We've certainly been talking a lot more about money since the economy
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You can actually boost your savings, better afford college
Have a secret money problem? Proclaim your intent to solve it.
Do you berate yourself for never actually making a deposit to savings
Instead of turning your good intentions over and over again in your head, turn your aim into a specific savings goal
For some people, the very act of telling someone of your financial trouble and the intent to solve it is enough to spur action, Karlan says. But many will need to not only articulate their goals, but also to ask their confidantes to check back on a regular basis about their progress.
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Moreover, don't tell just one person your intent, tell a few people. Ian Ayres, a Yale Law School professor and author of the book, "Carrots and Sticks," advises that you choose people who you respect for how they handle money
Research shows that the odds of success that you'll meet your goal increase if you agree to put money at risk if you don't meet it, Ayres says.
"It may sound counterintuitive, to say, 'I am going to save $100 and if I don't, I'm going to owe $30,'" Ayres says. "But it is not really wasting your money
Karlan co-founded the site StickK.com, which allows users to make public commitments to any goal, to designate "referees" to monitor their progress and to place a wager on meeting their savings goal. For example, if they don't reach their goal, their wager might go to a predetermined charity.
Worried you'll never save enough for your kid's college? Label a separate account with her name and refer to it often.
In a recent Canadian study, participants who created a separate account
Participants who managed their savings online and pasted a picture of their child alongside the savings account
You can expect a similar bump in savings if you make a habit of referring to your savings account by your child's name, saying for instance: "This month I'm making the usual $100 contribution to Jack's college," Soman says. He also suggests labeling accounts with your child's name so that statements reflect it is his or her college savings
Robert O. Weagley, chairman of the University of Missouri's Department of Personal Financial Planning, says it's even better if your child is within earshot when you're talking about his or her college fund.
"It's like saying to the child, 'I know you're going to be in college
Always arguing with your partner about each other's splurges? Talk about setting a "free" limit.
It's a pervasive problem. About 30% of Americans have hidden a bill from their partner, and 16% have hidden a major purchase, according to a recent online poll commissioned by ForbesWoman and the National Endowment for Financial Education, or NEFE.
There's a surprisingly simple solution. "Decide on a 'guilt-free' amount you can each spend each week, without consulting with each other," says Bonnie Eaker Weil, Ph.D., author of "Financial Infidelity."
Before you discuss how much each can have to splurge, you may have to figure out how much extra cash