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The latest news on Relationships from Business Insider

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    girl smiling bed pillow

    Americans are firm believers in a healthy sex life. In fact, 61 percent believe that a healthy sexual relationship makes them a better husband, wife or partner, according to a survey by condom manufacturer Durex.

    But it's not all fireworks in the bedroom.  

    In a poll of 1000 men and women, half of respondents were "feeling dissatisfied with the duration of their bedroom escapades." The dissatisfaction has led 75 percent of men and 66 percent of women to try alter the pace while making love. 

    Apparently, it's a timing issue with 37 percent respondents feeling their intimacy time ends too quickly while 14 percent say it lasts longer than they would like.

    Maybe they should try altering the location instead, since a third of women fantasize about making love on the Eiffel Tower and third of men want to do it in the White House. 

    Previous surveys have shown that men and women have different ideas of sex. In 2010, David Crary reported for the Associated Press that 85 percent of men were sure their latest partner had an orgasm, but only 64 percent of women actually had one.

    SEE ALSO: The 10 Happiest States In America > 

    Please follow Business Insider on Twitter and Facebook.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    hiking, travel, gen y

    Four years ago I was $6,000 in debt, worked two jobs (travel agent by day, waiter by night) and was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

    Since then, my wife and I have traveled. A lot.

    We’ve trekked the Himalaya, dove Thailand’s crystal clear waters and spent last Christmas drinking rum on a Caribbean island.

    We’ve published a book, meditated in India and – somehow through it all – built a successful online business.

    How did this happen?

    In a word: the recession.

    Why the Recession Changed Our Lives Forever

    When the real estate market crashed, my two rental properties were suddenly worth a lot less than what I paid for them.

    Meanwhile, friends struggled to find any form of work (unemployment peaked at 10% in October 2009), which made me feel like one of the lucky ones.

    Even with work, the more money I made, the more I would spend and I was getting nowhere.

    With rent, gas, cable, insurance, clothes, food, utilities, entertainment, our bills were out of control.  My wife was commuting over an hour a day to work and the gas bill was up to $100 each week.  That’s $400 per month, and $4,800 per year.  It was insane.

    We needed to make a change.

    After selling all our possessions (and I mean all of them), paying off our debts and saving every cent we could – my wife and I moved to Southeast Asia. And that’s when everything changed.

    We were free.

    A New Perspective

    Overseas, we lived a simpler life.

    We no longer had to spend $400 on gas each month… we simply walked.  It was like taking a step back in time, but in reality it was more a step forward.  It just made sense.

    The more we traveled the more our perceptions changed.

    Traveling the World Is (Often) Cheaper Than Sitting At Home

    The recession made it hard to afford day to day life in California. We lived frugally – meals at home, cheap wine on occasion – but saving money remained difficult.

    However, traveling through Southeast Asia we ate out every meal, took taxis (or tuk-tuks) and still had money left over. All in all, we spent about 50% less traveling than we spent sitting on a couch in California.

    Of course, it’s not just where you go, it’s also how fast

    Traveling Slow Is The Cheapest (and Richest) Way To See the World

    Living off savings makes you aware of every cent. You learn to make your money last… and the easiest way to do that abroad is to travel slow.

    Staying in places longer means you pay less per day. You trade monthly rates for daily (which can be up to 50% less).

    As I write this, we live in a three bedroom, three bathroom apartment in Quito, Ecuador. To my right is an overlook of the entire city. It’s the type of view you’d pay $3,000 (or more) for in San Francisco or New York.

    Our rent? $900 per month. And that includes power, water, garbage, wifi and use of the gym.

    Think about that for a second. You could spend $900 for two weeks in a hotel here for the same amount. By traveling slower, you can literally travel twice as long.

    Plus, traveling slow lets you dig a little deeper. You find local hangouts, visit your favorite shops and get to know other people who live there.

    In other words: you start living like a local.

    Numbeo compares the cost of living in different countries, which makes it easy to see how far your dollar (or pound, or euro) will take you.

    And speaking of money…

    There Are More Opportunities Online Than Anywhere Else

    Sure, stretching your dollar is great, but you still need to make some money. Fortunately, it’s easier to make money online than in your hometown.

    Sites like eLance and Guru let you find online work in a wide variety of fields. We picked up a few freelance jobs (writing, mostly) which turned into part-time work. When living abroad, that money goes much further than back in the U.S.

    But that’s really only the beginning…

    The Recession Forced Us To Become Entrepreneurs

    Freelancing taught us a lot about working online. Armed with this knowledge, we started building our own websites, which made money either through advertising or selling products.

    This was the beginning of our business. Quite frankly, it wasn’t much, but we learned and kept building.

    Now, four years later we’ve got a killer travel site which lets us travel the world and actually get paid to write about it.

    I always dreamed writing for a living. I always dreamed of traveling. Now, I get to do both. And quite frankly, if it wasn’t for the not-so-subtle push the recession gave us, I’m not sure I’d be doing either.

    So if you’re struggling financially, I feel for you. I really do. But maybe all you need a little shove to start in a new direction. Maybe you need a different perspective. Maybe now is the time when you turn it all around.

    What’s stopping you?

    Now see how one writer clawed herself out of the black hole of debt and paid off her credit card >

    Please follow Your Money on Twitter and Facebook.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Julia La Roche

    Perhaps the biggest drawback to online dating is it can be extremely time consuming, especially for those working 80+ hours a week on Wall Street.

    The challenges online daters encounter include creating an interesting enough profile to attract attention, sifting through tons of other profiles in hopes of finding a potential match, sending out the right messages and maintaining contact just to go on that first date. 

    That's why Alexandre Errera and Maxime Leufroy-Murat -- both former Morgan Stanley employees in London (a distressed debt analyst and an equity trader, respectively) -- decided to launch a dating website last November called Personal Dating Agent (PDA).

    I signed up to try the service out and I've detailed my experience in the slides that follow >

    The idea came to them last summer when the pair of now-entrepreneurs were looking to exit the finance world.  Ironically, it was their experience working at an investment bank that helped give them the idea in the first place.   

