8 Steps to Financial Security for Newlyweds


Among the less romantic aspects of merging two lives through marriage is the coordination of all things financial. Despite the tedious nature of these activities, it is vital that newlyweds give adequate attention to setting up a strong financial foundation for the union.

Financial stress can create problems for any marriage, even for couples with many years under their belts. According to the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America report, 31 percent of couples identify money as a major source of conflict in their relationships. Start your marriage off right by following these 8 steps to secure your collective financial future.

Establish a Joint Checking Account

Having an account to which you both have access (even if it is in addition to existing separate accounts) is helpful for a number of reasons:
• The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) both provide $250,000 worth of federally-backed coverage per depositor on every account you open. Should you find yourself with an account in excess of that amount, it would be covered up to $500,000 if both spouses are listed as depositors.
• Finances are simplified when you have a shared account from which to pay shared expenses like utility bills, household maintenance costs, and vacations.
• Managing your finances collaboratively can make your marriage stronger as you consistently practice open communication and collective decision-making.
• Joint accounts bypass the probate process in the unfortunate event of one spouse’s death.

Create a Budget

Know what your money map looks like and work together to follow it.

• Agree on a spending to savings ratio.
• Consider your existing debt, develop a plan for reducing it (hint: pay off debt with the highest interest rates first), and decide how much debt you are comfortable carrying as you move forward.
• Prioritize your discretionary spending. For instance, between vintage wine collecting and a desire to travel, which do you value most as a couple?
• Identify future potential expenditures (both fun and functional) and decide how saving for those fits into your budget.

Coordinate Work Benefits

Figure out what perks you have at your disposal and make the most efficient use of them.

• Define your medical insurance needs and decide if it would be more economical to add one spouse to the other’s plan. Be sure to consider any future family growth and the additional cost of dependents when making this decision.
• Ensure that both spouses are making the most of company-matched retirement benefits. This is like free money for your future.
• Examine additional benefits that each employer offers (life insurance policies, medical savings accounts, charitable contributions, etc.) and see how you can take advantage of those most effectively.

Reassess Your Current Investments

The strategy you had as a single person may not meet your needs as one half of a couple.

• Consider a diversified investment strategy to mitigate fluxuations in various segments of the market. If circumstances cause one fund to flatten, make other investments which are likely to surge under those same conditions.
• Discuss your investments to make sure that they reflect your collective values.
• Have a mix of short and long-term investments about which you are both reasonably knowledgeable.

Evaluate Your Protection Plans

Hoping for the best, but preparing for worst includes providing for unexpected bumps along the road.

• Recognize that career or health dilemmas that affect your personally, now affect your spouse as well.
• Make sure that life insurance policies provide adequate coverage to mitigate a sudden loss of one income for at least as long as it will take the surviving partner to adjust.
• Consider disability insurance to prevent financial chaos if one or both spouses become temporarily or permanently unable to work.

Update Beneficiaries

As with a joint checking account, insurance policies with a legally designated beneficiary bypass the probate process and go directly to the intended recipient. Make sure the appropriate beneficiary is named on all of your existing financial accounts and policies.

Completely Implement Name Changes

This is neither the time nor the place for an identity crisis.

• Know your state’s law with regard to legal name changes. If your name was Hilda Elizabeth Jones and you wish for your legal married name to be Elizabeth Jones Anderson, find out how to go about this in accordance with state law. The same goes for hyphenated surnames.
• Once you’ve established your new legal name, make sure all of your financial accounts reflect it.

Maintain an Emergency Fund

This is part of hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

• Open another joint account to which both spouses have access.
• Preserve a balance that is appropriate to your financial situation. It should equal 3-12 months of your collective household income.
• Only use it for true emergencies.

Following these guidelines early in your marriage will establish a solid foundation on which you can build a bright financial future together.

