Saving For The Future. It’s A Mindset. Plain & Simple.

By Lana Moline

Childhood is the best time to begin saving for the future.  It’s also the easiest because there is never a shortage of investors.  If kids were to save all the birthday money, holiday money and the money they get just because – then that would be a small fortune.  But kids, much like adults, spend it almost as quickly as it comes.  There’s always something that we want, something we’ve had our eye on or that thing that we got to have.  Granted, we are supposed to take care of ourselves.  But we have to remember to save some for a rainy day.

My mother started doing something a long time ago that I’ve come to really appreciate.  She started saving dimes in one of those 5-gallon water jars.  She said many times that she was saving for her grandkids’ tuition and this was even before she had any.  Over the years, I didn’t think much about it and forgot it was even there.  But hurricanes, high gas prices and high prices of everything else brought it back to me.

I love that she did that and I’m thinking about how to take it one step further.  Maybe, we could throw in all the change in our pockets, purses and from purchases for a year at a time without touching it.  Then at the start of following year, dump, sort and count everything that was saved.  Then bring it to a financial institution to invest.  And after all of that – start all over.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned was at a Brokerage Firm where I interned in college.  Since I had access to a team of stockbrokers, I sat down and asked them about setting some financial goals.  After considering my age, they calculated projected cost increases over the next 10 to 20 years and then explained what I needed to be mindful of going forward.  The first thing was to commit to saving at each increase regardless of the amount.  Immediately save a nest egg that would sustain me for several months in case of emergencies and then invest.  I learned how I could work toward several goals such as early retirement or college funds for kids down the line by using earnings from side jobs and hobbies in addition to my salary.

It’s a mindset, plain and simple.  Careful planning + living within your means = securing a financial future.

Lana Moline is a freelance writer and poet who lives in Ft. Worth with her three kids and husband Emile. Married 11 years, both media professionals have vowed to maintain integrity in all aspects of print and broadcast journalism.Visit her at

Tired Of Being Stuck. Tired Of Being The Victim.

By Briana Myricks

There’s some people who tackle problems head on and there’s others who try to ignore it and hope that it goes away. I’ve been both of those people. Right now, I’m really kicking myself for being the latter. This year has been the absolute worst for me financially for obvious reasons. But I’m drowning in debt. At this point, I have to rob Peter to pay Paul, and then here comes Joseph telling me I owe him money too. It’s so frustrating and it gives me anxiety, which triggers my depression, which shuts my entire productivity down.

My problem is I know better. I’ve always known better. I’ve never been able to play dumb about what was right and what was stupid. But for some reason I just continued to play stupid. It wasn’t smart, and now it’s catching up to me. Along with my personal loan from Lending Club, combined with my credit card debt, on top of my constantly overdrafted checking account, not to mention my always empty savings account, there’s a nice new debt that I owe: I owe my stepdad $500. Why? Because I got a ticket for speeding (which later ended up in an emotional breakdown) that I didn’t go to traffic school for. So the insurance went up an extra $500! Safe to say nobody’s happy with this. As if the $400 ticket wasn’t enough at the time. I have no one to blame but myself. I can use the excuse “I didn’t know how traffic school worked” and I really didn’t but it’s not good enough.

I’m not accepting any more excuses from myself. I’m tired of feeling like this. I’m tired of being the victim. I’m tired of making bad decisions. I’m tired of saying “I wish I wish I wish”. And honestly, this is more than about debt. I’m tired of saying how fat and unhealthy I am. I’m tired of not liking who I am or where I am in life. I’ve never wanted to become this person, yet here I am, a week away from my 21st birthday and no where close to where I want to be as a person. I can’t keep being concerned about other people and not concerned about myself. How am I supposed to be a role model when I’m at this point in my life?

So here’s to doing what I should’ve done a long time ago: getting my friggin life together!