    "We started searching for an escape and we explored a few ideas and came across, from personal experience and people around us, that dating was a big problem usually because we didn't have the time.  It was difficult to meet girls.  So we started to think about a potential solution," Leufroy-Murat told Business Insider in a telephone interview. 

    The pair got together and decided to start a business to solve a problem they identified in the banking world -- a lack of time for dating, even online. 

    "It takes so much time -- hours sending messages.  It was a waste of my time and not worth it.  If someone could do that for me it would be amazing," Leufroy-Murat said.

    And that's exactly how Personal Dating Agent works. An agent creates your profile, scopes out potential matches, sends tailored messages and organize the dates so all you have to do is date.  

    Those are just a few of the available services the site offers.  You can also sign up membership packages that offer services such as pre-date coaching, style advice, professional photo shoot, date booking, etc. 

    It's been six months since the former Morgan Stanley employees launched PDA and life these days is a lot different.

    "I used to be a trader and I'd start at 6 and I had to wake up at 5," Leufroy-Murat told Business Insider.  "Now I'm up at 8/8:30."

    He added that he's really happy running his own business.

    "It's a big deal -- it impacts your life.  I used to be tired all of the time.  I used to have to go out and it just made me really tired.  It's a healthier life and a happier life," he said. 

    The money from the business is not bad either.  In fact, it's good, he said. 

    "We are on our way to replacing our old income. That's good."  

    As for the clients, he said the site started out 90% male and 10% female.  He said that recently became about 50/50.  

    He said the company, which currently employs three full-time dating agents as well as freelance writers, would like to expand into Germany and France soon.  But he doesn't expect it to be as massive as other online dating sites.  

    "This business is never going to be a  If we get to 500 clients or a few thousand clients that's as far as we'll go."  

    When you sign up for Personal Dating Agent, you'll receive a login to your 'member space' on the site.

    You will then be asked to answer questions and fill out details about yourself.  It's really easy and straight forward. (Think background info, education, where you grew up, etc.) 

    You'll also have to identify what you find attractive in a person and the type of person you would be attracted to. Make sure you're honest about this one as your agent will use the information you provide when searching for your matches.   

    The site will also ask you to submit a few photographs of yourself to use on your dating profiles.  

    Shortly after completing the information in your member space, your personal dating agent will give you a phone call. (Tip: Take this call in private)

    Your personal dating agent (mine was a woman named Natasha) will call you to go over your answers in your member space.  Your agent will basically have a conversation with you to learn more about you before crafting your dating profiles.  

    For me, the phone call lasted about 45 minutes.  This conversation can be a tad bit embarrassing (i.e. I had to disclose my longest relationship and the most personal thing I'm willing to share). So make sure you take the phone call in private and not in front of your co-workers like I did.  

    Based on the information you provided both in your member space and the phone call, your agent will then draft the text to your online dating profiles. Here's an excerpt from mine. I recommended minor edits.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

    Please follow Clusterstock on Twitter and Facebook.

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    josh opperman diamond rings

    Six years ago, groom-to-be Josh Opperman came home from work and found his Manhattan apartment was empty except for the engagement ring his fiancée had left behind.

    And that event wouldn't be his last disappointment: Opperman found that the most he could get a jeweler to give him for the ring was only 30 percent what he paid for it.

    Inspired by his experience, Opperman started It's a marketplace for people looking to rid themselves of their once-prized wedding jewelry.

    "People aren't weirded out or thinking about bad karma," he told us. "It's not like you knew where your ring came from before you bought it in a store."

    We checked out the stories of people selling their rings online and found reasons ranging from scandalous to strange.

    The man who posted this ad said he found this diamond and yellow gold band on the beach and had it appraised. He's asking for $2000.


    This woman is selling her 1.28-carat Tiffany solitaire ring so she can upgrade to a bigger diamond after a year of marriage. She's asking for $14,000.


    This widower is selling his deceased wife's wedding set to help pay expenses for their two children. He wants $11,000 for it.


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

    Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

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    girls legs

    Here at Clusterstock we're on the hunt to find the right people for our first-ever most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes on Wall Street list.  

    Aside from taking reader nominations (keep sending them in!), we're scouring Manhattan to bring you the cream of the crop.

    We recently approached an attractive hedge fund employee about being on our list.  

    During our conversation, he told us he only dates models.

    Naturally, we pressed on to understand why besides their good looks. 

    First, the hedge fund employee said he only dates women who are really, really tall.  He said 5'9"is the minimum height. 

    Then, he said they have to be super skinny either a size 0 or 2, no exceptions.

    Finally, he added the dumber the girl is the better.  

    The reason, he explained, is because after a long day of work he'd rather be around someone who would talk about "breaking her nail" than someone who could carry on an intellectual conversation.   

    Guess he just wants to relax. 

    SEE ALSO: I Tried A Dating Service Designed For Wall Streeters >

    Please follow Clusterstock on Twitter and Facebook.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Asian, woman, diner, shop

    Love is blind—and never more than when it comes to our money.

    But how do you keep from choosing a dubious financial partner while falling head over heels? It isn’t easy, as any of us who’ve loved and wound up in the red can tell you.

    That’s what this list is for. In between the flowers and the heart flutters, take the time to see if the person you love fits any of these eight signs.

    By the way, this advice is steeped in real-life experience, as well as a recent survey by TD Ameritrade about the biggest financial dealbreakers in Americans’ love lives. Not to mention research from the National Marriage Project about the most likely predictors of divorce—many of which center around money.

    After reading these signs, if you’re tempted to say, “Oh, but my lovebunny isn’t really like that …” call your mom or your closest girlfriend and discuss. One sign alone doesn’t mean your relationship is in jeopardy, and for each, we’ll give you a recommendation of what to do next if your true love fits the profile.

    Check out the signs below to see if the one you love just might be bad for your financial health.

    1. He’s in Major Credit Card Debt (and Not Doing Anything About It)

    We know: Life happens. Icky things like a job loss or divorce can put you in the hole quickly. (Which is why we always recommend you build at least a six-month emergency fund). We’re not saying you shouldn’t date anyone with debt to his name. The red flag in this situation is someone who continues to accrue it—and doesn’t have a plan to undo it.