Transmittable Emotions: How Our Moods Affect Our Marriages


We think we outgrow peer pressure as we become adults. Adults are supposed to be independent and think for themselves, right? To a certain extent, this is true; however, psychologists have studied a phenomenon known as emotional contagion, in which people “catch” the emotions and moods of the people they are around. This can happen when a person smiles at you on the subway or yells at you in traffic. After these situations, you may subconsciously mimic the mood by smiling or scowling for some time after the encounter. Emotional contagion has even stronger and more long-term effects when it occurs between people who interact on a regular basis. This definitely happens between friends and family members but can have the strongest impact in a marriage, often the closest bond in a person’s life.

The Stages of Emotional Contagion: How Does This Happen?

• Stage 1—Mimicry: Psychologists have studied how individuals subconsciously copy the nonverbal cues of the people they are around. This can include tone of voice, facial expressions, and any movements or gestures. If your spouse raises his voice in excitement a lot, you may also start to talk loudly and expressively.

• Stage 2—Feedback: When we copy someone’s frown, we often begin to feel sad. When we copy someone’s smile, we may cheer up. The mimicry we are doing in stage one begins to turn into actual emotions, shaping our mood.

• Stage 3—Synchronization: This last stage only occurs when individuals share their experiences on a regular basis, increasing both the bond between them and the ability to impact each other’s moods. If your spouse is a generally upbeat person, you may begin to feel more positive even when you are not around her.

Who Is Vulnerable?

Everyone is vulnerable to emotional contagion! All human beings are affected by their surroundings. The following are some of the people that may be most vulnerable to “catching feelings” from their friends and loved ones:

• Introverts are more susceptible to adopting the positive emotions of others.
• Extroverts are more vulnerable to be affected by negative moods.
• Women are sometimes more likely to experience negative emotional contagion because they are socialized to be receptive and attentive towards the emotional needs of others.
• Those who express strong emotions are less affected by those who have different feelings; however, their moods can be strongly intensified by those with similar emotions.

The Effects of Emotional Contagion

It is a great thing to transmit positive emotions within a relationship. This is why it is so important to be around people that uplift us and help us to notice the happy things in life. Negative emotional contagion is unfortunately also a powerful force in relationships. It can be as easy to pass on a bad mood as a cold, and like a cold we have no idea that is it happening until it is too late. Studies show that someone married to a depressed spouse is more likely to become depressed. It can be easy for two people who spend a lot of time together to bring each other down, stuck in a pattern of negativity and complaining. Studies also show that husbands experience much lower marital satisfaction when their wives are stressed. Couples who do not handle conflict well and continually reject or criticize each other will pass each other negative emotions more intensely.

How to Avoid Passing and Catching Negative Emotions in a Marriage

One easy way to avoid continually transmitting negative emotions in a marriage is to surround yourself with friends who have happy feelings and positive things to say about marriage and relationships. If you are around friends who often complain about their marriage, this can seep into your own relationship. It can also be helpful to mimic happy emotions purposefully, smiling often and speaking positively, even if you do not feel that way. Emotions will often follow outward actions. Be more thoughtful about the way you encounter your partner. For example, try to break habits of walking in the door from work and immediately beginning to complain. Instead make it a tradition to greet each other with compliments and discussion of the highlights of the day.

In your marriage, learn to recognize your partner’s emotions and what causes them. Being aware can help both of you to avoid catching and passing negative feelings, stopping the stages of emotional contagion before they progress. Completing an emotional scale or seeking professional help can be a helpful way to become more emotionally in tune.

Can You Die From a Broken Heart?


Most adults have suffered from one, but can you actually die of a broken heart?

Broken hearts are such a fundamental aspect of human life that there have been countless poems, songs and stories written about them. They’re so common that people often take them for granted, but sometimes a life event occurs that really makes you reflect on the deep pain you can feel.

Consider how the loss of a beloved pet can affect a person. Anyone who’s a pet owner knows the kind of devastation that comes with such a loss. For many people, you might say that their pets were their first loves. These pets were in their lives before they had their first girlfriends and boyfriends, before they went to college, before they got their first real jobs and before they married even. When they pass, that loss is very much like the loss of a person.