I’m Briana, a 20 year old newlywed and freelance writer/blogger. I was engaged to my high school sweetheart when I started my blog,, and we married after being together for almost 4 years. We decided to ditch the expensive “dream wedding” and opted for a courthouse ceremony instead. After being laid off, I started an online business of freelance writing, sites and services called Engaged Media.  You can check out more of my writings at

Marriage & Money: What We Did To Get Our Financial House In Order

By Traci Hill Femister

In today’s economy, we are facing more challenges to keep our heads above water financially. Financial issues are one of the things couples deal with daily and can put a real wedge in a relationship. My husband has a brokerage firm that handles all things financial from planning for retirement and kids education to real estate purchases. He once told me that even in good times many people do not have money reserved for emergencies. The ripple of not having money you need has effects that are far and wide, impacting your relationship with your significant other but also transferring to your children and work environment.

How you handle it will have a lot to do with what your and their futures look like. Your children will learn how to either overcome an issue while watching you work through it or how to give in and let the issue have a negative effect on their life. We will have some not so great reactions to some of our more challenging times but how we handle them, will be what’s remembered.

If you are employed, your finances or credit report can be one of the determining factors that get you the promotion. If you are looking for a new position, it very well may be the determining factor taken into consideration before you are offered the job. Yes, you are well qualified but if you cannot manage your finances, the questions they will likely ask are (1) can you manage the responsibilities of the position (2) will you be preoccupied with you financial problems and not focused on the job at hand and (3) are you a security risk…credit is looked at when getting security clearance.

Need a loan? Once upon a time, financial institutions pulled only on of the 3 credit reports but recently I applied for a loan and they pulled all 3. My husband also hipped me to the fact that mortgages are not being written by small firms nearly as much but by the large institutions who are doing less lending and more than likely you have no relationship with the representative with whom you have to deal with online or a toll free number. They don’t care if you’re a good person; all you are to them is a credit score. Work to get control of your finances…one small step at a time. In this country, credit is king and determines what you can have in life and if you get it, how much interest you pay for it.

As a wife and mother of 2 young boys, running my own company, our family had to buy into cutting cost and running our lives a little leaner. We started with a family meeting to include our kids (but sparing them the gory details).

Here’s what we did:

· Meet every 2 weeks (it only takes 10 – 15 minutes after the first one) to make sure you are on track. One of you may think this is not necessary but if you got money issues…the pain of doing nothing is worse…so be like Nike and just do it

· Only have cable on one television…we tried no cable but I couldn’t take watching another episode of Knight Rider!

· Cut up all cards except for one. Duh…ok then do it!

· Bought a reverse osmosis water filter and do not buy water anymore

· Paid off the car – if you don’t have the cash, cut your payments in half and pay half on the 1st and the other half on the 15th and you will pay it off faster. Call your lender, they’ll tell you how it works

· Had our credit reviewed by…there is actually a person who talked to us!

· Created face to face relationships with professionals where we bank. Building advocacy with those who make or influence decisions is key…and be nice to the tellers too!

· Buy only what we eat for the week or two and not succumb to all of the sales and have your cabinets look like a bomb shelter with food you’ll never eat…although a good deal on chicken is hard to pass up! After all that is why there are freezers.

· Teaching our kids about money. They earn money for extra reading and math which they save and buy what they want be it gum in the check out line to the little plastic toy they will soon fall out of love with but have to have at that moment. If they do not have money on them, they can pay it back but if they don’t their lending privileges are revoked until they do.

Good luck and stay strong! Life is about cycles and if you are in one of those times that is not so great…keep plugging away…doing a little everyday, it will pay off. You will live through this, might as well come out on the other end with great relationships and good credit!

Traci Hill Femister is a wife, mom of 2, and entrepreneur. She is the CEO of Private Luxury Unwrapped, a residential relocation firm. She is also an educational advocate for children and firmly believes that education is the great equalizer. Connect with her on Facebook at

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Is Financial Stress Messing Up Your Marriage?

By Marriage Rescue Associates

Financial stress is overtaking many marriages today. It can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back when there are other issues in a marriage. Financial worries invite couples to play the “blame game”. No one is taking their own portion of responsibility, each just blames the other.

