Kanye West Lied To Me About Getting A Pre-Nup

Posted on June 25, 2014 by:

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Kanye West; man in orange jacket with microphone

Hopefully Kanye better understands what a pre-nup is for now that he’s married and has a kid.

I generally trust Kanye West for all kinds of advice in matters of fashion or finance, despite his absurdly garish wedding. But I have to disagree with him about the justifications for a pre-nuptial agreement.

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In his 2005 song “Gold-Digger,” Kanye suggests that men should use pre-nups to avoid paying child support:

18 years, 18 years! She got one of your kids,
got you [and your payments] for 18 years….
If you ain’t no punk, holla “We want pre-nup!”

That’s flatly wrong. Child support, visitation, and custody are always excluded from these kinds of agreements. You simply can’t sign away the obligation to support your children.

There Are Other Limits, Too

Both parties must willingly enter into the pre-nup, and the agreement can’t be ridiculously one-sided. But even with these stipulations, that doesn’t mean that these aren’t good to have—or that they’re only for name-brand celebrities entering into rapid-fire marriages.

For example, my wife and I have a prenuptial agreement. It says that almost everything we own is held in common and will be split evenly in the event of divorce, with one exception: my share in my grandmother’s farm.

For possessions that aren’t very sentimental, like our beat up old car, we could sell it and split the cash. If it were a beloved dog, we could work out some kind of custody arrangement. But the family farm? Not easy to split and not easy to share.

Should You Consider A Pre-nup?

Pre-nups protect your individual interests in a marriage. Some situations where you might want to consider one could include the following:

  • One of you stays home to raise children. Being a full-time parent means less income now and a harder time getting back into the workforce later. A pre-nup could help ensure that it doesn’t also mean becoming destitute if your marriage falls apart.
  • One of you makes a lot more than the other. I know a couple who met during law school. He became a high-paid corporate lawyer, and she made less in nonprofit law. When they got divorced, she had trouble paying her student loan bills. A pre-nup could have specified that he’d help her with those debts even after the marriage ended.

It’s not comfortable to talk about these kinds of things, of course. A lot of couples fear that planning what to do in case of divorce will make it more likely. Others think that bringing up the topic will make it sound like they don’t trust their partner.

But talking about difficult subjects and planning for the future are really important in relationships. That includes talking about things you hope won’t happen, including “what if we get divorced?” and “what if one of us dies?”

Besides, it’s much, much easier to decide these kinds of things before you get married than it is to argue about them during a divorce.

Married readers: Do you have a pre-nup? Not-yet-married readers: Will you get one?

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

How Do New Grads Feel About Their Student Loans Right Now?

Posted on May 23, 2014 by:

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This month, many students will graduate from college. Congrats, class of 2014! To celebrate, Mike and Brigit covered many of the financial decisions you may face for your big day. (Shane was right—a party probably would have been a better gift.)

However, the SALT™ Blog remains practical, and as such, we know that as much as graduation is a time to look back, it’s also a time to look forward. And once commencement ends, many new grads will look forward to one big expense: student loans.

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Of course, when I say “look forward to,” I mean “look ahead to,” not “get excited about.” That doesn’t mean students don’t have strong feelings about their looming debt, though. In fact, this obligation is already on their minds—even for those who haven’t officially graduated yet.

To see how loans already affect them, I turned to Twitter for some unfiltered opinions. (Well, not entirely unfiltered; this is a family-friendly blog, and as mentioned, some of these opinions are strong.) Let’s take a look.

You Can’t Enjoy Graduation

When walking across the stage to get your diploma, you officially transition from “college life” to “real world.” And your classmates may be upset about leaving one and entering the other.

While the feelings of some people in attendance may be up for interpretation, others will be more than happy to tell you exactly what your future holds.

Then again, if all of this sounds too overwhelming, there is one way to avoid it altogether.

(Unfortunately, I don’t think Mike listed “graduation” as one of his “unexpected” graduation expenses.)

Things Get Real, Real Fast

Sometimes, you may have yourself to blame for this.

Other times, reminders will pop up that are out of your control.

I swear: Some of these companies totally have good intentions in mind!!! (Cue promotional link to SALT …)

And About That Party?

Oh, you’ll want something else much more instead.

And while it won’t be “fun,” you’ll very much enjoy it.

Especially considering the alternatives …

You Can Do It

Clearly, things may seem difficult now. Just remember that there are success stories out there—and you can be one of them. Whether you’re taking small steps …

… Or big leaps. Either will feel worth it.

How are you feeling about your student loans? Let us know on Twitter: @SALT_Money.

