retirement Now

You may be a young newlywed now, but in a blink of an eye, you will be reaching retirement age and need a nest egg.

If you don’t want to have to struggle in your golden years together, it’s best to start a retirement fund now.

Sit down together, once again, and decide how you want to plan for your retirement and how much of your budget each month is going to be devoted to the future. You will be glad that you did when the time comes.

These are just a few of the ways that you can ensure combining your resources goes well once you are married.

From shopping for a new bed together to saving for retirement in your golden age, marriages take work, and the best ones are built on trust, that starts with getting out of debt and working to secure your future together.

3 Key Changes I Made to Be a Better Husband, Dad & Businessman…and Why I’m Starting Over

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

An update...one year later
NOTE: I originally wrote this post in 2016 after my first experience with The 90-Day Year. Since then, I’ve completed the program two more times and have more than tripled the results discussed below. It works!

Stressed. Overwhelmed. Disconnected.

3 Key Changes I Made to Be a Better Husband, Dad & BusinessmanThose are a few of the feelings that described me towards the end of last year.

For a guy who prides himself as “having it all together” and helping others to be more effective leaders, this was really troubling.

I couldn’t concentrate on anything fully, and I felt like I could never catch up with my engineering work, Engaged Marriage, my fitness and (worst of all) my home life.

Can you relate to feeling SO busy that you struggle to enjoy the people and projects that you care the most about?

It was pretty terrible, and I knew that something had to change.

Looking Back (Not Fun)

I took off a few days around Christmas with the hopes that I’d be able to clear my head.

No dice.

As I reflected back on 2015, there were definitely lots of successes and things to be proud about.

But I knew I fell short in many ways, too.  Not just in business but in my connection to Bethany and our three kids.

Plus, the extra 20 pounds around my waist was feeling especially heavy.

I pulled out my trusty Moleskine journal and took a look at the Big Plans I had for 2015, and the SMART goals I had set early in the year.

I had about a 20% success rate, and I realized that even the best of intentions don’t mean much when you fail to follow-through.

#FAIL

The Turning Point

I remember it clearly…while mindlessly scrolling my Facebook feed while waiting for a haircut, an ad caught my eye.

It said something along the lines of “You’re Wasting 80% of Your Potential” – and based on my annual review, that raised an eyebrow.

When I clicked over, I realized I had heard this guy on a podcast with Amy Porterfield recently.  He was all about high performance and breaking free of overwhelm by using smart systems.

My kind of guy.

His name is Todd Herman, and he’s become a mentor to me in 2016 (even though we’ve never met or even personally conversed).

My Mentor Todd HermanYou can learn more about him as part of his free training series, but here’s a quick summary:

Todd’s spent almost 20 years serving as one of the world’s most sought after peak performance coaches… working in the trenches to help over 10,000 Olympic athletes, 9 Fortune 100 Companies, billionaires, and even royal families achieve the epitome of success in their fields.

Todd is also a devoted husband and Dad to two little girls – again, my kind of guy!

I started following Todd and not just learning but APPLYING his advice, and it was a real game changer for me.

There’s a lot I could share, but these three simple things made the biggest difference for me…and our family.

These 3 Things Changed My Life Big Time

1. I Broke Free of “Old-School” Goal Setting

I’m a big fan of goal setting, and I’ve done it all of my adult life (and even as a kid).  But I found that as life got busier and more complicated, my success rate in actually meeting my goals was pretty dismal.

I got away from thinking in terms of “right now” or “this year” and I quit allowing my brain to be fooled into thinking that setting a goal was an achievement in itself.  Instead, I adopted Todd’s achievement system, switched to 90-day goal horizons with 2-week “sprints” and my success soared.

RESULT: I created, launched and delivered our new flagship program at Engaged Marriage in less than two months (total). And it happened while working full-time, expanding the EM team and spending more quality time with my family.

It’s called Total Marriage Makeover and it’s by far the best thing we’ve ever done to help busy couples enjoy the marriage of their dreams.

2. I Quit “Context Switching” ALL the Time

I didn’t have a name for it until Todd gave me one, but Context Switching was an absolute productivity killer for me, and I bet it is for you, too.