Loss of a pet is something pet owners prepare themselves for from a logical standpoint. Despite that, sorrow often floods homes in a way that families aren’t prepared for. Children can be drenched in sadness, mope about and not want to participate in their usual activities. Parents will often have a harder time emotional than their kids. After all, they’re less resilient in some ways and often have to deal with so many reminders around the home. These reminders bring memories, which bring the sadness and pain to the forefront.

It’s often amazing how very real and physical that pain feels, and there may be something more to it than just seeming that way. In fact, medical science all over the world has long recognized correlations between heart attacks, for instance, and depression. People who have suffered heart damage are more prone to depression, but some scientists are determined to discover whether people who suffer depression are more prone to heart trouble and other manifestations as well.

It’s not so outlandish. Consider that a Japanese study in the 1990s linked grief to heart problems. The study concerned five patients who had experienced the symptoms of a heart attack but hadn’t demonstrated the blockages normally associated with such an event. These patients had all recently experienced the death of a loved one and were also experiencing forceful contracting and tight stretching of the left ventricle. Whether the stress was from physical or emotional sources was unclear, but what was clear is that the stress was very real and had led to a condition that has since been named for the study. In English, it’s referred to as the Broken Heart Syndrome.

BHS has been studied since by medical professionals throughout the West. In one case, European scientists studied BHS symptoms, such as shortness of breath and chest pain. Their goal was to discover a means of detecting these risks, such as through electrical activity. To do this, they studied more than 100 unique patients who had demonstrated symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome as well as electrical problems related to the heart. Many of these patients required intensive care at one point because they had experienced a near total collapse of the heart. Yet in every case, those heart problems, just like the grief itself, had eventually worked themselves out.

Cases like this aren’t usual. Most people will deal with the stresses that life brings and never experience the kind of severe physical pressure that comes with a heart attack. Fewer so will have to deal with physical manifestations such as the left ventricle issues discussed earlier. Nevertheless, it makes sense to recognize the potential for such manifestations and act accordingly. Even if you’re in great shape and your doctor has given you the all clear, don’t ignore heart discomfort, and don’t shirk off breath shortness as anxiety. Pay attention to the signs, and be even more vigilant when you’re dealing with significant grief, such as the loss of a loved one.

Whether you’re dealing with the loss of a beloved pet or a family member with whom you had deep bonds, that pain is real, and the pain is poignant whether you were prepared for the loss or it took you by surprise. Preparation may even be an oxymoron in this sense. The good news is that when it comes to grief, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but in the meantime, you need to listen to you heart in both a literal and figurative sense.

11 Common Problems that Marriage Counselors Can Help With


When we first think of visiting a marriage counselor, our mind almost automatically goes to the thought of saving a crumbling marriage. But while a marriage counselor can help in that area, they can do so much more for couples and their families.

Here are 11 areas that a marriage counselor can help you with, including some you may not had thought of before.

1. Remarriage

Blending families can be a struggle, especially when you and your new spouse both have children from a previous marriage or relationship. If you are struggling to bring your family together or you just believe that talking to a professional could make things run a bit more smoothly, a marriage counselor can help.

2. Grief

When a couple loses a child or other person close to them, it isn’t common for the grief to tear the relationship apart. When both parties of the relationship forget to view the other as a support system, they begin to fight, blame, and lash out at one another. A marriage counselor can help them to channel their grief in a better direction and to learn to help one another through the pain.

3. Family Problems

Many families have problems that can be difficult to get under control. Whether a member of a relationship comes from a difficult background that is influencing how they act in the marriage of an in-law is interfering far beyond their boundaries, a marriage counselor can walk a couple through different family problems.

4. Changes in Physical Health

When a major physical health change comes into a marriage, it can be scary, confusing, and stressful. On top of fighting the condition, you’re also left wondering how you can support your loved one. A marriage counselor can help you remember to focus on the illness and work around the major life changes that comes with it.

5. Disagreement in Parenting Style

When everyone thinks they have the right idea for parenting, it can cause additional fights and disagreements. While a marriage counselor isn’t going to tell you how to raise your kids, they can help you work through the different strategies to create a philosophy that works for both parties.

