Stacy’s Savvy Financial Advice

Stay Savvy with our founder Stacy Francis’ latest articles on financial planning, budgeting, debt management, investing, divorce, retirement planning, and more.

Stacy Francis founded Savvy Ladies in 2003 with the mission to educate women about their finances and empower them to make proactive choices. Inspired by her grandmother who stayed in an abusive relationship due to financial reasons, Stacy has been determined to never let another woman become powerless by financial instability.

Get the resources, knowledge, and tools you need to make smart and informed decisions about your money and your life.

In addition to being the Founder and Board Chair of Savvy Ladies, Stacy is the President, CEO of Francis Financial, Inc., a boutique wealth management and financial planning firm. A nationally recognized financial expert, she holds a CFP® from the New York University Center for Finance, Law, and Taxation, and is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®), a Divorce Financial Strategist™ as well as a Certified Estate & Trust Specialist (CES™).

Stacy has appeared on CNBC, NBC, PBS, CNN, Good Morning America, and many other TV & Financial News outlets. Stacy too is ofter sought out for her advice and can be found quoted in over 100 publications such as Investment News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today.  She shares her wisdom and expert financial advice here for you to learn and get savvy about your finances.

Financial Knowledge is Power. Be Empowered and Find the Advice You Deserve.

Know that Savvy Ladies is here for you! Should you like to seek advice on a personal financial question, please visit our Free Financial Helpline and get matched with a pro bono financial professional, click here.

STACY’S $AVVY ADVICE

Use Affirmations to Attract More Money!

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

14 Money Affirmation tips from Stacy Francis, Founder Savvy Ladies

So you desire to have a more rich and rewarding life? One of the most effective ways to do this is by harnessing the life-changing power of prosperity affirmations. When you are emotionally connected to your desire for more wealth and happiness you can use the power of affirmations to see how quickly your need is manifested!

Affirmations are very powerful tools for transformation and self-empowerment. If you intend to bring anything new and positive into your life, monitoring and control of your thoughts and words are very important.

Use of your daily financial affirmations will help you to be more loving and positive toward yourself and others at all times, in every situation. Listen to your heart, and know that as you learn and grow, you will not only transform yourself in a positive way but will attract prosperity into your life!

Use the following power prosperity affirmation for attracting money.

Prosperity Financial Affirmation: Money comes to me easily and effortlessly.

Tips on Using Prosperity Financial Affirmations

  • Give up all negative talk about yourself or any others. If the dialogue is internal, use your affirmation. If it is from an external source, say something positive, or simply smile and walk away from the conversation.
  • Stay in the now. Forget the past. Forget the future. They don’t exist.
  • Repeat the affirmation out loud and/or to yourself as often as possible throughout the day.
  • Sing the affirmation – in the shower, in the bath, in your car, to your children.
  • Write it out 50 or 100 times – whatever you have time for.
  • Get some post-it notes and stick them on your computer as you work. Better yet, change your screen-saver every day!
  • Place it on your bathroom mirror.
  • Place it in your wallet or in your purse.
  • Place it beside you as you drive your car.
  • Keep the radio off and repeat the affirmation on your way to and from work.
  • Record it on a tape and play it in your vehicle as you drive.
  • Create a large corkboard and get some thumbtacks and plenty of sheets of colored paper. Each day, write your affirmation down on the paper and tack it to your corkboard. Make it interesting by cutting out different shapes – like hearts or diamonds or spirals, or even ladders with rungs… Very soon, you will have a rainbow of colors and shapes on your corkboard, filled with colorful, positive affirmations.
  • Journal your affirmations. Write down your experiences. Write down your dreams. Share them with others who are doing this with you.
  • Stay positive!

 

Originally published April 25th, 2014

Fixed vs. Variable Expenses: What’s the Difference?

Fixed vs. Variable Expenses: What’s the Difference?

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Perusing the annual report of a company that I am invested in, I got to thinking about how these two words are so much more than just accounting jargon. They affect your financial future to a much greater extent than you may think. So let’s break them down and look at what fixed, and variable expenses are – and aren’t.

What Are Fixed Expenses?

Fixed expenses are all reoccurring expenses – from rent or mortgage bills to car payments as well as tuition or childcare expenses for your children. Other bills that fall under this category include health insurance, life insurance, and essential utilities. We typically do not pay much attention to these costs, but most of our budget goes towards funding them. 

