CNBC make it 2024-03-11 02:00:52

If you and your partner use any of these 5 phrases regularly, your relationship is stronger than most

Speaking to your partner with respect and appreciation is important, especially in times of conflict.

The most successful couples, according to psychologists, regularly express devotion, understanding, and contrition.

Here are the five phrases that couples who have a strong connection use most, according to experts.

1. “Thank you.”

John and Julie Gottman are psychologists who have studied more than 40,000 couples in search of answering the question: What makes love last?

The one phrase they say all successful couples use often is “thank you.”

“A thriving relationship requires an enthusiastic culture of appreciation, where we’re as good at noticing the things our partners are doing right as we are at noticing what they’re doing wrong,” they wrote for CNBC Make It.

This is especially true for small, everyday acts, they say.

“Tell them why that small thing is a big deal to you: ‘Thank you for making the coffee every morning. I love waking up to the smell of it and the sounds of you in the kitchen. It just makes me start the day off right,’” they say.

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2. “Help me understand this.”

Harvard psychologist Cortney Warren says successful couples don’t avoid conflict, they just better navigate it.

We often assume we know what our partner is saying when in reality they might be expressing something more nuanced or totally different.

“If your partner reacts to a situation in a way that you don’t understand, telling them that you want to know them better is key to resolving conflict and bonding at a deeper level,” Warren wrote for CNBC Make It.

3. “I can forgive you. Can you forgive me?”

When you’re in the heat of an argument or at the end of one it can be hard to express forgiveness. Do it anyways, Warren says.

“Studies have shown that couples who practice forgiveness are more likely to enjoy longer, more satisfying relationships,” she says.

4. “I am committed to you.”

“Being in a relationship is a choice,” Warren says. “Reassuring your partner that you’re still choosing to be with them and to work through challenges will help create a sense of safety and stability.”

This might seem obvious, but communicating your promise to one another can help you and your partner feel validated.

5. “I like you.”

“The healthiest couples don’t just love each other, they like each other, too,” Warren says. “Loving someone is an intense feeling of affection; liking is about seeing them for who they are and acknowledging the attributes you enjoy about them.”

Even if you and your partner aren’t arguing, remind them that you like them.

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34-year-old mom’s 4-month world cruise with family cost $50K: ‘Some of the best money I ever spent’

Last year, I paid $50,000 to go on a four-month cruise that took my family and me to 30 countries. My husband, our 12-month-old daughter and I shared one room that doubled as my floating office. 

We spent 60 days at sea and 50 days in port, and we visited six continents. This was the most expensive trip we’ve ever taken, but it was worth it. I see the money spent as an investment — not just in travel, but in a collection of memories that we will treasure forever.

Here’s why it was some of the best money I ever spent:

I didn’t have to plan everything for a change

I’m no stranger to long-term travel. From 2015 to 2018, we lived in our RV and drove across the country. For the last five years, we lived on our sailboat full-time, and I ran my online business, Making Sense of Cents from there.

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We love this lifestyle, but managing it takes a lot of effort. You have to account for repairing broken equipment, sailing in overnight shifts, keeping track of multiple routes and preparing for all kinds of weather and potential dangers.

We spent so many years constantly on the move, but I couldn’t remember the last time we took an actual vacation.

Stepping onto the ship, a lot of that mental load lifted. We only unpacked once and the cruise line handled most of the visa process for us. It was so nice to not to have to cook or do dishes for four months.

We did do a fair amount of laundry — inevitable with a baby — but we booked our room next to the laundry room on our floor to avoid any additional hassle.

I bonded with my family in a unique way

After our daughter was born, the idea of a world cruise piqued our interest. While she was still young, we thought it would be fun to slow down, travel with fewer responsibilities, and focus on being new parents.

When we embarked on our adventure, our daughter the youngest passenger on board. She was a veteran seafarer at that point, having lived on our sailboat (which we docked in Florida while we were away) since she was just a day old.

Since the rooms on the ship were so close together, at first we were concerned that a crying baby wouldn’t exactly endear us to our neighbors. It turned out that the cruise was full of grandparents who missed their grandkids, so it actually worked out quite well.

There were few families on board, but we befriended another couple with a toddler and got together for many playdates.

I set a goal to go to as many international playgrounds as we could, and we visited at least 20. Our daughter even took her first steps on the trip, on a beach in Moorea, French Polynesia. 

I got to experience many different cultures

The cruise started in Florida. Then we we traveled through the Panama Canal, the lush tropical islands of French Polynesia, the beautiful scenery of New Zealand, amazing cities in Asia and historic sites in the Mediterranean.

