Tag Archives: marriage

Socialism, capitalism named 2012 ‘Words of the Year’

| brennison@queenscourier.com

The ideological battle between socialism and capitalism continues, this time atop Merriam-Webster’s Words of the Year list.

The terms shared the top spot on the annual list featuring the year’s most searched words on Merriam-Webster.com and a search of one often led to users looking up the other, said the dictionary’s editor-at-large, Peter Sokolowski.

Searches of the terms peaked following each debate and party conventions.

Election season weighed heavily on the list with marriage, democracy and globalization joining socialism and capitalism on the rankings. Malarkey, whose searches spiked after Vice President Joe Biden famously uttered it during an October debate, also made the list.

“It’s fascinating to see which language from a campaign or debate speech resonates with our users,” says John M. Morse, president and publisher at Merriam-Webster. “With socialism and capitalism, it’s clear that many people turned to the dictionary to help make sense of the commentary that often surrounds these words.”

Politics often invade the lists with austerity, bailout and democracy all topping the rankings within the past decade.

Merriam-Webster’s Words of the Year:

1. Socialism/Capitalism

2. Touche

3. Bigot

4. Marriage

5. Democracy

6. Professionalism

7. Globalization

8. Malarkey

9. Schadenfreude

10. Meme

The marriage merge: Practical tips for combining your lives

| ara@queenscourier.com

Your wedding is sure to be the happiest day of your life, but marriage stretches well beyond those 24 hours. Merging your lives as husband and wife starts even before you say your “I do’s” and will require some effort and patience – which will be good practice for your future life together.

The technical side of getting married can be a little confusing, so seeking advice from friends and family is a good idea. However, there will be some questions that might need professional advice, so don’t be afraid to consult the pros when necessary. As you start your journey through life together, keep these key tasks in mind to make sure you’re well prepared.

* Discuss your finances. Having an open and honest discussion with your fiancé about finances is very important, and it should include the bad with the good. Because you’re getting married, you’ll be with each other through thick and thin, so having a forthright conversation about money ahead of time is a good idea. If you have debt, discuss how much and how you’ll pay it off, but you’ll also need to talk about things like creating joint accounts, as well as how and whether you want to divide or share money. Understanding your credit portfolio and status as well as protecting against identity theft should also be part of the discussion – and credit monitoring products like the Equifax Complete(TM) Family Plan enable married couples to see alerts for each spouse’s accounts when changes occur to their credit files, helping to keep track of potential impacts to their credit histories while detecting potential identity fraud.

* Prep for taxes. Married couples can file taxes jointly or separately, and you’ll need to consider which approach is the best option for you. Seek the advice of a tax preparer or financial adviser who can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages and the adjustments you’ll need to make for your W-2 form. Keep in mind that if you’re married before December 31 of the year for which you’re filing taxes, you qualify as having been married for the entire year.

* Talk about bills. As much as you can count on taxes, you can also count on bills. Whether they’re monthly, quarterly or annually issued, you need to figure out who will take care of which bills and where the money will come from. Setting up autopay can lessen the bill-paying chore list. You should also make sure that both spouses’ names are on the appropriate accounts. Even if you use autopay, it’s important to check in on your accounts to make sure that nothing is going wrong.

* Make decisions about moving. If you’re living separately prior to getting married, you’ll need to decide which home you’ll live in. For some couples, this might mean selling a house, while for others it might mean leaving rentals behind and looking for a home to buy. When you’re discussing homes and moving, talk about how your feelings regarding moving away from your current home city, in case you’re ever offered a job transfer opportunity.

* Get insurance in order. Meet with your insurance agent or agents to go over your current plans and add your spouse to them. There may be advantages to using one insurer for all of your policies, so if you are currently with different insurers, speak to each to see where you’ll get the best deal. You should also explore your options for health care – one spouse’s employer might offer a better plan than the other.

Taking care of these practical financial tasks might seem less than exciting compared to the thrill of your wedding day, but getting them done right is important. Since finances are a notorious source of stress, having a clear understanding with your spouse will ensure that you have a good foundation for your marriage. For more information on tools to monitor your credit and help protect against identity theft, go to www.equifax.com.


How to start your married life free of wedding debt

| ara@queenscourier.com

The average wedding now costs more than $25,000, multiple studies show. Few couples starting their lives together have that kind of cash, and many will fund their weddings – wholly or in part – with credit. While it’s normal to want the wedding of your dreams, your special day shouldn’t lead to years of unmanageable debt.

Money problems, including too much debt, can cause significant disharmony in a marriage and can even lead to divorce. Fortunately, some careful budgeting and smart use of credit can help you prevent wedding-induced money problems from interfering with your marital bliss.

As soon as you set a wedding date, you need to begin thinking about and discussing how you’ll pay for your big day. Your conversation should encompass several key financial talking points, including:

* Credit – Discuss candidly how you’ve both used it in the past, how you’ll use it going forward and what, if any, role credit will play in funding your wedding. If you haven’t already done it, exchange your credit scores, and discuss how you both arrived at your respective credit statuses.

Consider enrolling together in a credit monitoring product. Keeping a close eye on your credit leading up to marriage may help you better understand if and how you should use credit in funding your wedding. Websites like Freecreditscore.com allow you to see your credit score, which is a snapshot of your credit. The site’s Credit Score Center can help you understand how your score works, how it’s calculated, what factors impact it and when is the best time to apply for credit.

* Budgeting – A budget will be key to financial security throughout your married life. Establishing and sticking to a budget for your wedding is not only a good way to avoid overspending, it’s a good team-building exercise for future spouses. You can learn a lot about each other based on how you manage your wedding-planning budget.

For example, every budget includes income. You’ll need to realistically discuss your wedding “income” – funding sources you can rely on to help defray the overall wedding cost. Will your parents contribute? Will you dip into some savings? Will you pay for some things with credit?

* Savings – Saving money is often an exercise in compromise. For example, you may want a new car, but to save money you may buy a slightly used one instead of a current model. Saving money on wedding costs is the same. You’ll need to look for creative ways to save money.

Fortunately, there are many ways to do this. Changing the time of your wedding to off-peak seasons or days of the week, opting to hold it at a different venue like a park, botanical garden or even a zoo, choosing less-costly dinner selections and even making invitations and favors yourself, can all save you money.

Many people find it difficult to reconcile the idea of financial matters and romance. But don’t underestimate the romantic appeal of starting out your life together free of wedding debt. Having good credit, solid credit scores and little or no debt can be a great foundation for creating financial bliss in your marriage.