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.

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.

Family Planning Simplified

Planning a family involves sometimes preventing pregnancy and desperately seeking to conceive at other times. For those who are unable to conceive, there are alternative methods such as female egg donation. For those who choose female egg donation (learn more about the egg donation process), they’ll want to ensure the person who is donating the eggs is healthy. The term “family planning” most often refers to birth control and therefore, pregnancy prevention.

When deciding not to get pregnant, whether a temporary or permanent choice, there are a myriad of birth control options available, depending upon your medical history and lifestyle.

Hormone Related Options

Birth control pills (BCPs): This is the most popular method of contraception. There are a wide variety of BCP choices that contain differing amounts of hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone.

Birth control patch: A hormone-embedded skin patch is worn for three weeks a month. The hormones are slowly absorbed through the skin and migrate into the blood. The skin patch is changed weekly and is removed for one week per month to allow a menstrual period.

Hormone Shots and Implants: Hormone shots are given by a physician and provide three months of effective birth control. A matchstick-size plastic implant, which is impregnated with hormones, is placed in the upper arm by a trained physician for up to three years of birth control coverage.

Contraceptive ring: This hormone-impregnated ring is manually inserted into the vagina by the patient and is left in place for 3 weeks per month. The ring is removed for one week during the month to allow a menstrual period.

Intrauterine Devices (IUD)

An IUD provides 5 to 10 years of contraception, depending upon the device choice. The T-shaped IUD is inserted into the uterus by a physician. It works on the premise that the copper-releasing IUD prevents sperm from getting through the uterus to fertilize the woman’s egg.

One brand of IUD, Mirena, does contain the hormone, progestin. Mirena slowly releases the progestin, which dramatically thickens the cervical mucus making it difficult for sperm to fertilize the egg.

Barrier Methods of Contraception

Diaphragm, Sponge, Cervical Cap: These methods of birth control are all placed in the vagina, against the cervix, before intercourse. They are used with a spermicide to obliterate the sperm. Each method has specific directions about how long before and after each act of sexual intercourse it should stay in place and/or more spermicide be reapplied.

Vaginal contraceptive film: This spermicidal film is inserted in the vagina, as close to the cervix as possible, by the wearer. It dissolves immediately in the vagina but must be in place for 15 minutes before intercourse and is effective for about one hour. It must be repeated before each act of intercourse.

Condoms: A condom is a latex or plastic sheath worn over the penis during intercourse. It acts as a receptacle for the ejaculated semen. Condoms are the only effective method of preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Natural Birth Control

Rhythm Method or Natural Family Planning: Basal body temperature and vaginal discharge characteristics are important factors to determine a woman’s fertile days, when choosing the rhythm methods of birth control. Once established, intercourse should be avoided on the days before and during the woman’s fertile period.

Withdrawal: Withdrawal is when the man pulls his penis out of the woman’s vagina before ejaculating. The fluid that leaks out of the penis before ejaculation does contain sperm and can result in pregnancy.

Surgical Options

Tubal ligation: The woman’s fallopian tubes are sealed (blocked, cauterized or severed) during tubal ligation surgery. This prevents the woman’s egg from reaching the uterus, where it can be fertilized. This is a permanent method of birth control and is effective immediately after surgery. If you have eggs you won’t be using, consider female egg donation so that a couple who is looking to have a child may benefit from your eggs.

Vasectomy: The male’s vas deferens or sperm ducts are sealed during this surgery. This prevents sperm from being ejaculated in the semen. After a vasectomy, semen is still ejaculated during intercourse but will be sperm-free after 10-20 ejaculations or 1-2 months. An alternative method of birth control should be used until lab analysis confirms that there is a zero sperm count in the semen. This is considered a permanent form of birth control.

Birth control is a personal choice with many different options. It is important to discuss your safest, most effective method of birth control with your physician.

Aurora May writes for Family Cord on topics related to the use of cord blood, and the benefits of cord blood banking and cord blood storage.