Gail Liberman and Alan Lavine on Love, Marriage and Money

the authors of Love, Marriage and Money

Cmtdarden: Welcome expert couple team, Gail Liberman and Alan Lavine, sitting in as GailAl tonight, authors of the book Love Marriage and Money: Understanding and Achieving Financial Compatibility Before-and After-You Say "I Do".
GailAlan: Hello everybody! We made it.
A_M_C : How can you handle the money situation when one does not have a job and can't work till later on in the year due to work related problems?
GailAlan: Can you find a part-time job somewhere? There's a tremendous job shortage. Look around for a part-time job? Do you have disability insurance? Have you tried Social Security?
A_M_C: I'm not sure how to get SS and I don't have insurance at all due to a divorce that did not go my way.
GailAlan: For Social Security info, there's a toll-free number that we're looking for right now. Social Security is 1-800-772-1213. See if you qualify for disability. If it's too much time together, what about one of you doing volunteer work?
Cmtdarden: Gail and Alan, do you suggest a couple should have separate bank accounts in order to keep the peace when in comes to money issues?
GailAlan: Separate accounts are fine. But it depends on your situation. For example, not every couple has two working spouses. If one has to stay home with kids, separate accounts may not be practical, for example. Right. It's possible in that case, you might have to share. Like have one joint account and set a limit on spending. It's something, though, that you both have to get together and agree on.
A_M_C: How do you bring up that one to your significant other though with out it being a hot topic?
GailAlan: It's tough. You need to set a time to talk. Express your need as a feeling. "I feel we need to discuss our account arrangement," for example. Also, listen carefully to what your spouse has to say in response.
A_M_C: That will work.
GailAlan: Make sure that no matter how much you disagree, you need to tell your husband you have a problem. Set a time to meet only to discuss that issue. Tell him it's important for you to resolve this problem. Be careful about this, though. Often, husbands like to unwind after work. So you need to respect that. A good time to talk might be when you go for a walk, for example. Men like to talk when they're in motion -- ironically. By the way, that was Al talking about the husband's point of view. Does he realize your need to ask? If so, you might have him role-play with you in the house.
OP_Temom: I want my husband to ask for potential raise and promotion. How should I get him to go for it?
GailAlan: Practice different ways he might approach his boss and ask for a raise.
You need to express to him that you want him to ask for a raise and why. You might tell him why it's important for your family. Also, you might tell him how much you feel he deserves it. Again, ask to have a meeting with him on an issue that's been bothering you. Perhaps, you can go for a walk and bring up your concerns. Men tend to be more understanding when you explain you need their help to understand something that's bothering you.
zena_19_98: We have five kids, ages 13 to 2 and my husband works up to 12 hours a day. Consequently we have little time or energy to spend with each other. Financially, a sitter is outrageous.
GailAlan: Zena, you have it tough. Try to set a special time to spend with your husband. You might unplug phones. Get somebody to watch the kids. Make certain you get to go out and enjoy yourselves now and then. He does have days off, right? What always brings us closer together is when we talk about how we first met. We laugh together and get looks in our eyes.
zena_19_98: He works a lot of Saturdays.
GailAlan: While a babysitter might be expensive, sometimes you can arrange to get an au pair to help you out in exchange for room and board. Or do you have family who can help watch the kids now and then? Or maybe a neighbor or friend? Sounds like you and your husband desperately need to get away.
zena_19_98: The only family that will do that can only do it about once every two months. No one wants to watch five kids.
GailAlan: Zena, sometimes you have to make the best of it. Plan your time together well. Also, keep in mind that it's not forever and your husband's work ultimately will pay off. You children probably will grow up soon and will be able to help each other out.
marlymar99: Since my husband and I had twins, I am working part-time and we have had much tighter budget.
GailAlan: Marly, it's tough with twins. If you get a little behind, that's okay.
marlymar99: Do you recommend seeing a financial planner to help with budgeting? Is it worth the cost?
GailAlan: If possible, meet with your hubby periodically and brainstorm. Brainstorm about what you might do together to save money.
marlymar99: Well, he always complains about how little money we have, but he will not curb needless spending.
GailAlan: For example, are you definitely on the lowest-rate phone and utility bills? You might save by paying your insurance premiums annually.
