Personal Finance

Financial Coaching for Couples

November 2, 2011

Marin Mommies presents another great guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Katy Song, CFP®.

Money touches almost every decision a couple makes. Whether you ask “What’s for dinner?”, or “Which movie do you want to rent?” money is involved. And within every couple’s relationship, there is a relationship with money. Since people see money through different lenses there can be conflict in this money relationship.

Opposite money types tend to attract each other, but after a few years and adding children to the equation, those endearing differences tend to wear thin. It is ironic that the differences that drew couples together are now the reason for tension and disagreement. The reality is that 70% of all divorces are due to some sort of money conflict. So, how does a couple get on the same page and create a strong money relationship together?

The answer: It takes hard work! But the hard work pays off with a lifetime of commitment and partnership, along with greater intimacy and trust. If you have a strong money relationship, you have a strong relationship.

Independence Day & Financial Freedom

June 21, 2011

Financial FreedomMarin Mommies is happy to present another great guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Katy Song, CFP®.

Independence Day brings all things red, white and blue, parades, barbeques and most importantly… a day off from work! While I love the work I do, it is always nice to have an extra day off and enjoy the energy of July 4th. As most of us learned in grade school, Independence Day commemorates the day we declared our independence from Great Britain with the goal of creating the “land of the free”. This got me thinking about the meaning of financial freedom and how to achieve it.

Whether you have a huge investment portfolio or are in debt, most people claim to want “financial freedom” in their lives. I certainly do!

My definition of financial freedom has two parts. First, it means knowing my overall financial position and the impact of all my financial decisions on reaching my goals. These goals range from having a sufficient emergency fund and saving for a month in France next summer to having money for my children’s education and affording a comfortable retirement. Second, it is the ability to work for myself (not being tied to a 9-5 job), and thus spending lots of quality time with my family.

Transitioning From One Child to Two: Financial Implications

June 6, 2010

Child number 2 on the wayThere are many factors that go into the decision to grow your family, and affordability is usually one of them. To determine whether or not a second child is financially feasible, you need to consider the costs of raising that child from birth through financial independence, which is hopefully when they graduate college. Here are a few of the largest expenses to evaluate.

Does Size Matter?
Housing-related costs (mortgage, insurance, and property tax) are the largest expenses for most families. In planning for Baby #2, ask yourself if you need (not want) to move to accommodate your growing family.

How to Stop Arguing about Money

May 16, 2010

Money fight!Rarely do couples sit down with each other after they marry to agree on a new set of guidelines for how to manage and talk about money as a couple. Add a child to the mix, and what seemed like small differences in spending and saving become amplified and a major source of tension in the relationship.

No one likes to fight about money, so why does it happen? Most often, it is caused by a communication breakdown and lack of understanding about one another’s past relationship with money. If left unchecked, financial pressures can become too big to handle. The reality is that money is one of the top reasons for divorce.

Instead of focusing on the past and mistakes already made, couples can break the cycle by following the steps below to ensure that they have a non-judgmental platform on which to build a positive financial dialogue for the family.

Taking Care of the Family Ambassador

April 28, 2010

woman relaxingBefore becoming a mom, most women have a relatively unlimited amount of time to take care of themselves, whether it is leisurely shopping for new clothes or spending a few hours at the gym on the weekend.

When you become a parent, time becomes a lot more valuable and scarce. As a mom, you have also taken on a new role as your family’s ambassador, the official head and authorized representative of your family, and should feel and look the role! Of course, you have a lot less time to take care of yourself because you are busy taking care of everyone else. Even when you do find the time, you may not feel like you have money to spend on yourself.

Marin Real Estate—What to do now?

April 12, 2010

House for SaleMill Valley mom and Certified Financial Planner™ Katy Song offers some tips for buyers and sellers in today’s uncertain real estate market.

Springtime means the housing market is about to pick up from the dreary days of winter. Since 2008, home values nationwide have plummeted, and our little bubble of Marin was not immune. The hardest hit areas were San Rafael and Novato due to short sales and foreclosures, with values down 30–40% from their peaks. As a comparison, Mill Valley is down approximately 15% from its peak.

While 2009 sales volume and median home prices improved year-over-year in Marin, the average selling price was lower and houses are staying on the market longer. Due to the micro-markets within southern Marin, it is hard to make generalizations about the housing market but here are some tips on how to make the best of this market if you are a seller or a buyer.

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