    Not only does the habit suggest you’re falling for someone who can’t handle money responsibly, there’s also evidence it can hurt you both long-term. “Consumer debt is an equal-opportunity marriage destroyer,” states a 2009 report by the National Marriage Project. “It does not matter if couples are rich or poor, working class or middle class. If they accrue substantial debt, it puts a strain on their marriage.”

    Credit card debt increases the likelihood a couple will fight over money—as well as issues other than money—and decreases the time they spend with one another, shows a study published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues. And the couples in the study who had accrued debt actually grew less happy over time as compared to those without it.

    What You Can Do: The flip side of that same study shows that couples who made a plan and tackled their debt together remained happier with each other over the long-term. Debt definitely needn’t spell the end of a relationship, but it does mean you need to have a talk about how either partner got into debt in the first place and what you’ll do together to pay it off. Our “Get to Your Goal” calculator is an easy way to see how long it could take you.

    2. He Spends Like a Drunken Sailor

    Whether it’s literally getting drunk and buying a round for the whole bar, or just a serious taste for pricey new gadgets, spending as though money is going out of style can be a warning sign.

    “When individuals feel that their spouse doesn’t handle money well, they report lower levels of marital happiness,” say the researchers. In fact, one study showed that feeling like your partner spent money foolishly increased the likelihood of divorce 45% for both men and women. Only extramarital affairs and alcohol or drug abuse were stronger predictors of being headed for splitsville.

    What You Can Do: If your partner is fabulously wealthy, his spending is well within his budget or he has otherwise healthy financial habits, you can probably relax. But if your heart rate goes up every time he opens his wallet or unveils another new “toy,” it’s time for a talk.

    People overspend for a lot of different reasons. Your first goal should be to communicate that his habits make you uncomfortable. One easy way to start the conversation? Take our “What’s Your Money Belief?” quiz together to reveal the emotions behind the financial decisions you each make.

    3. You Have Vastly Different Attitudes Toward Money

    While opposites do attract, and this needn’t spell doom, having vastly different worldviews when it comes to your finances can cause friction. Maybe you’re the spender, he’s the saver, or vice versa. Either way, over time, being nagged can wear thin. The problem is that resentment builds up.

    Take a pair of married friends we know: “She has no concept of what a budget even means!” he’ll rail when he discovers yet another shopping bag. She, on the other hand, defends herself, saying: “I work so hard, I deserve to buy what I want.” They’re caught in a money stalemate.

    What You Can Do: The goal isn’t to decide who’s ultimately right, just to get on the same page so you’re not fighting every time you head to the ATM. One of the easiest ways is to look at how you pool your money. If you need to have this talk, or you’re just headed for the altar soon, our free “Getting Hitched” bootcamp—which tells you everything a couple needs to know to combine their finances—is a great place to start.

    One quick rule of thumb? Allocate money that is yours, mine and ours. LearnVest recommends 75% be shared for household expenses and meeting financial goals, with 25% as discretionary income you can spend on your own.

    4. He’s Frequently Unemployed

    Lose a job once? Can happen to anyone. We’re talking more about a serial pattern of unemployment, which has been shown to have serious impact on the future of your relationship.

    First, the common sense: A pattern like this could suggest there’s something underlying his patchy employment history other than a bad economy or bum luck. Whether it’s a problem with authority or a lack of responsibility, neither bodes well for your long-term happiness. (If multiple employers don’t find him reliable, odds are you won’t either.)

    Plus, according to a study by Liana Sayer of Ohio State University, while a woman’s employment status had no effect on the likelihood her husband would head for the hills, a man’s unemployment, on the other hand, increased the chances his wife would initiate divorce and the chances he would leave.

    Even men who were relatively happy in their marriages were more likely to skedaddle if they lost a job. The researchers chalk it up to the fact that there’s still more societal pressure on men to be the breadwinners.

    What You Can Do: Look at the big picture. Was he affected by the recession? Does he work in a particularly volatile industry? If neither of those explains the pattern, talk to your partner about your concerns and see whether he has a good explanation … or gets defensive. If it’s the latter, you may want to recommend he seek help from a therapist to figure out the underlying issues.

    5. He Doesn’t Want to Get Married

    This is an interesting one: Dating a commitment-phobe can actually mean you’re hurting your chances not just of walking down the aisle, but also of accumulating wealth.

    Researchers have found that getting married improves your fortune in more ways than one. First, there are economies of scale (two can live more cheaply than one, and each specializes in what he or she is good at—like fixing a computer or changing a light bulb, so you can save on hiring someone to do the task. )

    But there’s also something about committing to a life together that has a halo effect on your finances. Overall, married couples save and invest more for the future (and, at the same time, act as built-in insurance for each other against uncertainties like an illness or pink slips). And something about committing to a partner makes men more virile economically: Married guys actually earn between 10% and 40% more than single men with similar education and job histories.

    What You Can Do: Only you can answer whether marriage matters to you. But for anyone in a committed couple, the best things you can do are to be honest about your approach to your finances, make a joint plan to tackle debt and create lifestyle and savings goals you want to reach together, like saving up for a down payment, or socking away $20,000 in your emergency fund.

    Happily, building assets together, researchers say, is one way to grow closer as a couple. “Assets … sweeten and solidify the ties between spouses,” says the National Marriage Project, “by minimizing any sense of financial unease that couples feel, with the result that they experience less conflict.”

    6. He Declared Bankruptcy, or Got Foreclosed On

    Most of us are already on the same page about this one. In a recent “Couples & Money” survey by TD Ameritrade, women said their top two biggest financial dealbreakers in a relationship were bankruptcy (42%) and foreclosure (32%).

    Men, on the other hand, cited bankruptcy and high credit card debt, at 24% and 21% respectively.

    There are two considerations at work here: what it says about your partner and what it means for your joint future. Bankruptcy suggests that, at least at one point in their life, the person you love got so deep in a financial hole he or she couldn’t see another way out.

    In certain professions (like some areas of finance) a bankruptcy may hinder your efforts to get hired: A recent District Court ruling found that a non-government employer may choose not to hire someone based on a past bankruptcy. And, since it remains on your credit report for up to ten years, and a foreclosure for seven, it can also impact whether the two of you would be able to get a loan for a car or a house of your own someday.

