How to avoid money quarrels
Here's something to thing about on Valentine's Day: More couples fight about money than any other subject.
In one recent survey, 29 percent of couples said they fight frequently about money. Only 9 percent fought repeatedly about romance or sex. Also low on the squabble list: disciplining children, housekeeping, friends and the role of women.
The correlation between money and anger shouldn't be a surprise. Money management involves emotional issues -- happiness, self-esteem and control. And there's never enough money.
"People don't necessarily know their own habits and feelings about money," added Elizabeth Jetton, a certified financial planner. "We're not very conscious of how we treat it. But then we get married and we become very conscious of how our spouses treat money."
Experts point to a number of ways to resolve conflicts:
Start now. "Couples need to start talking about money when there's not a crisis," said Ruth L. Hayden. "We wait until there's a big crisis, and then there's a big fight." She is the author of "For Richer, Not Poorer: The Money Book for Couples."
Watch your spending.
Examine yourself. "How did our parents handle money? What sorts of messages did we pick up?," said Jetton.
Search for common ground. Couples usually have shared goals -- buying a home, providing for children, or a vacation in Europe. "When people talk about what they have in common, what they share, it becomes easier to make little decisions day-by-day," Jetton said.
Don't keep secrets. Intimacy and honesty go together. It's a bad idea to conceal debts or to keep a secret stash of cash.
Atlanta Journal and Constitution
Site finds lost savings bonds
Can't remember if your U.S. savings bond has matured? Can't find it? Missing an interest payment? Help is on the way.
The Treasury Department has a new link on its savings bond Web site, dubbed "Treasury Hunt," to help people find missing bonds and interest payments and learn whether their bonds have matured.
Rather than writing the government to find out, investors can conduct a database search at www.savingsbonds.gov by clicking on the "Treasury Hunt" link and providing their name, city, state and Social Security number. The secured site lets them know if a match is found and instructs them on how to obtain the lost bond or payment.
The database, which will be regularly updated, has information on about 160,000 bonds and interest payments that couldn't be delivered and bonds that matured but haven't been redeemed.
Where to get mortgage data
With interest rates on the way down, it may be a good time once again to explore buying a new home or putting your existing abode up for sale. If you are interested in jumping into the real estate market soon, there are several Web sites that can bring you up to speed on the ins and outs of buying or selling residential property.
Here's a brief selection of sites:
Homepath.com at www.homepath.com. Information from Fannie Mae on what to consider when buying a new home, refinancing or home improvement.
Loanlibrary at www.loanlibrary.com. Good place to pick up mortgage lingo and guidelines.
Mortgage Bankers Association of America at www.mbaa.org/consumer. Features mortgage planning tools, home-buying tips and latest real estate news.
Mortgage 101 at www.mortgage101.com. Host of information and interactive tools that address a range of mortgage topics.
The Mortgage Expert at www.mortgageexpert.org. Contains mortgage rate updates, tips and answers to frequently asked questions.
The Mortgage Source Online at mortgage-source.com. Provides access to mortgage lenders around the country.