Marriage and Money

Our latest guest, Belinda Luscombe, would rather have had her eyes put out than read a book about marriage; they all seemed full of advice that was obvious, useless, or bad. Plus they were boring. 

But after covering the relationship beat for Time magazine for ten years, she realized there was a surprisingly upbeat and little-known story to tell about the benefits of staying together for the long haul. Hence her recently released book, Marriageology: The Art and Science of Staying Together.


Casting a witty, candid, and probing eye on the latest behavioral science, Luscombe has written a fresh and persuasive report on the state of our unions, how they’ve changed from those of our parents’ era, and what those changes mean for the happiness of this most intimate and important of our relationships.

In Marriageology Luscombe examines the six major fault lines that can fracture contemporary marriages, also known as the F-words: familiarity, fighting, finances, family, fooling around, and finding help. 

She presents facts, debunks myths, and provides a fascinating mix of research, anecdotes, and wisdom from a wide range of approaches, from how properly dividing up chores can result in a better sex life to the benefits of fighting with your spouse to whether or not to tell your partner that you lost $70,000. (The last one is from firsthand experience.)

Marriageology offers simple, actionable, maybe even borderline fun techniques and tips to try, whether the relationship in question is about to conk out or just needs a little grease and an oil change. The best news of all is that sticking together is easier than it looks.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman,

Love and Money


It’s February, time for a bonus episode on how to talk to your special someone(s) about money. That “s” is intentional, because we need to expand our financial conversations from our partner/spouse to all of our loved ones: the romantic ones, the kids and the parents.

To help us navigate the process, we're joined by Benjamin Seaman, an active member of the New York City therapeutic clinical community. We touched on a variety of topics, including:

Talking to a spouse/partner:

You know that stress about money causes a lot of relationship issues. The conflicts usually occur because each of you arrived into adulthood with a different relationship with money. When I conducted research for my book, The Dumb Things Smart People Do with Their Money, I found that your family of origin shapes these feelings and habits, for the good and the bad. Keep that in mind as you talk to your partner about money and know that he or she may come from a dissimilar circumstance and also may be hardwired differently about finances.

According to Seaman, before you start any dialogue about money, “you need to check yourself. Ask whether this conversation will bring you together or not.” If you are using it as an excuse to launch an interrogation, stop in your tracks because that is not going to serve anyone well.

Talking to kids:

In my book, I noted, “How you behave around money with your kids matters,” because you run the risk of saddling your kids with your own money issues.” And the conversations have to start early, because according to research from Cambridge University, money habits start to form by age 7. To help educate your kids, be careful to strike a balance between educating them so they can take responsibility for money but not overdoing it and conveying too much of a focus on money.

Talking to aging parents:

This is a tough one, because it requires that you balance being a responsible adult child without prying. Ideally, this is an ongoing conversation that begins when your folks are considering retirement and while they are still healthy. Seaman suggests breaking the ice by saying something like, “This is such a hard topic and it really scares me, which is why I have avoided it. But I want to make sure we are on the same page when it comes to your wishes.”

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Planning for Retirement...Am I Treading Water?


We started the show this week with an awesome call from Lisa in the Twin Cities. Lisa and her husband are in their late 50s and hoping to retire in the next few years. In her words, Lisa thinks they're "treading water" when it comes to their retirement game plan. I'm not so sure I agree with that assessment. It was a good call that required a couple segments. 

We finished up the first hour by blowing through some of the inbox. Believe it or not, we're still answering emails from March. 

Hour two this week features an interesting chat with Jane Barratt, the founder and CEO of GoldBean, an online investing platform that aims to get you started with investing by analyzing your spending history and your financial profile with the goal of building you a personalized portfolio, featuring successful companies and brands that you love, know, and buy.

Think of using GoldBean as a five step process:

  1. A Personalized Portfolio - Start, build and grow your own investment portfolio. 
  2. Company Overviews - There is a lot of noise about companies in the news. GoldBean will distill it down to what's important.
  3. Real-time Advice - The GoldBean Index lets you know when to sell, when to hold and when to buy stocks.
  4. Ideas - GoldBean helps you get started with companies based on your spending profile, what's hot and community favorites.
  5. Education - GoldBean helps you learn the language of Wall Street, decoding what's going on in the news and being prepared for opportunities when they happen.