    What You Can Do:  Have a frank talk about the circumstances that led up to the crisis: Was it a slew of medical bills after an unexpected surgery, or pure financial irresponsibility? “Ask yourself: What was the situation, is it likely to be repeated—and are you jeopardizing your own financial well-being?” says Stephanie Kirkpatrick, LearnVest’s Director of Financial Planning.

    7. You’ve Caught Him in a Lie

    According to a new poll by, 92% of Americans say they never hide the details of their financial lives from a significant other. But the 7% that do means that 6 million Americans are hiding something. The most common things they conceal? A credit card account (67%), a secret savings account (45%), a hidden checking account (38%) or a plain old financial secret.

    Whether he’s hiding how much he makes, how much he owes, or you caught him red-handed withdrawing money from your account–true story of a friend’s ex–it can lead you to question: 1) why and 2) what else he’s concealing.

    What You Can Do: Have a talk about “financial infidelity.” How honest do you expect your partner to be? Are there any money uglies in your past you need to talk about? Here’s a good guide on how to broach the topic.

    The issue here isn’t so much your bottom line, but trust, which underlies the foundation of every relationship. If you catch him in a lie that shakes your belief in who he is, it can be hard to rebuild your faith in each other, let alone a solid financial future together.

    8. He’s Always Borrowing … From Someone

    There’s cheap. And then there’s the eternal mooch.

    This is the type who’s always asking his friends to “spot him” and promising to “get them back next time.” If you’re dating, he’ll routinely forget to repay you for that time you covered dinner. And brunch. And he’s no stranger to loans from friends and family—often in the form of help from his parents.

    While there aren’t many stats to prove the deleterious effects of the mooch, odds are, if you’re seeing one, you know the drawbacks well yourself. Not only does he sap your bottom line, he can also do a number on your energy. That’s because, often, a financial mooch thinks the world owes him something … or sees himself as a victim who’s unable to pay (or make) his own way.

    What You Can Do: In this case, it’s worth it to have a frank talk, and tell him how his money behavior is galling you. If he’s not truly broke, and the behavior still doesn’t change, it’s time to refer him to a good therapist.

    Have you dated someone who was a financial red flag? If so, tell us how you coped—and what happened.


    In Debt? How to Let Your Spouse Know

    5 Tips for Financial Intimacy

    Is It Cheaper to Be Single or Married?

    DON'T MISS: 14 money lies that can wreck your marriage >

    Please follow Your Money on Twitter and Facebook.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Paul Spiegelman

    Today's advice comes from Paul Spiegelman, founder and CEO of The Beryl Companies, via his column for

    "The longer I've been in business, the more I realize that the business of selling any product or service has very little to do with the product or service.  Sales is about building relationships of trust, and you build relationships of trust by finding common ground."

    While Spiegelman does advise trying to think about what you can do to take your product or services to the next level, he specifically highlights the importance of establishing a personal connection with executives at the companies you work with. 

    In order to do that, make sure that you have "a common passion" to share with other CEOs. Once you find that common passion, stay updated on relevant information and forward it on with a personal note. Sharing knowledge and seeking feedback are good ways to build a relationship, he says. 

    "If you follow this advice, it is more likely than not that your new friends will be asking you if you can help them.  If not, you'll certainly have earned the right to offer up assistance.  And now, rather than working through the organization and having to prove yourself over and over again, you've got sponsorship, and buy-in from the top."

    Want your business advice featured in Instant MBA? Submit your tips to Be sure to include your name, your job title, and a photo of yourself in your email.

    Please follow Careers on Twitter and Facebook.

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    ginger-mary-janeThis excerpt of "Worth It... Not Worth It?" was reprinted with permission from Business Plus/Grand Central Publishing.

    I’m not going to cover the nonfinancial aspects of divorce here, and I’m not suggesting that you should ride out a failed marriage for economic reasons.

    But few events can torpedo your financial plan like a divorce. Think about your monthly mortgage payment—it’s probably a significant number, right? If your household becomes two households, add a rent payment on top of that. New couch, new bed, a second utility bill.

    With only one person in the house, childcare just got more expensive. Oh, and you’ll each be writing a check to an attorney. Since I’m sporting both an X and a Y chromosome, I can’t help but come at the subject of divorce from a male perspective.

    So, dads, be warned: Whether it’s a one-night stand or you take up with a really nice lady who is destined to be your second soul mate, the legal system does not look kindly on you. Your child support obligations will not stop just because your wife meets a nice millionaire. And you may go to jail if you fail to meet those obligations. Even the tax code smiles on your ex-wife.

    Unlike alimony, those support payments are not tax deductible for you, but if your wife has custody, she gets the “head of household” benefits on her tax return. Plus she can take a $1,000-perchild tax credit in 2012, even if you’re supporting the kids.

    And, while state laws vary, you can assume that if you’ve got $500,000 in a retirement account and your wife didn’t work, you can say good-bye to $250,000. Yes, it requires work to keep a marriage running smoothly.

    But here’s some man-to-man advice. To all the other reasons that you stay faithful to your wife, add one more: a single night’s slipup could easily cost you a million bucks over your lifetime. Now, go tell your wife to sit down. You’ll clean up the dishes.

    Don't Miss: Everything You Need To Know About Marriage And Personal Finance >

    Please follow Your Money on Twitter and Facebook.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    For the first time since the recession took hold in 2008, wedding budgets have surged.

    Couples spend an average of $27,000 to tie the knot, with one in five dropping more than $30,000, according to a report by That's not even including the honeymoon. 

    Manhattan is by far the priciest city for newlyweds, where they spend more than $65,000 on nuptials. That's about four times as much as couples in West Virginia, where weddings average $14,000.

    PTMoney personal finance blogger Michael Pruser knew he and his fianceé would be shelling out big money to fund their "destination" wedding in New Jersey. The couple live in Miami, but wanted to move the event closer to their extended families in New England. 

    Pruser was kind enough to share his budget with us. At $25,207.90, they came in right under the national average and far below the typical $38,000 to $46,600 people usually pay to get married in New Jersey.  

    True, some of the expenditures were a bit extraordinary—$1,250 for table centerpieces and a Nerf gun for the ring bearer?—but Pruser said he and his wife had saved for years to do their day justice. 

