Author Archives: James Bischoff

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By the Power Vested in me, I Now Pronounce You- Broke!

Category : Finance

chapel bride toss

Soooo…. You’re getting married?  PHENOMENAL!!  Congratulations!  Marriage is one of the greatest memories most people have.

You both have probably talked about how great it will be for both of you to be together for the rest of your lives.  You talked about what you will do, where you will travel, children, heck… everything under the sun.  It is a great time to dream and prepare for the future for not just you, but a lifelong companion.

I thought about this topic because a good friend of mine has a daughter getting married, and hearing the stress and challenges they are going through, well, I see it first hand and made me start thinking of what I could do to help them focus on the things that forget to be talked about, or things that don’t seem that important.  If we googled the top reasons marriages end, you would see that communication and finances are there in the Top 10 (if not top 5).

Look, I’m talking to you Ms. Bride & Mr. Groom – Finances need to be talked about!  Here come the rebuttals:

  • “I’m good with my finances, so I will just take it over.”
  • “They make the money, so they will take care of it.”
  • “We’ll just get separate accounts.”

Yadda… Yadda… Yadda… Look, even if you are both great with finances, that could be even worse if you don’t talk.  Why? Well, then that means both of you have a certain way and expectation and BOTH of you are going to need to meet on common ground so that you know when expenses will be taken care of.  I’m going to break this down for you! Yep… Here come my rebuttals:

  • Over 2 million couples will get married this year. Almost 1 million couples will file for divorce.
  • The average first marriage lasts 7.8 years (this drops to 6 or less in second or third marriages)
  • 45% of all divorces are due to finance
  • 65% of couples argue about finances on a weekly basis

Do I have your attention now?  Not yet? Maybe?  Let me throw this at you then:

There is a divorce every 13 seconds in the US.  That means –

  • 3 divorces will happen by the time you walk down the aisle
  • 2 divorces by the time you put a ring on each other’s finger
  • Another 3 divorces happen by the time you finish cutting the first slice of cake
  • 2400 total divorces will happen from the start of your wedding through reception (6 hours)
  • 67,200 divorces will happen on your honeymoon (7days)

That’s almost 70,000 couples that divorced in your first days of marriage!  They were all just like you, hoping that this will be the greatest decision of their lives and they would live happily ever after.

70,000 couples… and 31,500 of them were due to finances/money?!?!

NOW… Do you see why I’m writing this article?

If I can help prevent one of you reading this from proving this statistic correct, then the time I put into this article is well worth it.

Here are some things I recommend all newlyweds to go over to make sure you have a strong foundation for your wedding day, honeymoon, and every year after:

Pre-Season: (yes, I related my checklist to sports):

You need to have “the talk”:

  • Understanding each other and making some rules now will make your marriage sweeter and where you stand in finances more clear. Talk about things like:
    • Who is going to take the lead in monthly bills, savings, etc.?
    • What debts and bills do each of us have? (Be honest here and put it all out on the table)
      • Don’t forget the debt from the upcoming wedding/honeymoon (spending money, airfare, etc.)
    • What are our goals for saving? Retirement?
    • Should we have separate checking accounts? Joint account?


Review your Credit scores – Together:

  • Your credit scores can have a big impact on your financial future.  It determines credit limits and the interest rates you qualify for. Especially if you are planning on buying a house soon or putting a security deposit down on an apartment.
    • You can check your credit score at:
      • Credit Karma is a great app that can help you keep track of your score on a weekly basis


Talk about the “little things” that may not seem important: This may not seem like a “direct” finance conversation, but it takes money to do this, right?

  • Here are some topics to make sure you cover:
    • When are you planning to have kids?
    • What are your plans for your job/career? Or your future career?
    • What are your dreams? Things like:
      • Trips/vacations
      • When are you planning to retire?
    • Girls/Guys night: When and how often?
    • Date Night with each other:
      • You have an awesome future together! Don’t let this fire burn out.  Make sure to ALWAYS find time for each other so that you forget why you are making this decision to be together forever.  (The wife and I commit to at least one date night a week… no matter what.)
    • Holidays at the Parents or In-Laws

Prepare a “Life Unscripted” Toolkit:

  • As much as you plan, life will come at you unscripted. Master the art of improvisation and have tools handy that might help you.Life Insurance with Living Benefits in case you die too soon or become ill, or an emergency fund are all examples of tools you will want to have in your Life Unscripted toolkit.


Game Time:  It’s as real as it’s going to get:

Create a new family budget.  This should be easy since you already discussed a lot of these issues.

  • You need to now set this monthly plan in stone:
    • Bills?
    • Groceries?
    • Gas?
    • Haircuts? Mani/Pedi?
    • Lattes
    • Weaknesses
      • Shoes
      • Purses
      • Golf fees
    • Most importantly
      • Emergency savings plan
      • Short term savings (vacations, dinners, etc.)

Minimize your taxes.

  • Review your tax withholding documents and decide if it makes sense to file jointly or separate. There are also tax advantage accounts that could be offered through your job that can reduce tax liabilities and help also with your long term retirement goals. Options like:
    • 401k /403b/412e
    • Health Savings Account (HSA)
    • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)

Create an Estate plan.