The Fintech Revolution is changing the financial services industry on a daily basis, and GoldBean is just another example of the amazing possibilities when the worlds of finance and technology collide. 

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman,

Universal Basic Income, Capital Gains and Mortgage Payoff

PS reminder: If you enjoy the radio show, please subscribe to our podcast, Better Off.  It's very similar to the radio show and you'll hear more money calls with our awesome listeners.

You may also want to subscribe to the YouTube page and our newsletter

We started the show this week with Pat in Des Moines. Pat and her husband, like many others out there, are wondering if there's a way to lower their taxes.  And should they pay off their mortgage early? 

Next up was Laura from Connecticut who is struggling with capital gains.  One of those problems that we like to consider a good one to have! 

We rounded out hour one with emails.  We have tons more so we may need to do a couple shows where we just answer emails.  

Despite the fact that we are nearing the ninth year of a global economic recovery, poverty remains a problem.  

In the United States alone, recent numbers from the Census Bureau show the rate to be just under 13% with more than 40 million people considered to be living in poverty.

Globally, more than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty, meaning they subsist on less than $1.25 a day.

While there are no easy fixes, there are a few ideas that have been tossed around. Some that have been tried and proven, at least on a small scale, like the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI), something that has very much interested me over the last couple years, as well as our guest this week in hour two, author, historian and TED speaker Rutger Bregman

The basic concept revolves around the idea of all citizens of a country receiving a regular, livable and unconditional sum of money, from the government. You may think that this is a dressed up welfare program that will only encourage people not to work.  

On the contrary, dozens of successful basic income experiments around the globe have proven that the vast majority of us actually want to do something with our lives -- we just need the means to get on our feet.

Check your negative knee-jerk reaction at the door and open yourself up to at least learning about UBI, which can be an investment that pays for itself.  

After all, poverty in its current state is incredibly expensive and ineffective.  

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman,

100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask

Home ownership has always been considered an essential part of the American Dream.

And while it may be getting harder to accomplish—especially for the millennials—it’s still pretty high on the list of goals. If you’re going to do it, make sure you do it right by doing your homework and asking the right kinds of questions:

  • What can you afford?
  • What do you want in a home, and what do you really need?
  • What does "location, location, location" really mean?
  • How do I decide what to offer on a house?
  • What exactly does the closing process look like?

While it’s hard to ignore all the financial implications of making such a large investment, there are, of course, the equally important issues related to life, family and relationships that arise in buying a home.

And quick postscript to all you millennials out there who want to buy, but feel like the cards are stacked against you...hit up the app store on your phone and put all the tools and technology at your fingertips to use to help you find the best deal possible.

And remember, the American Dream is still very much alive and achievable.  

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

Have a finance related question? Email us here or call 855-411-JILL.

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"Better Off" theme music is by Joel Goodman,

Inflation-Proof Your Life

Inflation-Proof Your Life

Worries about rising inflation have spooked stock and bond investors. As a reminder, inflation occurs when the prices of goods and services rise and as a result, every dollar you spend in the economy purchases less. The annual rate of inflation over from 1917 until 2017 has averaged just over 3 percent annually. That might not sound like much, but consider this: today you need $7,272.09 in cash to buy what $1,000 could buy in 50 years ago.

Better Off BONUS call: Investment Property

If there's a piece of property in the family that's on the market, would it make sense to buy it and keep in the family as an investment property? That's the question from Ryan on the latest BONUS call.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

Have a finance related question? Email us here or call 855-411-JILL.

We love feedback so please subscribe and leave us a rating or review in Apple Podcasts!

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"Better Off" theme music is by Joel Goodman,

Stock Market Correction: What to do Now

Stock Market Correction: What to do Now

We knew that a stock market correction was coming, but why then did everyone seem so shocked when it arrived on Februarys 8th? Corrections, defined as 10 percent drops from the recent highs (January 26th), usually occur every year or so. Until last week, it had been two full years since the major US indexes had corrected. In other words, we were overdue for a drop.