Jay-Z And Kanye Talk Personal Finance

Posted on April 21, 2014 by:

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Money is number one to both Hova and Yeezy … but they think about it in very different ways.

Money is number one to both Hova and Yeezy … but they think about it in very different ways.

Money’s always been a popular topic in hip-hop, but mostly in in the boastful, “look-how-much-cash-I’ve-got” kind of way. There are some exceptions, though. For example, Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” won our attention a while ago as a tribute to frugal shopping. And, of course, there are other financial lessons to be learned from some hip-hop songs, even if they aren’t specifically about money.

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Jay-Z’s “Holy Grail” and Kanye West’s “Clique” are examples of songs that offer some useful insight on how to keep your mind on your money and your money on your mind. I used the lyrics-and-explanations website RapGenius to dig a little deeper into the money messages of these two songs.

Exhibit Jay: “Holy Grail”

Jay-Z is undeniably successful and rich (which aren’t always the same thing). But Jay is also keenly aware of the history of rappers getting rich and then losing it all. In “Holy Grail,” he reminds his listeners of what happened to 1980s rap superstar MC Hammer:

Caught up in all these lights and cameras

But look what that s*** did to Hammer

Hammer thought his money would last forever. (Spoiler: it didn’t. Hammer filed for bankruptcy in 1995. The chastened Hammer is now living a more modest life as a minister and music producer).

Jay’s underlying message in “Holy Grail” is that fame and fortune are fickle. No matter how much money he brings in, he knows that it’s always possible to lose it all. Even though he feels invincible now, Jay-Z is aware that ensuring long-term financial security means being a lot more careful than Hammer was.

Exhibit K: “Clique”

Kanye West—who is younger, brasher, and more willing to just straight up burn money than Jay-Z—provides us with a stark contrast in term of his approach to money. K says he isn’t interested in investing, or being careful or prudent. In “Clique,” he brags about spending money recklessly:

… they get money, buy a business

I rather buy 80 gold chains and go ign’ant

I know Spike Lee gon’ kill me but let me finish

Blame it on the pigment, we living no limits

Kanye knows that his peers, mentors, more mature artists like socially-conscious filmmaker Spike Lee will shake their heads at him in dismay, but he simply doesn’t care what they think. In “Clique,” Kanye rejects the idea of “get money, don’t spend it.” Instead he celebrates “living no limits” by enjoying his money now—while he’s got it.

Of course, both artists are exaggerating for effect. Jay-Z isn’t really all that worried about pride coming before the fall, and I’m sure no one is worried about Kanye going broke any time soon. Both of them are invested widely in other businesses—Jay-Z in a mix of fashion, sports, and nightlife, and Kanye in restaurants and fashion. They both must have plenty of money set aside in the unlikely event that dubstep edges out hip-hop in the hearts of music fans everywhere, right?

Exaggeration or not, it’s worth asking yourself a couple of questions while you listen to these lyrics, like:

  • Would I be OK if I had a financial setback, or am I living a little too close to the edge?
  • Am I a financial mastermind, or am I “going ignorant” and spending foolishly?

Has Kanye West ever given anyone good advice? Share your favorite money lessons that you’ve learned from pop culture in the comments!

(Photo: https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7006/6418073321_40cbf2a4c5_z.jpg)

Lucky Fool [Comic]

Posted on April 7, 2014 by:

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What would you do if you won the lottery?

An April Fool’s Day prank prompts the #20SOMETHINGPROBLEMS crew to fantasize about how they’d spend their millions.

The #20SOMETHINGPROBLEMS gang just struck it rich in the lottery! … April Fool’s!

How Do You Define Success?

Posted on April 4, 2014 by:

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There is no picture of success next to the definition in the dictionary. Coincidence? We think not.

There is no picture of success next to the definition in the dictionary. Coincidence? We think not.

Blogger and novelist John Scalzi wrote a moving piece this past winter titled “How I Knew I’d Made It,” about … well, the moment he knew he was doing pretty well in his career. He says it was when he bought a tank of gas and didn’t worry about how much it cost. Just being able to fill up and know that whether he was spending on gas today didn’t really matter. He finally had the cash flow to not be constantly worried about overdrafts.

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It reminded me that financial and professional success mean different things to different people.

For example, I once met a financial advisor who worked with people who were already pretty well off. He said almost all of his clients came to him with a goal of increasing their net worth by about 10%. If they had a million dollars, they wanted 1.1 million. If they had a hundred million, they wanted a hundred and ten. The implication is that most people aren’t ever satisfied with the amount of money they have. Just being rich, in other words, doesn’t necessarily equal “success.”

But, if having enough money isn’t the definition of success, what is? And how do you know when you’ve achieved it?

