How We Handle Our Finances: Money, Money, Money
Rachael and I never fight. Of course, we have the occasional argument as any healthy relationship does but we have a calm way of handling everything. When it comes to money, we’ve never had a hint of argument revolving around it. Our lack of stress around money comes down to how we manage our finances together.
We have plenty of people ask us how we are able to stay so calm under so much monetary risk. I’ve had random people and close friends ask if I could help them get their significant other on board with investing and saving. I’ve always offered the same advice and will now as well.
My Guap Is Your Guap
Rachael and I were recently featured in an article by Yahoo!Finance that covered different ways that couples manage their finances.
It gave some great viewpoints into approaches that different couples take when handling their finances and I suggest you read it to see if other’s people’s methods spark an idea for you. It was too brief to really dive deep into each couple’s methods, though.
Rachael and I sat down together before we got married and discussed how each of us viewed different areas. We talked extensively about how we handled them now and how we wanted them handled together.
Both of us believed that an individualistic approach to finances within a marriage can cause much turmoil. We never wanted it to become a you versus me competition. We especially didn’t want to end up having one partner make a series of bad financial decisions and the other not find out until it was too late.
Rachael and I came to the mutual agreement that marriage is a joint partnership that requires both feet in. The most important part of any partnership is communication. Everyone should bare an equal load and each partner should be included in all decisions.
Any income, bills, or debt that was brought in would be shared by both parties. Bank accounts, groceries, memberships, were all combined, but our personalities still differ.
Frugality vs The Cheap Bastard
Rachael is very frugal by nature. She saves where she can and spends where is necessary. I’m glad that she is that way because it means I don’t have to constantly check my account. I’m too laid back and it would make how we manage our finances a whole lot harder.
See, I’m a cheap bastard. Any moment I get to avoid spending, I take. This isn’t always the case. For some reason, when it comes to my business and my investments, I splurge. But in my personal life, I’m the cheap bastard.
The cheap bastard is horrible at keeping tabs on his accounts. He forgets to pay bills and forgets to cash checks all the time. He even manages to lose cash if he has it. It’s a wonder that I’ve managed to keep a perfect credit score.
Automatic everything is a lifesaver. Also, an amazing internal reminder of something being amiss.
See, I live with a very close of how much I have. I get these feelings when I’ve spent too much throughout the month or when some time has passed and I should be expecting something. It’s never perfect, but it’s so close that I never worry.
Rachael takes that and makes it work for her by keeping everything in a spreadsheet. All of the income that comes in is notated. Each expense is categorized. It doesn’t matter if it’s one cent or thousands of dollars. She’s meticulous about keeping everything together so we can see where our errors are.
Our Paper Meeting
Each month, her and I sit down and have our paper meeting. We take a look at our budget and figure out if there were areas within our control that we may have overspent or underspent in. We track the progress of our investments and discuss any worries we may have.
This meeting is all about making us feel like we are a team and working toward something together. It is about bringing issues to our attention so that we can figure out necessary solutions. There are moments where I have overspent by a lot and she makes sure not to shame me for it.
Her spreadsheets keep us honest and centered on our goals. Better yet, it allows us to keep the lines of communication open between each other on a topic that normally troubles most people.
Ain’t Nothin’ More Important Than The Moola
When it comes to how we manage our finances, Rachael and I don’t just save for the fuck of it. Saving is great, but it’s even better if it’s attached to a goal.
That goal for us is to make the moola slave for us. It shouldn’t be bumming around at home, getting fat and demanding to be fed more. Like any growing child, you feed and nurture it until it can go out and accomplish greatness on its own two papers.
All of our investing is done as a team, which means our decisions when it comes to investing are made together as well.
Rachael never knew much about real estate before we got together. She owned her home, but had not looked into the idea that there was a potential for income when it came to purchasing them.
I had multiple conversations with her about real estate investing. The first few didn’t go so well. I could tell she was not fully engaged, even though she was excited for me. I began to bring it up in ways that I believed she could appreciate and related to her.
Pretty soon, I saw the spark in her eyes as things started to make sense. She began to learn how to analyze a property and what to look for in them.
While I do most of the research, I always show her before I decide to put in an offer. She reviews the property and makes sure that I haven’t made a mistake. It also allows her to continue learning and feel as if she is part of the team.
The Final Dollar
At the end of the day, our system works because it is based on trust. We strongly believe that joint finances keep our marriage healthy. We keep combined accounts, combined bills, and investments as well.
Our monthly paper meeting allows us to share any concerns with each other and keeps us communicating regularly. It keeps me accountable and fully aware so that the cheap bastard doesn’t slither without check.
We can work together toward common goals through saving and investing. If your partner isn’t on board with your goal, you can’t force it. Your views are going to be different and the way something makes sense to you might not to them. It’s up to you to listen to your significant other and find the way that it can be important to them.
Right now, our goal is to supplement Rachael’s income completely through our investments. I want to give her the opportunity to be able to retire with me, if she chooses. Our many goals will change as time goes on, but our monthly meetings will allow us to stay centered on them and feeling like it is a joint partnership.
This is how we manage our finances. It’s pretty simple.
If you have any questions or need some help with your own, shoot me an email or drop me a comment. I’m happy to help! Aaaaand make sure to check out our monthly updates on how life is progressing for us.