How to avoid financial infidelity with your partner


Married couples lying about their income?

FBN’s Gerri Willis on a U.S. Census report on married couples’ income.

There’s nothing new about couples arguing about money. But have you ever lied to your spouse or partner about money or a financial issue? Believe it or not, it’s more common than you think.

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The Ascent by The Motley Fool surveyed 1,000 individuals who were in a serious relationship. 71 percent of respondents revealed that they committed at least one act of financial infidelity.


    Hiding a purchase price was the most common form of financial deceit. Other examples of money secrets include undisclosed credit cards, hiding debt and secret savings accounts. Nathan Hamilton, industry analyst at the Ascent by the Motley Fool says couples can avoid financial infidelity by following these seven tips:

    Develop a dialogue about money

    Hamilton says couples should talk about finances early in the relationship, right when things are about to get serious. He says open and honest discussions can give you an indication of how your mate handles money.

    “You got the typical stuff – which is discussing the checking account, joint savings accounts and how you manage those finances,” he says. “But it actually goes deeper than that. It’s a matter of also discussing insurances and maybe what debt you have because those can be surprising factors.”

    Hamilton says early in a relationship, it’s common for couples not to trust how their mate manages finances. That’s why money talks with your partner are essential. Otherwise, it can cause stress in the relationship.  

    Allow each partner fun money to spend

    Trying to control what your partner buys all the time is a major contributing factor to financial infidelity. No one wants to feel as if their mate is treating them like a child. Hamilton says if each partner has a little bit of their own money to spend on anything at all, there’s no need for anyone to be dishonest.

    Avoid being judgmental

    If you’re always criticizing your partner’s spending, you are going to create a situation where he/she tries to hide purchases. Avoid using judgmental language and try to find a compromise budget. That way both partners can feel happy about what is spent and saved.

    Share the work of managing finances

    All too often in relationships, one person is more hands-on about money, while the other person knows little about the family finances. Hamilton says sharing finances is important because it gives both people a voice in the relationship. He says it’s risky for one person to own the finances.

    “If you share the work of managing finances there’s going to be fewer instances of people lying about purchases to each other or not feeling comfortable when they want to go for a spa day or buy a new trinket,” Hamilton says.

    Deal with financial infidelity together

    Have you or your partner committed financial infidelity? If you want to move past it together, you will have to come up with a joint plan. This will require being truthful with each other. Come clean about all of the secret money decisions.  Set ground rules together to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.

    Know your deal breakers

    There are different categories of things people may lie about. Hamilton says it’s important to know what purchases may lead to arguments or potential lies. Is your deal breaker a secret credit card?


    What if your mate took out loans in your name without your permission? If the infidelity affects your finances, you may need to take steps to protect yourself, such as freezing your credit. Hamilton says counseling could potentially be a solution.

    Consider counseling

    Money is both a leading cause of disagreements and a top cause for divorce. Hamilton says the sooner you are able to find a way to talk openly and join forces to accomplish your financial goals, the less risk you have of doing damage to your relationship. If you can’t work out your differences, you may need an impartial person to help you get on the same page.

    “Sometimes you just need an outside voice, an outside opinion to set processes in place that are going to make managing finances easier,” he says.

    Linda Bell joined FOX Business Network (FBN) in 2014 as an assignment editor. She is an award-winning writer of business and financial content.  You can follow her on Twitter @lindanbell

    Goldman Sachs is growing a $35 billion business managing nonprofit money

    Goldman Sachs, which has long managed money for the country’s wealthiest individuals and companies, is looking farther afield for new clients.

    The firm started a business called Institutional Client Services in the consumer and investment management division in 2009 to manage money for nonprofit groups too small to do it themselves. The platform currently manages $35 billion on behalf of more than 500 endowments and foundations. These clients often include the groups that Goldman’s wealthy individual clients run, donate to, or otherwise advise: ballets, hospitals, and local nonprofits, among others.

    See more: ‘It’s good to be Rich’: Meet the Goldman Sachs banker who has built a private investing empire that goes head-to-head with Blackstone — and you’ve probably never heard of him

    The firm’s head of private wealth management in the Americas, John Mallory, said Goldman is now thinking even more creatively about potential ICS clients, which could include Native American reservations and cemeteries, to broaden its reach. The expansion comes as CEO David Solomon targets wealth management as a major growth area.

    John Mallory, Goldman Sachs’ Americas head of private wealth management.
    Goldman Sachs

    The endowments and foundations that ICS advises have about $25 million to $500 million in assets. Mallory said there are about 6,000 nonprofits that fit that “strike zone,” with more opportunities for Goldman to target.

    “There are all sorts of interesting pools of capital out there that you don’t necessarily think of in the context of nonprofits,” he said.

    Native American tribal governments, for example, have grown their capital significantly with casino operations. In 2017, Indian gaming revenues hit $32.4 billion, up 4% from 2016, according to the most recent figures from the National Indian Gaming Commission.

    Another attractive pool of capital, Mallory said, comes from cemeteries. They’re required to put money, regulated by states, into an endowment. Those funds ensure the site is maintained forever, even after all the plots are sold.