I asked my friends on Facebook what they thought. Here are some of the responses.

My brother, an MBA, agrees with Scalzi. He says success means having enough money to avoid hassles:

“Financial success lets you push problems to the side. The more money you have, the less you have to put up with.”

A neighbor who volunteers actively, in addition to her work at an architecture firm:

“I don’t think you need to be a billionaire to be successful. To me it’s about finding a healthy balance in all aspects of your life (love, work, family, health, diet, friends, etc.)”

A former co-worker who’s moved to New York to make it big in marketing:

“Success for me means ‘I’m in my element,’ which translates to:
1. I’ve achieved a goal.
2. The goal that was achieved provided me with a greater sense of purpose, drive, and life satisfaction.”

A friend of my parents (who has held numerous jobs throughout her life and has no intention of retiring):

“A successful life is where you live in harmony with yourself and others, where you manage to meet your own expectations, where your occupation suits your abilities yet allows you to earn enough money to do what is important to you.”

My cousin, a manager at a large hardware store:

“If I could figure out what success was, I’d be able to figure out what I’m supposed to be aiming for. And I probably wouldn’t be in retail.”

My high school English teacher:

“You wake up in the morning looking forward to the day, and you feel you are growing. Both are important.”

As for my own thoughts on financial success: to me it means having enough money to take care of my family and save for the future—but I try to remember that financial success isn’t the same thing as overall success.

What does success mean to you? Share your perspective in the comments.

(Photo: Wikimedia)

Don’t Lose Sleep Over Your Income Tax Return

Posted on March 24, 2014 by:

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Waiting until the last minute to file your income taxes usually means waiting longer for your refund … and a lot of unnecessary anxiety.

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Check out how the ladies of the #20SomethingProblems gang use their income tax refunds… and how Steve takes procrastination to a whole new level as the April 15 deadline looms.

Don�t Lose Sleep Over Your Income Tax Return - An Infographic from SALT Blog

Embedded from SALT Blog

Will you be paying your taxes on time? Share some tips on how you keep track!

Where Do Your Spring Break Plans Fall In The “Five Stages Of Grief”?

Posted on March 7, 2014 by:

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I didn’t realize it, but apparently, spring break is just around the corner.

I blame my forgetfulness on a couple things: the chilly weather outside and the chilling realization that corporate life has made time off between January and June foreign to me. (No paid holidays between Martin Luther King Day and Memorial Day; this is the true “winter,” my friends.)

To get over my grief, I checked out how others plan to spend their breaks. And, of course, there’s no better place to do this research than Twitter.

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Now, one can’t talk about spring break—especially here on the SALT™ Blog—without one important topic: James Franco money. You need it to get to and from your vacation, as well as during your trip. Not everyone will be able to cover these expenses—and not everyone will be happy about that.

In fact, many college students may be just as sad as me, and wish they’d also forgotten that spring break existed altogether. You could even map these feelings into the “five stages of grief.”

1. Denial

You might think enjoying your break is impossible without some finer things. (As Evelyn showed us yesterday, not true!)

Or, perhaps you’re in denial about how expensive that trip really is.

2. Anger

Then again, it’s entirely possible you’re upset other people can afford a trip when you can’t.

3. Bargaining

If you don’t have the money, you may spring into action to figure out a way to get it.

Any way.

4. Depression

If bargaining doesn’t work, sadness may kick in.

Some actions may make this misery a little less obvious.

Or, very obvious.

(I’d say Frank Underwood could be your friend, but we know that’s just not his style.)

5. Acceptance

Fortunately, in the end, you’ll know that you ultimately made the right decision for you.

What do you have planned for spring break—and how did you afford it? Let us know in the comments!

(Photo: chrisschoenbohm; albapove)

Tweet Of The Day: December 16, 2013

Posted on December 16, 2013 by:

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It’s hard to get people to talk about money in person, so it’s a good thing that Twitter exists. People will talk about anything there! Here’s our favorite money-related tweet of the day.


Want to be our tweet of the day? Send us a message: @SALT_MONEY

Tweet Of The Day: December 13, 2013

Posted on December 13, 2013 by:

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It’s hard to get people to talk about money in person, so it’s a good thing that Twitter exists. People will talk about anything there! Here’s our favorite money-related tweet of the day.


Want to be our tweet of the day? Send us a message: @SALT_MONEY

Tweet Of The Day: December 11, 2013

Posted on December 11, 2013 by:

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It’s hard to get people to talk about money in person, so it’s a good thing that Twitter exists. People will talk about anything there! Here’s our favorite money-related tweet of the day.


Want to be our tweet of the day? Send us a message: @SALT_MONEY