6. Lifestyle Changes

If you and your spouse are moving, thinking about creating a family, or making a large career move, a marriage counselor can walk you through the changes and ensure you are fully prepared.

7. Infidelity

If you or your spouse have had an affair, a marriage counselor can help you to repair the marriage bonds and overcome any issues that have come because of the affair. Additionally, a marriage counselor can help the party who had an affair understand why they made that choice and what changes they can make.

8. Addiction

Whether it is alcohol, drugs, gambling or any other kind of addiction, it isn’t uncommon for an addition to create a wedge in a marriage. A marriage counselor can help over come the addiction and keep the couple aware that they ware a team who should tackle the problem together.

9. Mental Health

Mental health comes in many forms, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or even eating disorders. In many ways, these mental health conditions can come between partners in a relationship. A marriage counselor can help overcome those mental health problems as well as talk to the other party abut what they can do to help their loved one.

10. Problems in Communication

Not properly talking about issues can be one of the biggest problems in relationships and marriages. A marriage counselor can help talk about difficult issues in an effective and productive way and they can help in mitigate any complications or fights that may arise. They can also teach the couples that they work with how to talk about things on their own without the help of the marriage counselor.

11. Lack of Love

The longer you’re with someone, the more likely you are to grow bored. With a marriage counselor, they can help to rekindle the spark that you felt in the first place and get to the root of why you may have lost sight of how much you really do love each other.

Seeing a marriage couple isn’t just for relationships on the rocks. If you’re serious about keeping your relationship strong and productive, a marriage counselor can help you through all major life changes.

Failed Founders Make Great Hires

marc firestone business

One of the hidden truths of the 21st century economy is that while many people would like to run their own business, being able to sustain that endeavor sometimes takes more than talent and ingenuity.

It is easy to see this when you look at crowdfunding and sites like Kickstarter. You see a project that represents the efforts of a group of founders. Even if they are funded and are successful in putting their unique product out, most companies that get launched using crowdfunding are actually fading away after a couple of years. The primary reason for this is that their ideas excite the established players in the industry. They in turn develop products that compete with the innovators. Their size and scale then makes it difficult for the innovators to maintain their niche market.

The upshot is that there are a lot of talented founders that would make excellent hires at established firms.

Here are some reasons that bringing on a former founder can help your firm:

Experience with market vagaries:

People that have run companies that have faced adversity are typically very adept at manuevering in environments that are unforgiving. They know how to perservere and they can often improve your processes because they have had to innovate in a high gravity environment.

When it comes to navigating markets that are complex, you may find that a failed founder outperforms someone who has not had experience factoring in considerations like the global nature of your product.

A network of friends:

Every founder that runs a business is used to interfacing with people that at the top of the business world in their own markets. They are both comfortable working with people that are executives- and they know how to leverage their connections in order to help whatever company that they work for.

It is a good idea to recognize and embrace new employees’ networks as something that can be a real positive for your company. If you fail to prepare your staff for this, there can be friction because your new hire may end up looking like they are stronger than their co-workers.

A realistic attitude about their role:

When you hire talented individuals, it is sometimes difficult for you to keep them because competitors tend to try and pull them away from you. On the other hand, with the Millennial Generation comprising a large share of the work force, companies are used to working with people that are looking for an opportunity to run their own business at some point in life.

If anything, a seasoned veteran that founded another company may have a very realistic way of looking at the opportunity that you provide them with. Instead of succumbing to the first opportunity that comes along, they may be more willing to work inside your firm to help your company grow.

A need to prove themselves again:

If you are in a competitive market, it is always nice to have corporate warriors around to help you out. Hiring a failed founder can be positive for your company because they may want an opportunity to shine from a performance standpoint. They will therefore do what they can to improve your bottomline in a measurable way.

In many ways, it can be like a football coach that was known for being brilliant until his team had a bad year or two. Most coaches in that situation go back to work for another coach and end up being very strong contributors. Brady Hoke, who used to coach the University of Michigan was recently hired at the University of Oregon as a defensive coordinator because of his talents. Lane Kiffin, the former coach at the University of Southern California was hired at the University of Alabama as an offensive coordinator because of his ability to contribute. He has since helped Alabama return to the National Championship game.