We’re usually very slow travelers. For example, when we lived on our sailboat, we spent six months in the Bahamas every year. So it was a rare opportunity to see so many different places in such a short time frame.

Some of my favorite stops were Australia, Oman, Thailand, Turkey, Montenegro, Spain, Mexico and the Canary Islands. While the sights were incredible, to me, one of the best parts of the journey was being a part of this ephemeral, floating community.

I loved getting to know everyone on board, guests and crew. We’re still in touch with many of our neighbors and we took some genuine friendships home with us.

I became better at living in the moment  

I can stare at the ocean forever. That’s one of the reasons why I loved living on our sailboat for so many years. We even splurged on a room with a balcony, so we could go outside and take in beautiful views whenever we wanted.

The tranquil days at sea were wonderful, although I think it was a little easier for me to relax than my husband. He was so used to being the captain of our boat, dealing with weather and fixing everything, but eventually he embraced the slower pace, too.

The most valuable part of this trip was that it allowed me to be fully present. As an entrepreneur, even when I’m not actively working, is easy to constantly think about all the things on my to-do list. Balance quickly becomes an afterthought.

I loved the simplicity of my daily routine on the cruise. I only worked the days we were at sea, for a couple of hours while my daughter napped. Then when we were in port, I put my laptop away.

This break was much needed. It let me focus on my family during a formative time in my daughter’s life and it helped me better understand what truly makes me happy.

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is the founder of Making Sense of Cents, where she helps readers make smart decisions about how to earn, save, spend and invest. She paid off nearly $40,000 in student loan debt in just seven months and now travels as much as she can. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

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5 ways to help your kids be more successful than most—including one ‘many parents fail to teach’

Parents regularly worry about how their children will navigate the world as adults. Will they grow up to be happy and well-adjusted? Will they get a good job and live comfortably?

Every child is different, and everyone develops at their own pace. But some strategies are proven to be more effective than others, when it comes to raising successful children.

Here are five ways parents can help set their kids up for future success, according to psychologists and other parenting experts.

Prioritize self-confidence over self-esteem

You might use “self-confidence” and “self-esteem” interchangeably. But when it comes to raising a successful child, one is more important than the other, educational psychologist Michele Borba wrote for CNBC Make It in 2022.

Self-esteem represents how we view ourselves overall. Self-confidence is a reflection of how confident we are in our own abilities in a given situation. The two concepts are related, but research shows that self-confidence is a better indicator of future success, because it helps firm kids’ beliefs that their skills and efforts will lead to strong outcomes — like getting good grades or performing well in athletics.

“Real self-confidence is an outcome of doing well, facing obstacles, creating solutions and snapping back on your own,” Borba wrote.

Parents can best boost their child’s self-confidence by stepping back and allowing them to succeed or fail on their own, instead of hovering and trying to fix their kid’s problems for them, Borba noted. Doing so can help them learn to dust themselves off and try again if they fail, and believe that they’ll ultimately succeed.

Teach self-control

Self-control helps determine future success, research shows. When kids learn to ignore unnecessary distractions and control their own emotions and behavior, they typically grow up to be smarter and more motivated, according to a decades-long study by researchers at New Zealand’s University of Otago.

“Becoming indistractable is the most important skill for the 21st century — and it’s one that many parents fail to teach their kids,” author and psychology expert Nir Eyal wrote for Make It in 2019.

Eyal recommends starting early. Toddlers can begin to understand the concept of time, which means parents can start explaining the importance of budgeting time to focus on important developmental activities. Kids can even learn self-control through play, including games like freeze tag and “red light, green light.”

Give them autonomy

The ability to self-motivate is one of the two important traits that can help kids grow into successful adults, child psychologist Dr. Tovah Klein told Make It last year. (The other? Confidence.)

Establish expectations for your child, with their input, when it comes to everyday actions like getting themselves ready for school, choosing after-school activities and doing their chores, bestselling author and parenting expert Esther Wojcicki recommends.

“The more you trust your children to do things on their own, the more empowered they’ll be,” Wojcicki wrote for Make It in 2022.

Eyal also suggested using tactics like making “effort pacts” with their kids, where they commit to specific limits on tempting distractions — like a one-hour daily limit on screen time.

Don’t stress over perfection

Wojcicki raised three successful children — a doctor and two high-profile CEOs — but she never demanded perfection from them. That made a big difference, she noted.

Give your children room to fail, treating their mistakes and setbacks with empathy rather than scorn, to help them maintain confidence while learning to view failures as learning opportunities, she advised.