    “Who would’ve thought, cemeteries?” Mallory said. “People pre-fund the plots they’ll ultimately be buried in on behalf of their family to avoid the family being burdened with those costs. They have a huge pool of money that needs to be invested.”

    ICS’s work is known in the industry as an outsourced chief investment officer, or OCIO. It’s become an increasingly attractive business for both consultants and asset managers: according to a study last month from BlackRock and Cerulli Associates, US OCIO assets hit $1.1 trillion last year and could reach $1.7 trillion in five years. About a quarter of those 2018 assets were held by nonprofits.

    Goldman does OCIO work for other groups, too, including corporate pensions and sovereign wealth funds.

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    How The Oldest People In America’s Blue Zone Make Their Money Last

    Next Avenue | John Gilman

    Next Avenue | John Gilman

    (In 2008, National Geographic writer Dan Buettner published his bestselling book, The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, about the five “longevity pockets” around the world. Here, Next Avenue Money and Work Purpose editor Richard Eisenberg, a Gerontological Society of America Journalists in Aging Fellow, takes a different look at the Blue Zones — places where there’s a high concentration of people living past 90 without chronic illnesses. Rather than focusing on the residents’ diets, he reports on how the oldest people in the Blue Zones make their money last and what Americans and America can learn from this.)

    I’ve been traveling and studying the world’s five Blue Zones — areas with the highest concentration of people living past 90 without chronic illnesses. I was intrigued to visit Loma Linda, Calif. — America’s only Blue Zone —  because, on the surface, it’s unlike the world’s four other longevity zones. While the others are mostly poor islands, Loma Linda (which means “pretty hill”) is a fairly affluent, small community and inland, about 65 miles due east of Los Angeles. Its tagline: “a city focused on health and prosperity.”

    Technically, Loma Linda itself isn’t the real Blue Zone. It gets that label because about a third of its 24,196 residents are part of a close-knit community that values physical and mental habits helping them live long, healthy, vibrant lives. They are Seventh Day Adventists; more than 250 members of its church on the Loma Linda University campus are 90 or older; another 425 are 80 to 89. Members of that Protestant denomination typically don’t drink alcohol or smoke; they’re frequently vegan and favor nuts and they’re often energetic, upbeat and social.

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    “We feel our body is a temple of God, so we always think about that when we eat,” said Ernie Zane, 92, who continues working part-time as an ophthalmologist.

    As for exercise, Ester van den Hoven, 94, spoke for many in Loma Linda when she told me about her walking regimen: “I try to get a mile in a day. I feel bad when I don’t.” Ernie Zane walks roughly two miles a day. Leland Juhl, 94, spends 45 minutes to an hour a day at Loma Linda University’s recreational center and golfs two days a week.

    The Blue Zone of Loma Linda: A Place of Vitality

    Jab Thaipejr, Loma Linda’s city manager, told me: “Vitality is a good term for them. There’s a different mindset in Loma Linda. Instead of competition, it’s more focused on community, compassion and cooperation.

    Unlike their Blue Zone sisters, Loma Linda isn’t a Blue Zone because of its number of centenarians. “It’s life expectancy-based” and focused on “disease-risk,” said Dr. Michael Orlich, one of the lead investigators for Loma Linda University’s famed Adventist Health Study. “We’ve shown reductions in the risk for cardiovascular disease mortality, ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer in particular, and a lower risk of prostate cancer for vegans.” The researchers hope to look at dementia risk in the future.

    It’s not that the Adventists didn’t get diseases comprising the leading causes of death. “They seemed to occur later,” “said Orlich. Overall, the Adventist Health Study concluded that male Adventists in California live six to seven years longer than non-Adventists there and female Adventists in the state live four years longer than non-Adventists in the state; these differences are similar nationally.

    After interviewing six Loma Lindans in their 80s and 90s (mostly Adventists), I found these Blue Zoners were different than those in the other locations financially, too.

    How They Manage Money in This Blue Zone

    The reason they tend not to worry about running out of money — the No. 1 retirement fear of Americans, according to a 2019 Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies report — is that they’ve saved and invested diligently in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, 401(k) plans and rental real estate, often with help from financial advisers.

    “If the country doesn’t go bankrupt, I should be all right,” Juhl told me. Bob Bass, 86, echoed that sentiment, saying: “I really don’t worry about it. I’m very fortunate.”

    But, Seventh Day Adventist Pastor Dan Matthews, 84, said: “It would be inappropriate not to mention that no money we earn from any kind of source is [totally] ours; 90% is ours and 10% belongs to God. We always return [to the church] a faithful 10% tithe, and it probably turns out to be more like 20%.”

    The concern so many other Americans about outliving their money is genuine and, sadly, appropriate.

    “It’s a legitimate fear,” said Harry Dalessio, senior vice president and head of Prudential Retirement’s full service solutions. “It will cost, on average, hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement to cover just health care, let alone living expenses and basic needs.”

