(269)The changing shape of family finances


Families are becoming an increasingly complex unit when it comes to money management. Parents are working longer hours, couples are spending less time with each other and children are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their material wants and information needs. Whilst centralising funds is important in the family, so is an analysis of the individual roles and associated financial requirements.

It seems that the proof of maternal efforts is no longer found in the pudding … it’s in the spending. Women are increasingly outsourcing personal grooming tasks and the pressure of looking good, feeling healthy, maintaining a tight ship and IQ level has meant that housecleaning and gardening are again fashionable methods to promote the family brand; housewifery is now a career, with all the attitude of 21st century post-feminism. It emerged in a recent BBC report, that a new type of parent was surfacing….the “manager mum”. Manager mums tend to use the internet to save time on tasks and streamline activity, using the Web to undertake jobs such as grocery shopping or banking.

Once they’ve got their partner, it doesn’t seem women can relax about their appearances, with women in relationships spending more on their appearance than their single counterparts. UK housewives spend a massive £5 billion on ‘keeping up appearances’, in terms of gardening, home furnishings and personal grooming, according to a study by Virgin Money Credit Cards. UK women are splurging out an average of £3,488 each on personal appearance and their home and garden. Of the £3,488, 47% is spent on the home and garden, whilst the remainder goes on clothes, haircuts, beauty products and treatments.

The pressure to look good may be a factor in women being labelled as the worst savers, as reported by Guardian Unlimited. In an annual study by IFA Promotion, 63% of the women who stated that they were unable to put aside further savings, admitted to spending their spare cash on costly and unnecessary luxuries, whilst 28% of women get themselves into debt with expensive purchases. Women apparently seem to be content with spending up to 75% of disposable income and saving less than 20%, in contrast to men who save over 25% of their income and invest 8%.

Peter Pan fathers
Whilst fathers are not physically getting any younger, there is evidence that their mental age may be falling. The BBC recently reported that a new type of dad had emerged – the “gadget dad”, whilst in November last year, the Guardian reported that men were significantly delaying fatherhood. In a study by Panlogic, “gadget dads” love technology and have all the latest tech toys, from Sky TV to a car navigation system. Perhaps this love of tech toys is also the reason inhibiting men from diverting funds to babies. According to the Guardian, 81% of men admitted that financial fears would make them postpone having children and if current trends continue, the average age of men becoming fathers will rise to 40 by 2065. Virgin Money Life Insurance also reported in their studies that new fathers were waiting longer to start families and that UK fathers are working the longest hours in Europe.

Savvy kids
A recent investigation by Halifax found a positive attitude towards saving is increasing amongst children. Whilst in 1998, a third of children saved more than they spent; now that figure is over fifty percent. The bank discovered that most children are prepared to save for an expensive item, though parents of younger children faced more of a struggle, as 22% of seven to eleven year olds pestered their way towards getting what they wanted. Piggy banks, it would seem, may become sentimental souvenirs, as more children save their money in a bank or building society.

This trend of ‘keeping up appearances’ seems to induce individualistic behaviour in families, reducing co-operation on financial issues. This erodes family values in society and discourages future generations from investing in children. Without the motivation to invest in sustainable communities or even a sustainable standard of living, (currently supported by £1.1 trillion of debt), the issue of successful management of family finance remains trivial.

Additional information:
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Random financial ranting: About Rachel: Rachel writes for the personal finance blog Cashzilla: Cashzilla is a personalfinanosaurus. “Rachel” means sheep in Hebrew: “little lamb” or “one with purity”. Cashzilla means financially savvy with great fiery ferocity.

Written by: cashzilla

(270)The Cost Of Refinancing - What Costs To Expect When You Refinance Your Home Mortgage Loan


Refinancing can save you thousands, especially if you have several years left on your mortgage. However, you can also choose to refinance simply to tap into your home's equity or reduce your monthly payments.

"How much will it cost?" is a common question for homeowners considering refinancing their mortgage. While costs vary between lenders and loan amounts, the following will give you some guidelines to help you compare financing companies and their offers.

New Home Loan Fees
When you refinance, you are getting a new loan and paying for all those fees again. Fees, including application fee, appraisal fee, survey costs, attorney review fee, title search, and home inspection, will usually add up to around $1000 and $2009. That is in addition to the loan origination fee, usually 1%, and any additional points.

Some lenders offer zero point loans and low refinancing costs but with higher interest rates. These types of financing packages make sense if you are concerned about initial costs and are willing to spend more over the course of your loan.

Loan Points
Each point equals 1% of the loan, which is due at the loan's signing. So a point on a $100,000 loan would be $1,000. Besides the loan's origination fee of 1% or more, you can also purchase lower interest rates with points. If you plan to stay in your home for over seven years, then you can probably save money with lower interest payments.

Locate Lower Costs
You can also sometimes locate a lower cost for your mortgage by comparing companies. The easiest way to do this is to request quotes online to compare interest rates and fees.

You can also sometimes negotiate a lower interest rate or closing cost with your original mortgage company. It helps if you can tell them that you have found a better offer with another lender. But sometimes other lenders will have the better deal.

Different Loan Terms
A shorter loan term or a fixed rate mortgage can also save on long term interest costs. By picking a 15 year term loan, you can nearly cut your interest costs in half. You can also protect yourself from rising interest rates with an adjustable rate mortgage by converting to a fixed rate mortgage.