Our culture’s love affair with multi-tasking is a complete farce, and I guarantee you will benefit from changing how you work.  I thought I was a productive guy, but giving my to-do list a makeover and knocking out big items using Todd’s “block and tackle” approach was a game changer.

RESULT: Once I switched HOW I work, I found I needed to work less to get more done.  That’s a sweet change, and in my case it allowed me to spend more quality time with Bethany and our kids.

An important distinction – it’s not just about quantity of time either.  Because I felt accomplished in my work, I was far less distracted and could really, truly focus on my family.

3. I Started Focusing on Performance…Not Potential

This is really the overarching change that’s occurred in my approach to business and life.  It’s a mindset issue, but actually putting it into action is much less abstract.

It takes some effort to break old habits, but I found that Todd’s approach was practical and systematic.  So even when I wasn’t sure about the outcome, I learned to trust the steps and the payoff was immense.

RESULT: I’m achieving success like never before.  I literally did more in our business in the first quarter of 2016 than we accomplished in all of 2015 (or any other year).

Then I kept applying what I learned each 90 days, and it’s truly been an amazing year as we’ve launched a membership community, several new programs and created a very successful digital marketing consulting company…all without feeling crazy overwhelmed despite our full schedules…because we just follow the system.

And again, this goes way beyond entrepreneurship.

Family, faith life and friendships have been enhanced so much.

So, life’s easy now, right?

Of course not.  The reality I’ve learned is that each 90 days requires a reset and a fresh plan, but it’s fun and exciting now.

I’m ready to plan for an even better 2017, and I’d LOVE to have you join me.

Check Out Todd’s Free Training While It’s Available

Todd just released a powerful, free training series that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Click here to watch Todd’s first training video

Todd Herman 90-Day Year

And be sure to download this FREE Blueprint that shows you the success system that I’ve been following:

Free Success System Download

I believe this free training is available until June 12th.

After that, Todd will open up the FULL 90-Day Year program.  This is the same program I followed to get such great results, and it only opens for enrollment every six months.

Join the 90-Day Year & Get My $850+ Bonus Package for FREE!

The 90-Day Year will be open for enrollment between June 12th and 16th, 2017.  If you miss that one-week window, you’ll have to wait until 2018 to join…please don’t  do that!

To encourage you to take action and to ensure you get the best results possible, I’ve put together a 90-Day Year Bonus package to supplement Todd’s training.

And you can get it for no additional cost!  Just click the link below to get all of the details:

Click here to check out my FREE $850+ 90-Day Year Bonus Package

I’m excited to hear about your results with the 90-Day Year so you can enjoy a better, more engaged life!

What’s Love Got To Do With It: 4 Reasons Why You Need To Have The Money Talk

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

whats-love-got-to-do-with-it-4-reasons-why-you-need-to-have-the-money-talkMoney…finances…not something that most couples really want to talk about.

Some avoid it until there’s a problem. Others never talk about it.

Why is that?

Well, because money talk isn’t romantic.

It isn’t sexy. It isn’t glamorous and it surely isn’t fun…well unless you won the lottery maybe.

If you’re like most couples, you cruise along, blissfully focusing more on the “important” things – communication, quality time, building a life.

As intoxicating as all that is, the fact is, the life you want costs money.

You’ve probably talked about where to live, whether to have kids, how you’ll parent your kids, career plans and so on.

But have you talked about how to pay for all those dreams?

As unromantic as it sounds, including money in the discussion can be one of the best ways to armor up your marriage for those times when things get tough.

So what does your love have to do with money? Everything.

The Balance of 50/50

There’s a notion that relationships should always be equal…50/50. Each person wants to feel as if they are contributing and that their partner is doing the same.

But what does equal – 50/50 – mean in your relationship in terms of financial issues?

Partners rarely bring exactly the same financial resources to the relationship.

What is “equal” when one makes more than the other or contributes non-monetarily is very subjective. How does 50/50 work then?

Your idea of 50/50 may be completely different from what your spouse sees as equal. Having this discussion early on can head off a lot of future skirmishes.

Yours, Mine and Ours

When you’re talking about managing money in a relationship, you’re talking about trust…financial intimacy.

It’s more than discussing how much is in the checking account this week. It’s an ongoing conversation about wants and needs and how to fund those things.

Simple right? Well, no.