    As in the other four Blue Zones, the oldest people in Loma Linda tend to be frugal. “We started out, when we got married, writing down every penny we spent,” said Betsy Matthews, 81, an accountant who’s the wife of the pastor. “I think that has helped us immensely.” (Juhl told me he and his late wife did this, too.)

    And, Betsy Matthews adds, Seventh Day Adventists “save money by not spending on cigarettes and alcohol, which is expensive.”

    Vegetables, fruits and nuts at home, often grown there (like in other Blue Zones), tend to be less pricey than buying meat and eating out, too.

    Judith Chipps, a financial adviser at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in the Los Angeles area (whose son-in-law is a Seventh Day Adventist) says the Adventists “live fairly spartan lives.”

    The Link Between Health and Money

    Tip-top health, due to diet and exercise, helps keep costs down, too, Orlich suspects. “I feel fine. I’ve been doing aerobics for 30 years. I take no medications. Nothing,” said Dorothy Zane, 86. (You may have seen Loma Lindans in their 80s and 90s swimming and working out in the Prudential commercial featuring the town due to its longevity.)

    Loma Linda Adventists also tend to be cheery and sociable, which keeps their stress levels down and, in turn, their health costs. “Stress is definitely a killer; with prayer and turning things over to the Lord, there’s less stress,” said Juhl.

    As I wrote in my last Blue Zones story, groups of elders in Okinawa belong to a “moai,” where they meet regularly and help each other out. In Loma Linda, bible study groups and friendship circles offer something similar, which helps relieve money concerns. Dorothy Zane told me she belongs to three bible study groups.

    Dan Matthews said: “Betsy was with her friendship circle today and Betsy’s mother was once part of the group. Really, at some level, we are interdependent on each other.”

    Dr. Bruce Chernof, CEO of The SCAN Foundation, a California-based nonprofit focused on patient-centered health care for older Americans (and a prior funder of Next Avenue), says that for the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, “it’s about an architecture of beliefs that leads to being planful in a broader way.”

    What Americans and America Can Do

    In other words, because the older people in Loma Linda expect to live long lives, they plan intentional ways to live them out well and not run out of money.

    As Chipps, of Merrill Lynch said, “If you live in a community where everyone is living to a ripe old age, you think about finances from an earlier age — because they have to last longer.”

    But what about the rest of us in America who are less planful and not as healthy as the Seventh Day Adventists of Loma Linda but hope to live long lives? And what could policymakers do to help Americans avoiding running out of money at a time when we’re living longer than ever?

    Those of us in our 50s and older who are healthy can try to keep working as long as possible. That’s what the oldest people in the Blue Zones do.

    “I worked an extra five or 10 years, said Loma Linda’s Bob Bass, 86, a former citrus ranch farmer. Working not only provides income, it helps you stay mentally engaged, and that’s good for you health. (In Loma Linda, Seventh Day Adventists don’t work on the Sabbath, from Friday sundown through Saturday, however.)

    More broadly speaking, we can try harder to get, and stay, healthy, as the Blue Zones people usually do. That can help prevent astronomic medical bills. Maintaining and expanding you social network, helps, too. Buettner’s Blue Zone team has a quiz to help you curate it to spend more time with people with positive outlooks.

    We can also try harder to save and invest more, and regularly. That means having an emergency savings fund for unexpected expenses and a retirement savings fund, as all the oldest people I met in Loma Linda do.

    “My clients who have been most successful at managing their money well into their 90s have saved money all along,” said Chipps. “A balanced investment portfolio [of stocks and bonds] over time will perform best for most people.”

    She notes that people in their 50s and 60s are often in their peak earning years. “That’s a really good opportunity to do some serious retirement savings. Waiting to see what happens is probably not the best strategy,” said Chipps.

    The easiest way to do it is though a 401(k) or 403(b) savings plan through your employer, since it’s automatic. But many workers aren’t offered those plans either because their business or nonprofit doesn’t have one or they are self-employed. A few states have begun setting up plans for those people. California happens to be one.

    “The CalSavers Secure Choice plan will be fully operational in July,” said Blanca Castro, AARP advocacy and metro manager, based in Sacramento. That will help the 7.5 million working state residents without access to plans.

    State governments and the federal government could help older Americans make their money last in other ways, too. They could look for ways to lower health care costs, including the cost of prescription drugs. The governments of the other four Blue Zones provide national health insurance and sometimes require doctors to make house calls to needy older people.

    States and the federal government could also pilot long-term care insurance programs, as Japan does to help its older population avoid staggering expenses that could otherwise destroy their finances. “I think the current approach we have is really, really broken and government could play a significant policy role in changing that dynamic,” said Chernof.

    Governors could also take a cue from California’s newly elected leader Gavin Newsom. The Democratic governor is working on a Master Plan on Aging in his state, where the cost of living, especially housing, is especially high and where the older population is expected to double in 30 years. Blanca Castro reflected on the broad vision for California’s plan, saying: “It will address where we don’t have policies or can improve ones we have so no matter how old you are, you have access to housing, transportation, health care, food and a place to socialize.”

