Angelina Jolie – Brad Pitt Divorce Cost

 

As of now, many have heard the news of the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt divorce. Of course this is unfortunate, especially for their children, but there are financial lessons to be learned when couples marry, then, all-too-often, find themselves in a divorce.

Finances are emotional enough, but when we add in the ending of a union, many cannot separate the hurt from what is essentially a business transaction. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have teams of lawyers that will be sure to keep everyone’s best interest in mind.

The ultimate Angelina Jolie – Brad Pitt divorce settlement will be agreed upon by both parties and they will move on. This article will hopefully provide some insight for us “regular” folks facing this situation.

 

Much of the tears can be avoided if an appropriate pre-nuptial agreement is signed, but if not when faced with a potential divorce, I advice the following:

 

Gather all financial documents:

Many couples live separate financial lives, but when you are married each of your assets and debts are aggregated to determine how it is all divided. So, hidden bank accounts and/or hidden credit card debts can really be problems. This is the time you must figure out what you are “worth” as a couple to determine what each of you are responsible and entitled to going forward.

 

Monitor your credit report:

Likely, you have many debts that are joint. Even if the car is “his”, but the debt is joint, it is both of your responsibility to pay on this loan. Many times couples will be ordered to refinance the debt singlely, but that is not always possible. Be sure to pull a credit report immediately (at mycreditreport.com) and continue to monitor it.

 

Open account(s) in your name only:

It is important to gain some independence and to keep track of what this new stage of life will “cost” you. Having a separate account that you pass all your income and bills through will assist you in determining what level of support (or not) you need. You will be devising a new budget and this account will be very helpful in determining that.

 

Hire professional help:

This is obviously when you hire a competent attorney, but often overlooked is a financial advisor as well as a social worker/therapist. Your attorney is essential to navigate you through this difficult and often illogical time, but the other professionals will assist you with your current issues you are facing during your divorce. More importantly, they will assist with having a plan to go forward.

Separately and often most important is how your children’s future is determined. This includes custody as well as how they will be supported financially and emotionally. I leave that issue for another day, but my hope is Angela Jolie and Brad Pitt can have a somewhat amicable and private divorce for the sake of their children.

 

Are You Owed Money? Contact Us To Find Out

With the Wells Fargo bank scandal in the news, many of you may be wondering if your bank is also leveraging unwanted, (and possibly illegal) fees on your hard earned money.

How would you tell if you are owed any funds? We could all use some extra money, and a second pair of eyes is always better than one.

Here at Berkshire Hills Financial, located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Tom Sirois can take a good hard look at your expenses to income ratio, and track down any unnecessary or rogue expenses, helping you to tighten up your finances and giving you some extra money during the year.

Wells Fargo may have some people on the fence about trusting your finances with a third party, but Tom Sirois has a proven track record in banking, and financial advising, and can help you save money.

Give us a call today or contact us online!

How Inflation Destroys Countries

Remember your parents telling you how “back in my day, that used to cost a quarter”, and “You could pay bills making a little over a dollar a day”?

Since the 1950’s, the cost of living has risen exponentially in the United States, and more than 50 million Americans each year go hungry.

Tom Sirois
Courtesy MyBudget360.com

In Venezuela, Hyperinflation is ravaging the country, where people line up outside of nut and fruit stores, hoping for cheap food.

A hamburger in Venezuela, according to a recent Yahoo news article, was found to cost around $170 in U.S. currency, and a hotel stay costing around $7,000, yes thousand, dollars a night.

A strict reform is needed in both America, and countries like Venezuela to battle the cost of living, versus earned income, so that the people may prosper.

Ways to Cut Down Debt

Buried in credit card debt?

The average American lies about their credit card debt, on average claiming that they have 40% of debt less than they actually do.

Some people take charge of their financial future using a couple of quick and simple methods to pay off their debt on a fast track program.

One such couple is the Kelly’s.

They had over $65,000 in debt, and paid it off within a year.

How, you may ask?

Cut out the unnecessary expenses, and commit to a budget.

Yard sales, garage sales, etc. can lead to a huge return on stuff you forgot you even had. Those extra funds can be allocated into paying off debt.