    "Even though I would say this event was 100 percent anti-frugal, we had an absolute blast," he said. "Yes, saving money is important, however, I would argue that the biggest priority when it comes to your wedding is having a good time because if you’re lucky, you’ll only get to do it once." 

    While the average guest list is 141 people, Pruser and his wife served about half as many (75). Even so, they spent about ten times the average price on their venue, which set them back a whopping $9,745 and included an open bar. 

    Here's what the Pruser's modern day wedding budget looked like: 


    Vs. The nation's average budget: 


    DON'T MISS: 14 money lies that will wreck your marriage >

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    Jessie Rosen, LearnVest

    I used to be the kind of girl who required a stiff drink when logging into my online banking account.

    If it was between a stocked closet and a stocked fridge, I’d gladly go hungry.

    And don’t even get me started on my previous understanding of a Roth IRA (frankly, there was no understanding).


    8 Financial Red Flags in a Relationship

    Women Spend 3 Hours Per Week Re-doing Partners’ Chores

    Take the Next Step With Getting Hitched Bootcamp

    Today, at 28.5 years old, I am proud to report that I pay off my credit card every month, have a healthy sum in savings and am preparing towork with a financial advisor on a low risk investment plan (and yes, I actually know what that means!).

    If you’re anything like me, you’re probably irked by the premise of this piece, this idea that I only got my financial act together because of a man.

    I hear you. I am you, so let’s change the title of the piece to, “How investing in a relationship made me realize it was time to invest in my life … through financial investments.” Now do you see why the first title is a little catchier?

    Here is my story, and I promise it has little to do with 1950s stereotypes of the man controlling the checkbook.

    Six months ago, my boyfriend and I started to talk about moving in together. It was a logical next step based on how our relationship was progressing and what our plans were for the future. But despite all my confidence in this decision, I was nervous. I was now responsible for contributing to half of a home (in this case a one-bedroom rental, but still), and I knew that I wasn’t as financially stable or savvy as my boyfriend. This brought me to my first moment of realization/transformation:

    I didn’t want to cede financial control to my boyfriend.

    I’ve known women who handed over the money reins once they moved in, and I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable with that situation. More importantly, I wanted my boyfriend to know I could be trusted to understand our finances–both independent and someday joint–and to help him make our money decisions.

    This prompted me to do some good old-fashioned research (some right here on LearnVest!) to better educate myself about short and long-term savings plans.

    I negotiated a slightly higher yield on my savings account through my bank, opened up a second credit card with better cash rewards and kept track of my weekly spending to determine where I was going overboard (read: $4 lattes).

    The more I learned, the more I realized that there were little things I could be doing to increase my slush fund savings–the money you keep for a rainy day, not the mighty retirement fund–which lead me to another conclusion:

    I wanted to save for big expenditures versus small purchases.

    When I lived in Manhattan on $30,000 per year, I had a closet full of fabulous clothes and the rattiest furniture known to man. At that point in my life, spending frivolously didn’t bear much consequence. Now I want a nice outdoor lounge chair for our backyard and a new mattress for our bed. My priorities shifted, and after some mourning over the fact that this means far fewer pastel-colored jeans this summer, I’m excited about the bigger “life” items that will last more than one fashion season.

    Of course, that’s just the slush fund savings. Forging a life with someone is also an incredible motivator to think about financial security long after the lounge chair and mattress wear out. This is perhaps the biggest change I’ve experienced, but it was shockingly the easiest of them all.

    I started the embrace the idea of living below our means to save for our future.

    When my boyfriend and I first started to discuss moving in together, we planned to find a new, two-bedroom apartment to rent. I would be moving out of a house with friends, and he would be leaving his one-bedroom apartment for something larger.

    As we started to weigh our options and evaluate our finances (no stiff drinks required this time), we realized we could save a considerable amount of money if I moved into his one bedroom instead. If things got too cramped, we could always move to a larger space, but for now all the furniture and clothes fit, and the price was certainly right.

    I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but the idea of living below our means so that we could afford things like vacations while still investing more in our futures was thrilling.

    There are, of course, a few other financial facts that come with the move in. It’s a lot harder to hide four boxes of shoes that you absolutely don’t need when you share a closet, and trips to Target now go down like a “Do We Have Room for That?” game show. But all in all, I feel more secure in my own future and myself now that I’m concentrating on the finances of sharing it with someone else.

    That said, I still splurge on fresh flowers at the farmers’ market every week, and my boyfriend has been informed that I always will.

    Jessie Rosen is a writer, branded entertainment producer and the author of 20-Nothings, a blog about her 20-something life. 

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    It usually takes just one date in New York City to prove how expensive it can be to maintain a social life in a busy metropolitan. 

    A new study by Deutsche Bank/ breaks down the cost of a simple night out on the town around the world. It's still more common for men to foot the bill, but women spend a lot of cash preparing for the date itself – 65 percent drop at least $50 to get dolled up beforehand. 

    The priciest place to mate has to be Tokyo, where the $234 tab for a date night beats New York by about $50, and New Delhi by a whopping $150. Roses must be hard to come by in Japan because a dozen will set love birds back a cool $111. 

    The cheapest city to woo your mate turns out to be Sao Paulo, Brazil, where date night runs a little more than $151. 

    See how the rest of the world stacks up in Turbo Tax's graphic below: 


    Now see 10 online dating scams that will break your heart (and the bank) > 

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    hacky sack, friends, college

    Subsidizing the hobbies of our friends and family members is one of the things that separate us from the animals.

    Raccoons do not shell out cash for covers and a two-drink minimum to support other raccoons as they try out wobbly stand-up routines in rooms that haven’t seen natural light since 1978.

    Elephants do not have to promise to bring 15 other elephants in exchange for getting to play with their new band at 11:00 p.m. on a Tuesday night.

    Gazelles do not make their fellow gazelles climb five flights of stairs to see their off-off-Broadway show debut on a makeshift stage in front of rows of folding chairs.

    This is largely because animals lack hobbies beyond food, sex, and survival. Even the love social mammals have for each other extends only as far as being able to eat bugs out of each other’s fur.