About the author:

See my recommended Home Mortgage Refinance Lenders for the lowest rates online. Carrie Reeder is the owner of ABC Loan Guide, which offers help finding low rate home mortgage loans.
Written by: Carrie Reeder

(271)The Havanese Puppy - Where did it all Start? Part 1


The Havanese puppy is a loveable dog that unknown to many is a member of the Bichon breed family. What does Bichon mean? "Bichon" is a French word that means "fleecy dog". The Bichon breed is often related to the Barbet. The Barbet is the French name for a poodle like water spaniel that is thought to be an ancient ancestor of the current day Bichon breed varieties.

Of course there are several different types of Bichon dogs that include: the Maltese, Bichon Frise, Bichon Bolognese, Lowchen, Coton de Tulear, and the Havanese. These Bichon breed varieties have various geographic origins.

Most of these breeds were around in ancient Greece. When the Spanish Empire swept across the world in the 1500's, so did the Bichon breeds as well. The Bichon breeds were known to be perfect companions for long voyages on maritime ships.

Originally the Bichon breeds were developed in the Canary Islands, France, and as well as Cuba. Now of these breeds can you guess which Bichon breed came from Cuba? That's right, it was the Havanese!

Like so many dog breeds the Havanese breed was named after the world famous seaport in Havana, Cuba. It's not surprising then that the Havanese is the national dog of Cuba. In Cuba, the Havanese dogs descended from a dog breed called "Blanquito de la Habana"!.

So what is the best way to describe the Havanese? The Havanese breed is a small, white fluffy dog that has a well defined face. The Havanese breed is very affectionate, loyal and a special companion that just loves to sit on your lap. They not only want your love and attention but they will give their admiration in return. Their attentiveness paired with their beautiful coat and features made the Havanese a well sought after breed.

Although the aristocratic society of Cuba embraced the Havanese the turn of the century into the 1900's brought a change in the interests of the social elite. The upper crust of society no longer favored the Havanese breed!

Why did this happen? Especially after 200 years how could such a high demand for the Havanese breed diminish? We part of the reason is due to the influence of North America. Prior to 1900, Cuba was dominated by European, and in particular Spanish, influences. The Cubans as a result conducted the majority of their business with Spain. Therefore this European influence created the prevalence of the European Bichon Frise lapdogs.

Around 1900 North America then began to conduct more business with Cuba. As a result of this new business partnership it also introduced different types of dog breeds to the wealthy Cubans. The wealthy Cubans soon wanted to be on par with North Americans regarding the latest trends and this included the current "it" dog breeds.

So this desire to keep up with the North American "Jones'" lead to the Havanese breed to be overlooked in the wealthy Cuban households as they searched for a new breed to adore. This transition left the Havanese to become a house pet in common households. In effect, the Havanese garnered a wider audience of admirers and owners.

If you would like to learn more about the Havanese Breed, visit

Fiona No Minimum Payout
About the author:

Fiona Kelly is a passionate Havanese owner that has devoted countless hours sharing her secrets on how to have the perfect, happy, healthy and best behaved Havanese. If you're interested in the Havanese then you can check out her web site at The Author grants you permission to re-print or re-publish this article so long as it remains unchanged and all links remain present and active

Written by: Fiona Kelly

(272)The Havanese Puppy- Where did it all start? Part 2


The popularity of the Havanese breed increased in Cuba throughout the 1900's. The Havanese breed really is the perfect house dog that is very affectionate, good natured, and has a beautiful silky coat. Their coat is so silky that these puppies are referred to as "Havana Silk".

One thing to note is, that the wealthy Cuban society loved the Havanese not only for their Wonderful features and affectionate nature, but also for their high intellectual capacity. The Havanese Puppy is highly intelligent and is very skilled at performing tricks and following commands.

Just as the Bichon breed of dogs have been circus performers for hundreds of years. The Havanese was certainly no exception and often danced around and performed tricks for their wealthy owners that were entertaining and delighted guests.

The Havanese breed is instinctively great at performing which led this breed to become a top show dog. Cubans have focused on the show dog capabilities of the Havanese breed causing a surge in the breed's popularity. This popularity skyrocketed in the late 1990's and continues to increase.

Unfortunately such a quick rise in success and popularity of a breed can also lead to unscrupulous breeding practices. As a means to try and prevent and combat this issue, the Cuban Club of the Bichon Havanese was founded in 1991. This organization created breeding guidelines to help keep the integrity and health of the Havanese breed in tact.

The Havanese came to America in the early 1900's. However, the breed didn't catch on until the 1970's. This rise in American popularity can be attributed to the influx of Cubans in the 1960's. The immigrated Cubans brought over their love and support of this breed to the United States.

The Havanese Club of America was then founded in 1979. You can check out more information regarding the Havanese Club of America by going to their website.

The Havanese has been around for hundreds of years, but was officially recognized relatively recently. For example, the Havanese breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1991. While The American Kennel Club recognized the Havanese breed in the "Toy" category in 1996.

If you would like to learn more about the Havanese Breed, visit

About the author:

Fiona Kelly is a passionate Havanese owner that has devoted countless hours sharing her secrets on how to have the perfect, happy, healthy and best behaved Havanese. If you're interested in the Havanese then you can check out her web site at The Author grants you permission to re-print or re-publish this article so long as it remains unchanged and all links remain present and active.

Written by: Fiona Kelly

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