Tag Archives: divorce

Thanks-parting: Dealing with Divorce on Thanksgiving

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If you’ve been through a divorce recently, you are certainly more than aware of how different (and sometimes difficult) each day can be.  This goes tenfold for the holidays.  

The first Thanksgiving that you spend away from your ex-partner is bound to be a trying time.  A day synonymous with familial joy and “coming together” will naturally seem a little heavy when on your own.  Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to keep the painful memory pangs to a minimum and the glorious gravy enjoyment to a maximum. 

Ring in the new

It’s obvious that this day will inadvertently drudge up memories of previous Thanksgiving celebrations.  Some of these memories may be quite pleasant, others can be the utter opposite.  One way to combat these ghosts is to change things up.  By creating new habits for the day and devising fresh traditions, your mind will be focused on the tasks at hand, rather than languishing in previous experiences.  One potential benefit, right off the bat, is that if you used to spend the day with your ex’s fam, you’re now entirely free of that shackle.  You can visit with your own clan, or a specific group of friends, if you choose.  Forget cooking and go out for dinner.  Even better, really relish in what the holiday is all about; thank your lucky stars that you have what you have and volunteer at a homeless shelter, doling out seasonal food.  Whatever you do, the past customs that you and your ex engaged in will be a faint memory as you create entirely new moments this year. 

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Talk turkey 

Granted, this is a time of thankfulness and grateful reflection, but you’ve been through a rough year and can’t be expected to simply grin through the pain.  It’s actually the perfect time to pull that special relative or comrade aside and let your emotions flow freely.  With the abundance of caring people conveniently assembled, odds are that there will be a trusted someone (or several) that you can talk to.  Not suggesting to turn this whole event in a pity party, but go someplace private and unburden yourself.  You’ll feel some of that emotional weight instantly lifted so you can fully enjoy the rest of the festivities.  Remember, this may be an overwhelmingly hard time for you, but you should be considerate of other people’s feelings too; it’s their day as well.

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The Kid’s Table  

As with many divorce related issues, the hardest aspect can be if children are in the mix.  One thing that can assuage the troublesome topic of how to divide their time (between you and your ex) is to be calm and ready to compromise.  Maybe you have to relinquish them for the actual day, but then get to spend Black Friday with them, shopping with glee.  The point is that arguing with your ex about who goes where and when will only acerbate the situation and make everyone feel tense.  Just be reasonable and think of your kids’ feelings; nobody wants to hear about how mom/dad is ruining the holiday by _______; your ex is still your child’s parent, a pivotal person in their lives forever, and badmouthing them always makes you look bad.  

Give thanks

Whether your family is the type that goes around the table before the turkey is cut and everyone states what they are thankful for, or if it’s just tacitly implied, a large component of this holiday is the expression of gratitude.  Take a few minutes to sit down and write out (or type) what you personally have to be thankful for this year.  Go through everything you can think of, big and small.  This simple exercise will soon have you seeing just how bright the silver lining in this divorce cloud is, as a bevy of wonderful things flows from your mind and on to the page.  By assessing all of the gifts you have in your life, you can crystalize a plan for the future, or just sit back and revel in the positive mindset you’re now in.  

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No matter what anyone says, this may be a particularly hard time for you to get through.  Try to relax and follow the aforementioned steps to the best of your ability.  Just remember that life truly does go on, and once the day is done and everyone has returned to their prospective homes, there still will be the scrumptious leftovers to feast on later.  

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 -Joe Leone 

How Much Should You Spend on Jewelry?

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The average U.S. household spends only $167 on jewelry per year, but that number varies greatly by region. The northeastern U.S., southern and central coastal California, and the east coast of Florida, for example, spend the most on jewelry per year, while the northwest region spends less than $50 annually per household.

The popular concept of smarter spending has a lot of people taking a closer look at how much they spend on everyday items, and jewelry is often an impulse buy. Self-help and finance blogs discuss budgeting and making realistic financial plans, which often results in cost-cutting or looking for ways to get some of your money back.

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But when you’re buying new jewelry, how much should you be willing to spend? What’s the price tag on feeling pretty or scoring a compliment from your moody boss? The obvious answer to this dilemma is: spend the amount that makes sense for you, whether that’s based on your region, your social circle, or your personal style. The decision, however, is more complicated than that, and probably varies with every piece you look at. It’s not easy to choose between shelling out more cash for nicer, longer lasting jewelry over less costly, trendier pieces. It’s hard to place a number on the value of the little boost in self-esteem you might get.