Whether it is a job loss, overspending, unexpected bills or a myriad of other challenges, this is a time to come together. It is not a time to point fingers. It is more important to plan together how to overcome the situation than to concentrate on whose fault it is.

There are times when both spouses share in the responsibility and times when one has had a greater influence in the degrading of financial stability. In either case, it is important for the two of you to be part of the solution.

In most marriages one of the spouses is a spender and one is a saver. This is quite typical. Often the reason for the differences is previous life experiences. But when you are already in financial crisis, it is imperative to join forces in order to get your feet back on the ground.

If it took a long time to get into the “financial mess” it may not be a quick turnaround. The time to achieve financial health will be shortened when you work together rather than focusing on the problem itself.

One of the things couples do is to hide from the total truth. It is important to lay out the entire financial situation. Starting with regular bills and obligations and working your way through the occasional expenditure. Also it is important to plan for the unexpected. The only way to be in charge of your finances is manage them rather than having them manage you.

Many couples find that by contacting their creditors they can make arrangements to pay off bills at a slower pace, or sometimes the creditors are willing to settle for a smaller amount.

There are many ways to move forward, but one that we like is to pay off the smaller bills first so that you can experience a sense of accomplishment. Like all of you financial decisions it is important to enthusiastically agree on your methodology.

There are only two ways to move from financial despair to financial security and it is best if you combine the two.

The first is to increase your income. Some people find their options limited and others have a variety of choices. In either case, you need to do whatever is available. It may be for each of you to work more than one job for a period of time.

If there are children in the home, it may require some creativity. One answer could be to do web based work. There are many options but it does require effort to find the right fit. When the economy heats up again, it will be easier to find additional employment.

The other method is to spend less. Decrease your spending wherever you can. For folks that have kids, it is important to look at what you are spending on their activities. We do not endorse regular multiple activities for each child. It takes away from family time and minimizes their ability to entertain themselves. We do not always do our children a favor by allowing them to participate in everything.

The most important ingredient is to make these decisions together.

About Marriage Rescue Associates | Christian Marriage Counseling

With over 23 years of experience, Marriage Rescue Associates have discovered many effective methods for helping couples restore their family and marriages. As Christian Marriage Counselors, Marriage Rescue Associates can help construct solutions to rekindle love and rebuild trust that has been torn down by endless conflict, indifference, and unmet needs.

To learn more about Marriage Rescue Associates, visit us online at

Ayize & Aiyana Ma’at Featured On AOL

O.K., so we’re a little tickled and very grateful to Dr. Boyce Watkins for featuring us on AOL Black Voices and lifting up the work that we do.  It is truly an honor to be publicly recognized for contributing substance and sustenance to our community nationwide that is starving for answers and examples on how to move through “sticky” relationship stuff.  The work we do with singles and couples is real.  It’s pretty.  It’s ugly.  It’s exciting.  It’s tiring. As a community we got issues, for sure. But, wherever there is hope there can be healing.

Helping folks with their relationships definitely has it’s advantages.  It brings a smile to our faces everytime someone says thank you for the positive deposit we’ve made into the life of their relationship.  We recognize and fully appreciate the fact that the work that we do is bigger than us, it’s really about bringing healing and awareness to our family and in our community.

At the same time we wouldn’t be keeping it real if we weren’t truthful about how taxing this work can be.  Running a business, taking care of our family, making sure we continue to strengthen our own relationship, and trying to be as accessible as possible to folks can take its’ toll at times. Juggling it all is not easy….but it is necessary and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We just wanna give a big ol’ shout out and thanks to the Creator and all of you for giving us the privilege of sharing what we’ve learned and continue to learn.  It is with a spirit of immense gratitude that we continue pressing forward and encourage you to do the same.  We frequently emphasize that relationships are the most important thing in the world.  As we continue to work on ours we challenge you to do the same. Each One. Teach One. Stop Playing. Start Pushing. 😉 To read the article where we are featured click below.