    And that kind of thing could help people make their money last anywhere.

    (This article was written with the support of a journalism fellowship from the Gerontological Society of America, Journalists Network on Generations and The Commonwealth Fund.)

    These are the best (and worst) reasons to refinance your mortgage

    Westend61/Getty Images

    With mortgage rates hovering near one-year lows, some homeowners might be enticed to refinance their current mortgage to save on their monthly payments or even pull out some cash for a renovation project.

    Whether you’ve owned your home for a short time or you’ve had your mortgage a bit longer, a mortgage refinance should involve careful consideration. After all, you’ll pay fees and have to go through the mortgage approval process again, so you want to have clear goals to improve your overall financial picture with a refinance.

    To help you decide whether a mortgage refinance is right for you, here are the best (and worst) reasons homeowners decide to refinance.

    Best reasons to refinance your mortgage

    Lower your interest rate

    Known as a “rate-and-term” refinance, this is the most popular reason homeowners refinance a home loan. Homeowners with a higher interest rate on their current loan may benefit from a refinance if the math pans out — especially if they’re shortening their loan term from 30 years to, say, 10 or 15 years.

    Shorter-term mortgages typically have lower interest rates than longer-term loans because you’re paying back the loan in less time, but your monthly payment will likely go up. A rate-and-term refinance can result in big savings for a homeowner if there’s room in their budget for it, says Kurt Johnson, senior vice president with Mr. Cooper, a Dallas-based mortgage lender.

    “If you can afford to shorten the term of the loan and you are substantially lowering your rate, it could be a win-win as you’re paying off your mortgage faster and saving a ton of money on interest,” Johnson says.

    Consolidate high-interest debt

    If you have a hefty amount of high-interest debt on credit cards or personal loans, a cash-out refinance can help improve your cash flow and save you money in the long term, possibly even if you take a slightly higher mortgage rate.

    The drawback to this move is that you’ll be unable to deduct the mortgage interest you pay on the cash-out amount that exceeds the current loan balance if the funds aren’t used to “buy, build or substantially improve” your home, according to the IRS.

    “There’s this myth that in order for a refi to make sense that you have to lower the rate by 1 percent or more, but I disagree,” says Elizabeth Rose, a certified mortgage planning specialist with AmCap Home Loans in Flower Mound, Texas. “Even with losing some mortgage interest deductibility, in the long run it’s improving your cash-flow situation, saving you money and getting you out from underneath your debt quicker.”

    Eliminate mortgage insurance

    If you have a home loan with private mortgage insurance, a refinance could help lower your monthly costs, says Dan Snyder, co-founder of mortgage lender Homeside Financial based in Columbia, Maryland. Snyder is also CEO of Lower, a Columbus, Ohio-based direct online lender.

    This is especially true if you have a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA. While FHA loans can be a viable path to homeownership for borrowers with little savings or not-so-stellar credit, they come with a big downside: mandatory mortgage insurance. After paying an up-front premium of 1.75 percent of the loan amount, most FHA borrowers continue to pay an annual mortgage insurance premium of 0.85 percent of the loan amount for the remainder of the 30-year term that cannot be canceled. That adds up over time.

    To eliminate PMI, homeowners can refinance an FHA loan into a conventional mortgage once they gain 20 percent equity in their home.

    Worst reasons to refinance a mortgage

    Save money for a new home

    Refinancing isn’t free; you’ll pay roughly 2 percent or more in closing costs, and it can take a few years to break even. Moving up to another home before you’ve recouped those costs means you’ll probably lose money even if you manage to lower your monthly payments in the interim.

    “If a homeowner is planning to move within the next five years, they may not get as much benefit from a refinance,” Snyder says. “Often, the costs (of a refinance) could outweigh the benefits.”

    A refinance break-even calculator can help you decide how long you should stay in your home after a refinance to recoup the costs.

    Splurge on luxury purchases with a cash-out refinance

    Tapping your home equity like an ATM to misuse it without a clear financial goal in mind is dangerous, Rose cautions. Using a cash-out refinance to pay for fancy vacations, a new car or RV, invest in iffy ventures, or to splurge on other luxuries can lead to even more financial turmoil, she says.

    “There has to be some sort of net tangible benefit to the homeowner to refinance,” Rose says. “I don’t recommend cash-out refinancing for anything that won’t add security to or improve your financial picture.”

    Move into a longer-term loan

    Snagging a lower rate and lowering your payments may seem like a great move, but refinancing when you’re already halfway or more through a 30-year mortgage is rarely a good idea, says Steven Jon Kaplan, CEO of True Contrarian Investments in New York City.

    “Before you refinance, the most important consideration is how much interest is being paid throughout the remainder of the loan, and how long the loan will continue,” Kaplan says. “Because all mortgage loans are amortized the same way, almost all of the monthly payments in the early years consist of interest, while almost all of the payments in the final years of a mortgage consist of paying down principal.