So when it comes to looking at those that have experience working as a company founder in a company that did not survive, it is worth considering how much impact motivated talent can have on your organization. If you make everyone on your team aware of the talents that someone is bringing with them to help, you should be able to leverage their experience and connections to your company’s benefit without inciting the normal jealousies and infighting that sometimes come along with bring a talented person onsite.

How Do You Determine the Health of Your Marriage?


Many of us dream of a long and healthy marriage. But how do you know if your marriage is considered “healthy?”

Because each marriage is different and each couple values different things, it is hard to put a finger on exactly what makes a marriage healthy. The health of a marriage can be found in a number of different things. If you’re looking to determine if you’re in a healthy marriage or not, consider these possible indicators of a strong and healthy marriage.

1. You handle the bad times just as well as the good.

There is no such thing as a marriage without bad times. When you’re spending your life with someone else, things can happen that cause disagreements or hurdles in your marriage. A strong marriage isn’t measured by the absence of bad times, it’s all about how you handle them. If you approach the bad times as a team, determined to get through it, you probably have a healthy marriage.

2. You enjoy being around each other.

As a married couple, you spend a lot of time together. If you enjoy being next to one another and look forward to the time you share, you probably have a strong and healthy marriage. While it is normal to occasionally want some time apart, if you dread coming home to see your spouse, you may need to do some difficult thinking about your marriage.

3. You’re still having fun.

You should never stop having fun in a marriage. It is easy to grow tired of someone or become annoyed when you’re always around them, but when you focus on having fun, doing new things, and going on dates, you keep the marriage alive and exciting. If you and your spouse are always looking for new things to do in your city or new places to visit, you probably have a strong marriage. Other couples have just as much fun staying home renting movies, playing games, or just spending time together, which are all qualities of a strong marriage.

4. You work as a team.

A marriage is all about teamwork. While you and your spouse may decide that certain jobs are reserved for one or the other – the husband may have to kill the spiders while the wife is in charge of cooking dinner – teamwork is all about working towards one goal. If you can complete your separate jobs while remembering that each party is doing their job to ensure the house is clean, the children are taken care of, and there is food on the table, you could have a strong marriage.

5. You’re reaching your goals.

Some people believe that getting married means you need to put your life on hold. You’re no longer independent, which means you are not completely free to make decisions, accept jobs, or move to new cities. But in a strong marriage, you shouldn’t feel as if you are held back. You should feel supported and encouraged to go after your dreams with even more intensity. If you and your spouse are still working hard for your goals, you could have a strong marriage.

6. You feel happy.

When it comes down to it, feeling happy is one of the biggest indicators that you are in a healthy relationship. The desire to stay happy is what drives them to be with their spouse, to complete necessary tasks, and to encourage their husband or wife to keep moving forward toward their goals. In these situations, feelings are what shows a happy marriage.

These are just a few options of what a healthy marriage could mean to you. While some people may put a focus on happiness, others may think achieving goals and finding success together are what drives them towards as happy marriage. You may even find that your spouse has a different idea of a happy, healthy marriage. In this situation, you should create a compromise that allows both ideas to be recognized. After all, marriage is all about compromising and doing what you can to make your loved one happy!

There is no right or wrong identifier in determining if a marriage is healthy, but understanding what your overall goal for a happy marriage is can help you and your spouse reach there.

15 Ways to Calm a Fight

Rotten start to the day - Relationship Issues

No one enjoys fighting with their partner. The arguments and accusations are draining, and it can take hours – even days – to come down from the aftermath. Yet the fact remains simple: Every couple fights at some point or another. Yet how every couple handles conflict and deals with the tense, emotionally charged atmosphere packaged within disagreement says a lot about the relationship’s health.

It’s what marriage counsellors have dubbed “fighting fair,” a serious of relationship-focused techniques centered on keeping disagreements structured, tempers even, and words and emotions calm. The results? Decreased resentment and animosity, quicker conversation turnaround, and overall happiness boosts in partner communication and attraction. Bear a few in mind next time you and your partner are in a row and you’re looking to calm things down:

Take deep breaths. The trick is as old as time – or at least as old as neuroscientists proving the calming effects of deep, steady breathing. A deep breath will literally slow your physiological reactions down so you can think and speak clearer, diffusing the argument.