These fixed expenses occur repeatedly and typically can’t be dropped with a moment’s notice, should your financial situation change. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that your fixed expenses are as low as possible, allowing you ample funds for variable costs that are often harder to control and savings. Fixed costs should take up no more than 50% of your income to make sure that you have enough breathing room in your cashflow. 

Examples of Fixed Expenses:

  • Rent
  • Mortgage
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Car loan payments
  • Tuition
  • Childcare expenses
  • Essential utilities

What Are Variable Expenses?

Classic examples of variable expenses are clothing, vacations, entertainment, eating out, gifts, facials, and home goods. 

Many variable expenses happen sporadically only a few times a year. Think of that plane ticket you just booked to see your family in California. However, some variable costs happen every month. For example, gas, parking fees, groceries, and personal care expenses in any given month could be different from previous payments or ones you’ll make in the future. 

Sporadic and ongoing variable costs can make budgeting very difficult because you never really know how much you need for this part of your monthly spending. 

That being said, variable costs that can change from month to month should take up no more than 30% of your income. The positive about many of your variable expenses is that you usually have a little more control over them, and you can drop many of them if you really needed to. In addition, variable expenses are generally much easier to lower than fixed expenses like your housing. 

Examples of Variable Expenses:

  • Groceries
  • Gas
  • Clothing
  • Personal care expenses
  • Home goods
  • Vacations
  • Entertainment
  • Eating out
  • Parking fees
  • Gifts

Savings Expenses

You might not have ever thought about savings as a monthly expense, but you should! Your goal should be to saving 20% of your income for the future. These dollars can be stashed into an emergency fund, invested in retirement, or used to kickstart your down payment savings for your first home. 

If you are like most people, you struggle to save for short-term and long-term goals. According to Bankrate, one in five American adults do not save at all. Just 16 percent of those surveyed report socking away more than 15% of their income. When Bankrate asked their survey participants why they missed the mark, the top reason given was expenses. Is this the case for you too? 

Fixed vs. Variable Expenses: Considerations for Your Budget

If you could use more breathing room in your budget, you should review your fixes and variable expenses, keeping the 50/30/20 rule in mind. 

The 50/20/30 rule

  • Fixed costs that stay the same month after month, such as your rent or mortgage, car payment, and cable bill. Fixed costs should take up 50% of your income.
  • Variable costs that can change from month to month, such as entertainment, groceries, and clothing. Variable costs should take up 30% of your income.
  • Savings, which should take up 20% of your income.

Reviewing your fixed expenses will significantly impact how much you can save each month because they make up most of your spending. However, the negative is that reductions can be more brutal to come by and might require a change in the home you rent or own and the car you drive. More manageable fixed expenses that you can reduce can be had by changing cell phone plans, canceling extra cable channels, shopping for less expensive insurance, or refinancing your home for a lower mortgage interest rate.

The upside of having variable expenses in your budget is that you have more control over them than you do with fixed payments. It is typically easier to find opportunities to save money, but you need to think about this spending every day. If you want to save money on variable expenses, it may require some lifestyle adjustments. For example, cutting back or cutting out things like dinners or new clothes are simple ways to save. You could also save on groceries and dining out by planning meals, using coupons, or switching from name brands to generic. 

Everyone deserves to splurge from time to time. But when you do – make sure you keep the 50/30/20 rule in mind. Keeping your expenses down is one of the critical factors in the quest for financial independence.

Looking to get on top of your finances? Download our free budgeting worksheet here.

Investing in uncertain times – using stocks and bonds to secure your financial future

Investing in uncertain times – using stocks and bonds to secure your financial future

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA®, CES™ will discuss how to create financial immunity and protect your portfolio during market volatility. In her presentation, you will also learn what moves you can make to stay on the right track with your investments and retirement, and discover how you can be financially resilient in these times of uncertainty.

About Stacy:

Stacy Francis Headshot.jpg

Stacy Francis is the President and CEO of Francis Financial, Inc., a fee-only boutique Wealth Management, Financial Planning and Divorce Financial Planning firm dedicated to providing ongoing comprehensive advice for successful individuals, couples and women in transition such as divorce or widowhood. Stacy has over 20 years of experience in the financial industry. She attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation, where she completed the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) designation. Stacy is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) as well as a Certified Estate and Trust Specialist (CES™). Stacy has mastered specialized training in the financial issues of divorce and is the Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter.