    Humans are tied to each other through webs far more complex: You are my Facebook friend because I met you at a party one time and your boyfriend and my boyfriend had a great conversation about how they both used to play “Magic: The Really Slow-Moving Card Game.”

    Read the rest of this post on The Billfold >

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    dentist glove

    An Oregonian woman is the first in the state to get a jury to agree that her date was legally responsible for giving her herpes.

    A jury awarded the 49-year-old woman $900,000 last week, "for her pain and suffering," according to

    The woman, who went by an alias during the trial, met the 69-year-old dentist on eHarmony.

    They had sex on the fourth date, when she contracted the herpes.

    The woman sued the dentist, claiming he didn't tell her about the herpes, causing her to develop painful outbreaks and clinical depression, reported.

    But the man's lawyer, Shawn Lillegren, said his client truly didn't know he could infect someone when he wasn't experiencing an outbreak. He also argued the woman was careless and should have insisted the man wear a condom.

    "Grow up. Come on. You're an adult. He's an adult. They had sex," Lillegren said, according to "The point is she is not some little innocent victim."

    Too bad the jury didn't agree. After deliberating for two hours, most jurors determined the man was 75 percent negligent. Two jurors thought the man was completely at fault.

    "We all felt he should have told her — he had the responsibility to tell her," juror Noah Brimhall told

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    couple, fighting, angry

    If you’re in a relationship—or have ever been in a relationship—you know that managing money as a twosome can be tricky.

    We get questions every day about … how should we divide it? Who should pay for what? So when rather controversial research came out suggesting there’s a whole new way to divide your money in a couple, we perked up.

    Especially since, in many traditional American households, the husband manages the investments while the wife manages daily budgeting and spending …. and that, researchers say, might be all wrong.

    They make the argument that there are specific financial roles within a household that better suit a man or a woman … and they’re the ones you might least expect.

    The Findings

    In the 2009 National Marriage Project report The State of Our Unions, Ronald T. Wilcox, faculty fellow at the National Marriage Project and professor of business administration at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, presents evidence that a non-traditional arrangement of a household’s finances might be best: That is, the woman invests and the man determines the day-to-day budgeting and spending.

    According to Wilcox, we develop feelings of ownership over household tasks, from who empties the dishwasher to who pays the cable bill. Because of this, couples tend to settle into a routine of who-does-what without necessarily considering who might be more effective at what—and he finds that women would be more effective as the family investors for the following reasons:

    1. Men Are Overconfident

    “[Men] tend to trade stocks and bonds more actively because they are convinced they know what the next market movement will be,” writes Wilcox. “What is likely to go up, and what is likely to go down. In so doing, they incur a host of transaction costs associated with trading—from commissions and taxes to bid-ask spreads—but do not pick assets any better than women.”

    But women, who are well-known to lack confidencearound investing, make fewer active trades, so they’re able to generate “risk-adjusted returns,” meaning the returns they can’t get when someone won’t hold onto the stock long enough. In other words, by not trading all the time, their money tends to make more money.

    2. Women Look at the Upfront Costs

    Women are less likely to pay exorbitant fees with the confidence their investment will earn it back (or to pursue the expensive hot stock of the moment),  which means that they tend to select good, safe mutual and index funds with low fees. This is particularly important because the bulk of household retirement funds are invested in mutual and index funds, and we all know that retirement should be a core concern for women, who have an exclusive set of challenges.

    3. Men Don’t Take Advice

    If there’s a retirement planning seminar (or an introductory retirement article, for that matter), Wilcox writes that women are much more likely to take advantage. Because they don’t tend to have the same innate confidence in their own knowledge and abilities as their male counterparts, they’re more willing to both take and use investing advice.  

    4. Men Make Better Budgeters

    “Men lose money at the stockbroker’s office; women lose it at the shopping mall,” argues Wilcox. Thanks to their usual appetite for riskier financial tasks and disinclination toward household budgeting, he says, men might actually be more conscientious, effective holders of the purse strings.

    “Even if they don’t enjoy doing it, it is that natural aversion to the activity that is likely to lead to stronger household balance sheets,” he explains. In other words, because they like to get in and out, men, for example, may not spring for a cute new sponge or fresh flowers at the grocery store, thereby driving down your bill.

    (And he may have a point: Overspending is one of the seven mistakes women make more than men.)

    So, Who Should Do What?

    We’ve heard before that women could make the best investors, but the idea that men might be better-suited to household budgeting is a new one.

    In the same report, Jeffrey Dew, faculty fellow at the National Marriage Project and assistant professor of Family, Consumer, and Human Development at Utah State University, writes that his new research shows disagreements about money to be the most accurate predictor of divorce, and when a spouse doesn’t believe his or her partner handles money well, reporting marital unhappiness is more likely.

    In fact, one study showed that feeling like your partner spent money foolishly increased the likelihood of divorce 45% for both men and women.

    But forget men, women and gender for a minute: It stands to reason that if each of us took on the financial tasks for which we’re best suited (and “none” is not an option) within our relationships, we would be happier overall.

    What would you be best suited to doing—and what would you assign out to a partner?

    Please do tell us in the comments.

    Financial Red Flags in a Relationship

    How to Let Your Spouse Know You’re in Debt

    Getting Married? You Need Getting Hitched Bootcamp!

    SEE ALSO: Reddit presents 25 real-life cheats > 

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    Thomas Edwards, professional wingman

    It wouldn't be surprising to walk into any young woman's home today and find the cover of TIME Magazine's March 26 issue pinned to her fridge.

    In Liza Mundy's cover story, "The Richer Sex," experts predicted that by the time the next generation of twentysomethings hits the job market, women will not only have closed the gender wage gap but actually be outearning men for the first time.

    "A growing body of research shows that while there may have once been a stigma to making money, high-earning women actually have an advantage in the dating-and-marriage market," Mundy wrote, citing a study that found marriage rates for higher-earning women have risen 10 percent. 

    We've still got quite a ways to go, but there's no denying the Great Recession left gender roles even more blurred than usual, with male-dominated jobs disappearing faster than those typically occupied by women. 

    "For some guys, there may definitely be an ego hit, but it's not the worst thing in the world (to earn less)," said Thomas Edwards, the Manhattan-based founder of Professional Wingman

    Edwards makes his living teaching men how to handle themselves in professional and social settings, whether they're trying to impress coworkers or woo a potential mate.

