Money Management: Lessons Learned in 12 Years of Marriage

Money Management: Lessons Learned in 12 Years of Marriage

I am a blessed man. Today I am celebrating 12 years of marriage with my precious wife Stacey.

I know that as Scripture says, she is a blessing from the Lord (“House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” – Prov 19:14).

I believe one of the reasons our marriage works well because we have learned to work together with our money.

It wasn’t always that way but I hope the lessons we have learned that can help you as well.

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1) Don’t carry the burden alone.

When we first got married, I took care of paying all the bills and of managing our debt.

My wife knew very little about our monthly obligations and our level of debt. She was ok with that for a while and so was I.

But eventually the financial stress became too much for me. After 18 months of marriage I knew something had to change. We needed help.

It is not healthy to be in marriage where you are not working together in all areas of your life. And arguments and stress about money are the leading cause of divorce.

Once we decided to start working together on our money, things began to improve.

2) Both partners have a voice and a vote.

It is critical that both of you have an input into the money decisions.

You may have different strengths and different perspectives but you have to get to a plan that it is agreeable to both of you.

In our case, I am very detailed oriented so I am the one who prepares our monthly budget. But the budget is not final until both of us agree to it.

My wife has great insights into our financial situation and I have learned to trust her wisdom.

Since we started working together on our finances almost 10 years ago, we have not missed a monthly budget committee meeting.

The budget gives us an objective way to make joint decisions about our money.

Our ability to communicate about money matters has drawn us closer in every other aspect of our marriage.

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3) Stay the Course

As I mentioned above, my wife and I have been working on our finances together for almost 10 years now.

In doing anything for a long period of time, you are going to have ups and downs. You are going to experience victories and setbacks.

We had to work hard to get out of debt. We had emergencies along the ways which slow down our progress. We had to make sacrifices and learn to wait for what we wanted.

No matter what, you have to stay together and stay with the plan. You have to stay the course.

“Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.”
Zig Ziglar

Marriage and Money: Agreeing on Large Purchases

Marriage and Money: Agreeing on Large PurchasesAs you get your budget under control, get out of debt, and build an emergency reserve, you will have increased cash flow.

With more money coming in, you will have the opportunity to make large purchases.

Question is, how do you decide on what to purchase first?

Let’s assume of course that you will save the money for the expense and will not use debt.

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How then do we agree with our spouse on a priority order on the purchases?

Invariably, you will have different ideas on what to buy.

One of you may want to save the money for a nice vacation while the other person wants to beef up the emergency reserve a little more.

Or one of you wants to do a home remodeling project that has been put off for a while, and the other person wants to buy a full entertainment system.

Here is an approach my wife and I use to come to an agreement about large purchases.

As you look at shared goals for this year, this might help you as well:

  • Make a list of all the potential expenses. Some examples include: vacation, car replacement, kitchen remodel, new couch, big screen TV.
  • Assign an estimated cost to each item.
  • Each person then goes down the list and assigns a priority (1 to 10) to each item.
  • Compare your priorities. Share with each other why each item is important.
  • Come up with a combined priority list.
    • Here is where the art of compromise comes in.
    • You are building a life together, so surely you can build a priority list together.
  • Total the amount required for all items. Based on your financial picture you might not get to all of them this coming year.
    • But you will get to the items that are important to both of you.
    • Now you know where to target your savings and you have a common set of goals.

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When you are married, the only way to win with your money is to work together with your spouse.

Healthy finances lead to healthy marriages.

If you are not working with each other you are working against each other.

Try this method and let me know how it goes!

Manly Money Management

Manly Money ManagementRecently I listened to a sermon and the topic was, “what are men supposed to be like?

How are men supposed to act? That subject alone could be the subject of many sermons!

The preacher used the following scripture passage to address the question:

13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
14 Let all that you do be done in love.
I Corinthians 16:13-14 (NASB

So this post is dedicated to my fellow men whether you are single or married.

I want to talk about how men are supposed to act with money.

I want us to discuss the subject of manly money management.

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If you are married, you are in the leadership role already by God’s design

If you are single, you need to learn to take control of your finances now so you can be prepared to lead your family.

So let’s unpack this verse and see how it could be applied to help us achieve manly money management:

1. Be on the Alert

Some other translations indicate to “be on guard” or “to be watchful“. When it comes to your money, how well are you keeping track of it?

Do you balance your checkbook every month? Do you keep track of your expenses?