marlymar99: I don't really know, that's why I wonder if we should see an expert to help him see that it isn't just me complaining about little things.
GailAlan: Halogen and fluorescent lights can dramatically cut utility bills. Can you bring lunches to work? Might you car pool? Yeah. Double-check all your insurance and ask your agent how you might cut.
marlymar99: I always bring lunches, but he buys a lot of fast food and is just stubborn about these things.
GailAlan: You'd be surprised all the little things you can cut if you do a little research that won't cramp your lifestyle. Yet, it can help get your budget back on track.
Fai34: I am a CL here at iVillage. I host a message board called, Divorced Moms and we all have a similar problem with insurance. Basically, our children are covered through our ex-husbands, but we are unable to find affordable insurance for ourselves. Do you have any suggestions? If so, I would appreciate them and will post them on my board.
GailAlan: Fai34, what kind of insurance are you looking for?
Fai34: Medical and dental coverage.
GailAlan: Fai34, good question. We're thinking about it right now.
Hydra: I have major medical with Bluecross, Fai. It costs me $200 a month just for myself.
GailAlan: We suspect you might be able to find a group plan somewhere through an insurance agent.
GailAlan: A lot of trade organizations, for example, have special low-cost group rates.
Fai34: I would like to be able to set something up somehow for the women here who are divorced. Some kind of group effort.
GailAlan: Fai34, what kind of business are you in?
GailAlan: Do you work for someone else? Are you self-employed?
Fai34: I run a small business out of my home. I am self-employed. I have gone through the government and talked to my state rep even on the phone.
GailAlan: Fai34, if you're self-employed, check with your state insurance department. There might be an insurance pool specially for self-employed people.
Fai34: I didn't think of that one.
GailAlan: We have our own business. Al was able to get insurance on a small business alliance plan. It's generally lower-cost.
Fai34: There should be some form of low-cost insurance out there form single and divorced moms the government will help those who don't want to work, but not those who are trying to make a go of it.
GailAlan: Fai34, agreed. Health insurance is a major national problem. It's even tougher for divorced moms with kids. We desperately need national health insurance.
Fai34: I agree, GailAlan.
GailAlan: You might try to incorporate your business as a subchapter S corporation. Once you have a corporation, you might be eligible for additional health insurance options. Of course, this all varies by geographic area, so you need to check it out where you live.
96mommy99: My dh is the spender and I am the tightwad. I feel guilty if I spend a cent on myself. He just got a gracious raise, so is it my turn to spend?
GailAlan: 96mommy99, If you want to spend, and he's agreeable, you have our blessings!
96mommy99: That's it. He's not agreeable.
GailAlan: Just be sure that you pay yourself first and put some money away in a savings account before you do anything else. We thought you were a tightwad.
96mommy99: If I spend 90 dollars at grocery store he acts like it was a personal shopping spree for myself
bigbyrd3: Agrees with Gail.
GailAlan: You need to have a talk with him about that. Express that you feel it's unfair. Do you work?
bigbyrd3: You need to send your husband grocery shopping once in a while to see what the costs are.
GailAlan: By the way, don't try sending your husband food shopping. We've tried that, and Al winds up buying all the stuff he eats and nothing that his wife needs.
96mommy99: He went with me once, we spent 115 dollars. We have a two-and-a-half year old and one on the way.
GailAlan: If he goes shopping with you, you both can price things out and decide jointly what's important to buy.
TOOWILDCHILD: Do you use coupons?
96mommy99: Oh yeah!
GailAlan: Make certain you have a list before you go shopping. It averts impulse spending.
96mommy99: I am the tightwad, so I do all that, but he acts like it's the end of the world when I buy a shower curtain.
GailAlan: He likes to go shopping by himself because he spends half as much money. Al says he'll get over the shower curtain (voice of experience). By the way, you also need to meet regularly to discuss your household finances. That way, there won't be any surprises.
A_M_C: What can I do to get my credit reestablished, no one will give the cards back , the ex had his girl friend cancel them.
GailAlan: Call Equifax: 800-685-1111; TransUnion: 312-409-1400; and Experian. Don't have their current number because it recently changed.
Cmtdarden: GailAlan that is great thank you
GailAlan: They all have Websites, though and you can check with them.;; and, hopefully will get you there.
A_M_C: Thank you very much..
Cmtdarden: GailAlan you answered a lot for us thank you for a great chat.
GailAlan: It was fun. Feel free, if there are any questions we couldn't get to visit our Guest Expert bio area.
A_M_C: Thank you Gail and Alan for all the info. I very much appreciate it.

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