Arguing about money? A finance expert says these 5 common mistakes could ruin your relationship

We learn about money in school, but not about how to talk about it — and yet, it’s one of the of biggest reasons why people argue in relationships.

One dynamic we often see in relationships is when one person is a spender, and the other is a saver. The spender might have years’ worth of credit card debt or student loans, while the saver might have good credit and minimal or no debt. When two people have opposing views on finances, it can easily lead to conflict.

The first (and most crucial) step to avoiding a relationship disaster is to simply talk about it. When that moment comes, make sure you avoid these five common mistakes:

1. Bad timing

Timing is everything. If one partner seems particularly stressed after work, it might not be the right time to bombard them with bills and deadlines. Finding the right time is crucial to have the most productive conversation. You know your partner better than anyone, so pick a time when you know they’ll be the most receptive. This will make the discussion more productive.

2. Talking about the wrong things

When couples argue over finances, it’s typically because of what hasn’tbeen discussed — plans that were not communicated, expectations that were not explained and assumptions that went unspoken. Simply addressing your concerns can prevent a lot of these arguments. While you might touch on some uncomfortable topics, it’ll hopefully lead to a deep and fruitful conversation about things like your hopes for the future, retirement goals, worries, dream splurges, and so on.

Self-made millionaire Ramit Sethi: Here's why you should spend a lot of money on your wedding

Self-made millionaire Ramit Sethi: Here’s why you should spend a lot of money on your wedding

3. Hiding and lying about money

According to a recent GOBankingRates survey, about a quarter of Americans lie to their partner about their finances. Needless to say, this can be a major source of contention. Whether it’s about your income, spending habits, credit score or income, when you lie to your partner, you’re also lying to yourself. The saying “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” doesn’t apply to a healthy financial relationship. Being honest with yourself and your partner is one of the easiest ways to avoid arguments and hurting each other’s feelings.

4. Being a crappy listener

What’s the point of having a conversation if you’re both distracted and constantly interrupting each other? Instead of making your partner feel defensive or argumentative, let them know you’re completely present. Make eye contact and put the phones away. Another tip is to repeat back what you heard to your partner from time to time. It shows that you’re paying attention and ensures that you understood them correctly.

5. Having a closed mind

We all value money differently. What one person considers a bargain, the other might call expensive. The goal isn’t to judge your partner’s actions and behaviors, it’s to have a clearer understanding of where they’re coming from. A discussion about money is a discussion about values. When you know what your partner values, you can be a bit more compassionate about their decisions. And sometimes, you can simply agree to disagree.

[“source=cnbc”]

Delhiites could live 3 years longer if the Clean Air Plan works out

National Clean Air Programme,Delhi pollution,Delhi air

Delhi’s residents could hope to live 3.35 years longer if the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is implemented and the reduction in air pollution is sustained, according to Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman professor in economics at University of Chicago and the director of the Energy Policy Institute (EPIC).

Greenstone is one of the creators of the Air Quality Life Index of AQLI which measures the impact of particulate matter pollution on life expectancy. According to Michael Greenstone, Delhi is among the most polluted cities in the world.

NCAP, which was launched by India’s environment minister Harsh Vardhan last week, aims to reduce the concentration of PM 2.5 (fine, respirable pollution particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micron) and PM 10 (coarse pollution particles) in 102 non-attainment cities (cities which didn’t meet the annual PM 10 national standard from 2011 to 2015) by 20% to 30% by 2024 over their 2017 annual average levels. NCAP was criticised by environmental experts for not having legally binding air pollution reduction targets. It aims to take a “participatory and collaborative” approach.

Greenstone said the targets could also be achieved by providing incentives or disincentives . “I think it’s terrifically important that the government get deeply engaged in air pollution reduction. NCAP reflects that the public is beginning to demand improvements in air quality. It’s an important step,” Greenstone said, adding that NCAP has very ambitious goals “As is so often the case here too, the devil is in the detail. I assume there will be a lot of hard work in successfully meeting those goals. Money helps focus people’s minds. Empower people to meet targets, give them incentives to deliver it.”

In the US, under the Clean Air Act, if states failed to get their counties to comply with standards, then the money to build highways was withheld. “What’s at stake here is an opportunity for people to live longer,” Greenstone added.

Greenstone who has worked with and tracked the air pollution reduction strategies in China for decades said India’s neighbour has achieved improvements through a “methodical focus.”

“In China, the work on air pollution was set out by the demands from the public. India is the biggest thriving democracy in the world; China has more of a single party rule. It’s been quite surprising to me how responsive the Chinese government has been to air pollution, even though China doesn’t have a history of democracy,” he said. According to Greenstone, China managed an unprecedented reduction in air pollution in a very short time.

“After the US passed the clean air act in 1970, it probably took 12 to 15 years for reduction in pollution in US to be as large as what China has achieved in only four years. The US had two or three vicious recessions in the midst of that but China has been growing. So it’s against backdrop of growth that it is especially interesting,” he said.

In China, officials who didn’t achieve the target in their city or district didn’t get promoted or were punished for not delivering on air pollution targets. Using satellite data, the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), a tool developed by EPIC for both India and China found that PM 2.5 levels air across China were down by 12% in 2016 compared to 2013 levels.