What complicates it is that each of you has your own wants and needs and dreams that you have to weave into the fabric of your relationship.

Money carries all kinds of meaning for people – security, safety, independence, freedom or control for example.

You need understand what money means to each of you and prepare for how the finances will be handled. You want to make sure that you are compatible in the way you view spending and saving.

There is no right or wrong answer. The only answer is the one that works for the two of you.

What’s The Plan?

Part of a stable, loving marriage is planning your future together. That life costs money.

Your money and how you manage it will play a huge role in how your future plans unfold.

Discuss the plan early in the relationship. It’s never too soon to plan.

You want to plan for the good and the unexpected.

You’ll learn an awful lot about how the two of you communicate and negotiate money matters.

When you’re part of the plan, you’re invested in the plan.

Discuss the plan often. Over time, priorities change as the relationship grows. Kids come along. You buy that dream house. One of you loses your job.

You may need to make some adjustments for those unexpected things that come along. If you’ve laid a good foundation, you’re more likely to weather the storm when the unexpected happens.

Keep It Simple

Money problems can make or break even the strongest loves. Money issues are consistently one of the top reasons cited for marital discord and for divorce.

Money is something you and your spouse use every day.

It shapes the life you live. It makes sense to talk about it. Left to linger, money issues will continue to pop up and become the source of many an argument. Over time, they can destroy an otherwise happy marriage.

How you approach the topic isn’t as important as your attitude going in.

Remember, your spouse is your partner, not the enemy. Give each other permission to bring up money questions or concerns.

Trust that you have each other’s back. When you know you’re a team, defenses come down and you’re more likely to get to the heart of the matter.

Want a simple step-by-step plan to gain financial security for your family?

Visit http://www.engagedmarriage.com/money-plan/ to learn more about an exciting program designed to bring you greater financial security and more time to spend with your family.

how-to-get-control-of-your-money-and-create-the-future-you-desiretogether-1

Money and how you manage it will shape the life you build together. Make sure you’re tending your marital money relationship with tender loving care.

Common Budgeting Mistakes Newlyweds Make

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

They say love is blind, but it shouldn’t block you from being aware of practical aspects of your marriage – particularly, your finances.

Money is one of the biggest reasons for divorce today and in many cases, it could have been avoided.

To ensure that you start your marriage off in good financial health (or at least on the same page), avoid these common budgeting mistakes at all costs.

Not Creating a Budget

The worst thing you could do for your finances as a couple is to avoid creating a budget.

Since the two of you will be paying bills jointly, it is ideal that you are both aware of the income coming into the house and the money that’s going out. This will help you to avoid overspending or falling into debt.

If you do not have a budget that both parties are aware of, this could lead to poor money management down the road.

Online resources like BankingSense.com make it easy for couples to learn about the basics of budgeting and tips for sticking to it.

Keeping Money Secrets

As husband and wife, keeping secrets is obviously not the best practice for your marriage, but keeping secrets about money can make matters even worse.

Whether you have old debt from before the relationship, or you have new debt that needs to be taken care of it is important to share this information with your partner so that it can be added to the budget.

Sneaking to pay it with money that is accounted for can lead to you falling behind on other bills.

Trying to Tackle Debt Separately

No matter how much debt you’re bringing to the table it is important that this information is shared so it can be budgeted into your account.

Together, you should sit down and review the amount of debt you have. Determine which debts you will pay off first based on the severity of each debt.

Paying off collections or past due accounts first to improve your credit and work your way towards fulfilling your current accounts is the best way to clear things up quickly.

Not Having an Emergency Savings

You never know when something could go wrong.

An unexpected bill like a car repair, home repair, or extremely high utility bill could ruin your budget if you don’t have a financial backup plan to cover the expense.

An emergency savings fund will ensure that you can cover those unexpected expenses without needing to use credit, take out a loan, or go into debt.

According to Forbes, having a minimum of three to six months of income in a savings account is ideal for covering unexpected emergencies.

Maintaining a budget is not only beneficial to your finances, but will improve the quality of your marriage.

A couple who carefully manages their finances and is open and honest with one another has fewer fights, conflicts, and unexpected expenses that put a strain on their relationship. If you’ve never created a budget, remember to use reputable sources to learn budgeting basics to get started.

1 2 3 18