    “When you’re in the final half of a mortgage, such as the final 15 years of a 30-year mortgage, it’s a very bad idea to refinance because you are finally at a point where you are paying back more principal than interest. When you refinance, the amortization begins from scratch so you will waste the first decade or so paying off almost all interest.”

    Pay off your home faster if you haven’t met other financial goals

    Refinancing into a shorter-term loan solely to pay off your loan faster can short-change you on other financial goals. More of your money will be tied up in your house that could be put toward increasing your retirement account contributions, college fund savings, paying down debt or making investments with higher returns.

    After you’ve checked off those boxes and if the spread between your current interest rate and a shorter-term refinance rate isn’t that large, consider knocking down your mortgage debt another way, recommends Johnson, the Mr. Cooper lending executive.

    “You can always pay more principal on your existing mortgage to pay it off in 15 years while giving yourself the option of making smaller payments if you are faced with financial hardship (in the meantime),” Johnson says.

    You recently bought your home

    Even if rates dip slightly within the first year of your home purchase, refinancing into another mortgage too soon isn’t advisable, Johnson says.

    “This is lender churning, which is usually beneficial for the lender but, when refinance costs are considered, rarely benefits the customer,” Johnson says.

    Learn more:

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    8 steps for getting out of debt as quickly as possible

    There are few things quite as liberating as getting out of debt after having been in the negative for a while. Millions of Americans are facing an uphill battle — but almost anyone be debt-free with a few tried and true steps.

    In this article, we’re going to walk through the steps that will allow you to get out of debt. Instead of a long, drawn-out process that takes forever before you see results, these methods are ready to be put into action immediately. That means you can be debt-free sooner rather than later!

    How to get out of debt: Money strategies that work

    Money expert Clark Howard has helped American consumers get out of debt for more than two decades with his sage financial advice. He says that when it comes to being debt-free, you first need a plan in place.

    “You can’t get out of debt until you have a road map to do it,” he says. “So the first thing you have to do is figure out where every dollar is going and what of that you can reduce so that you free up the money to pay on your debts.”

    So, let’s start with the all-important first step…

    1. Figure out where your money is going

    First, you have to look at your overall finances. What’s your income? Where is all of that money going?

    The key to figuring out where every dollar is spent is to create a list or inventory that shows all of your bills and credit card accounts. Make sure you include the interest rates for each card.

    In creating a list that shows your interest rates from highest to lowest, you can clearly see which credit card you need to pay first: the one with the highest interest rate!

    Here are two questions that Clark says you need to ask yourself at this stage:

    • What’s my income?
    • What am I spending on a monthly basis?

    You can use a notebook or a spreadsheet, but you need to write this down. Answering these two questions is crucial to reconciling in your mind what the steps are for you to become financially solvent again. This is the first step toward creating a budget.

    2. Calculate your debt

    Once you take a good, hard look at how much money you’re bringing in and how much you owe, your debt-to-income ratio will be crystal clear. Clark says that’s when it’s time to make a key decision to get out of debt.

    “Then you come up with a plan based on the debt you have,” he says.

    This is not a rhetorical exercise: You need to literally write down a timetable that shows “how many months or years it will take to pay it off and much that’ll be per month that you’re going to have to pay,” Clark says.

    3. Set a goal

    Next, you need to come up with a goal: Because everyone’s financial journey is different, your goals will vary. The key to it all is to be realistic. The last thing you need to do is to set a super-stringent benchmark that deprives you of basic meals and necessities.

    Clark says goals are so important because without them, there’s no accountability.

    “It’s like when someone says, ‘You know, I really should be saving money,’ and they’re guilt-tripping themselves. Let’s say that they make enough money and they should be saving money, but they’re not: They’re not going to change their behavior unless they have a goal. So you have to set a goal.”

    So you have a roadmap to get out of debt: What’s next?

    Once you’ve got your road map in place, you’ll need to employ some cost-cutting strategies that will actually allow you to reach your goal sooner.

    4. Get help with your debt

    At this point, you might be overwhelmed with what you’ve learned about your situation so far. It’s time to step back.

    Don’t think for a second that you’re sinking in debt all alone. Millions of Americans face a similar situation.

    If you’re struggling to pay off your debts, contact the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. The organization offers free credit counseling and a debt management service for a small monthly fee depending on the state. Visit to find a CCCS office near you.

    5. Transfer your credit card balances

    The next step is to see if you can reduce the amount you’re paying to your creditors.

    When it comes to your credit cards, hopefully you’re paying at least the minimum amounts due each month and not skipping any payments. If you don’t do those two things, you’re likely to be saddled with even higher interest rates.

    One reason your payments may be so high is because you’re paying hefty interest charges. To reduce them, take advantage of credit cards with low introductory rates. The key is to pay it off (or do a balance transfer) before the rate expires.

    6. Sell your old stuff online

    Once you’ve taken care of that, look for ways to earn extra money.

    Who says you have to have a garage to have a garage sale? The largest marketplaces are online, so what better way to sell your old items? Look around your house, in the attic or basement and gather what you don’t need. Today there are scores of websites that let you upload items to sell.