Hold hands. Even in the peak of heat arguing, holding hands brings a layer of intimacy and connection between the pair of you. It won’t solve any of the issues on the table, but it will soften the mood almost instantaneously.

Give compliments. This one can be tricky, but verbally recalling what you love about your partner goes a long way in moments when you only feel negatively toward them. Don’t be afraid to ask for a compliment or two in return!

Put on calm music. Music is one of the most well-researched methods of reducing stress. When your physical surroundings are telling your senses to bring it down a notch, your emotions will follow suit.

Do not interrupt. We repeat: Do NOT interrupt your partner. Nothing good comes when you’re repeatedly cutting off the other person. This will only make matters worse.

Never follow an apology with a “but…” Your partner will only hear what comes after, and it will feel like you’re throwing further jabs.

Cuddle. Similar to when you hold hands, your brain registers the enveloping touch as signs of warmth and protection – definitely a good way to start calming a fight!

Gently ask follow-up questions. Tone is everything during conflict. The way you say something oftentimes is more important than even what you’re even saying. Use diffusing question phrases, such as “Can you explain that a bit more?” or “Tell me how [blank] made you feel.” The gentle questions will make your partner feel listened to rather than attacked. Then ask them to use the same technique for you.

Apologize Even if you really, really don’t think you did anything wrong, you should always apologize for hurting the other person.

Paraphrase Repeating what you believe your partner is trying to express is another great gesture to make them feel heard. Doing so in steady and non-accusational tones works even better.

Do something comedic/ridiculous Laughter is an immediate de-stresser. If you can infuse a little humor into the situation, you will practically feel the tension breaking from the room and the argument beginning to heal.

Light a candle. Aromatherapy, either through candles or essential oils, signals your brain to relax due to the peaceful environment. For as odd as it sounds, marriage counselors often suggest couples air out grievances in softly lit, pleasant-smelling spaces to stimulate mental soothing agents.

Step outside. There’s a reason people listen to nature soundtracks in order to fall asleep. The outdoors can have a profound impact on our mood, positively stimulating neurons in our brain and awakening our five senses. Try stepping outside with your partner, taking a moment to feel the breeze, bask in sunlight, or walk in warm grass before picking up the conversation.

Take a structured break. So often walking away from a fight is portrayed as neglect or even defeat. Yet communicating when you need some space, and for how long, can be incredibly beneficial when clearing your head. Respect this in your partner if they ask for some time. They aren’t trying to dodge or deflect, they’re trying to re-center.

Say I love you. There’s nothing more potent in calming a fight then reminding your partner of your unconditional love.

Top Tips for Planning A Modern Jewish Destination Wedding


You’re planning that big important date. You want it to be extraordinary. Having a local wedding just isn’t going to be enough for your special day. Here are some great tips on planning a modern Jewish destination wedding.

What is a “destination” wedding?

A “destination” wedding is a wedding that is held 100 or more miles away from where the bride actually resides. That is where a destination wedding can become complicated. However, the desired location is enough to turn the invited guests’ anticipation of the ceremony up about 100 notches.

Follow these tips and you’re on your way to having one of the most memorable ceremonies for you, your new spouse, and your guests.

Choose a Romantic Theme

You anticipate being married in a vineyard setting. That could mean making a beeline for Italy. However, it could also mean a vineyard in California or a posh resort resembling the Mediterranean style. Having a topic as a top priority makes it simpler to contract down choices and share your vision with the organizer.

Minimal Stress Travel

It’s not considerate or fair to ask your guests to spend countless hours traveling to attend your wedding. Make a log of where all of your intended guests are living. Once you’ve made a note of that, then you can start deciding on destinations for your ceremony.