  • Everyone needs an estate plan; regardless of the size of your “estate.” Have a will, living will and health care power of attorney.
    • A will spells out what you wish and direction for how you want your assets distributed upon your death.
      • If you have a will already in place, make sure it is up to date with your recent marriage.
    • A living will directs what you want done regarding your medical treatment if you cannot give informed consent.
  • A health care power of attorney assigns a person who will oversee the medical decisions outlined in your living will if you can’t make those decisions yourself.

Before you walk down that aisle –

Talk early about your finances and make sure your ducks are in a row.  If you can tackle this topic early, it can be a strong prediction if your marriage will last longer than the average of 7.8 years, or if you will be one of those that divorce every 9 seconds.

Think about it… increase your chances to be together to 80%

If you confront this, the chances of staying together is over 80%!

When you visualize being married, you see yourselves happy and enjoying life.  Don’t let finances get in the way of you loving each other forever. If you would like to discuss this more or have more questions, click here, and give me a call, text, email or whatever.

Until next time!



If you want more information about how to financially prepare yourself for marriage, or what options are out there for you, go to or click here and we will be more than happy to get back to you.

James Bischoff offers many motivational financial literacy and wealth management seminars for all ages and businesses. Contact info:


Phone: 702-325-7654

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It’s Time to Hurt Yourself… Financially!

Category : Finance , Retirement

Baseball injury

Sometimes, talking about retirement is a subject that young people don’t feel they need to address until they are in their late 30’s, and older people wish they would have thought about it earlier.

I was flipping through a book yesterday and I came across a story…

During a Little League baseball game, a young boy was directed to steal second base.  As he slid in to the bag, his knee hit it awkwardly, which caused him to be in pain.  He laid there as the coach ran to him to check to see if he was alright.  The boy told the coach that his knee hurt really bad and wasn’t able to get up.

The coach waved to the one of the parents in the stands to have him come assist the situation.  The parent, who was a doctor, jogged onto the field.  The parent examined his knee, touched a couple of tender areas, then directed the young man to bend his knee.

The boy replied, “I can’t.”

The parent responded, “Why not?”

“Because it hurts too much.”

The parent softly responded, “Well, then hurt yourself.”

The boy looked at him, confused with what he just said, and slowly bent his knee.  The parent examined a little more and said that it looked like a sprain but we will get him into the office tomorrow to make sure everything is good.

I thought about this story, and it came to mind that we all have bad habits and get “caught up” in our day to day lives.  Everything becomes a routine, and we live within that routine, each and every day.  I cringe at the thought of how many families are caught up living paycheck to paycheck and can’t find their way out of that cycle.  Even when someone gets a pay raise, that money still tends to disappear, and isn’t put away for a “rainy day”.

Hence, the dreams of retiring disappear, and society considers it okay to work for the rest of your life.  It is time to break that standard of living and start putting yourself in a position to be able to retire and enjoy life.  Work if you want to… not because you have to.

When we were little, we didn’t dream to go through this struggle.  We think about being rich, going on trips, spending time with loved ones, heck, anything but working our backsides off!  I’m telling you today that you need to stop accepting, and get back to dreaming!  Break your cycle… Break your habit… It’s time to hurt yourself.

Find $140 a month –

I know, I know… You’re giving me the reasons you can’t do that right now.  I barely live off of what I have now, or good idea but I will do it later.  Let me break this down for you $140/month is:

  • If you get paid 2 times a month: That’s $70 a paycheck
  • If you get paid every 2 weeks: That’s $65 a paycheck

Yes… You can do it! Let’s get real – That’s under $35 a week.. $5 a day?!?!  You’re saying to yourself right now, “James, you’re crazy, I already told you I’m broke.”  Well… I’m telling you back, it’s there, you just don’t want to see it. Each week:

  • How many times do you eat out?
  • How many lattes do you buy?
  • How often do you buy shoes?
  • How often do you go to the movies?

The list is endless.  There is opportunity… you just have to hurt yourself.  You just need to create a habit and live within your means that you set.  Listen – you may be closing up your laptop, shaking your head and saying, “James doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he doesn’t understand my situation.”  Yes I do, and I have lived it!  I’m here to tell you (if you’re still reading) that you need to do what I did and stop your selfish spending habits (for me it’s shoes – can’t stay away from them!), look yourself in the mirror and conquer “you”.

If you think you can save $70… Read on!

Wow! You’re still with me?  Ok, let’s get serious… What is $70 going to get you? Is it even worth it?  YES!!!!

If you have a tax-deferred plan you can contribute to at your job… That’s actually $91 pre-tax!  Yep… $91 gross is $70 from your actual take home check!  See, you’re already making money!

Now, let’s say your 35 years old and you work until you’re 65.  There are some retirement options out there that could get you $559/month for the rest of your life!  Sound good now?  If you’re younger than 35… even better!

If your company doesn’t have a retirement plan?  Contribute the money to a Roth IRA.  Yes, the number would be smaller, but it’s Tax free, so it equals out to the same.  Awesome or what? See… retirement isn’t as bad as you thought, is it?

So to wrap this up, I want you to analyze where you are really at in your life, and let’s find some money to put away so that you can get back to achieving your dreams.  It’s time to hurt yourself, and take care of your future. If you want to know more, click here, and give me a call, text, email or whatever.

Until next time!



If you want more information about your retirement folder, or what retirement options are out there for you, go to or click here and we will be more than happy to get back to you.

James Bischoff offers many motivational financial literacy and retirement management seminars for all ages and businesses. Contact info:


Phone: 702-325-7654

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