Greenstone recommends targeting the biggest polluters first through NCAP. “Go to the biggest polluters and fix them.” EPIC has been working with the Gujarat government for several years now on developing an emissions trading system for industries there. Taxes, cap and trade mechanisms could be used under NCAP too he said.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Yes, you still need to pay your student loans during the shutdown — but you could hit some snags

Despite the partial government shutdown, it should (mostly) be business as usual for students relying on federal student loans to afford college and borrowers repaying them.

The Department of Education remains fully funded, which means its contractors are still collecting student loan payments and the agency is still dispersing grants and federal student loans. Still, students, borrowers and schools may experience some hiccups for tasks that require information from another agency experiencing greater impacts from the shutdown, like the IRS.

“It’s the other departments that are running into some issues,” said Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of savingforcollege.com and a financial aid expert.

Here’s what you need to know:

Borrowers repaying their student loans

Perhaps the most important thing that borrowers who are repaying their student loans should know is that the shutdown doesn’t affect their student loan bills.

Borrowers “should be operating as if everything is normal and there is no disruption at all,” said Justin Draeger, the president of the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators, a professional association for financial aid officers. In other words: “Don’t stop paying your loans,” he says.

Still, the shutdown could impact some borrowers trying to manage their debt. Borrowers who want to take advantage of the government’s income-driven repayment plans, which allow them to pay off their debt as a percentage of their income, need to show proof of income to their student loan servicer. They also need to recertify their income every year to stay on the plans.

The IRS, which has had many of its duties curtailed due to the shutdown, typically plays a role in both cases. Usually, borrowers will use the IRS data retrieval tool, which electronically transfers tax information into their income driven repayment plan application. Department of Education officials say the tool is operating as normal. The IRS did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Borrowers applying for an income-driven repayment plan or re-certifying their income for an IDR plan should try to use the data retrieval tool, Kantrowitz said. If for some reason, they hit a snag — the tools don’t always run perfectly, he noted — under normal circumstances a borrower would download their tax transcript from the IRS and file a paper application.

But the tax transcript service is currently down. Officials at the Department of Education and the IRS told Politico the outage isn’t due to the shutdown and they expect the tool to be back up on January 14. In the meantime, while the shutdown persists, borrowers trying to get their tax information will likely struggle to find someone to take their calls at the IRS, Kantrowitz said.

Borrowers whose circumstances have changed since they last filed their tax return — information that won’t be reflected in the data retrieval tool — can use other documentation to prove their income, like pay stubs or a letter from their employer. But because those documents typically show net income and not gross income — which is available through tax documents and on which the calculation for income-driven repayment plans are usually based — borrowers’ loan payments could wind up being higher, Kantrowitz said.

Students applying for and receiving aid

The lack of availability of tax transcripts is also causing a snag for some students applying for aid, experts say. Roughly 30% of students who fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, are flagged for verification each year, a process that requires them to prove their income. Typically these students use a tax transcript to verify their income.

“Basically there’s a big bottleneck in the process at this point,” said David Baime, the senior vice president for government relations and policy analysis at the American Association of Community Colleges.

Baime said his organization has heard from its member schools “with great concern” about students unable to complete their FAFSA due to the tax transcript issue. Unfortunately, this issue is likely affecting students who need the funds the most — college officials say they observe that low-income students are more likely to be flagged for verification.

“The bottom line is that our colleges — and their students more importantly — are really in many places in a very difficult situation in terms of financing,” Baime said.

Again, the agencies say this delay isn’t related to the government shutdown, but is the result of scheduled maintenance.

Students who find themselves in this situation should contact the schools they’re working with to find out what they need to submit and when they need to submit it, Draeger said. In some cases, colleges are working with students to allow them to start the semester in the absence of financing until the issues are resolved, Baime said.

Questions on the FAFSA that require interactions with other agencies are also causing hiccups for some students and schools. In order to qualify for federal financial aid, male students need to register for the draft. The FAFSA typically performs a database match with the Selective Service Administration to make sure required students have registered, but right now that match is failing, Draeger said. Colleges are able to look students up individually to make sure they’re registered, he said.

Despite these challenges, for the most part, students shouldn’t see any effect on their financial aid during the shutdown, Draeger said.

“The Department [of Education] is funded, federal student aid dollars are flowing,” he said.

Government workers affected by the shutdown

Though most student loan borrowers aren’t impacted by the shutdown, those who belong to the group of government workers that are furloughed and not receiving a paycheck may be struggling to make their monthly payments.

The Department of Education advises borrowers for whom that’s the case to contact their student loan servicer to discuss their repayment options.

Adam Minsky, a Boston-based student loan lawyer, suggests government workers who are furloughed and on an income-driven plan apply to have their monthly payments reduced based on their changed circumstances. If possible, they should resist entering a forbearance — a temporary status that pauses payments, but where interest accrues.

Entering forbearance could wind up costing borrowers more in the long run both because interest capitalizes at the end of a forbearance period and because any time spent in forbearance delays progress towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which allows borrowers working in public service, including for the federal government, to have their loans forgiven after at least 10 years of payments.

[“source=marketwatch”]