Do you plan how the money will be spent ahead of time? Do you have a good understanding of your investments?

You need to pay attention to your finances. (Proverbs 27:23)

2. Stand Firm in the Faith

The idea here is stand firm in what you believe, in the Word of God, the sure foundation of life.

The Bible has a lot to say about money and possessions.

In His Word, God has laid out the best way to manage the money He has entrusted to us.

You and I would be foolish to ignore His advice. (I Chronicles 29:11, 14-16)

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3. Act like Men, be Strong

Men are supposed to take the leadership role at home. This means you lead the discussion on money as well.

Where is your family going? What are your goals?

You can’t abandon your wife financially by leaving her alone with the burden of managing your finances.

You have to be actively involved in money matters. And guess what: if there is a need to work extra hours or take a second job, you are up.

You take the lead in making the necessary sacrifices.

It is your job to make sure your family is well taken care of financially (I Timothy 5:8).

4. Let all that you do be done in Love

Even though you are in the leadership role that does not make you a dictator. Your wife has an equal vote.

You need to work together on your money, make decisions together. Love your family well by saving for emergencies, retirement, and college.

Finally, love your family well by taking care of what happens after you are gone. Make sure you have the proper level of life insurance and that you complete a will.

Love them well to the end. (I Cor 13:4-7)

So What?

What do you think? We men can get worked up about a lot of things in life that have no bearing on the destiny of our family.

We can get really excited about our toys (cars, electronics, and man caves) and watching our sports.

But what if we were at least half as passionate about what happens with our finances and our families?

Imagine that for a moment. Are you ready to man-up with your finances?

Are you ready for manly money management? If so, let me know, I can I help.

“There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”
Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President

Marriage & Money: Winning by Working Together

Marriage and Money: Winning by Working TogetherWhen is the last time you and your spouse completed a major project working together?

My wife and I relocated to DFW just over 3 ½ years ago.

Before doing that we had to sell our previous home and we had some work to do.

Working Together to Sell a Home

And after owning that house for about 14 years, it was time for a few renovation projects: some fresh paint, a little work on the kitchen, replacing some outdated light fixtures, gardening, and general clean-up.

Some of the work we could do ourselves but for some items we wanted professional grade work.

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We had lots of work ahead of us, so being a project manager by trade and a detailed oriented “nerd” by birth, I put together a quick spreadsheet with an outline for the schedule and the budget that became the essence of our project plan.

But the real key to the success of this plan was that my wife and I worked together on the project.

We had to agree on how much we were prepared to spend on each item, we had to agree on the timeline for each project.

We also had to make decisions like choosing a paint color or the type of tile for the kitchen backsplash.

We had an objective and we had a plan so we had a common understanding.

After working the plan, the house looked great and it sold in 30 days!

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Working Together to Win with Money

Winning with your money also requires having a common understanding between spouses. You can only win by working together.

Regardless of what your income is and how much you may or may not know about managing your finances, you need to have shared goals and dreams.

You also need to have shared responsibility for doing what’s required to achieve those goals and dreams.

Since my wife and I started working together on our finances almost 9 years ago, we are winning with our money.

But in addition to that, we have achieved a level of communication and understanding in other areas of our marriage that we did not have before.

Here are just a few examples of items that require both spouses to be in agreement:

  • Working on your monthly budget. If you can’t talk about the day to day, month to month expenses, how will you decide on major purchases?
  • If you have children, how will you save for their college expenses? What will you teach them about money?
  • Major purchases. What constitutes a major expense (e.g., more than $300)? If you have more than one purchase you want to make, what’s the priority between them? Can you save for Christmas and also for replacing one of your vehicles?
  • What are your goals for retirement?
  • Is it time to upgrade and move to a bigger house?

God’s wisdom tells us that Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.” (Eccl 4:9).

Talk to each other. Determine what those shared dreams and goals are in your life.

Be honest about your fears and. Learn to listen and to trust one another.

Remember that as a married couple, you are supposed to be building a life together. That includes how you handle your money.

You can win with your money by working together. Start today!

Question: What’s keeping you and your spouse from working together on your finances?

5 Personal Finance Gifts for Your Wife on Valentine’s Day

This is a special post for my fellow men. You may be racking your brain on what to get your wife for Valentine’s Day.

Have I got a deal for you! I believe the best Valentine’s Day gift is a good financial plan.

With that in mind, here are 5 Personal Finance Gifts for Your Wife on Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!

5 Personal Finance Gifts for Your Wife