Relationships and Money
Dave and I are coming up on three years of marriage this May. I know you could argue that we don’t have as much credibility compared to those who have been married for 5, 10, or 20+ years, but we have yet to have an argument about money. I’d say that speaks a lot considering such a high percentage of divorces these days have to do with money. Between our premarital counseling, Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, and reading financial blogs like this lovely one run by Derek, a lot of knowledge has been gained. However, this knowledge was blended with a lot of application to yield the result I call wisdom. I’ll share three tips that have worked well for us; they may not work for you but either way I encourage you to develop a strategy that will help you and your spouse/fiancé to have healthy communication on the topic of finances.
Discuss goals & desires
How often do you want to take a vacation? Where/how much do you want to give? Do you want to pay for all or some of your kids’ college? How much would you be comfortable retiring on? What kind of house/neighborhood do you want to live in? Asking questions can help identify where your goals & desires align or differ so you can move forward together and not have to “deal with it later.”
Dave and I both wanted to pay off my student loans ASAP. That meant we were both willing to continue living like broke college students until the last payment was made. Being on the same page helped us to buckle down and knock out $30k in 9 months. We also knew we were both extreme savers and not spenders so we established a monthly “fun budget” so we wouldn’t end up bitter and unhappy penny pinchers when we finally reached the finish line of debt payment. Another desire we both shared was that we wanted to give generously. This meant that we’d have to be patient with saving and learn to live simply yet richly at the same time.
Develop a budget
Once goals and desires are discussed, your results will greatly affect what your monthly/quarterly/whatever budget looks like. We set up a budget tailored it to our own situation. I think this is the biggest key to our “success” from a financial aspect of marriage. For example, I do all the grocery shopping but Dave never has to worry that I’ll overspend because we’ve set a spending limit and I’m mindful not to go over it.
We set aside monthly amounts toward vacation, car repairs, annual orders of contact lenses, etc. so that when the time comes to make these purchases we’re not scrambling to figure out how to pay for these items. We occasionally make spontaneous purchases (like clothing) but they are often done together. With bigger purchases like home ownership we discussed our price limit, what we wanted in a home, and then started looking at homes.
What are your best financial tips & lessons learned from marriage?
This has been a guest post from Jessica. She is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness, and finance. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, Budget For Health.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.