    More and more, he's noticed that whether he's working with CEOs or schoolteachers, his clients are going after women who can support themselves.  

    "It's not becoming of you to have a job you hate. That's not sexy." 

    "When I ask them the kind of women they're looking for, they mention the job and responsibility they hold," he said. "Most of them are open. They don't mind that she might make more money than them." 

    While that may be true, he admits that women do sometimes balk if they think a man's not living up to his professional potential. But it's not financial insecurity that gives them pause, it's the perception that the guy might not be ambitious or passionate – two signs of leadership he says women are attracted to.

    There's a simple fix for that.

    In his work, Edwards finds as much as 70 percent of attraction is based on presentation. If you walk the walk, you'll impress women just as much or more than dropping a wad of cash on a fancy dinner. 

    "When it comes to professional stuff, if you're starting a business or you want to take your business to the next level and move up the ranks, all of those things require specific actions or a plan," he said. "Once you create a plan, the most important thing is to execute it. Doing that and making her see that will show you're following through with your ambition." 

    There are other ways to compensate for income as well, by providing partners with the emotional, physical and intellectual support they may need. And the more comfortable men become with higher-earning women, the easier it will be to project the most vital quality of all: Positivity. 

    "Some women don't mind if you're doing a job that may not necessarily pay well but it's something you absolutely love to do," he said. "It's not becoming of you to have a job you hate. That's not sexy." 

    DON'T MISS: This guy quit money and found a new life in Utah's canyonlands >

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    Katie Couric

    Television superstar Katie Couric, who is now a correspondent for ABC, is said to be dating a "mystery man, who works in finance," Page Six reports

    According to the report, they are not officially boyfriend/girlfriend, but have been spotted together in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. 

    Couric, 55, previously dated financier Brooks Perlin, who has worked at Keels Capital Management and Pequot Capital Management and is 17 years her junior.

    If anyone knows who this mystery financier beau might be, please send an email to 

    DON'T MISS: 9 Super Hot Celebrities Who Have A Thing For Wall Streeters >

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    fox news mag

    Fox News launched an online lifestyle magazine for women on Monday and we're completely mystified by it.

    Called Fox News Magazine, it's a combination of health, style and relationship-related tips and listicles.

    We just spent several minutes in the office debating whether or not the magazine was real, considering that there are articles on the site such as "Cuter Than A Lawnmower," and "How To Get Rid Of Your Dreaded Turkey Neck." We only concluded it was after finding the site's Facebook launch announcement and seeing its URL.

    Most of the articles on the site are vapid and seem to be written for women who are either starving themselves down to a size 0 or going on their first date--ever.

    But the absolute worst one has got to be "10 Pranks That Will Spice Up Your Relationship." We won't ruin the whole list for you, but one involves refilling a Gatorade bottle with water and a drop of food coloring. Another is a brilliant twist on the old "kick me" post-it.

    The big winner? "Superglue a coin to the floor and watch as he scratches away to pick it up."

    A five-year-old would hate you forever if you tried any one of these pranks on him. So go ahead and try one on your boyfriend tonight, and then give a shout over to Fox News Magazine when he goes running away screaming.

    For some real romance, check out these super romantic restaurants >

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    katie holmes tom cruise

    Divorce is notoriously expensive (both financially and emotionally), but as more unmarried couples move in together, they may be surprised to discover the costs of breaking up an unmarried household.

    For instance, “someone has to pay for a mover and cough up the security deposit because you’re not necessarily going to get it back from the original apartment if the other person is staying,” says Wynne Whitman, attorney at the law firm Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP and coauthor of Shacking Up: The Smart Girl's Guide to Living in Sin Without Getting Burned. “There are a lot of expenses involved in setting up an apartment.”

    The best moving companies in America

    We at talked to Whitman about cushioning the financial impact and dividing up a household.

    Signing a cohabitation agreement
    It’s a good idea to discuss expectations before moving in together, even though it may sound unromantic. “Take the time to have the uncomfortable conversation about what you anticipate happening if you break up,” says Whitman. “Everyone feels better if you’ve taken the question mark out of the equation.” In fact, she suggests signing a cohabitation agreement (like a prenup for the unmarried) outlining who’s bringing what to the relationship, how expenses will be divvied up, and what will happen in the event of a break up. Those who have lots of assets should consult a lawyer, adds Whitman.

    Protecting against the unexpected
    Cohabitation agreements are useful in case something tragic happens to one person. A woman referenced in Whitman’s book had been living with a Wall Street tycoon when he died in 9/11 and his family started taking belongings from their apartment. “How are the families going to know what belongs to each person? What were your intentions?” asks Whitman. Cohabitating couples may also want to consider healthcare proxy forms so that one person can make medical decisions for the other person if necessary (just be sure to update those forms later if you break up).

    Deciding who stays and who goes
    The biggest decision cohabitating exes face is determining who keeps the house or apartment. In cases where one person owns the property, the decision is usually clear-cut. In more ambiguous cases, Whitman suggests considering “Who could afford the rent? Who has the ability to move someplace else? Can one person move in with family nearby?” Also think about how much time remains on the lease and whether you need to switch utility bills to the other person.

    Dividing up belongings
    Without a cohabitation agreement or at least good records of who brought what, things can get messy. “If you kept a good record of who brought what CDs or electronic equipment, it will be easy to separate that,” explains Whitman. She urges couples who buy furniture or electronics jointly to keep receipts or other records you can reference later. “If you spent $1,000 on a sofa, one person could buy the other person out,” she explains. Depending on the sofa’s age, you might agree to a 50/50 split or factor in wear and tear.

    Furnishing your apartment? Get the most for your money at these home stores

    Unmingling assets
    Whitman doesn’t recommend that unmarried couples mingle financial assets, because that makes a potential break-up messier. If you have a household account or a kiddy account, “how is that going to be divided? Are there any funds left in that account?” she asks. Family cell phone plans add another layer of complication. And if one person has domestic partner benefits for medical or dental through the other person’s employer, that person will need to enroll in COBRA to continue coverage or buy another insurance policy. In cases where one person has promised to cover all financial obligations for an unmarried partner, that person may need to pay palimony (the unmarried equivalent of alimony), but Whitman says this is extremely rare.