    Here are some resources to help you sell your stuff for the most cash:

    7. Boost your income

    At the same time, see if you can put your skills and time to work to boost your income.

    To help you line your pockets, here’s a list of easy ways to make extra money each month.

    If you can’t find a way to make some supplemental income from selling your old items or picking up odd work, you may want to look for a job that pays more money.

    Freshen up that resume and apply for a second job. It could even be a temporary job just to get some more money rolling in. Once you’ve climbed yourself out of the financial hole, you may be in a better position to pay your debts.

    8. Start an emergency savings fund

    Finally, it’s time to start thinking about what you would do if the economy goes south or you run into unexpected expenses.

    The #1 way to recession-proof your life is to have an emergency fund or, as Clark likes to call it, an “oops” fund.

    “If you don’t have savings then you’re not prepared for the ‘oops’ in life,” he says. “Because oops happen. All different types, sizes, and a lot of times we’re not in a position.”

    RELATED: How to start building your emergency savings now

    Clark says the numbers show that if you’re not saving — even a small amount — the risk of financial ruin is much higher. Put something away — even if it’s $10 every pay period — so that it will grow over time.

    Final thought

    Nobody likes to think about debt, even if it sometimes keeps us awake at night. Debt is not going to go away by itself, so facing it sooner rather than later is vital to your peace of mind. Follow the steps and suggestions above and you could find yourself in the debt-free club before you know it!

    More Clark content you might like:

    Here’s How Much Money Editors Earn In Every State

    Magazine editors brainstorming in the office. Discussing and looking for new ideas for their magazine.


    Print media might be under pressure, but it’s hardly dying. And the explosion of digital media, during both Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, the latter of which accelerated its growth even more, requires editors to manage the increasing volume of content and media available online.

    The average income for an editor has reached $69,480 as of May 2018, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics. Equally important is the future outlook for editors. Unfortunately, the future of editor employment is rather unclear at the moment. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (BLS), employment of editors is set to decline 1% through 2026, which equates to little or almost no change over so many years. In raw numbers, employment is projected to decline by 1,800, which isn’t much when compared to, say, postal service workers, which are projected to decline 13% in employment from 2016 to 2026.

    With the proliferation of digital media, there’s no shortage of work for editors. Alas, this development has kept wages down for editors while making jobs at established newspapers and magazines more difficult to attain. But you can optimize the opportunities presented by this occupation by picking a state that pays editors best. Check out the full breakdown below of where editors’ incomes are the lowest, and where their incomes are the highest.

    10 States Where Editors Earn the Most Money

    When looking at editors’ salaries across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the latter ranks No. 1 ahead of all states, with editors earning an annual mean wage of $89,710 in 2018. Excluding D.C., Massachusetts ranks as the best state for editor salaries, earning an average of $89,280 a year.

    Here’s a list of the top 10 states that pay editors the most money.

    Mean Annual Wage


    New York



    New Jersey






    The East Coast largely dominates this list, accounting for 6 out of the top 10 states. The West Coast accounts for three — Hawaii, California and Washington — while the South accounts for two states — Virginia and Delaware.

    Trending Now: Here’s How Much Money Photographers Earn In Every State

    10 States Where Editors Earn the Least Money

    The 10 states where editors make the least money geographically fall primarily in the West and South. Montana, which lies in the Census-designated Mountain division, has the lowest average editor salary, $41,030 a year. Seven out of the 10 lowest-paying states are located in the Census South region, which stretches from Oklahoma in the west to Delaware in the east, and everything south of this.

    Here’s a list of the top 10 states that pay editors the least money.

    Mean Annual Wage




    New Mexico



    South Carolina



    South Dakota

    Some of these states, however, are actually seeing editor salaries increase over the years, while other states have seen significant declines. Looking at average editor wages from 2015 to 2018, Louisiana has experienced a 15.7% decline in salaries for editors; in New Mexico, a 15.5% decline in three years. On the flipside, editor incomes in Mississippi rose by 18.5%, from $38,890 in 2015 to $46,070 in 2018.

    Related: Here’s How Much Money Web Developers Earn In Every State

    How Much Editors Earn In Every State

    Moving beyond highest and lowest, here’s a look at average editor salaries by state, in alphabetical order. On the left is the state’s rank from No. 1 to No. 48, with the District of Columbia excluded, and Alabama and North Dakota left out because they have no wage data for 2018.

    3-Year Change
    2018 Average Wage
    2017 Average Wage
    2016 Average Wage
    2015 Average Wage









    District of Columbia





















    New Hampshire

    New Jersey

    New Mexico

    New York

    North Carolina

    North Dakota





    Rhode Island

    South Carolina

    South Dakota







    West Virginia



    While the East Coast dominates top 10 highest-paying states for editors, in terms of salary growth, the biggest winners are more varied. Editor salaries in Hawaii have seen the most growth in three years, rising from an average of $55,200 in 2015 to $78,390 in 2018, a 42% increase. In second place is Texas, with a 29.5% increase in average editor wages since 2015. Two Mountain states — Wyoming and Idaho — saw impressive growth, with increases of 28.7% and 25.8%, respectively, from 2015 to 2018.