Take Costs Into Careful Consideration

Everyone you invite to the wedding may not be financially stable as you (or they) wish they could be. Be on the lookout for resorts with fluctuating (hopefully lower) rates. You can also opt for other nearby less expensive hotels or resorts. Just do what you can to make everything financially feasible for your guests.

Use a Travel Planner

The advantage of having a travel planner is it frees up your time to plan other aspects of the wedding. It will also be helpful in figuring out who you can/want to invite. He/she will discuss contracts and more viable financial options to fit your budget and needs. The details of the wedding day will actually be handled by your chosen resort’s coordinator.

Greeting Your Guests With Hospitality Bags

It’s always a nice touch to welcome your guests to your ceremony in style. If the budget allows, have a hospitality bag waiting for them. Add bottled water (or 2 bottles), a couple of few salty snacks, and something sweet. Don’t forget to throw in the itinerary of the ceremony as well as driving instructions on how to get there.

Choosing Vendors

You could hire a local Rabbi to perform the ceremony. If you are closely connected with a Rabbi, just ask him to come with. For pay, of course. If you are not very familiar with the Rabbi, have several meetings before the actual ceremony. It could help you feel more at ease with the ceremony.

You should do your due diligence and check the local laws or any other requirements such as paperwork, etc.

Don’t forget about music. Inquire about local DJs in the area. Chances are they (the resort) might already have a disc jockey on payroll, which works out for you at the end of the day.

Be sure to hire a DJ that will play the Top 40 hit tunes or the golden oldies. You may even prefer to have the DJ only play romantic music. If it’s okay with everyone involved, then go for it. After all, this is your day!

Do you and your guests like karaoke? Karaoke is always a hit at parties and it’s hard to find people that actually don’t like it. This should go over well with your guests.

Plan to Eat Local

A good idea would be to plan on having food locally. It doesn’t have to be a mundane setting to be local. The important thing here is entertaining your guests and making sure everyone has options. Your friends and family came a long way to celebrate your day with you!

Show them that it means everything to you by being a good host/hostess. Set up a cocktail bar and a dessert stand. Offer finger foods and little cupcakes to keep your guests busy and mingling.

Good luck and have fun! Oh and by the way…congratulations!

Money Saving Tips for New Parents


Having a baby takes money. After all, how do you introduce an infant to the world that he or she will be living in without essential supplies? Aside from all the gifts you received from the baby shower you had, how else can you prepare for parenthood? Are there things you can do to cut costs so you’ll have more time and money to spend with your child?

Lucky for you, the answer is “Yes!” When it comes to saving money as a new parent, there are some things you can do now to improve your finances. It may not be easy to change your spending habits at first but with a little bit of time and determination, you’ll be saving like a pro in no time.

Here’s how you can get started saving money for you and your family:

Make it your mission to pay yourself first no matter how difficult that may seem at times. Many families swear by the 52 week savings plan that has them put up $1 the first week, $2 the second week, $3 the third week, and so on until they reach their target goal of $1,378. Even if you can’t afford to save this much, make it a point to put up something each week into a savings account. American Express offers a high-yield personal savings account that pays 0.90% interest. Best of all, there is no minimum deposit meaning you can decide how much you can afford to save.

Create a realistic budget and stick to it. It’s so tempting to splurge but now that you have another mouth to feed and care for, you’ll want to think twice about making unnecessary purchases. After all, what happens if either you or your spouse aren’t able to work as much as you did before the baby came? Keep in mind that things change in an instant. Give yourself enough wiggle room to weather the financial storms that blow through. The week your car breaks down will inevitably be the one where your child gets sick and your roof springs a leak.

Know that no matter how tempting it is to buy everything brand new for your newborn, it’s a waste of money. You wouldn’t believe how many like new or never used items you’ll find secondhand. Shop thrift stores and garage sales for clothing, join swap sites for toys and books, and save your money for things you need to buy brand new like furniture and bottles. A number of retailers offer special discounts for parents. Take advantage of the savings by signing up for every program and mailing list you can find.

