My husband and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I am very blessed to be able to say that. As with most marriages, some years have been better than others but I am lucky to have had each one.
I am sure there are many things that go into a marriage being successful, but I know for sure having strategies around managing money is a key one. I did not say having similar views on money (however that can help), but at least having a strategy that both people agree on is key. Consistently, the couples I work with who are the most financially successful are focused on the same things.
So what have I learned from my own experience as well as the years of working with my clients?
- Talk about and agree on the goals that are important to you. Funding college, starting a business, taking great family vacations, having a parent stay home when the kids are little. Those are all important. If you can agree on what you want for your family unit, that is a great starting point and motivates your behavior. Prioritize these.
- Create a spending plan and set up cash flow to fund those goals before you spend on other things. Consider using Quicken or Mint to know where you are spending and create a plan for where you want to spend. You can’t change what you don’t know.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. From what I have seen, a big house or a fancy car does not translate into someone with wealth. My colleague Brad Berger has a great book out, Stop Trying to Keep Up with the Jone$es: They're Broke Anyway It is true in many cases. Want to be further inspired? The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley is another great read. I see it all the time.
- Make sure both people are “aware” of your finances. Even if one person manages the money, the other should know how it all fits together. This helps each party be more motivated towards achieving the goals when each can see the progress being made.
- Work with each partners financial personality. Some people need a bit more instant gratification with money. If you need to, set up a separate fund for each person for their “fun money”. I have clients with a golf account and I have clients with a shopping account. This allows each person to spend on what is important to them without feeling like they have to ask permission.
- Set a dollar amount for the big ticket items that need to be agreed on before either person can purchase them.
- When you are feeling like you wish you had more money for fun, go back to your goals and the things that are important for your family. Remind yourself what a great job you are doing and the sacrifice will be worth it in the long run.
As always, I am wishing you and your families the kind of fulfillment that comes from having shared goals, a clear sense of purpose to your spending, and a plan for financial and personal success.
Enjoyed this article? Please share it with friends, family and colleagues by using the button below.
Until next time!