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Investment Fundamental #1 – Your Partner

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investing fundamental your partner

Here is my #1 Investment Fundamental – Your Partner. ( I started with #2 to #10 and concluding with #1.) In my opinion, having the right partner is the most important factor in building good finances. This is more important to me than saving an emergency fund, contribute to 401k, making a budget, or anything else. Your partner can help you build your wealth or make it impossible to do so. We are both savings-minded and have never built up any consumer debt and that gave us a huge head start on many people.

I’ll just list some reasons why I think having the right partner is so important.

The right partnership helps each other work toward the same financial goal. It could be paying off debt or retirement or saving for a house.Β  If both people work together and support each other through hard times, then the journey is so much easier. Two incomes are twice as good as one income!

– On the other hand, if one partner is a big spender, then your personal finance will be so much more difficult to handle. If I save up my 401k and see the Mrs. spending all our money on consumer goods, then I probably will quit saving. There are bills to pay and let’s face it, I like to spend money too.

– Risk tolerance is also a big question mark. I can take a bit more risk than the Mrs. If it was just her, she would have just banked all her savings. I convinced her to invest so we are both on the same page. I think both partners should know what the household finances look like. This is one of the reasons I started this blog. I want to share everything with the Mrs. and other family members so they know what we are doing. The Mrs. is our chief editor so she has to read all the posts carefully. I found that this is the only way to get her up to speed, as she won’t read anything else on finance.

It’s even better if the team has complimentary skill sets. We are both pretty good at saving and spending less than we make. I’m a bit better at investing and keeping track of asset allocation. The Mrs. is much better at keeping things organized, like paper work and record-keeping. We make a good team.

I think it’s a big crap shoot if you get the right partner or not. When you’re young and in love, spending habits are easy to overlook. I am very lucky to have a wife who is a big cheapo. We have our ups and downs like everyone, but finance was never a big point of contention between us.

I’ll close with a personal story. If you read my exit strategy, you would see that the Mrs. is planning to keep working once I quit my corporate job. I know this is not traditional and I’m sure many people disapprove, but I think I earned a few years off to figure out a different way to make money. Michelle is supportive of this and I am very grateful. SheΒ  detoured from wealth-building for a couple years with the Peace Corps and took two more years to get her masters degree. So I still worked quite a bit more than she had over the last 15 years. It’s my turn to take a little break. πŸ™‚

How important is teamwork in your personal finance? Our partnership is very smooth on the finance front, what about you? Any stories to share?

First Gen American wrote about the importance of marriage in finance last week – Babci’s Favorite Saying on Marriage.

Money Reason also wrote about The Power Of Spousal Teamwork.

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{ 45 comments… add one }

  • LifeAndMyFinances January 31, 2011, 3:38 am

    I think you’re right on! In fact, this point is in the book, “The Millionaire Next Door”. The millionaires most likely have a partner that is savings-focused and does not make wild expendatures. Makes sense to me!

    • retirebyforty January 31, 2011, 9:20 am

      Right! I think MND pointed out how important your partner is and that resonated with me.

  • Melyssa January 31, 2011, 8:50 am

    Oh yes, life is so much easier when your partner is on the same page with you. I used to be very defensive but my hubby actually helped me with that. He is all about talking it out and trust. So different from what I grew up with and I tell ya, it’s such a sense of relief. We discuss anything.

    Unfortunately many do not have that kind of relationship with their partner. They just don’t trust or respect each other. I hear of many marriages that waste time wondering what their spouse is doing, lying to each other and putting down their partner.

    So yes, without each other, I think it will be very difficult to achieve dreams.

    • retirebyforty January 31, 2011, 9:23 am

      My parent had a lot of money argument too. It’s difficult to have a smooth relationship with money issues.
      I try to keep the Mrs. updated with our portfolio. Her grandma had a hugely difficult time when grandpa passed away. It took forever to sort out the finance. Everyone should be involve in the household finance.

  • Jessica07 January 31, 2011, 9:24 am

    ” I am very lucky to have a wife who is a big cheapo.” Haha! I wonder if my husband has ever said that about me. LOL

    I completely agree with everything you said in this post. I see why you left it for fundamental #1. πŸ™‚

  • MoneyCone January 31, 2011, 1:52 pm

    Having a compatible partner matters a lot. No point if you are a frugal saver and your spouse is livin’ it large!

  • 101 Centavos January 31, 2011, 6:47 pm

    Even in a one-income household, having a partner play good defense is as important as the other having a good offense.

    • retirebyforty January 31, 2011, 9:54 pm

      I agree, the millionaire next door book made this point too.