Get in the habit of using coupons. You may feel like you don’t have a moment of free time to yourself when caring for an infant. You’d be surprised how much of the day many babies sleep. Take a few minutes to clip and organize your coupons. Download coupon savings apps onto your phone and pull them up when you’re at the supermarket. You’ll be able to save tons of money on food, baby care items, and diapers if you’re diligent about looking for sales and using coupons wherever you go.

Choose childcare carefully. Does it make sense for both parents to work when daycare costs so much? Many parents conclude that it isn’t logical to pay someone else to watch their child when one salary is devoted strictly to childcare. If you can afford the expense or are really dependent on the extra income, think about other ways to save on childcare costs. Do you have a family member or friend willing to sit for your child for you? If so, they’ll charge far less than a daycare facility. 

Now that you know what kind of effort it takes to save money, you’ll be less likely to waste it on things you don’t need. It doesn’t matter if your commitment to frugality lasts a month, a year or a decade. Using the tips listed here, you’ll cut costs and be able to focus on the things that matter most like spending time with your newborn. Saving money is far easier than you thought and with the right attitude, can even be fun.

How Can You Save a Decades Old Marriage from Divorce?


There is one thing that most couples take for granted on their wedding day. On my wedding day, under all the excitement, it never occurred to me that our marriage would not last. Oh, I heard others hint that it was the marriage not the wedding that I needed to work on. I heard the off-the-cuff comments that suggested things change once you live together. Of course that advice was for everyone else. We were different; we were in love. But what happens when after decades of marriage, you find out that love is not enough? What usually happens is divorce.

The phenomenon of divorce after decades of being together is called ‘grey divorce.’ It is the breaking up of the marriage of couples fifty and older who’ve been married for at least thirty years. Linda Melone, A Huffington Post reporter has written about this experience and says there are at least five reasons for it.

Growing Apart

We’ve all heard that you have to work at a marriage to make it successful. That is sometimes impossible when you are working at raising children and making a living. The marriage itself is sometimes placed on the back burner so that more pressing issues can be addressed. That simple sacrificial act allows small emotional cracks to weaken the infrastructure of the union and ultimately pushes the bride and groom apart. Before you know it, something happens or is said that tests the strength of the couple’s love; when both the couple and marriage collapse under the weight of indifference all the emptiness between them seems insurmountable. Many are unable to resuscitate the frail creature their marriage has become.


“Age ain’t nothing but a number,” but many a grey divorce occurs because of an age related mid-life crisis. When the children are grown and we’re close to retiring, we reach an age of reflection. All of a sudden we grieve for what we think we’ve lost. We look at sacrifices made for others and decide we want to get it all back. Sometimes fear of what’s ahead motivates us to do things we feared doing when younger. Sometimes if there is a significant age difference changes in interest and physical abilities can lead to divorce. Age is more than a number; it is a state of mind, and if your mind convinces you that you ought catch up on things that you’ve missed, you just might leave your marriage to go after it. 


One of the greatest things about a good marriage can also be the death of it. There is something about the familiar, the routine of a marriage that comforts us. But that same routine every day can become boring making you hungry for change. Doing the same thing takes the excitement out of the relationship. It takes away the creativity and curiosity that sparked our courtship. If you already know what your partner will say or do, why ask? Complacency leads to a failure to communicate which can lead to divorce.


The love of money is the root of all evil, but too much money or a lack of it can destroy a marriage. Not having enough money strains a marriage. The sense of failure often makes one or both partners give up. Having too much money often placates a bad situation. It allows you to cover up your pain with stuff, and if you’re not careful the stuff becomes more important than the marriage.

Can a decades old marriage be saved if it suffers from all or just a few of these problems? The answer is yes. First, you must decide if you want the marriage saved. Marriage takes a lot of hard work. After being tied down for decades, the idea of freedom is so appealing that you may not want to bind yourself again to hard work or one mate. Secondly, you must be willing to communicate. Many marriages die because what keeps relationships alive, interchanging, sharing, and respecting of one another’s ideas, is no longer practiced. Find common ground. For many couples this means finding and developing their faith. A strong spiritual foundation has often been able to fix a broken marriage. Finally, find and renew the passion. Whatever made you fall in love still exist. Find it, act on it, and enjoy it.