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Websites like Pinterest and Instructables make Do-It-Yourself a viable option for saving money on a lot of important items including jewelry, but there are certain pieces that are essentially impossible to DIY. And that’s one element of DIY that people often overlook before diving in to a project: the cost of the materials and tools, which is one part of what goes into jewelry-making. When you’re deciding how you want to better your budget, consider how original you would like your jewelry collection to be. If originality is important to you and you want handmade jewelry from an artist or smaller manufacturer on a site like etsy, plan to spend a little bit more than you might for a similar piece from a larger manufacturer, like Forever 21, who outsource their work and user cheaper materials specifically so they can offer their products at a low price point. Some smaller companies even begin to outsource once they gain popularity so they can manage the costs and offer their product to more customers, saving 400-500 percent by having someone else produce their designs.

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Choosing how much to spend on jewelry may also depend on the materials you are looking for. If you’re more concerned about the look than the actual material, sterling silver is a good substitute for silver and white gold, and purchasing gold-coated jewelry can save you a lot of money if you prefer the darker color. In addition, synthetic gemstones can be created to look like a natural gemstone, so if you are here because you are aiming to sell your diamonds, a man-made stone might be a great replacement.

Another consideration for choosing an amount to spend on jewelry is whether you value the experience of going into a physical store and trying on the jewelry or whether you are comfortable buying it online. Online stores are often cheaper, simply because renting a brick-and-mortar space is expensive for the business.

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If you are not looking for a specific piece, buying jewelry at an overstock or auction site can be a way to find great deals. Sale jewelry is typically marked down temporarily, while clearance and overstock jewelry are usually marked down because the manufacturer or retailer wants to make room for other products. Because there is an incentive to get rid of it, clearance and overstock jewelry can offer a steeper discount, but the selection may be limited.

One great rule of thumb for a jewelry purchase is the dollar-per-wear rule. To follow this rule, ask yourself how many times you anticipate wearing a particular piece, and if that number is the same as or lower than the price, then it is probably a good purchase. However you decide how much money to spend on jewelry, remember to make the choice for your own reasons, not someone else’s.

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How to Avoid Bad-Mouthing Your Ex

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After a divorce or break-up, you are going to be angry. When people are angry, they often want to express their negative emotions, but that is not always a great idea. In fact, giving in to the temptation to bad-mouth your ex will probably work against you, and, what’s worse, against your children.

Therapist Ashley Davis Bush advises that you strive to remember that your children are one-half your ex, which means negative talk about him or her is negative talk about them. Whether or not it is immediately apparent, they are genetically predisposed to be like the person you firmly dislike, so they can be directly hurt by the things you say.

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Another, less easy to digest piece of advice is to remember that you once loved, or at least thought you loved, this person. Have respect for the time in your life when things were different, and try to learn to accept and respect the choices you made in the past. Saying negative things about that individual will only make you internalize the idea that your time with him or her was a mistake.

Avoiding derogatory talk about the other person may be fairly easy at first, but what happens when they start saying bad things about you? Resisting the urge to retaliate or defend oneself is extremely difficult and often goes against human nature. However, the other person’s behavior should not influence your own when it comes to what’s best for your kids. Their inability to control themselves means they are hurting, and while you may not be able to lend a helping hand or an understanding ear, you can at least be the bigger person and give your kids an opportunity to talk about what they hear without having to also hear your rebuttal.

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One way to approach this is to stop thinking of that person as your “ex” and instead think of him or her as your child’s other parent. This will reinforce the responsible role both of you should be playing in your child’s life and take the emphasis away from your relationship that went sour. Use the time you interact with your ex to create positive experiences that teach them how to get along with others, and if that’s not possible because of your ex or because you are simply too upset, then re-focus your energy on doing something fun with your children instead of dwelling on the insult and anger you feel.

Regardless of your situation and the personality of your ex, it is advisable to have a thick skin and avoid letting negativity from the other side get you down or lower your resolve. Your primary goal should be to show your child love and compassion, both for them and the situation. Bad-mouthing ultimately brings you down and can create a risk of being alienated from your child. Even if your ex is saying mean things to your child, such as, “You are not smart because your mother doesn’t push you hard enough to do well in school,” resist the urge to respond directly by saying something about him or her. Try instead to create an open environment in which your children can talk to you about the painful things they are hearing.

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Even if you do find yourself slipping and resort to saying negative things about your child’s other parent, you can stop. Ashley Davis Bush also advises creating a habit of saying, “Cancel that,” even mid-sentence, and beginning again. You can substitute negativity for more neutral words, such as, “My child’s other parent and I regularly disagree,” rather than saying something along the lines of, “My ex does things in a stupid way.” The key to not bad-mouthing your ex is keeping an eye on the future, not the past. Move forward into the future with strength and determination, not vengeance.

