Money & relationships: What you should do if your husband doesn’t share financial details

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Try to seek the help of a mediator if your husband is reluctant to share crucial financial information
Among married couples with a single earning partner, a skew often slips into the financial equation. If the husband takes care of everything, from earning and spending, to saving and investing, there is a tendency to dictate terms to the non-earning spouse. In some cases, the wife has to ask, remind or grovel for money every month to take care of household or personal expenses. In many marriages, the husband shares money, but not information regarding his salary, spending or investments. It is crucial for both the spouses not only to be in the loop when it comes to finances, but also be equal beneficiaries of wealth. If you are not, and are having trouble finding common ground, go through the following points to know what you should do.

1. Know your financial rights
A wife has the legal right to secure basic amenities and comfort—food, clothes, residence, education and medical treatment— for herself and her children from the husband. So, understand that as a homemaker, you should not have to ask your husband for money; he is bound by law to provide it to you. Also, the wife has a right to know the details of her husband’s salary, as per a 2018 ruling by the Madhya Pradesh High Court. This is important because the quantum of salary will provide clarity to the wife about how much money she can have for household and personal expenses.

2. Show interest, split financial responsibility
If your husband does not share financial information, it is possible that at the start of the relationship, you did not evince any interest in financial transactions. If you want to change the status quo, have a conversation about it with the spouse. It is important to not only display interest, but also split financial responsibilities as per your individual skills. If you are good with investments, take on the responsibility, leaving the tasks of earning and paying bills to the husband. If investing is not your forte, you could handle the household budget and payment of bills, leaving investments to the spouse.

3. Get this information
If the husband is not sharing information out of habit or laziness, not malice, make sure you seek it from him periodically. Both the partners should be in the know about important financial aspects because if one were to pass away, the other should not be left clueless. While it is not important that you communicate on a day-to-day basis, both should be on the same page when it comes to goals and budgeting. Make sure that you know the accounts and passwords of all online and offline saving and investment accounts. You should also know about the investments in your or your spouse’s name, and have access to original documents of all insurance policies, be it life, health, vehicle or house. Finally, ensure access to will and property documents, essential for smooth transition of assets.

4. If husband refuses
If you have tried to talk to your husband about the need to share crucial financial information, and he is reluctant to do so or refuses outright, try to seek the help of a mediator. This person can be a trusted confidant or older relative, respected by both spouses, who can help clear the impasse. If this doesn’t work, approach a financial adviser, who can take an objective and pragmatic stance on the need to share financial details. If this, too, fails, seek a marriage counseller as a last resort because the issues and fissures are clearly deeper, involving your marriage, not merely your finances.

IF YOU HAVE A WEALTH WHINE, WRITE TO US…
All of us have been in a financial dilemma when it comes to relationships. How do you say no to a friend who wants you to invest in his new business venture? Should you take a loan from your married brother? Are you concerned about your wife’s impulse buying? If you have any such concerns that are hard to resolve, write in to us at [email protected] with ‘Wealth Whines’ as the subject.

Disclaimer: The advice in this column is not from a licensed healthcare professional and should not be construed as psychological counselling, therapy or medical advice. ET Wealth and the writer will not be responsible for the outcome of the suggestions made in the column.

[“source=economictimes.indiatimes”]

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”]

Excess belly fat may shrink your brain: Study

Belly fat,fat,smaller brain

Excess belly fat can probably shrink the grey matter volume in your brain, a new study finds.

Grey matter contains most of the brain’s 100 billion nerve cells, while the white matter is filled with nerve fibres that connect the brain regions.

A study of 9,652 middle-aged people, conducted at the Loughborough University, measured body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio. It was found that nearly one in five of the participants were found to be obese.

The findings of the study appeared in the Journal of Neurology.

Researchers also used an MRI to scan participants’ brain volume. The researchers factored in age, physical activity, smoking and high blood pressure, all of which might lead to reduced volume.

The study found that 1,291 people who had a BMI of 30 or higher and a high waist-to-hip ratio had the lowest average grey matter volume, at 786 cubic centimetres; 514 people with a BMI of 30 or higher but without central obesity had an average grey matter volume of 793 cubic centimetres. Meanwhile, 3,025 people with overall health scores had an average grey matter volume of 798 cubic centimetres.

The study also showed no real differences in white matter brain volume linked to obesity. However, excess weight was associated with shrinkage in specific regions of the brain: the pallidum, nucleus accumbens, putamen (linked only to a higher BMI) and caudate (linked only to a higher waist-to-hip ratio). All of these brain regions are involved in motivation and reward.

[“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”]