      • 101 Centavos February 1, 2011, 6:15 am

        That’s probably where I remember that from. Super book.

  • Darwin's Money January 31, 2011, 7:15 pm

    That’s a great point about the partner. I wonder what your thoughts are on one person kind of running the finances vs a dual role. I handle the finances and my wife is somewhat aware on the periphery, but we don’t fight over money or what we do with it. I give her decent leeway on the budget and I handle investments and all the spending. Works for us, but then again, she’s not as frugal as I am, so generates some chiding. But not marital problems to that degree.

    • retirebyforty January 31, 2011, 9:56 pm

      I used to run all the investments, but now I really want the Mrs. to learn everything I know. Her grandma had a very difficult time sorting out the finance when her grandpa passed away. I would like to avoid that kind of situation.

  • everyday tips January 31, 2011, 7:51 pm

    I can’t imagine the fights that go on between couples that do not agree on finances. It is one thing to quibble over which washing machine to buy, but I know some people make secret purchases and have different retirement goals.

    My husband and I just want to get rid of our mortgage debt and save as much as we can so we can retire comfortably. We still live a nice life, but neither one of us like to spend. It all works out great.

    • retirebyforty January 31, 2011, 9:58 pm

      My parent had money argument pretty often. My dad took care of the finance and he is terrible at it. He gambled so… What more is there to say? Anyway, she finally wised up and split the finance and was able to hold on to some money.

  • retirebyforty January 31, 2011, 9:53 pm

    I agree with everything you said. It was hard to get the Mrs. to learn more about finance, but she is catching up now. It’s essential because as we all know, women usually lives longer than the men.

  • Money Reasons January 31, 2011, 10:03 pm

    My wife is cheap too, almost as cheap… erh frugal as I am!

    Thanks for the mention, the right spouse does make a difference, ask my buddy. He choose the wrong one and now they are divorced with massive debt to pay back.

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2011, 9:13 am

      I think we are both pretty frugal. We spend our allowance on different things though. I usually spend on electronics and she likes shoes and purses. Thank goodness she is not into jewelry. πŸ˜‰

  • Buck Inspire February 1, 2011, 12:47 am

    Great article and I agree, your partner should be everyone’s number one investment fundamental. Although the Mrs. isn’t a big cheapo, there is a nice blend now. She makes me see quality while I keep her from being too frivolous. Sometimes it goes the other way, too. I can’t imagine how a couple survives if they aren’t in the same ballpark on handling finances. Nice job! πŸ™‚

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2011, 9:14 am

      I think couple with different outlook on money have a much more difficult time with marriage in general.

  • First Gen American February 1, 2011, 1:45 am

    I wholeheartedly agree. I like your point about complementary skills. I know in many households, one person manages the investments, while the other manages the household budget and looks for deals, etc. Some of this stuff is very time consuming and it’s good to split up responsibility.

    I’m very lucky that my husband is like minded. Although he’s not quite as frugal as me, that’s actually a good thing. He doesn’t spend money often, but when he does, it doesn’t pain him to open his wallet as much as it does for me. It’s helped me feel less tied to money and earning it.

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2011, 9:15 am

      I guess it’s possible to be too frugal. πŸ™‚
      Sounds like you have a great team!

  • lovely leverage February 1, 2011, 10:17 am

    So you saved the best for last πŸ˜‰ Great post btw! I think having a partner for life is a process of learning and growing together. When BF and I analyze different business opportunities, I like to challenge him by asking different questions. At first, he thought I was doubting his abilities, but he realized it’s my way of pushing and motivating him to pursue our dreams. A team with complementary skills creates synergy.

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2011, 3:11 pm

      Thanks!! I didn’t want to start with #1 because I wasn’t sure if anyone would agree with me.

  • BeatingTheIndex February 1, 2011, 10:40 am

    Great post RB40, I totally agree with you on the importance of one’s partner when it comes to finances. No couple will be able to hit its financial objectives if they are not on the same page when it comes to manging income and expense. I am lucky to have a great partner who balances out my risk appetite and is excellent at spotting great deals out there for all our needs.

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2011, 3:11 pm

      Congratulation on having a great partner! It makes working toward any objective so much easier.

  • Evan February 1, 2011, 11:46 am

    I am only 29 and have seen disasterous marriages because the partners aren’t on the same page. One already got divorced and another will get divorced eventually. Your points are spot on!

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2011, 3:13 pm

      It’s hard to say for me because most of my friends are not comfortable talking about money. I only know one divorced couple so far and I think they had more issues than money. If you get finance out of the way that’s one less thing to worry about. Marriage is difficult enough right?

