Friday, April 28, 2006

Protecting Your Ass...ets

Over the last three months attending business classes at Assets Toledo, located at 1946 N. 13 Street, Suite 437, I discovered interesting facts about business, networking and relationships.

On one particular day the class discussed the dangers of moving in with a partner and not having financial perspicacity.

For richer, for poorer, for better, for worse: it may sound romantic but few couples discuss the financial implications of married life before walking up the aisle. Debt is a real passion-killer. It is imperative to discuss financial issues before eloping or you'll be gaining a life partner along with a host of unwanted bills, overdrafts and credit card debts.

Please don't mistake the debt I'm referring to as just credit debt. If debts spiral seriously out of control it can cost your savings, your business and even your own home to vanish in thin air.

And it's not just the newly-webs that have to watch out for this repeated pattern. Anyone who plans to move in with a partner should take into consideration how their pockets will be affected if the other falls into debt.

Now before you scream, "Cancel the cake and send the dress back in a coffin!" there are some simple steps you can take to secure your financial health from even the most unsavvy, financially inept spouse.

The number one tool is to protect your own assets. Assets are useful or valuable qualities, persons, or things; an advantage or resource. Any bank account, savings, property or equity that is in your name is legally yours. In the event that your spouse runs into serious financial difficulties, the creditors can't pursue you for this money. This applies to debt run up from before your marriage as to any during it.

If you have a bank account that has been open for up to five years in your name, your salary is paid in every month, your money is safe. If, however, it was a joint bank account that was simply transferred into your name a couple of months before your partner files for bankruptcy, then expect legal proceeding. Understand that Creditors will try to grab assets that are legally theirs. If you can prove that the assets you owned were purely by your own means, or gifted to you before your partners financial debts, then creditors have absolutely no legal right to grab those assets.

Again if one spouse has run into severe financial problems, such as filing for bankruptcy, creditors can legally go after these joint assets. But they are only entitled to that person's share of the assets. So, for example, if you have a shared savings account with $5,000 on deposit, creditors could apply to receive half of this. The same applies to property. If the home is in both partners' names, then creditors are only entitled to 50 per cent of the property's value, even if the outstanding debt is far greater than this amount. Of course, this often means that couples are still forced to sell the family home to pay this share of the debt.

There are many businessmen who put property solely in their wife's name, in order to protect the family home if the business fails. But if you consider doing this- remember the property then belongs to just one partner. Think about carefully about going with this action in case of a divorce in the future.

Terry J. Snipes

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sex Doesn't Equal Love

This is my first time posting on Terry’s blog and I’m so glad that I get the chance to speak on behalf of the ladies for a minute. Guys, don’t think I haven’t scoped you out long enough to know what you do, like, dislike and screw up!

The title of this blog entry was 'Dick Doesn't Equal Love'. I decided to change it. I don’t know why, but a feeling in my gut told me that it wasn’t the best way to speak on the subject. Not only that, but I thought that approach was too aggressive and I don’t want to come at subjects like my cousin. To every up, there must be a down. To every light, there is a dark. There’s a Yin there is Yang.

I’ll start by opening up the most I ever have on one of these blogs:

When I was 16 years old I was practically rapped by a man. He was a boy, actually. There is no soft way to put that. It hurts me when men are so lustful for sex that all reason vanishes and a woman’s accountability flies away in the wind.

When I told my mother about what happened I was punished. I believe she told me, "If you weren’t being a fast ass heifer, it wouldn’t have happened." I cried all through my punishment. It was the worst I could ever feel.

Well, let me clear something up: I was not physically rapped, I was emotionally rapped. For months I was lead to believe that the love I expected from this boy would come once I let him inside of me. I stupidly made myself believe such a gullible and naive thought. To this day I slightly don’t understand that logic, but I can relate to it. Most women still do those things. The moment they have sex with a man they feel more affection. It’s true that a woman can date a man who is balding, fat and butt-ugly, as long as he makes us laugh or has a wonderful personality, we are fine. Sad to say, it’s not like that for men. Sex is a temporary temptation that evaporates for the woman he screwed right after he lets the sperm cells go.

A week and a half later, when I found out I was pregnant, I cried even more. I cried because I was happy to be having his baby. Keep in mind, he stopped calling me or talking to me after we had sex. I thought that the baby would keep him in my life ( a stupid reason to want to have a child). When I finally told my mother about the pregnancy she was very disappointed in me. She left the choice of abortion up to me.

When I finally got in touch with they guy who’d filled me with a soon-to-be bundle of joy, he almost flipped when I told him of my pregnancy. He immediately told me that I had to get an abortion. I wasn’t having that. There was no way that I’d give up my child. But then he did it. You know what... He started pretending to care. He would sit with me for the next week, for hours at a time, letting me know how he wanted to be in my life and how he thought it would be best to have the abortion and try to parent a child once we were a little older and more prepared. Of course, he didn’t have the money for the abortion and I had to work extra hours at work (Taco Bell) to gather up the funds.

I was still on top of the world. I was going to have a second chance at love with my boyfriend. What more could I ask for?

When I arrived at the abortion clinic I anxiously awaited his arrival. Then it hit me: he had to go to work today and would be about a half hour late. Though I wanted him to be there with me, I decided to start the process and get it over with (I was getting cold feet).

I went in and was told to take some type of pill... and the rest is a blur, yet I slightly remember it all. The sick feeling I had from the operation... I cried when I waited on one of the beds for two hours for him to show up. He never did. When I felt like I was composed enough, I climbed out of bed and took the bus home.

I felt stupid and low. I’d lied about my age, killed my unborn child for a man and was still left without a man. There was no need for me to call him and verify that he was gone, I knew it. But me being a woman, I had to inquire. I had to know, if not for my child’s life, for my future- if he used that "future" stuff with me just to persuade me to get an abortion.

I called him numerous times. When it was time to go back to school, I heard that he and his family moved to Florida and I never heard from him again. Even now when I type this, it hurts. I still get the thumps in my throat and remember the sickness I felt on that day.

The whole point of me sharing this is to let women (and some men) know that love is not always obtained through sex. Sex is a tool in helping to show that love, but the love must already be there. If I would have known then what I know now (cliche) I could have saved my babies life and my own as well. This is just a blog entry for you all to think about your actions, wants and needs.

Asia Wright