Stacy is the founder of Savvy Ladies™, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering women to take control of their finances. Savvy Ladies has helped over 20,000 women through free one-on-one financial counseling, workshops and retreats. Stacy also gives back as a board member of FamilyKind, a nonprofit organization offering NYC divorce services to adults and children experiencing separation or divorce.

She is a nationally-recognized financial expert being one of twenty of the nation’s leading wealth managers on CNBC’s Digital Financial Advisor Council, a member of the Forbes Finance Council as well as an expert contributor for The Wall Street Journal. Stacy’s expertise is highlighted in over 200 media publications, articles, bylined pieces and quotes. Stacy is the host of Financially Ever After, a podcast focusing on women, money and divorce. She is also the author of the white paper, Unveiling the Unspoken Truth: The Financial Challenges Women Face During and After Divorce.

Stacy has received numerous industry awards, among them, Investopedia 100 Top Financial Advisors, Investment News Women to Watch, Financial Planning Association’s Heart of Financial Planning Award, Financial Planning Magazine’s Pro Bono Award and the NAPFA Consumer Education Foundation’s first Pro Bono Award. She was also listed as a national Money Hero by CNN Money Magazine, one of the Top Wealth Advisor Moms by Working Mother Magazine and one of the best financial Advisors for women by the Women’s Choice Award. The firm has been named one of the Top 10 Best Financial Advisors in New York for 4 years in a row.

How the CARES Act Affects Your Small Business

How the CARES Act Affects Your Small Business

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Join us for this special conversation with Savvy Ladies Founder, Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA®, CES™.

Stacy will discuss how the CARES Act affects your small business. You’ll learn about the benefits, eligibility, and the application process.

About Stacy:

Stacy Francis Headshot.jpg

Stacy Francis is the President and CEO of Francis Financial, Inc., a fee-only boutique wealth management, financial planning and divorce financial planning firm dedicated to providing ongoing comprehensive advice for successful individuals, couples and women in transition such as divorce or widowhood. Stacy has over 20 years of experience in the financial industry. She attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation, where she completed the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) designation. Stacy is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) as well as a Certified Estate and Trust Specialist (CES™).

Stacy is the founder of Savvy Ladies™, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering women and that has helped over 15,000 women make proactive choices about their finances. She is a nationally-recognized financial expert being one of twenty of the nation’s leading wealth managers on CNBC’s Digital Financial Advisor Council, a member of the Forbes Finance Council as well as an expert contributor for The Wall Street Journal. Stacy is the host of Financially Ever After, a podcast focusing on women, money and divorce.

Stacy has received numerous industry awards, among them, Investopedia 100 Top Financial Advisors, Investment News Women to Watch, Financial Planning Association’s Heart of Financial Planning Award, Financial Planning Magazine’s Pro Bono Award and the NAPFA Consumer Education Foundation’s first Pro Bono Award. She was also listed as a national Money Hero by CNN Money Magazine, one of the Top Wealth Advisor Moms by Working Mother Magazine and one of the best financial advisors for women by the Women’s Choice Award.

What You Need to Know about the Coronavirus and Your Money

What You Need to Know about the Coronavirus and Your Money

savvy ladies webinarsIn this special conversation with Savvy Ladies Founder, Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA®, CES™, we’ll discuss how COVID-19 has impacted the markets.

Discover how you can be financially resilient in these times of uncertainty. Learn what moves you can make to stay on the right track with your investments and retirement.

Stacy will be answering your questions on how the coronavirus is affecting your financial situation.

About Stacy:

Stacy FrancisStacy Francis is the President and CEO of Francis Financial, Inc., a fee-only boutique wealth management, financial planning and divorce financial planning firm dedicated to providing ongoing comprehensive advice for successful individuals, couples and women in transition such as divorce or widowhood. Stacy has over 20 years of experience in the financial industry. She attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation, where she completed the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) designation. Stacy is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) as well as a Certified Estate and Trust Specialist (CES™).