  • Nicole February 1, 2011, 3:46 pm

    For most of our marriage, DH didn’t worry his pretty little head over finances. He had his allowance and took care of that and was filled in on the big picture once a year during taxes. More recently he’s seen what having a large amount of precautionary savings can do, and he’s read Your Money or Your Life and he’s taken more of an interest in the finances, which I like because I like to talk about money. πŸ™‚

    • retirebyforty February 1, 2011, 6:23 pm

      Haha, nice to be your DH. It’s great that he has taken more interest in the finance. The Mrs. also is reading finance books I have lying around, that’s really great.

  • FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com February 2, 2011, 5:07 am

    I agree. My BF is the #1 supporter and he helps keep me on track for spending. We really compliment each other, and I couldn’t do what I do without him.

  • Invest It Wisely February 2, 2011, 8:52 am

    We have similar thoughts on this which is great. We both agree with high savings goals and investing for the future, and not spending too much in restaurants and things like that. I agree that it’s important and I’m fortunate to have found someone where we have a lot of values in common.

  • Barb Friedberg February 2, 2011, 6:20 pm

    This post is awesome. I couldn’t agree more. My hubby is my perfect mate. I handle 100% of everything financial. He handles pretty much of everything else. We definitely complement one another. And our values related to money are practically identical.

    • retirebyforty February 2, 2011, 10:18 pm

      I hope he knows about all your accounts. It’s difficult to have both people be involved in finance, but I think it’s crucial to at least know what your portfolio looks like and where all the accounts are. Congratulation on finding El Carino. πŸ˜€

  • Joe Plemon February 3, 2011, 7:58 am

    Great post. My wife and I have complementary skills: I am more analytical while she is more intuitive. Even if I can crunch the numbers on a particular purchase, I have learned to trust her when she says, “I don’t know…I just don’t feel right about that.” You know what? She is almost always right!

    • retirebyforty February 3, 2011, 9:34 am

      The Mrs. is always right even when she’s wrong. πŸ˜‰
      It’s great to have different skills because the team can handle many different situations! Congratulation on having a great team!

  • Aloysa February 8, 2011, 6:15 pm

    This is one of my favorite posts. You nailed it all. Loved the picture!

  • Drew @ Epicfinances.com February 22, 2012, 7:01 pm

    This is a solid article because its absolutely true. I think the risk tolerance part is a very important thing to consider. I am not so sure my current girlfriend is able to take any pain when it comes to investing.

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2012, 10:14 pm

      You have to show her that short term pain = long term gain. When the market is down, it’s an opportunity to buy more shares. Maybe she doesn’t understand that concept yet?

  • Patrick December 30, 2012, 7:20 pm

    There’s one aspect of this article that I think is lacking, but it is obvious really … finding the right partner allows one to work harder, be more responsible, and consider things more before jumping into it. Emotional, soft power is what allows a lot of guys to get stronger when they marry, and that forces them to think of the future. If they’re lucky (like me) not only will they have someone they love, but also someone who works with them to mutual benefit for retirement savings.

  • Eric October 24, 2013, 5:33 am

    I do most of the money stuff, and I keep a sheet with all the accounts, passwords, etc on it for my wife. Also some notes about where life insurance info is kept, that sort of thing.

    I really need to get more organized about it, like all in a single three ring binder or something. Assuming that I as the husband die first, I should also include some tax advice in there. We are in a community property state, so there will be things that get a double step up in basis, and also issues that relate to the survivor as far as retirement accounts. I know all this stuff, but I’ll be dead! And she won’t have a clue unless I get this stuff organized.

    • retirebyforty October 24, 2013, 11:31 pm

      Do you have a will or an estate plan? I need to get together a detailed plan too.

  • Eric October 25, 2013, 1:06 am

    Yes, the wills are done. I think some health care stuff is there with it as well. The Mrs. knows where a copy is filed, with a key to the box where the original sits. But this feels like more stuff that should go in the one big binder.

    Another thought, suppose we both go down in a car crash or something? Another reason to have things together all in one place, and let a trusted person know where the binder is, “just in case”. But maybe I’m being overly paranoid. I do that sometimes.

    But on the other hand, I have a niece that works in an estate and trust department of a big bank. Oh, the horror stories she tells about families desperately trying to find all of Grandma’s information after she’s gone. Yikes. I wouldn’t want to put anyone through that.

    I take care of things for both my Mom and my Mother-in-law, so no worries there.

    • retirebyforty October 25, 2013, 8:32 am

      I need to work on all of that… It’s one of my new year’s resolutions, but it got put off…

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