    Trending Now: How Much Would You Have for Retirement If You Saved $100 a Month?

    This generation is least frugal with money, and their parents could be partly to blame

    <!– –>

    It probably comes as no surprise that your parents helped shape your financial habits.

    And a new survey from TD Ameritrade shows that the way your parents handled money is likely the biggest influence on how you manage your own finances now.

    That tops other events from your early years, including your household’s financial situation, access to financial education and community’s financial state.

    When broken down by generation — between millennials, Generation X and baby boomers — the youngest cohort is the most vocal about how those financial influences have shaped them, the survey found.

    More than half of millennials — 53% — had at least one parent who was not frugal, versus 39% of Gen X and 34% of baby boomers.

    Gen Xers, meanwhile, were most likely to say their parents had spoiled them, with 35%, compared to 28% of millennials and 8% of baby boomers.

    Today, millennials are most likely to admit that they are not frugal with money and are susceptible to overspending. Meanwhile, baby boomers were most likely to say they pinch pennies.

    When it comes to financial influences, millennials were more likely to turn to people aside from their parents, including other family and friends.

    “They are much more likely to go seeking information and seeking advice,” Chris Bohlsen, director of investor services at TD Ameritrade.

    A key takeaway for millennials, as this generation has children themselves, is to think about setting a good example, Bohlsen said.

    “It’s not just educating yourself, but creating those habits and that discipline,” Bohlsen said.

    For all generations, it’s never too late to set a positive example with healthy savings and investing habits.

    “Even with adult children, it’s not too late to have conversations,” Bohlsen said.

    More from Invest in You:
    Baby boomers face retirement crisis — little savings and high health costs
    5 last-minute tax tips for 11th-hour filers
    ‘I stash cash where my wife can’t find it’: America’s juiciest money secrets

    The online survey was conducted in November on TD Ameritrade’s behalf by The Harris Poll. It included 1,000 adults ages 22 and up with at least $10,000 in investable assets.

    Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.


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    News Tips

    I’ve found the best way to track my money is a simple spreadsheet

    My days start and end with the most basic money management tool you’ll find — an Excel spreadsheet.

    I’ve been a personal finance writer for about a decade now, and I’ve tested many fancy online tools and apps and resources. Still, despite all the latest helpful technology, I keep coming back to my trusty Excel document. Here’s why.

    1. It keeps me honest

    Although it’s tedious, as soon as I can after every purchase, I physically log it into my Excel document to keep a running total of my monthly credit card purchases against my overall budget. I categorize things with color blocks — yellow for purchases that will be paid out of my husband’s and my joint checking account, white for those I’ll cover out of my own funds, purple for my health insurance payment and other health-related items — and so on and so forth.

    I know there are online tools that do this for you — allow you to set categories that the system automatically puts into buckets. I’ve used these, and what I found was that I was always double-checking the system for errors or switching the buckets around anyway. So I figured, why not cut out the middleman?

    2. It’s the best way I’ve found to track my multiple systems

    My elaborate Excel system actually includes multiple sheets which, yes, can get cumbersome. However, for a Type A dork like myself, I’m not bothered. I keep four Excel docs:

    1. One that tracks our monthly joint expenses against our budget
    2. One that tracks my own monthly credit card purchases against my own personal budget
    3. One that tracks the full year of expenses for which I’m solely responsible (versus what my husband pays for with his salary) against the income I plan to earn for each month (since I’m a freelancer, this can vary, but tracking it this way helps me set monthly goals)
    4. One that tracks what is currently in my checking account against the bills that will need to be paid in the near future

    That’s a lot of documents, and I could probably consolidate somewhat, but I’ve used this system for years, and it works.

    It takes me about 20 minutes each morning to check the Excel sheets against my checking and savings accounts to make sure everything looks accurate, and I usually close out the day by doing a quick five-minute check back, as well.

    3. It allows for flexibility

    As a freelancer, my income can be sporadic and varied. Some months are busier than others, and I often have to wait a while for checks to come in. Having a system that allows me to manually move things around as needed makes tracking much easier.

    Budgeting and personal finance is all about finding the system that works best for you, the one that will best help you stay on track with your goals. I love that there are so many products available these days to help people better manage their money. However, if you feel like you’ve tried them all and you still haven’t found a system you love, allow me to suggest the simple Excel document. It just may surprise you.

    Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Goldman Sachs. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Goldman Sachs.

    The stress of tax season is real. Here’s how to cope

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    Updated 0842 GMT (1642 HKT) April 12, 2019

    Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds.

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    (CNN)Debt, taxes and stress — these are certain, and related, for many adults.

    Managing Change? Manage Your Environment.

    What if I told you your community justice system could lower adult recidivism by 10%, juvenile recidivism by 20%, and would need to send only 1% of defendants to jail? It might be as simple as changing the courtroom.