Stacy is the founder of Savvy Ladies™, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering women and that has helped over 15,000 women make proactive choices about their finances. She is a nationally-recognized financial expert being one of twenty of the nation’s leading wealth managers on CNBC’s Digital Financial Advisor Council, a member of the Forbes Finance Council as well as an expert contributor for The Wall Street Journal. Stacy is the host of Financially Ever After, a podcast focusing on women, money and divorce.

Stacy has received numerous industry awards, among them, Investopedia 100 Top Financial Advisors, Investment News Women to Watch, Financial Planning Association’s Heart of Financial Planning Award, Financial Planning Magazine’s Pro Bono Award and the NAPFA Consumer Education Foundation’s first Pro Bono Award. She was also listed as a national Money Hero by CNN Money Magazine, one of the Top Wealth Advisor Moms by Working Mother Magazine and one of the best financial advisors for women by the Women’s Choice Award.

How to Protect Your Personal Finances in Divorce

How to Protect Your Personal Finances in Divorce

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Divorces are very complicated and can take a huge emotional toll on you. The last thing you need is for your divorce to be a financial disaster, on top of that. One of the biggest questions divorcing couples have is “how are we going to split our assets?” Unfortunately, this is not easy to answer, as it varies from case to case, depending on state laws, the judge assigned and the specifics of each situation.

State Laws

Most states use equitable distribution to divide marital property. This method takes into account each spouse’s financial situation when dictating how to divide the property. This can add flexibility to the negotiations, but it can be challenging to anticipate what the outcome will be.

There are nine community property states (Louisiana, Arizona, California, Texas, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin) that consider all property acquired during the marriage to be equally owned by each spouse, and it is split 50/50 in a divorce.

Determine Net Worth

To calculate your and your husband’s net worth, add up all your assets and then subtract all of your liabilities. Make sure you know the cost of your home and also have your house appraised, since the value may have gone up significantly since you purchased it. It is best to consult with a financial expert to help you assess the value of your investment accounts determining both their current and future values. Be sure to have any businesses or collections, such as fine art, appraised, as well.

Splitting Investments

Divvying up your stocks, bonds, 401(k) plans, IRAs, pensions, and other investment accounts can be a daunting task. The bottom line is the share of marital assets you get after the taxman gets his. Say your spouse handles all the investments and offers to split them 50/50. Sound fair? Maybe and maybe not. Be sure to look at the value of your assets relative to your spouse on an after-tax basis, and then decide if you like the deal. For example, some assets are taxed at a much higher rate than others, making them, essentially, worthless.

Many people are unaware that investment accounts have hidden costs like taxes and surrender charges that you need to take into consideration before liquidating or splitting them up.  It is best to hire a financial professional to help you come up with a property division settlement; they will be able to help you see your whole financial picture while taking tax issues and future valuation of assets into consideration.

Some assets are more easily split than others. To get part of your spouse’s pension or 401(k), you’ll need a lawyer to draw up a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO. There are several options, including a one-time payment, monthly payments at retirement, or a lump-sum payment that you would transfer directly into your own IRA, where your money would continue to grow, tax-free, until you retire. IRAs can be divided without a QDRO, as long as the division is explicitly detailed in your divorce agreement.

Long-Term Value

A key thing to keep in mind is to not give up long-term value for immediate gain. When looking at what assets you want to walk away with after this divorce, make sure you take into consideration the long-term value of these assets, not just the current value. If you give up a pension, for example, in exchange for keeping the house or up-front money, you may feel short-changed when you reach retirement age. A retirement account can be very valuable down the road.

Knowledge is Power

According to “The Divorce Revolution: The Unexpected Social and Economic Consequences for Women and Children in America,” a man’s standard of living usually increases by 10% after a divorce while a woman’s standard of living usually drops by 27%. They found that one of the factors in this is that women are more likely to be unaware of the family’s financial status.  It is incredibly important to do the research on your financial situation, and fully understand it, so you will be better prepared when it comes time to negotiate your divorce settlement.

This article originally appeared on thriveglobal.com.


Stacy is a nationally recognized financial expert and the President and CEO of Francis Financial Inc., which she founded 15 years ago. She is a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) who provides advice to women going through transitions, such as divorce, widowhood and sudden wealth. She is also the founder of Savvy Ladies™, a nonprofit that has provided free personal finance education and resources to over 15,000 women.