    SEE ALSO:  All the crazy things people are selling online to get revenge on their ex >

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    arguing couple Moving in with your girlfriend is a huge deal. In life-change terms, it's a bigger transition than getting married.

    Though you don't get the recognition from your family and friends that comes with tying the knot, you're going through a huge day-to-day shift when you move in with a woman.

    We're all for cohabitation before marriage, and there are plenty of reasons why shacking up with your girlfriend is a great idea. You create a home together.

    You develop an ad hoc cuisine that is native to only the two of you. (You'll know something special has happened when you walk into the kitchen and she's making that cottage-cheese-and-pickles mix you've been dipping Triscuits into since you were seven -- and she's making it for herself.)

    But there are plenty of unpleasant surprises, too. Suddenly, the spontaneous visits from your buddies require call-aheads. Sometimes you want to spend Sunday afternoon watching sports highlights and eating Hot Pockets, but she can't stand the thought of staying inside on a beautiful day and shames you into going out to brunch against your will. 

    Before you make the big transition into cohabitation, it's a good idea to adjust your expectations somewhat. Here, allow us to help.

    The Two-TVs Myth: You’ll combine your possessions, and there’ll be an extra TV for the bedroom. Sweet!

    Reality check: She probably won't like a lot of your most beloved stuff, starting with your choice of wall-hangings. Artwork is deeply personal, after all, and that framed map of Yosemite that you've had since college might not make the cut. And TV in the bedroom is terrible for a relationship. Resist the urge. 

    The Bro-Integration Myth: You’ll continue with your regularly scheduled nights out with the boys, only now you'll come home to a welcoming embrace in bed and hot coffee the morning after.

    Reality check: What she didn't know before couldn't annoy her, but now she'll see just how blotto you tend to get when you and the guys decide to really throw down, and she probably won't like what she sees. You'll have to tone it down a little bit, trust us. 

    The Live-In Maid Myth: Of course you plan to do your part, but she's just better at this stuff. You occasionally Swiffered your own place, but let's be honest -- Swiffers just move the dirt around. She's probably going to actually mop sometimes, which will be awesome. 

    Reality check: You will be expected to do your share of the chores and pick up after yourself -- this is just one of the realities of shacking up. And once she notices something that irritates her, she's going to bug you about it until you're fully conditioned -- yes, we said conditioned -- to change. This means that along with a slightly cleaner living space, you will be living with about 56% more criticism from her. You may, in low moments, wish you could go back to living alone with your clothes blissfully strewn all over the floor. That's natural.

    The Two-Income Myth: Living together means paying less rent, so more money is left for you to spend on beer and iTunes.  

    Reality check: While you will indeed be splitting the bills now (presumably), you may have new expenses to cover now, too. We hope for the sake of your relationship that you've moved into a larger living space than either of you were occupying alone, which means your rent has gone up. Although you may eat at home more often now than you did during bachelorhood, you're now stocking a fridge in a way you never did before. Bottom line: In our experience, the savings and expenses more or less even out with your pre-cohabitation lifestyle. But saving money is a horrible reason to move in with your girlfriend, so hopefully this point isn't important to you.

    The Sex-Everywhere Myth: You're going to christen every room, and then embark on a shining future of (at least) daily sex. It's so convenient now, why wouldn't you?  

    Reality check: Yeah, this one's harsh. Your sex life is going to change. On the one hand, you might try things you never tried before, since sex will become more routine and she'll be in her comfort zone rather than waking up in yesterday's makeup at your place. On the other hand, after a few months, you very well might be having less sex than you had anticipated. Such is the life of many couples. We wish we could reassure you that your girlfriend is the exception, but she probably isn't. If she is (in other words, if two years in you're still doing it daily), you're a lucky man. Buy her something special to thank her. Seriously.

    The Lingerie Lifestyle Myth: What man doesn't love the sight of his girlfriend ambling around his apartment in one of his shirts the morning after? Now that you'll be living together, there will be two kinds of mornings: Sexy oversize T-shirt mornings, and sexy lingerie mornings when she's feeling more feminine. Although you haven't yet confirmed it, you suspect that after a long day at work she'll sometimes come home and strip down to her cute underwear. 

    Reality Check: You know what women love wearing after work? Yoga pants. Show me a woman who doesn't love an evening in yoga pants, and I'll show you a woman who just prefers straight-up pajamas. Also, while there will be plenty of sexy walking around the bedroom in her underwear (at least for the five minutes before she decides what to wear), you'll also see the "real" woman more often than you ever have: exhausted, no makeup, puffy face, hungover -- the works. Remember, you love her for her personality. 

    Read more:

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    Amber Estes UGA

    University of Georgia sophomore Amber Estes wrote an insightful column for The Red and Black (UGA's student newspaper) on how female college students can "attain the thing that is most essential in securing our futures."

    Nope, not a four-year degree, but a ring on your finger.

    In her column, she breaks down the six steps to attracting the perfect frat-daddy husband, like choosing a prestigious university and staying classy —"a man won’t get down on one knee for a woman who is overly willing to get down on both of hers."

    And of course, she knows that the real way to a man's heart is through social media:

    Step 3: Instagram everything. The men will come up to you and flirt during your afternoons on campus, and soon you will be receiving an influx of friend requests. This step is crucial. These boys have only ever seen you in your I-look-good-but-I’m-not-trying attire; they have way higher standards for your going out pictures.

    Nothing spruces up some mediocre pics like a lighting adjustment and filter on Instagram. Also, make sure you take pictures with your pretty friends, but not ones that are prettier than you. That way the boys know you don’t hang around with uggos, but it’s also crystal clear that you’re the queen of the pack.

    We're not sure if this is a real plea for an M.R.S. degree or a lame attempt at satire, and the commenters on The Red and Black's website clearly can't tell either (we're seriously hoping it's satire, especially since her column from the previous week exhorts people in their 20s to "find themselves" after college). But it's definitely a slap in the face to any girl actually going to college for an education.

    Read Estes's full column at The Red and Black >

    Now, read about the 10 biggest party schools of the past decade >

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