Today’s post is from The Green Swan, who is planning to retire by 40. He is 30 years old so he has plenty of time to achieve financial independence. He is way ahead of me when I was 30 so I’m sure he will achieve his goal. Enjoy!
All You Need is Love…
Money is one of the leading reasons why couples fight and divorce. Cue the Beatles… “All you need is love…”
Well, maybe we need something more than love. How about a little organization and communication? How about a little give and take? Not every “money fight” can be avoided, but let’s try to reduce some of the stress and anxiety. Should the Beatles reword their song? Let me see if I can convince you…
“Wait, you are suggesting counseling before we even get married…?”
When my wife and are were engaged, the church assigned us a sponsor couple who we had to meet with a dozen or so times leading up to our wedding. Sort of like counseling sessions and we covered a number of topics. Sounds awful, huh? Well you’re right, I don’t know how I made it through…
But in all seriousness, it is better to have these tough discussions before you tie the knot to avoid money coming between you in the future.
“Wait, nobody said anything about a test…”
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, guess what, at the very end of the counseling sessions there was a test. We each had to fill out a fairly long survey of questions covering a wide range of marriage topics, one being finances. We completed the surveys individually and compared answers to see if we were on the same page. The answers we could choose from for all the questions were a rating from 1-3, 3 being the highest comfort level we had that we were on the same page, 1 being the lowest.
Needless to say, we aced the finance section. Are you surprised to hear that? Our sponsor couple was shocked. They had been sponsors for countless other couples over the years and not one time had anyone come close to doing as well as we did. Personally, I took that as a major badge of honor. I don’t really recall how we did on the rest of the test, but what does it matter anyway…we have been married 8 years and still going strong!
“Wait, what were we fighting about again…?”
So how did we do so well on the test? Well, I made it very clear to her upfront about needing to sign a prenuptial agreement…haha j/k…neither of us had any money back then…I mean I would never had done that even if I had money…
We have always been open books on finances with each other. I am much more into personal finance than she is, so Mrs. Greenswan followed my lead to an extent. But we talked about our various views toward money and we came up with financial goals and ambitions for ourselves. We combined our checking accounts and began managing our investment diversification on a combined basis.
Track and Budget Expenses!
Have order and discipline. My wife and I come up with our annual budget together and track and review our expenses at least monthly. Creating our budget together, and each having input and opportunity to voice opinions results in an end product that we both have bought into.
We try to keep each other honest with our spending. We may challenge each other’s spending habits at times throughout the year, but in a constructive way. When disagreements arise, we revert back to our financial goals and ground ourselves.
If we see ourselves beginning to spend a bit too much money on certain expense categories, like dinning out or shopping, we try to tighten up the next couple months to get back in order.
Leave the Ego at the Door!
When it comes to marriage, there is no room for ego or power status. Nothing should change in a relationship if you make more or less money than your spouse. If so, resentment will take over. There should be no “mine or yours”, just “ours”.
We both work hard to be financially prudent and live relatively frugal lifestyles. It isn’t always easy. So we try to treat ourselves occasionally. Taking a step back and smelling the roses. Enjoying what we work so hard for. On the random occasion my wife will treat herself by heading to the spa for a massage or to get her nails done and I will occasionally treat myself with a fancy bottle of whiskey.
“Wait, you manage your money separately…”
Everyone couple has their own unique ways of managing their finances. Some choose to keep things completely separate and split expenses, others combine accounts but create special buckets for the occasional splurge. And that’s fine, who am I to say that can’t work.
But have you planned for the long-term? How does retirement look? If one hits their target net worth for retirement, but the other hasn’t, then what?
I guess I just don’t understand the point to have and manage retirement accounts separate. Won’t you be retiring together and spending from the same nest egg?
Wait, you want me to institute a “time-out” corner for over-spending…
As a last resort it may not hurt…sometimes adults need to be treated like kids to get the point across. And it is always good to have a bit of a cooling off period anyway.
As I type this, I currently reside in the time-out corner because my wife does not think the image above is very “politically correct”. I suppose it is a little shallow, but I thought it was funny…
Alright the wait is over…I have the perfect remake for the Beatles: All you need is love, respect, caring, selflessness, generosity, patience, forgiveness and more love…
It may not have the same ring, does it? But it is more accurate. What do you and your spouse do to help avoid or resolve money fights? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for taking a look.
The Green Swan
Picture Source: Identity-mag.com