Raiding Your 401(K) Can Be a Divorce Disaster

Raiding Your 401(K) Can Be a Divorce Disaster

By: Stacy Francis

It’s more common than you might think: Tapping retirement accounts to make ends meet during divorce. And it’s also potentially much more costly than you realize.

Many divorcing spouses find themselves strapped for money to pay for mounting legal bills and the higher costs of supporting two households, rather than one. With bank accounts and brokerage accounts drained to zero, some look to tap their employer 401(k)s or IRAs for quick cash to cover these costs. Within a few days, you can have the balance of your retirement account, or even just a small portion, deposited into your checking account. It’s so easy! What could possibly go wrong?

In fact, direct withdrawals from a 401(k) or IRA can be financially disastrous. Retirement savings are meant to remain in place until you reach retirement age, and the government has put in a tax system that penalizes those who raid their accounts early. If you take money out, Uncle Sam will be knocking on your door, come tax time, and if you happen to be below age 59½, the government will include an additional penalty totaling 10% of the amount withdrawn.

Sheryl’s Costly Mistake

Most Americans have no idea of the financial ramifications of taking money out of retirement early. For example, Sheryl, from New York City, felt like she had no choice but to take money out of her 401(k). Her contentious divorce had been going on for over a year, and her husband had reached a new low — no longer contributing his paycheck to their joint account that Sheryl used for everyday expenses for herself and their three kids. She discovered this at the Whole Foods checkout counter when she swiped her debit card and it was denied. The checking account was drained. Sheryl’s small teacher’s salary could not stretch enough to keep the family afloat, and she felt forced to use the only account left in her name, her retirement account.

Sheryl’s situation is not as uncommon as you might think, and unbeknownst to her, she would run into another roadblock making this more complicated than she had imagined. According to Alan Feigenbaum, a partner at Alter, Wolff & Foley LLP, the law requires the adverse party’s written consent, or a court order, to withdraw funds from a retirement account during a divorce action. Known as the “Automatic Orders,” this statute provides for a safe harbor that permits transfers/disposal of property while a divorce action is pending “in the usual course of business” for “customary and usual household expenses” and “reasonable attorney’s fees” in connection with the divorce action — except in the specific case of retirement accounts. If, in the context of divorce litigation, you are contemplating the removal of funds from a retirement account, Feigenbaum suggests that you discuss this issue with your attorney.

Not having access to this information, Sheryl withdrew $100,000 from her 401(k) to pay rent and everyday expenses for the kids. Unfortunately, the IRS took its fair share of federal, state, local, Medicare and Social Security taxes, which totaled roughly $40,000. On top of this whopping tax bill, she was required to pay an additional IRS penalty of 10%, which added another $10,000 to her bill, leaving Sheryl with only $50,000, or half of what she was counting on to support her family.

What She Could Have Done Instead

If Sheryl could have a do-over and had gone to a financial professional, they would have suggested that she investigate whether she could take out a loan against her 401(k). There are no long application forms or credit checks needed to get this type of loan, and money can be deposited into your checking account within days.

The amount of a loan usually starts at about $1,000 and maxes out at the lesser of half your vested account balance or $50,000. Instead of the scenario, above, that left Sheryl with $50,000 after taking out double that amount, she could have taken out a loan for only $50,000 and walked away with that full amount and favorable repayment terms. While interest rates vary by plan, most common is prime rate plus 1%, which is very low, and much cheaper than credit card rates.

401(k) loans must typically be repaid within five years, often on a monthly schedule. Usually, you repay directly out of your paycheck, and some plans allow you to reimburse the account all at once, with no penalty. This would have allowed Sheryl to repay the borrowed amount as soon as her lawyer was able to file a motion for temporary support.

Still, There Are Some Downsides

While a 401(k) loan would have been a much better option for Sheryl, it does have downsides. Sheryl would lose out on the growth her loan money would have made if it had stayed in the 401(k) account. And while Sheryl does not plan to quit her job, and is one of the most well-respected teachers in her school, if she lost her job (quit, changed jobs, got laid off) while she had an outstanding 401(k) loan, the entire loan balance would be due, typically, within 60 days.

