Category Archives: Family

Make Sure You Check Your Life Insurance Policy When Getting a Divorce

Marriage is for better or for worse, in sickness and in health so long as we both shall live except, when it’s not.  Everyone goes into a marriage with the intention of it being forever but people can change.  Unfortunately sometimes it just doesn’t work out.  In all of the confusion of divorce proceedings and major life changes minor things that can be overlooked in the present can have major consequences in the future.  One of those small oversights can concern your life insurance policies.

Let’s look at the case of my in-laws as an example.  They were married in 1976, raised 2 girls, house, white picket fence, dog, the whole enchilada.  By 2000 they had drifted apart and were embroiled in very contentious divorce proceedings.  Since he was a very successful businessman they were many assets that needed to be divided between the 2 of them.   Unfortunately 10 years later my mother-in-law passed away suddenly and tragically.  She was very thorough with her financials and the type of person to plan ahead and my wife and sister-in-law stood to inherit a good amount of money.  The problem?  My mother-in-law never changed the beneficiary on one of her policies from her ex-husband.  Now, this story has a happy ending since my father-in-law is a stand-up guy and wasn’t hard pressed for money.  We ended up telling him he was listed as the beneficiary and without even being asked he immediately offered to sign the check over to the estate once he received it.

We were lucky in that situation, there was no animosity and no major financial issues.  But money, especially large amounts, can make people do funny things.  What if my mother-in-law had remarried or if we weren’t on speaking terms with my father-in-law?  That could have easily turned into an even messier situation than the original divorce.  There are several high-profile examples of how a simple oversight can cause major headaches.  Take the U.S. Supreme Court case of Hillman v. Maretta in which Warren Hillman passed away and in his will left everything to his wife including a life insurance policy valued at $124,500.  But, Warren neglected to change the beneficiary from his ex-wife of 10 years.  After several years of legal proceedings going all the way to the Supreme Court it was ruled that ex-wife Judy Maretta was entitled to the entire $124,500.

It’s important to make sure you know where your money may go after you’re gone.  So, if you find yourself in this position make sure you update your beneficiaries so your assets go where you want them to.

Fun at home with bingo

Since my daughter was born I find I rarely go out in the evenings. It’s not the same as it used to be when I wasn’t a mum. In those days, going out was an essential part of my life as it gave me something to look forward to at the end of a busy week – or even half way through it. Now that I have a child and work from home instead, the appeal of heading off into town to be surrounded by noisy after-work revelers has lost its appeal somehow!

But though I have fun with other mums during the daytime when we get together at playgroups or in the park, I do have to say I’d found my social life dwindling in recent months. It’s like it creeps up on you after parenthood. To begin with, looking after a new baby is all-consuming and exhausting – you simply don’t have time for anything else. But as you get used to the daily routine and your child grows, you suddenly find that your energy levels go back up and you even generate some time for yourself.

However, although you have some free time, you generally have to stay in at home in order to look after your child. I don’t live on a budget that allows me to book babysitters regularly, and to be honest, I don’t think I would do that even if I could afford it. I like to be there for her when she’s sleeping, in case she wakes and needs a cuddle.

But I’m not a big TV fan and don’t always feel like getting into any of my crafting projects in the evening as it requires more concentration than I can give at the end of a busy day. So instead, I’ve found that I’ve started playing bingo online on a fairly regular basis. It’s a great game as you don’t need to think about how to play – you simply buy your cards and wait for the game to start. Yet, every time you play, there’s the possibility that you might win an incredible jackpot, so there’s plenty of motivation to play! If you’ve never played bingo before you can play at Costa Bingo now for free and see what you think of it.

I don’t really imagine I’ll ever win a huge amount and for me, it’s not about that. You see, as the game runs through without you needing to do anything (even the numbers on your cards are marked off automatically as the bingo calls are made), you have plenty of time available to chat to other players in the bingo chat rooms. That’s what I love about playing online bingo. You get to meet people from all walks of life who you might otherwise never have come across, and you’re all there for the same reason – to have fun and maybe get a bonus win in the process.

It’s a new way of socializing for me, and one I would never have expected to be so much fun!

Bio: Gemma is a busy mum of one who is always looking for new ways to grab a little ‘me time’. When she’s not running around after her daughter she loves having a few moments to herself and aside from her recent discovery of online games, she enjoys cardmaking and scapbooking as well.

5 Budget Tips For Family Trips

If you’re avoiding planning a vacation because you can’t afford it, think again. With the right destination and the right vacation plan, your family can have a memorable experience without blowing your budget. Here are 4 vacation budgeting secrets to use for your next vacation.

Choose the Best Destination for Your Budget


Image via Flickr by flickr-rickr

Expensive cities like New York and San Francisco will quickly deplete your budget. Consider some of America’s equally appealing, but less expensive destinations like Austin, Savannah, Charlotte, and Nashville. Also look into cheaper alternatives to staying in hotels, like renting an apartment or camping.

You can also save a bundle by planning to visit during a city’s off-season. Not only will there be less tourists, but many hotels, amusement parks, and restaurants offer big discounts outside of their peak months.

Choose the Cheapest Transportation

It’s no secret that flying is expensive, especially for an entire family. Consider other modes of transportation which can get you there for a cheaper price.

Trains may take longer to get you to your destination, but they will save you a lot of money if you’re not really in a hurry. Road trips have long been a favorite budget-friendly vacation, but soaring gas prices have changed this in recent years. A fuel-efficient rental car may be a cheaper option for a road trip if your car is a gas guzzler.

If flying is necessary, consider waiting until the last minute to book your flight. Prices are often cheapest about 21 days before the departure date. Most airlines also announce sales on Tuesdays, which is rumored to be the best day to lock in low airfare prices.

Find New Income Sources

If your travel fund is near zero, look for ways to make money that will go toward your vacation. Hold a yard sale to make some extra cash, and clean out your house in the process. You can also sell your unwanted items virtually through Craigslist or eBay.

Taking on an extra part-time job can also help you save towards a vacation. Temp or seasonal work are good options since they don’t require a long-term commitment. Working for a travel company often comes with the perk of big discounts on trip packages, so you might want to look into vacation-related work.

Don’t Buy Meaningless Souvenirs


Image via Flickr by DaveFayram

If you’re going to buy souvenirs, you might as well buy things that are practical versus decorative items. A T-shirt will actually be worn, but a snow globe will only collect dust. Also consider free destination-specific keepsakes, like matchbooks, maps, and brochures.

More importantly, focus on spending your money on experiences rather than material items. And of course, the best — and cheapest — souvenirs of all are photos!

Planning a vacation should never be a hassle. With proper planning and financial management, you will reach your goals with ease. Doing research on the places you want to go, taking cheap transportation, starting a travel fund, and minimizing purchases during your trip will ensure your next vacation doesn’t break the bank.