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When ignorance is NOT bliss in finances

April 15, 2015

Here’s a great idea

April is Financial Literacy Month.  Since 2004, April has been recognized by government, financial corporations, and nonprofit agencies as a time to promote the importance of financial literacy for all consumers.  It may be true that money can’t buy happiness but financial difficulties can be one of the most stressful life events.

In other words

When it comes to personal finance, ignorance is NOT bliss.  Financial products have become increasing complex.  Think about the papers you sign for a mortgage loan or the small print on a credit card fees and disclosure statement.  Do you understand credit scores, net worth, and average daily balance?

How this applies to you

It’s critically important for financial success to have the knowledge you need to make wise financial decisions.  Understanding the components of a credit score can guide your behavior to make sure that you’re doing what you need to do to have the best score possible.  Understanding net worth statements and debt-to-income ratios can help you keep an eye on your financial health.  Knowing how to read a bank or credit card statement can ensure that your accounts are in good order and help you watch for signs of fraud or identity theft.  Celebrate Financial Literacy Month by learning one new thing about money management.

To find out more

The Cooperative Extension Service is your source for reliable, research-based information to improve quality of life. Discover the latest recommendations for creating a spending plan, managing credit, building your savings and investing for the future. Learn more at

The best is yet to come.

April 13, 2015

Here’s a great idea

How do you and your partner envision retirement? Are you saving for retirement?

Suze Orman’s advice is, “To enjoy a long, comfortable retirement, save more today.”

National Retirement Planning Week 2015 is a national effort to encourage Americans to plan for their financial needs in retirement. National Retirement Planning Week takes place April 13 to 17.

In other words

Each day about 10,000 Baby Boomers enter their retirement years. They are members of a generation who are largely unsure of their financial future, as demonstrated by the latest research findings from the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI). For five years, IRI has seen Baby Boomers’ confidence in their financial preparations for retirement steadily dropping, with barely a quarter optimistic about their situation in 2015. However, this does not have to be the case.  Plan ahead for retirement to make these years the best they can be.

How this applies to you

Whether you’re in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, or older – retirement should be part of your financial plan and it’s important that you plan together as a couple.  Do you dream of traveling together?  Will you have a retirement home or travel the country in an RV? Do you plan to spend more time on hobbies such as golf, painting, or woodworking?  Schedule some time alone with your partner for the two of you to discuss your retirement dreams.  Later, estimate the cost of making those dreams come true.  Remember to add in 3-4% per year for inflation.  Are you saving enough?  Look at your retirement savings plan and adjust accordingly.

To find out more

See an estimate of your future social security benefits at  If you have an employer provided retirement account, contact your employee benefits manager to find out who to talk to for an estimate of future income.

The Cooperative Extension Service is your source for reliable, research-based information on personal finance.  Use the Ballpark Estimate to calculate future retirement needs.  Take the free online course: Planning for a Secure Retirement.  Visit our website at

Learning to speak your partner’s love language

March 30, 2015

A great idea…

In her book, Not “Just Friends,” Shirley P. Glass says, “Most people give what they wish to receive, rather than what the other person really desires. All this time, you may have been giving not what your partner wants, but what you want” (pp. 168-169).

 In other words…

We are each very good at knowing how we want to be loved, and when we want to show love to our partners, we do for our partners what we would like to have done for us. This can be a problem though when what communicates love to us, doesn’t speak in the same way to our partners. We, as well as our partners, can become frustrated if we are speaking different love languages. If we take the time to see what communicates love to our partners, it can greatly improve our relationship.

How can you apply this…

Take time today to learn your partner’s love language. Do they melt with your words of affirmation? Do they beam when you choose to spend time with them? Do they treasure the gifts you give them? Do they appreciate when you lend a hand? Or do they just want to snuggle up next to you?

If you are not sure what your partner’s love language is, notice what they do to try and communicate love to you (even if it’s not your preferred way of receiving love). Ask them what you have done in the past that made them feel loved. Take one of these things and try to work them into your routine. It might feel awkward at first but will become more natural with practice.

 To Find Out More…

about couple relationships, check out our FREE resources: The Marriage Garden or the Getting Our Hearts Right programs at, follow us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You may also like to read The Five Love Languages  book.

March 25, 2015

Live the power of 10-Wealth

March 25, 2015

Live the power of 10-Health

Live the power of 10

March 25, 2015

Here’s an idea….
Use the number “10” to help reach your health and wealth goals.

In other words…
Calorie counting and spending plans can seem like a jumble of numbers. Streamline the process by using multiples of 10. It’s easy to multiply, divide and remember. Break goals down into increments of 10.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…
The Power of 10 for Health:

  • Exercise an additional 10 minutes per day.
  • Set an initial weight-loss goal of 10% of body weight.
  • Walk 10,000 steps a day.

The Power of 10 for Wealth:

  • Save an extra $10 a week. That’s $1 a day plus pocket change.
  • Pay yourself first by saving 10% of your gross income each paycheck.
  • Look for ways to cut expenses by $10 per month.
  • Set financial goals for 10 years in the future.

When it comes to health and wealth goals, you can win with 10! Put the power of 10 to work for you.

To Find Out More…
go to  and click on the “Health & Living” tab.

about personal well-being, check out our free programs: Your Blueprint for Happiness, Getting Our Hearts Right, or Managing Stress programs at, like us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You may also enjoy reading Authentic Happiness.

Shedding the burdens of resentment

March 23, 2015

A Great Idea …

In his book, The Seven Principles for Making Your Marriage Work, John Gottman says, “For a marriage to go forward happily, you need to pardon each other and give up past resentments. This can be hard to do, but it is well worth it. When you forgive your spouse, you both benefit. Bitterness is a heavy burden” (p. 153). 

In Other Words…

Resentment is a heavy burden. Why carry it? Maybe our complaints against our partners make us feel justified. But damage to the relationship is a terrible price to pay for a little self-justification. When we gladly accept that we’re all human and willingly grant forgiveness, we set ourselves free to enjoy being together.

How This Applies to You…

In order for your relationship to flourish, you must let go of past offenses and pain. Dwelling on pain increases it! In contrast, when you remember the positive things about your partner, you open the door to loving connection. Think about the reasons you fell in love with your partner in the first place. Think of great times you have had together. Allow forgiveness to remove or soften the pains and disappointments.

To Find Out More…

about couple relationships, check out our FREE resources: The Marriage Garden or the Getting Our Hearts Right programs at, follow us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You may also like to read the book The Seven Principles for Making Your Marriage Work.


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