While those are good reasons to think twice before taking out a 401(k) loan, the biggest and least understood negative of borrowing from your retirement account is the double taxation of the dollars you use to repay your loan. If Sheryl makes a normal contribution to a 401(k) from her paycheck, she does so with pre-tax dollars. This means that for every dollar she contributes to her 401(k), Sheryl protects a dollar of earnings from taxes, reducing her tax bill at the end of the year. Essentially, the money Sheryl contributes to her retirement account is never taxed until she, eventually, takes it out. This is one of the major pluses of participating in a 401(k) plan.

However, Sheryl’s loan repayments would be made with after-tax dollars, so she would lose the tax break. What’s worse, when Sheryl eventually retires and starts taking money out of her retirement account, all of her 401(k) money, both the regular contributions and the loan repayments she made, would be taxed at the highest ordinary income tax bracket. That means Sheryl’s loan repayments would be taxed twice: first at repayment, while she would be working hard to pay off this debt, and once again at retirement, when she would need to withdraw the money to cover costs in her golden years. This double income taxation makes 401(k) loans very expensive!

The Bottom Line

The biggest takeaway here is to speak with your lawyer about how best to protect yourself, financially, during a divorce, or, if one is anticipated, taking into consideration the restrictions imposed by the Automatic Orders. Resorting to using credit cards or tapping retirement accounts can leave you financially vulnerable and set your savings back for years. It’s important to have the appropriate professionals helping you to put in place the right strategy for you.

This article originally appeared on kiplinger.com.


Stacy is a nationally recognized financial expert and the President and CEO of Francis Financial Inc., which she founded 15 years ago. She is a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) who provides advice to women going through transitions, such as divorce, widowhood and sudden wealth. She is also the founder of Savvy Ladies™, a nonprofit that has provided free personal finance education and resources to over 15,000 women.

Six Financial To-Do’s (and Don’ts) of Wedding Planning

Six Financial To-Do’s (and Don’ts) of Wedding Planning

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

From choosing decorations and centerpieces, to deciding on the dream tailor-made dresses for you and your bridesmaids, weddings are one of the biggest and most memorable milestones in our lives. While wedding planning can be exciting, we don’t always take into account the financial toll “the perfect wedding” can have on the pockets of you and your significant other, but never fear, by following these six tips you can be financially savvy on your big day and long after!

1. Have the money conversation!
Sit down and discuss your goals, values, interests, and relationships. This will help to determine how finances will be prioritized and the roles and responsibilities within the marriage. Be sure to continue going on money dates and speak openly about finances, post-nuptials. If you are in need of further financial consultation, there are professionals who specifically meet with couples to go over conversations to create financial expectations within the marriages.

2. Open a savings account, specifically for money for your wedding, and develop a budget!
Save, save and save some more! First, you need to determine how much you can afford to spend on your nuptials. If you need to have a long engagement to stick to your budget, do it and understand the costs associated with what you want.

3. Don’t accumulate debt from financing your own wedding and don’t tap into your retirement savings
With money already a stress on a relationship, overspending on your big day could lead to deeper debt that will not be beneficial to the health of your marriage. I would suggest saving for your wedding, rather than borrowing. This can help you avoid paying the interest associated with loans and credit card debt. If you do not have the cash to pay either a loan or credit cards, then avoid financing your wedding with these payment methods. If you borrow from your 401(k), you must repay the loan within five years or else you would have to pay taxes on the amount that was withdrawn as well as a 10% early withdrawal penalty.

4. Save for the big things in life and look for bargains when you can!
When furnishing your home or saving for a first deposit on a home – it will be important to save and find some good deals when you can. When planning for your wedding, there a million ways to find exactly what you have been dreaming of as a little girl. There are plenty of DIY crafts you can use for favors, bridal showers, and wedding décor. Pinterest will be your best friend!

5. Meet with a financial advisor
A financial planner will put a comprehensive plan in place to help prepare you for all financial matters that may arise in your marriage. If you or your significant other are concerned about how financing your wedding will affect your financial future, sitting down with a financial expert can help you plan for your special day and all of the special days to follow.

6. Combining finances and keeping some separate
If after your money conversation, you find that you may have different goals, consider having a “Yours,” “Mine,” and “Ours” account. Have an account for shared household expenses and keep your own accounts for personal expenses and discretionary spending, so you can buy those shoes and he can buy those tickets for the game.

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