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Dealing With Money after Divorce

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People can sometimes get nasty during divorce, and you might see sides of your former partner’s personality that you never thought you’d have to deal with. A lot of that nastiness arises during discussions of money and the valuables you once owned together, things people sometimes feel possessive about during the divorce negotiations. If you’re going through a divorce, it’s never too early to analyze your investments and create a financial plan and budget for your future. But before you think about the future, you have to think about the past and protect any wealth you have already worked hard to acquire.

Here are a few facets of your financial situation that are important to think about as you move forward with your life:

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Bank Accounts: According to DailyFinance.com, one of the first things you should do once you are divorced is ensure that you have all your own bank accounts, whether that means opening up entirely new accounts or simply ensuring your existing accounts are in your name only. If you don’t have one already, getting a credit card in your own name should be considered paramount, especially to help you adjust in the short term. If you have an outstanding balance on a joint credit card that you are unable to pay off immediately, you can call the credit card company to tell them not to allow any future payments on the card.

Insurance: Married couples often receive insurance discounts, so it makes sense to combine contracts at first, but after divorce, things can get confusing. For your health insurance, under a COBRA plan, you have the right to coverage if you are legally separated, but not if you are divorced. Other insurance policies to examine include homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, car insurance, and life insurance.

Beneficiaries: Evaluate your named beneficiaries to make sure none of them are your ex-spouse or his or her family members. While it might not seem like an immediate concern, changing the beneficiaries on your 401(k) and your IRA is one of those tasks that often gets put on the back-burner during the chaos that is divorce paperwork and the emotional rollercoaster you’ll be riding.

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Safety: Having a safety account is always a good idea; especially during divorce proceedings. This isn’t a hidden, secret Swiss account that you can use when you run away, it’s simply an account you can add to and withdraw from without having to worry whether your former partner is partaking in what belongs to you.

Taxes: First, keep in mind that a 50/50 split in assets might not be 50/50 after taxes are evaluated. Speak with a tax professional to ensure you are getting a fair deal in the settlement, and remember, when tax season rolls around, you and your ex may still be on the same side for that particular challenge. Be sure to keep copies of everything related to major purchases and finances, even if you are not sure whether they still have anything to do with you. That way, when it’s tax time, you’ll have all of your bases covered should an issue arise.

Other Income: In addition to accounts that directly involve money you already have, consider the value of indirect sources of money—whether that involves income or anticipated savings. Some commonly overlooked concerns include insurance that was paid for ahead of time, tax refunds, and even frequent flyer points.

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Bills: On the flipside, you and your former spouse probably have several joint billing accounts that you pay into monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Look through your records for memberships, subscriptions, and even items that often are forgotten, like EZPass or your state’s toll payment provider. Some people prepay for items out of joint accounts before filing for divorce, while others may simply not worry about future liability, leaving the responsibility on you.

Divorce proceedings are often tedious, and losing that part of your life can be painful, but staying in charge of your financial future is a great way to create some security in your life. Protect yourself from unfortunate financial surprises by looking into what might seem like tiny details before they become big problems.

How to Make Cash at Home

10 Fun Ways 

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Anyone who is a member of any faction of modern society knows that they need access to money in order to properly…live.  They do this by either ‘working for a living,’ being born (or marrying) rich or coming up with an idea for a mobile app that is so amazing they end up set for life (Uber, Pinterest, AmIHotOrNot.com).  This is a very basic tenet of contemporary existence.  However (and luckily for some of you!), there are a few loopholes.  Aside from going on an expedition for missing treasure, there are numerous other, quite tangible ways in which you can earn cash – all set up from the relative comfort of your own house/Winnebago/teepee.  Behold, the top 10 ways to make dough at home.

Up in the Air

If you haven’t heard of AirBnB.com by now…well, there’s no chance of that you haven’t, so let’s just proceed.  Turn that extra bedroom/walk-in closet/maid’s personal pool house into instant cash.  Not an iota of spare space in your current domicile?  Well, then it sounds like a trip to your favorite relative’s home/couch while you rent out your place to an eager world traveler is entirely in store.  The best part is that the company has a fairly extensive vetting process (for both renters and rentees), so most likely you won’t have to deal with too many felons getting cozy in your pad.  The site takes only 3% of what you charge your visitors (and you can set your rate, either insultingly high or embarrassingly low, in any fashion you like).

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Nice and Roomy

Ok, this is like Airbnb for the baller crowd: roomorama.com.  While the name doesn’t indicate the slightly fancier aspect of most of the luxurious listings here, this is actually a glorious choice if you have a larger or more upscale space to rent out (like a villa, chateau or shack d’amour).  Now, they take 8-12% of the fee you collect, so it’s a good idea to list your place on both of the aforementioned sites.  Ultimately, select whoever is going to give you the most loot, after calculating for the subtracted commission rates.