How Money Can Make Your Marriage Mo’ Better

Do you remember in the 1970’s when the O.J.’s soulfully sang “Money, Money, Money, Money…MONEEEEEEY….Some people got to have it….Some people really need it”?  Well…we don’t….because we were born in the late 70’s….however the gritty message leaping from the lyrics of that trak began ringing loudly in my ear as we began building our family in 2001.  As most young couples experience….we began our marriage clueless of the complexity of managing money and marriage.  We thought.. if I can manage mine and she can manage hers,  then we can manage ours……Wrong.  We learned real quick and continue to learn that you got to B Intentional when it comes to money and marriage.  Check out this article  from Black which highlights tips from the highly acclaimed book Spousonomics.

Taken From Black

You’re probably wondering: what does the hard, analytical world of economics have to do with the passionate merger commonly known as marriage? Well, according to The Wall Street Journal editor Paula Szuchman and New York Times reporter Jenny Anderson, a whole lot. In fact, both are convinced married couples can improve their relationship and quell any dispute by following the rules of economics, as detailed in their latest book, Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage and Dirty Dishes. “Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources and there is nothing, sort of, more prominent in marriages today than tension over how to allocate our time, energy, love and libido,” says Anderson. “Those are the issues couples fight about.” Here are 10 easy-to-follow business pointers on strengthening your marriage as soon as you say, ‘I do.

Spouses are Not Just Lifelong Companions But Business Partners As Well:

The authors say you should view your husband or wife as your business partner in addition to your lifelong companion. You’re working together not only for the good of the marriage, but as trading partners who exchange services. It’s the best of both worlds if done right.

Implement Division of Labor:

In a perfect world dividing every task up 50/50 is ideal, however, that “solution” doesn’t always work and negates specialization—completing tasks you do best in relation to other tasks. If you’re good at getting the kids up in the morning, then you should do that each morning versus switching with your partner every other day. You’re utilizing one’s talents in the best possible way and maximizing everyone’s time. Hence, the time saved can be used to complete other pending tasks or more leisure time.

Find the Right Incentives:

Forty-nine percent of the 200 people assessed during Szuchman and Anderson’s Exhaustive, Groundbreaking, and Very Expensive Survey admitted to using incentives to get their spouses to do things they couldn’t otherwise get them to do. A word to the wise: in marriage, thoughtful gestures far outweigh material ones. Save the signature blue Tiffany box for a special occasion.

Access the Trade-Offs:

Ask yourself: is it worth it in the long run? What will be the ultimate cost and benefit? For example, if you’re invited by your co-workers to get drinks after work, but you know it’s your night to cook dinner, you’ll have to decide the cost-benefit of the situation. Benefits: a few drinks, great conversation and a night out on the town. Costs: an upset wife/husband, a $75 tab and loss of personal time with the kids.

Sex—Supply and Demand:

According to the authors, the more it costs to have sex, the less it will happen. Like any product, you wind up raising the cost and lowering the demand. Here’s a quick solution: Keep it simple. Don’t make a big deal of going to expensive dinners and outings if you don’t have the money, sometimes a quiet meal at home while the kids are with their grandparents can be just as romantic—and cost effective.

Beware of Moral Hazard:

Some forms of moral hazard—acting less carefully or, at times, irresponsibly—are acceptable, while others should draw immediate red flags. According to the survey, 56% of married people said they put on weight after walking down the aisle. Meanwhile, 46% said they’re a little less affectionate with their loved one, with the most common excuse being they’re “too busy.” Be sure to take care of your appearance as well as maintaining the warmth in your relationship. Keep it new, yet simple!

Practice Optimal Reporting:

Yes, you might want your spouse to complete several tasks on the weekly to-do list, but make sure to prioritize those requests. If you know you want to see the bathroom sink and door get fixed, don’t nag your spouse about the entire list rather centralize your concerns.

Weigh Your Intertemporal Choices:

An intertemporal choice refers to an individual’s current decisions and how it affects their future options. Think carefully about the financial and day-to-day decisions you make and how those choices can play out in the long run. For example, it may seem like time is on your side, but choosing to invest at an early age is a smart, power move.

CLICK HERE for the full article