Can This Marriage Be Saved? We Constantly Fight About Money

April 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm , by

In honor of that much-loathed, not-to-be-mentioned April deadline (which was Monday, in case you missed it), this week’s Can This Marriage Be Saved? tale follows a couple who butt heads about financial decisions big and small – and are allowing those fights to wear down the health of their marriage.

Lisa, a successful PR-firm owner and mom of three teens, has been married to Drew for 21 years. Though he’s held good jobs throughout their marriage, she’s always been the breadwinner – and she’s also spent like one.

Lisa’s turn Her husband is a nagging tightwad who monitors all her financial decisions, even though she’s the one who’s supporting their family. When times were good, her quick-draw spending style wasn’t an issue, since they had enough money to cover her impulse purchases without a second thought. But Drew lost a job and had to take a pay cut when he took a new position, so now he’s reacting by freaking out when she makes any purchases. She admits they’re not in a great situation – they lost money in the stock market and her business is slowing down, too – but thinks after ditching nonessentials like vacations and dinners out that they’ve cut back enough already. She’s supported herself since her late teens, so she knows she can handle her finances and resents his constant monitoring. She’s also worried that their kids are feeling their parents’ anxieties. Read more

Can This Marriage Be Saved? She’s a Shopaholic

December 2, 2010 at 4:47 pm , by


Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Buy 20, get 1 free! Blowout-knockdown-stampede-through-the-door sale, one day only! BuybuyBUY!

Sound familiar? At this time of year, it’s so (so, so) easy to get sucked into overspending on indulging your loved ones’ holiday want-list. We all want to make our friends and families smile with the gifts we choose for them, and it’s tough to resist a good bargain when you see it. We’re not recommending that you pass by that ideal present you finally finagled to 50 percent off. But what happens when the shopping goes a little too far?

This week’s warring couple consists of Kelly, a 32-year-old with a well-paid job at an ad agency, and Rich, a 33-year-old civil engineer. Their story is from our June 1998 issue, but the topic is as classic as ever. (And if this is a hot-button issue in your household, read up on how to talk about money with your spouse for ideas on how to get the conversation rolling.)

In one corner… Read more

Get That Tax Refund

February 22, 2010 at 11:48 am , by

199162663_757ab28803With the IRS auditing more tax returns than it has in years (yikes!), and LHJ Facebook members already planning how to use their upcoming refunds, I thought it might be nice to get some tips that might up your chances of actually getting—and keeping—that refund. Financial planner and veteran H&R Block tax associate Wilma Hayes says patience, organization and research are the key.

Tax day is looming but don’t stress if your W-2 hasn’t arrived yet. It’s tax time for big business too so they could be bogged down in paperwork. Call at the end of the month if your mailbox is still empty.

    If you’re not already, get organized. Create a “tax” space—a place in your home or office where you keep all your pertinent tax docs, and make a checklist of the documents and receipts that you have and those that are still pending. H&R Block offers a free checklist on their website.

      Read more

      Smart Money Moves

      January 27, 2010 at 6:37 pm , by

      m_FI120106MOTVA001Every so often I am asked to appear on TV to talk about an article that’s run in LHJ. It’s always fun and exciting, but never so much as it was a few weeks ago when I went on the Today Show, because they wanted me to talk about one of my favorite subjects in the whole world: shopping. More specifically, I was there to talk about bargain shopping, which to me is shopping in its most transporting, exalted, rapturous form. It’s shopping with benefits: After all, the more you save, the more you can…shop! I consider myself to be a pretty astute bargain shopper, and have years and years of experience of not paying retail. In fact, as a small child growing up in New York City, my mother took me clothes shopping on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side. This is a street (long since morphed into a downtown hipster enclave) that used to be lined with dingy little clothing shops staffed by really obnoxious sales people. But oh, the bargains! These shops were filled with the kinds of pretty clothes that would delight a young girl’s heart for a fraction of the department-store price. Before there was TJMaxx or Marshall’s or Daffy’s or any of the others, there was Orchard Street. It’s where I learned to love the joy of the bargain hunt.

      But I digress. On this, my first blog entry, I simply want to present my bargain shopping bona fides, what that they are, and let you know that I’ll be posting now and again with news and tips about how to save money, sometimes based on research, sometimes on my own experience. Incidentally, I’m also the editor at LHJ who handles most of our money pieces. So I know or thing or two and am really looking forward to sharing with you.

      Ladies We Love: Daphne Brogdon

      January 27, 2010 at 3:59 pm , by

      daphne-brogdon1 is one of the 10 most influential mom blogs in the country, and the woman behind it is Daphne Brogdon. She blogs about being a parent, and in addition to maintaining her blog, she’s also a stand up comic and television host on the TV Guide Channel—talk about a busy schedule! But it’s the blogging gig that keeps this mother of two young children close to home, where she can dish out advice to fellow moms over the web. One of her latest tips is to consider starting a college fund for your children, and she’s partnered with UPromise, MasterCard and Bank of America to promote a new credit card where one percent of your purchases go into a college savings account with no cap. Check out for more from Daphne, including her blog and daily videos.

      What makes me a lady: I try to always write thank you notes and never show up empty handed.  I also don’t call after 8 PM.

      Favorite guilty pleasure: Reading tabloid magazines at the nail salon.

      Three things on my life list: 1. Have beautiful babies (did that). 2. Take more time to travel. 3. Ride in a hot air balloon.

      If I could have a superpower, it would be: To make gobs of money and to always be able to make people laugh.

      Ladies I admire: Hillary Clinton, my mother, and all the mothers out there who soldier on, always doing their best.

      On Marriage and Money

      December 7, 2009 at 5:55 pm , by


      As the Great Recession (Depression? Obsession? Sick-of-hearing-about-it-ession?) of 2009 nears its (hopeful) end, it’s only natural to take stock of what went down, pardon the pun, this past year and where we stand now. And according to the State of Our Unions report from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia (phew!), we’re standing a bit closer to our spouses than we were before the poo flew. Their findings showed that tough times encourage family solidarity and, subsequently, a decrease in divorce. Not too shocking. The report also notes that disagreements over money are a big predictor of a split. (Read our piece on how to talk about money with your husband so you don’t squabble over it, too!) And, not surprisingly, the report found that “thrifty” couples are the happiest. Apparently, a large credit-card balance = wedded doom.

      So, has the Great Belt-Tightening of 2009 brought you closer to your hubby? Or are you finding yourselves stressed to the max?

      (As always, you can check out our Can This Marriage Be Saved? column for advice that’s helped other couples stay together, or search for a therapist to help you talk it out.)