Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What if the Man Earns less than the woman?

If a man makes less money than his spouse, is that a problem?  What if Beyonce had outearned her husband Jay-z? Dr Boyce Watkins and S. Tia Brown cover all of this in this episode of Financial Lovemaking.

Click the image to watch!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

S. Tia Brown Breaks Down Respect in the Workplace


This week I look at issues of respect from both co-workers and your nearest and dearest.
I am 28-years-old and work in an office full of 45-56 year-old women. My issue is how to talk to them when they say things I do not like without being disrespectful. - Young & Angry In The Office

Dear Young & Angry In The Office,
I’m a firm believer of showing deference to elders, however the office isn’t the place to act out societal roles— you’re there to do your job. I firmly believe that the only way to get respect is to demand it. Some people have that certain thing about them that ensures people, whether they’re older or younger, never test them. Other people have to go get it. So how do you command respect? First, you always make sure that you’re on top of your game, for the work environment that means being efficient, punctual and dependable. Second, you have to speak up for yourself and address every infraction in a stern, tactful, professional way. That may mean giving a soliloquy about respect (such as, “we’re all on equal footing here, I give respect and I expect it,”) or taking people aside an individual when they say something that you deem is inappropriate. Only you can determine which approach will work best. Overall you want to make sure that you leave personal roles at home, these ladies are not your aunties, and they’re your co-workers –who likely take issue with working with someone 20 years their junior – so treat them as such.

My fiancé and I are planning a big, lavish, wedding and we have restricted our families to only inviting a certain number of people, so as not to exceed my parent’s budget. My fiancé’s family is insisting on inviting many more people than they are allotted and it has caused the price of the reception to soar. Do you think that I should demand that his family pay for some of the reception, or at least the head count of the additional people that they are inviting, or does that break some etiquette rules?Breaking the Bank for the Big Day

Dear Breaking the Bank for the Big Day,

Etiquette was out of the door once your future in-laws stepped on your toes and didn’t respect your parents’ budget. Since they —like many others—love to plan with other people’s money I would like to tell you to just make them pay for their extra guests, but that could potentially cause long-term strife with your hubby-to-be. Consequently, you need to speak with him first and make sure you’re on the same page about the finances and the numbers. If both families were given an equal amount of guests then it is up to him to make sure that he stands firm by your side when you speak with his family. During the conversation make sure to reiterate that the day is you and your fiancé’s, but you understand why it is to the family, but your parents – who are paying – have given you a budget and it is disrespectful to expect them to pay any excess. Let them know the precise number of people that they are allowed to invite and that any extra guests must be pre-paid for by specific date if they are to be seated. You can also opt to include your parents in on the meeting. I doubt that your future in-laws will speak recklessly or be callous about spending your parents’ money in their faces. With that said…standing firm is only possible if you are financially independent of your in laws. You don’t want to play hardball with someone who’s helping to pay your rent/mortgage or watching your kids for free. So make sure that you’re in a position where you can’t be penalized for standing up for yourself – and your parents – or you may end up paying a bigger price later.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tax Mistakes You Want to Avoid

Gentlemen (and ladies), start your engines. Tax Day is less than a week away.

But as you race toward the finish line, be mindful of common tax-filing errors. Some mistakes could cost you money. Others could raise red flags at the IRS. Tax software will do math and point out tax breaks you might overlook, but these programs are only as good as the information you enter.

Here are some common last-minute blunders, and how to avoid them:

Automatically not itemizing.

A 2002 study by the Government Accountability Office found that more than 2 million taxpayers who claimed the standard deduction could have lowered their tax bills by itemizing.

Deductible expenses include interest on your mortgage, property taxes, charitable contributions and unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjustable gross income.

Ordinarily, that threshold puts the medical-expense deduction out of reach for most taxpayers who have employer-provided health care.

But the economic downturn has led employers to shift more of the cost of health care to their workers in the form of higher deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance. That means more taxpayers could rack up enough unreimbursed expenses to claim the deduction, says Mary Canning, dean of the schools of taxation and accounting at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Automatically itemizing.


Click to read.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Cost of Raising Children

By: Sarah Horner
April 8, 2009
An article from entitled, "Budgeting for Baby: What does it really cost?" outlines exactly how much having and raising a child will cost you.
"If you've never been a budgeter, now's the time for a financial reckoning. Experts recommend that parents-to-be and new parents dedicate themselves to whittling down their credit-card debt (ideally — and here's some tough love — to zero), while at the same time, building an emergencies-only savings account of six to nine months' worth of expenses. Do whatever it takes to meet this goal: Spend on a cash-only basis and write down every expense — or use a free online spending tracker like or — so you have a visceral idea of where your money goes. And be prepared to sacrifice. "If you want to prioritize the expense of a child, well, you may not need as many minutes on your cell phone and you may not need as many meals in a restaurant," says Chatzky. "And by the way, you're not going to be going to restaurants much once you have a child, anyway!""
To read the entire article, Click here

NPR’s Farai Chideyah Asks Dr. Watkins to explain Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme

Dr. Boyce Watkins explains to Farai Chideyah how Madoff got away with stealing $50 Billion dollars in the largest Ponzi Scheme in American history. Click the image to listen!

Monday, April 6, 2009

TIA Brown Advice: Handling Catty Comments from Live-in Relatives


Got issues? Well I have answers. My advice philosophy is simple:

Getting to our best self is easy if you take it one choice at a time.

This week I tackle a double-dose of trouble (and more). What is the best way to handle a situation when your own relatives are critical about the way you run your home and they also want to live with you rent-free?

I’m a happily married attorney with a loving husband and two adorable toddler-aged sons. My girlfriend complains about the state of my house – she thinks it’s too messy - but I am really content. I don’t see what she sees. What should I do?Sloppy But Satisfied

Dear Sloppy But Satisfied:
Friends always have opinions but at the end of the day it is your life to live. Your biggest concerns shouldn’t be your friend’s perspective but whether you can function and whether your husband and young children are content and able to thrive in your home’s current state. If the answers to all of theses questions are yes, then tell your friend thanks, but no thanks, for his/her commentary. But if the answer is no, you should really take a look at how you can keep a more organized and aesthetically pleasing home. Since your schedule is definitely a hectic one you can start by making a cleaning schedule for larger duties, such as cleaning the bathroom or doing the laundry. Another great way to keep things tidy is to set aside 15 minutes at the end of the night after the kids are put to bed to make sure everything is put away. Ultimately, only you can determine what system works best for you.

Several of my family members live with me rent-free and contribute very little to the household finances. However, they are always making comments about the way I parent and run my house. I am very stressed and often feel upset when I’m home. What should I do?Crowded and Confused

Click to read.