Get Office-ial

Not everyone adores the idea of strangers sleeping in their beds (…obviously certain individuals actually do, but that’s a topic for another discussion on making extra money altogether).  If you have a spare room in your house or apartment that can double as an ‘office space’ then you can turn that enclosure into instant cash with DeskTime (desktimeapp.com).  You just throw some pictures up on their site, and then people come and work in your designated area for whatever timeframe you like.  *Bonus: you can walk through the ‘office’ whenever you like and pretend you are the boss, telling the person renting the room to ‘Fax this for me.’  (…you don’t have a fax)

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Half the effort, twice the Fun

This is like eBay light.  Half.com is technically a subdivision of eBay, where you don’t have to go through the whole bidding process, etc.  You just let them know what merchandise you want to sell (typically, music, movies and tech-related things garner the best prices), they give you an offer price, then you ship your stuff to them and they send you your loot through Paypal.  They also have another, self-serving option: take your payment in the form of a “Half.com Gift Card” and get an additional %15 bonus.  That may be the perfectly incentivized option for online shopaholics, like some of you saucy, commercialism driven folks out there.

The Ultimate re-gift-card!

Whoever came up with the idea for this company is a certified genius.  Each year, during the holidays, people receive “gift cards” from various relatives, friends or part-time-lovers who can’t think of a darn thing to get each other.  Often these cards reside in a wallet or purse for many moons before they are even discovered again (sorry, Aunt Helen, nobody buys things on iTunes anymore).  So cardcash.com was created, to give you a place to dump said gift cards and receive back about 90% of the cash value.  Ka-ching!  Now that $25 of “Bed, Bath and Beyond” nonsense can be 22 actual dollars in your pocket.  Win.

*You can even get rid of your Half.com Gift Card…

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Not So Secret Agent

Well, now we’re going to get into some of the weirder ones.  There exists a site called AgentAnything.com where people post tasks that they would like completed, and a fee they are willing to shell out.  Wages range from the meager ($10) to the relatively extravagant (several hundred).  You just pick a project that is suited to your skill set, and violà, moolah on the way.  The assignments listed are pretty diverse, from “Find a four string quartet” to “Attend a Lecture/Prepare a Summary” to “Like everyone of my Instagram pictures” to “Tickle my Elmo” (…that last one is made up).

CON: you have to be a college student to participate in this.

PRO: seems totally worth it to take an online university course just to be eligible for the “jobs” on this cool and quirky site.

Go on Tour

Do you live in an interesting city, historic town or any other locale that people want to visit (ie: basically anywhere that isn’t Detroit)?  Then that means there are tourists that are voraciously hungry for information about your specific geographic location.  Sign up on vayable.com to be a tour guide, and you can disseminate all the hometown knowledge you have cluttering your brain, as these wayward vacationers gawk and snap endless selfies.  You get to choose how valuable the words coming out of your mouth are, as you can set your own prices.  The good folks at Vayable take a 15% commish.

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Can you just…focus??

You probably know someone who has participated in a focus group and gotten paid for it; you can be just like them!  If you like sharing your opinion (as much as your old classmate with the new baby likes sharing photos on Facebook), then this could be the perfect outlet for you.  At findfocusgroups.com, all you have to do is select your location and pick a group that looks appealing to you (apparel, education, shopping, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills rivalries, etc.)  They typically pay 100 to 250 bucks a shot, for as little as an hour or so of “work.”  Pretty sweet when you think about it.

Let’s just be Friends

Now this is going to sound a little odd…but people are willing to pay to be your friend.  You just make a friendly profile on RentaFriend.com, like you would for a dating site.  However, Rent-a-Friend ensures that when you put yourself up for rent, it’s strictly for friendship, no funny-touchy-grabby-lawsuity business.  You typically can make about 50 smackers an hour, as you attend events (concerts, the Superbowl, barn raisings) with your new “buddy.”  As the renter is paying for the entire service, you get to keep the whole fee that you charge for your ever so valuable friendship; the site doesn’t dip into your profits at all.  They say you “can’t buy love,” but clearly you can rent out friendship for a phenomenal price.

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Ring in the new you.

If you’re looking to make some serious cash, think about selling any diamond jewelry you may have.  DiamondLighthouse.com lets you ship your diamond items, totally for free, to their lab in Manhattan and then receive an expert GIA trained gemologist evaluation of them.  They then place your diamond(s) on the market, in an open bidding platform (available only to vetted, professional buyers).  You can then view and accept or reject the offers that come in.  If you choose to accept an offer, they send you the payment, post haste.  Boom.  All from the convenience of your own hammock, Lay-Z-Boy or full-body massage chair.

Oh, by the way, that’s our company, and it’s the best.  Check out the glowing reviews people have left here – and learn even more info here.

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Happy At-Home Earning!

-Joe Leone