    Judge Alex Calabrese did just that. He decided to reform the criminal justice system with a new objective: “Improve behavior rather than punish it.” In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker describes his innovative approach. He thought about the courtroom itself. A defendant encountered a dark, unfamiliar room, where a judge decided his fate from on high – literally. The towering judge’s bench and the layout of the courtroom seemed designed to make the defendant feel small, isolated, and hopeless. Instead, Judge Calabrese set Brooklyn’s Red Hook Community Justice Center in a former high school, with big windows that bathed the space with light and a judge’s bench at eye level. Red Hook made other changes to the process too, but the physical environment played a crucial role in their results.

    There are many findings that tell us environment affects our behavior. For example, researchers found that the very presence of a number on a classroom door can influence a student’s choice of a number in an estimating exercise. Williams Sonoma found that placing an expensive bread maker next to mid-range priced bread maker improved sales of the cheaper version. People in theatre know that emotion is contagious, so they choose venues where audiences sit close together.

    Scientists call this priming – cues in our environment affect how we perceive or interpret information that follows. Priming changes what things mean to us and how much attention we give them, which changes our behavior.

    Environment affects our behavior.


    For example, companies that want their teams to collaborate often use open seating arrangements – removing physical barriers and signaling a lack of emotional barriers. The dotcoms that want their people to stay and work long hours prime the environment with free food, foosball tables, and in-house dry cleaning – they are signaling “home” and “community,” which is where people live. Starbucks used its warm colors and small tables to create their famous “third space,” encouraging people to linger over pricy coffee.

    We see the effects of environment often, in our change management work. When we were helping a Chicago hospital implement a new process for approving IT projects, we realized the pagers the IT team carried symbolized an automatic “Yes!” to every request. In order to get people to use the new approval approach, we explored the idea of taking away the pagers. That was too big an interruption to the process, so we came up with Plan B: we changed employees’ pager numbers. This made the requestors stop and pay attention to every request. The new numbers were also a symbol of the new way of working – both for people asking for help and for the service-oriented IT team.

    This is a question we should always ask ourselves: How are we using the work environment to frame our change and support the right behaviors? We want people to enable – even embrace — the change and shift behavior. How is their environment defining the change? Is it good? Is it safe? Where is the environment focusing their attention? What are we triggering in those we want to succeed?

    Dr. Brian Gunia, of Johns Hopkins University, studied environment-influenced deception during negotiation. He believes it can impact the outcomes of mergers and acquisitions. In summarizing work by Kay, Wheeler, Bargh, and Ross, he writes, “objects …help people make sense of ambiguous situations and determine how to act.”

    Dr. Gunia’s findings give us some tips for constructing the work environment to support a business change:


    • The science: If you make people think about money, they will put their own interests first. In fact, symbols representing extreme wealth cause some people to justify cheating. They are driven to somehow make things fairer. And cheating is more likely if it costs an organization, as opposed to a person. It’s just business, after all.
    • The application: Take money off the table. Don’t use images of cash, wallets, status, or wealth. For example, promising big bonuses for hitting milestones might be a mistake. And don’t brand your initiative with dollar signs or glitzy imagery.


    • The science: Certain objects and images remind people of their identities. Mirrors and video or audio content promote self-awareness. They also discourage cheating.
    • The application: If you’re remote, insist on video conferencing. Seeing each other’s faces and hearing their voices reminds people they are dealing with human beings. And seeing one’s own face on a video share is like the mirror – a reminder of identity. You’ll promote the best behavior from team members.

    The Senses

    • The science: The senses are critical in interpreting our environment.

      • Gunia suggests that disgust drives our sense of what’s good or bad. There’s a subconscious moral overlay that comes from religious rituals such as baptism. Our desire to clean can represent making amends. Clean spaces are seen as morally better. Cleaning products can represent taking higher ground.Dark spaces seem threatening. Dark colors feel more hostile and aggressive. People associate bright lighting and white spaces with moral behavior.People who smell fish oil view situations more suspiciously, those “exposed to ‘fart smells’ made harsher moral judgments about others.” Pleasant smells (the researchers used citrus Windex) prompt generosity.

        People who drank bitter drinks were more judgmental than those who drank sweet drinks

    • The application: Prime the project team workspace. Project war rooms are famously windowless and littered. Put your team in a large room with windows. Keep it meticulously clean. Whip out the citrus Windex if you must. Townhall, kick-off or workshop? Treat the senses. Put the group in a light room. Wear light colors and avoid flashy accessories. Splurge on delicious food. Make sure there are sweet drinks. Definitely avoid anything that smells bad. Whatever the research, you probably should keep the coffee!


    • The science: Using the concept of time causes people to consider their actions more carefully.
    • The application: What’s on the walls? A large clock? Good. You’re conveying that what happens now fits in a longer-term experience. A statement about your values? Excellent. You’re reminding people of a higher calling.

    When we lead through change, we have a powerful tool in our arsenal: the physical environment. Science teaches us that spaces, symbols, and materials can work for us or against us. Design the environment to promote your change.

    For fun, take a look at this video and count the number of times you see the ball passed. Environmental cues and priming impact all of us, even when we’re aware of and looking for them.