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Love and Money: A Life Guide For Financial Success

ISBN: 978-0-471-65005-8
256 pages
May 2004
Love and Money: A Life Guide For Financial Success (0471650056) cover image
"The financial decisions we make in our lives are sometimes not the easiest to discuss but have long-lasting effects. [Opdyke's advice] has opened the door in my relationship to conversations that were a long time coming."
-Josh, regular reader of Opdyke's "Love & Money" column, Florida

Real answers to real questions about money and relationships:
* I have too much debt and my credit isn't very good. How can I fix my financial problems? And how do I break the news to my boyfriend?
* How do I teach my kids the value of money, when my parents shower them with expensive gifts?
* My wife makes more money than I do, does that give her a greater voice in our financial decisions? Are we still equal?
* How much should I give my child in allowance? And will it really help him learn the value of a dollar?
* We want to have our first baby, but we don't know if we can afford it yet. How much money do we really need to have in the bank?


If you're like most people, you're struggling with questions like these. Whether we like it or not, money makes a big difference in the choices we make and the lives we lead. Unresolved questions about money can put unwanted stress on even the healthiest relationships-between spouses, between parents and children, and even between friends. In Love & Money, columnist Jeff Opdyke offers practical personal finance advice, as well as strategies for dealing with touchy financial topics-so that money doesn't end up costing you something even more valuable.
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Introduction.

STAGE ONE: THE FORMATIVE YEARS: FINANCIAL FUNDAMENTALS.

Chapter 1. Budgets are Like Diets—Everyone Cheats: Developing a Spending Plan.

Chapter 2. Are We What We Owe? Controlling Debt.

Chapter 3. Small Change is Real Money: Managing Your Spending.

Chapter 4. Emergency Savings: Preparing for the Unexpected Costs of Life.

STAGE TWO: THE EARLY YEARS: BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER.

Chapter 5. Speak Now or...Forever You'll Regret It: Gauging Financial Compatibility.

Chapter 6. The Perils of His and Hers Accounts: Merging Finances.

Chapter 7. Money Laundering: Curtailing Surreptitious Spending.

Chapter 8. Does Money Equal Power in a Marriage? Balancing the Salary Equation.

STAGE THREE: THE KIDDIE YEARS: BIG DOLLARS FOR LITTLE PEOPLE.

Chapter 9. Having Children: Evaluating the Financial Implications. 

Chapter 10. "All My Friends Have One!" Ma naging Kids and Their Material Wants.

Chapter 11. From Allowance to Summer Jobs: Teaching Kids About Earning Dollars. 

Chapter 12. Speaking in Code: Understanding Your Messages About Money.

STAGE FOUR: THE MIDDLE YEARS: REEVALUATING YOUR LIFE.

Chapter 13. On e Income or Two? Making a Choice About Lifestyle.

Chapter 14. The Trials of Being the Trailing Spouse: Following Your Dreams.

Chapter 15. You Take Paris … I’ll Take Vietnam: When Vacation Desires Diverge.

Chapter 16. When Financial Incompatibilities Arise: The Art of the Compromise.

STAGE FIVE: THE LATER YEARS: PLANNING THE FUTURE.

Chapter 17. Retirement, Part I: Obsessing About Your Future.

Chapter 18. Retirement, Part II: Making Sure Your Dreams are in Sync.

Chapter 19. College Savings 101: Pass or Fail.

Chapter 20. When Parents Need Money: Deciding When You Can You Say No.

Conclusion.

Notes.

Index.

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EFF D. OPDYKE is a personal finance reporter in The Wall Street Journal’s New York bureau. He is also the author of the "Love & Money" column that runs weekly in The Wall Street Journal Sunday–a four-page supplement carried by more than eighty newspapers across the country. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.
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With so many people having trouble managing their money, it's not surprising that different attitudes about finances can cause serious arguments between otherwise happy spouses. The solution, according to Opdyke, a reporter and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, is for individuals to first understand their own relationship to and views about money. Drawing on his own marriage as well on the experiences of his readers, Opdyke takes a simple approach to the basic personal finance decisions. He says people shouldn't think about budgets--which, like diets, rarely work—but instead should devise a spending plan (which encourages one to look to the future rather than focus on previous spending habits): "Once you create your spending plan, strive to live with the boundaries you've set. Remember, there's fluidity to your plan. If you realize you're not going to spend $200 this month eating out, you can shift that money to some other expense you'd rather make, or just shovel it into savings for a later date." The writing is clever and the inclusion of comments from readers makes this an enjoyable primer on the psychological and emotional issues related to money. But the chapters on saving for college, retirement and helping aging parents, for example, provide few strategies for readers. (Jan.) (Publishers Weekly, December 22, 2003)
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