“Mastery means doing something as many times as it takes to get it right … It was the learning and the hard work that I wanted to reward, not getting it right the first time,” she wrote.

Perfectionism doesn’t make your child more likely to succeed in the future, and it can contribute to mental health issues like anxiety and low self-esteem, research shows.

You can teach your kids to reframe how they think about making mistakes by openly discussing errors you’ve made, how you’ve solved problems and what you learned in the process, Bryant University psychology professor Allison Butler told Make It in January.

Talk about financial literacy

It’s never too early to teach your kids about money: how to earn it, spend it wisely and save it while planning for the future. Most U.S. students don’t learn those lessons in school, which can cost them money as adults, according to a 2023 survey by the National Financial Educator’s Council.

Parenting expert Margot Machol Bisnow interviewed the parents of 70 highly accomplished adults for her 2022 book, “Raising an Entrepreneur: How to Help Your Children Achieve Their Dreams.” Teaching financial literacy was a common thread for those parents, she found.

“Although the parents I spoke to never pushed their kids towards pursuing a high-paying job, all of them made an effort to teach their kids about money in one form or another,” Bisnow wrote for Make It in 2022. You could give kids an allowance and insist they save up their own money to spend on items they want, but don’t necessarily need, like a new pair of roller skates, she noted.

You can also try talking to your kids about money in practical, “matter of fact” ways, like discussing how much everyday items cost, says Alexa von Tobel, the Harvard-trained investor and founder of online financial advisory LearnVest.

Teach your kids that money is no more than “a tool to help you live the life you want to,” von Tobel told Make It last month. “Money is not meant to be worshipped. And it’s not meant to be ignored.” 

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What’s inside the $180,000 gift bag given to Christopher Nolan, Emma Stone and other Oscar nominees

Only four actors will walk away from Sunday’s Academy Awards with an Oscar statuette, but all 20 nominees will get to enjoy a six-figure prize.

For the 22nd year running, LA-based marketing company Distinctive Assets is distributing its jam-packed “Everybody Wins” gift bags to the men and women recognized in the Oscars’ top categories.

This year’s bag — which is not affiliated with the Academy — is valued at roughly $180,000, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It. It is filled with more than 50 gifts ranging from a $15 Rubik’s cube to an invitation to enjoy a $50,000 stay at a Swiss ski chalet.

Indeed, calling it a “gift bag” might be a bit of an understatement.

“It rarely ever fits into a single suitcase. We have a piece of Olympia luggage that’s the biggest rolling duffel bag they make,” Distinctive Assets founder Lash Fary tells Make It. “And then it usually spills over into these eco friendly tote bags.”

Some nominees have their bags delivered to their homes, while others provide their hotel information to Distinctive Assets so that their bags can be waiting to travel with them after the ceremony.

Though Distinctive Assets tries to deliver the bags in person while the stars are in Hollywood, they’ve shipped them in the past. The postage alone for a package of that size and weight can cost as much as $850.

But for Fary, whose gift bag has come to represent the end of awards season almost as much as the Oscars have, it’s a worthwhile expense.

“This is the end of the road for them,” he says. “They finally have a moment to sit down and go through these fun bags and enjoy the spoils of their success.”

What’s inside the 2024 ‘Everybody Wins’ gift bag?

The priciest gift in this year’s bag is a three-night stay at Chalet Zermatt Peak, the reigning winner of the “Best Ski Chalet” from the World’s Ski Awards. Nominees who redeem the $50,000 invitation will have private use of the entire chalet for themselves and up to nine guests.

The six-floor chalet boasts floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Matterhorn, a spa, in-house massage therapist and celestial observatory roof. Guests will dine on multi-course dinners prepared by a gourmet chef, have access to a fully-stocked wine cellar as well as a chauffeured car available 24 hours a day.

Recipients will also receive an invitation for a seven-day stay at Southern California’s Golden Door spa. The wellness retreat is valued at $24,000 and offers daily massages, farm-to-table meals, private hiking trails and mindfulness and wellness classes.

But there’s more than just invitations to luxury retreats in the Everybody Wins bag. These are just a few of the dozens of items included in the Everybody Wins bag:

  • A portable Schwank Grill capable of heating up to 1500 degrees. The grill, which features overhead burners that use infrared technology, retails for $1,350.
  • A $335 bag “handmade by master artisans” from Canada-based Elboque.
  • A red light sleep therapy device from Helight which features “a scientifically engineered, 28-minute patented protocol that mirrors the natural cycle of lgiht at the end of the day.” Each hockey puck-sized device retails for $139.
  • Also included in this year’s official Grammy gift bag, Oscar nominees are offered a $25,000 live show from mentalist Carl Christman which “combines magic, mind reading, hypnosis and comedy.”
  • A retro-themed 50th anniversary Rubik’s Cube featuring the puzzle’s original logo and color scheme. It sells for $15.
  • A five-piece luxury gift set from Miage skincare valued at $515.
  • A $10,000 micro needling treatment from Cynosure “designed to tighten and revitalize” skin and “minimize the common signs of aging or reduce blemishes.”