Cutting down on entertainment and other expenses to a friendly weekly budget could save you thousands of dollars a year. Make a budget and stick to it. Missing out on that movie won’t hurt you, and you could always see it when it goes on Netflix.

Food is always expensive. Opt for more home cooked meals. Casseroles and anything chicken based tends to be more cost effective, and also more healthy for you in the long run than beef or other carcinogenic meats.

Drinking water. It’s an abundant resource, but with just 12 cans of soda costing more than $4 in some places, that could cut your weekly expenses back to $40 or more a week, which translates into $160 a month to be put towards debt. Not only will your debt shrink, but your waistline will trim down too, and you can finally fit that swimsuit you always wanted to wear.

Cutting down debt isn’t impossible, it just takes commitment and dedication.

The High Cost of Veterinary Care

I was recently told by a person who adopted a rescue animal from their local animal shelter as a means to cope with the recent loss of their daughter. The story does not end well emotionally and financially due to what they were told the cost of veterinary care.

Everything was going great, until after they came home from the March of Dimes.

The couple opened the door to the room they kept their dogs in after hearing growling as soon as they arrived home.

Their small Dachshund had been attacked because the new dog introduced to the pack was trying to assert itself.

Folks who have had pets know that Veterinary bills are some of the most expensive and unexpected medical costs in our financial lives.

According to Washington Post, veterinary care in the United States jumped from $8 Billion in 2000, almost doubling to $14 billion in 2013.

This young loving couple was told that costs could estimate $4000 for surgery and wound care for their dog, and the vet hospital needed it up front. This was AFTER they spent $600 dollars out of their bill money for the appointment.

They were unable to provide any further care for their dog and had to put their dog to rest, devastating the owners.

Why should you let the cost of veterinary bills devastate a financially stable home, while veterinarian’s pay has increased by an average of $90,000 per year? Unfortunately, this is a fact of life. We often do not factor in worse case scenarios and/or unforeseen expenses.

You have many options, such as pet insurance, and deferred credit cards such as CareCredit, but, the best game plan, is good financial stability in order to have money set aside for emergencies just like this one.

Here at Berkshire Hills Financial, Tom Sirois can help you set aside money in increments that won’t affect you or your families expenditures, and avoid tragedy when it strikes next.

Keeping Things Simple When Looking at a Stock

I have spoken with countless people (professionals and non-professionals) regarding stock they are invested in. Though many may “sound” intelligent describing the minutia as to why a particular company is a good investment. For long term investing, I think Warren Buffett has a great way to describe what HE looks for.

Here are four items he utilizes BEFORE he invests in a company by buying their stock:

  1.  Any Good Investment Idea Can be Put in One Paragraph: most great companies are simple and easy to understand (think Coke or McDonalds)
  2.  Circle of Competence and NO Called Strikes: know what you are good at, and do not pick a company at a bad price. Make your BEST decision always.
  3. Invest in great businesses that have a terrific person running it: Peter Lynch once said: “buy a business that is so good that any idiot can run it because sooner or later one will”.
  4. These businesses are hard to find, so do not sell them: Buy at the right price, and you will not need to sell these stocks.

A great video that wraps this all up is found here: Warren Buffett on Investment Analysis

Tax Season = Unclaimed Income for a Large Amount of America

Tax season rolls around every year for the majority of working class Americans during the months of January-April, promising some W2 filing blue collar employees a very needed tax break.

But what about those that don’t know that money is available for them?

Each year, hundreds of thousands of dollars go unclaimed in the United States. Money that could benefit the homes of many struggling Americans today. Tax season often sees a surge in filings for single parents, working and not making enough to survive. Some of these workers may qualify for a credit for their efforts.

There are a variety of options to see if you have money pending from the United States Treasury.

In Great Barrington Massachusetts, you can go to http://www.mass.gov/treasury/unclaimed-prop/  and enter your information to see if you are owed anything.

This little treasure hunt has sometimes payed off big for other inquirers, so be sure to check your name now!

 

Financial advice from Great Barrington’s very own,

Tom Sirois

Berkshire Hills Financial.