Who’s getting this year’s swag bag?

The six-figure gift bag is reserved exclusively for the nominees in the acting and directing categories. Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel will also take home an Everybody Wins bag for the fourth time.

These are the 26 recipients of this year’s gift bag:

  • Host: Jimmy Kimmel
  • Best Director nominees: Justine Triet, Martin Scorcese, Christopher Nolan, Yorgos Lanthimos, Jonathan Glazer
  • Best Actor nominees: Bradley Cooper, Colman Domingo, Paul Giamatti, Cillian Murphy, Jeffrey Wright
  • Best Actress nominees: Annette Bening, Lily Gladstone, Sandra Hüller, Carey Mulligan, Emma Stone
  • Best Supporting Actor nominees: Sterling K. Brown, Robert De Niro, Robert Downey Jr., Ryan Gosling, Mark Ruffalo
  • Best Supporting Actress nominees: Emily Blunt, Danielle Brooks, America Ferrera, Jodie Foster, Da’Vine Joy Randolph

And while there are only as many bags as there are nominees, Fary says he’s hoping to get one to “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig who didn’t receive a Best Director nomination for the highest-grossing film of the year.

“Typically there’s one nominee each year who doesn’t accept for whatever reason,” he says. “If there is one available, I will make sure Greta gets one.”

What about taxes?

Though the Everybody Wins bag has an eye-popping maximum value, there’s only roughly $10,000 worth of goods contained in the bag itself. That value counts as taxable income, according to the IRS.

Everything else, such as invitations to go on luxury vacations, will only incur a tax penalty if the recipients redeem them. For example, if they don’t take the trip to the ski chalet, the invitation has a value of $0. If they do decide to go, they’ll need to pay taxes on the value of the trip.

“It’s usually one or two people a year who take a trip,” Fary says. “It depends on whether or not it works with their shooting schedule and all that kind of stuff. A lot of stars have to align.”

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Hiring managers ‘spend 25 times longer on your LinkedIn’ than your resume, says ex-Amazon recruiter

Recruiters notoriously spend little time on your resume — as little as three-to-five seconds, according to former Disney recruiter Simon Taylor. “Five is generous,” he previously told Make it. They’re simply too inundated with candidates to dedicate much more.

But it turns out that when it comes to your LinkedIn profile, they may be more lenient. “I spend 25 times longer on your LinkedIn profile” than your resume, says Lindsay Mustain, former Amazon recruiter and current CEO of career coaching company Talent Paradigm. That’s because the platform offers “a more comprehensive snapshot of a candidate’s professional journey,” she says. Unlike a resume, they’re not limited to one or two pages. She looks at LinkedIn profiles both when she’s actively seeking out candidates and when she’s not.

And there’s one component of your profile that makes you stand out among the rest: your activities.

‘I’m looking for how you perceive a problem’

Below your banner, picture and title is a section dedicated to your activity. This is where your posts and public interactions with other people on the site show up. It’s positioned even above your various workplace experiences. And it’s this section that can really get a hiring manager’s attention.

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Mustain recommends using this space to illustrate how engaged you are in your field. That could be through a post about what you always do or what you never do given a certain situation on the job. It could be a post about something that’s frustrating you about your industry, what Mustain calls “mini soapbox rants.” It could be your response to somebody else’s post about a new direction their company is taking.

“I’m looking for how you perceive a problem or a solution that’s happening in your industry,” says Mustain. The idea is to prove that you’re thinking deeply about where your industry is now and how to move it forward.

It also makes you “a three-dimensional person,” she says, whereas a resume alone could not. “I get to understand the things that matter to you.”

‘It is so easy to become the top candidate’

Don’t neglect all of the other components of your profile.

Make sure you’re reflecting your experiences accurately, gearing them toward the job you want and that your profile is updated. Include a professional photo. Write a summary that reflects who you are as a professional and what you want to achieve.

But start beefing up the activity section of your profile as well to set yourself apart from the crowd. “It is so easy to become the top candidate in essence,” she says, “because you have this other aspect.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.