The Reward of Working Your Married Finances as a Team

by Kevin on January 18, 2010

First I asked if your spouse was a financial teammate or an enemy.

Then I showed your three major risks to living with a financial enemy.

Today I show you the sunny side of marriage finances.

The Reward: Successful Marriage Money

Great things happen when you work together as a team. When your spouse is headed in the same direction you are… look out! You’ll take the financial world by storm.

A great teammate will…

1. Increase Your Happiness

I’ve got to be careful here. Money won’t make you happy.

But a spouse that works with you on your finances? That’s going to turn out well. You won’t be arguing over money. You won’t be stressing about your latest set of purchases.

You’ll have support. You’ll get along.

You’re working together as a team. When that happens everyone wins. Everyone is happier.

2. Help Clarify Your Goals

No one knows you better than your spouse. They can help you identify what exactly you really want to accomplish. Or they can help you identify the things your truly enjoy spending money on. This allows you to maximize your value and enjoyment on those activities while brutally cutting back in other areas you don’t treasure.

Maybe this example will help you explain it better:

Some of you have interests that are narrow and deep. You have a small handful of hobbies you enjoy. In those hobbies you go deep. You’re the person that has all the latest and greatest. You’ve got accounts at multiple internet forums to discuss a hobby.

Others have interests that are shallow and wide. You like to try lots of new things, but you’re not in deep in many hobbies. This isn’t bad — you just like to try lots of different things.

Generally I am a narrow and deep kind of guy. Occasionally I start to lean more into the shallow and wide category. I get a rush and want to try a bunch of new things.

A recent example from me personally. I got interested in Macbooks. I’ve never owned a Mac. I’ve always looked at them as products that cost double what they should. You’re paying a marketing premium with Macs.

But I figured before I made a final determination that I should buy one to try it out. My wife got wind of this and we had a discussion about what I really needed a new laptop to do. In the end I couldn’t swallow the added premium to own the Mac product and I bought a Dell at an affordable price.

That discussion helped remind me that I didn’t really want to jump in with both feet into the Mac world. Doing that would be expensive — especially if I didn’t end up liking Mac laptops.

3. Work With You Toward Success — Financial and Otherwise

In the third point of my last article I told you that if your spouse is a financial enemy they will tear down your financial efforts.

Instead of burning a lot of energy fighting over money you can point that energy toward being successful. You have healthy discussions of how much money should be spent on groceries in the budget rather than having a screaming match because one spouse spent an extra $5 unexpectedly.

The true gain of working together is this: once you set up your budget and learn how to automate your finances you can focus your energies on other tasks like building a career, starting a business, or just relaxing.

That’s where the real joy kicks in. Money doesn’t take up a majority of your thoughts. The money is taken care of. It happens, it goes in the budget, it goes out to various categories, and it is spent. You’re not fretting on overdue bills and whether the mortgage has been paid yet. It’s covered.

* * *

Stay tuned. In my next post I will show you how my wife and I have run our finances since before we got married. I hope you can read what I have to share with you to see that you truly can work together as a team.

I may even share the story of how I put her on a budget when we were just seriously dating…

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No Debt Plan | Money Smart Life
February 23, 2010 at 3:48 am

{ 6 comments }

Steve in Denmark January 18, 2010 at 8:38 am

Think you’re wrong on the MacBook decision.
I can’t compare them specifically with a PC laptop, as I’ve only worked on some ancient ones at Skole and I don’t know the Windows operating system very well. But – I am using at this very moment, a Mac PowerBook G4 17″ I bought in 2004, and I can honestly say, hand on heart, I have not had a day’s bother with it since I bought it. Never lost anything, never had to have it repaired, not a squeak. I bet you all the tea in China you won’t be able to say that about your Dell in 2016, eh?
The only reason I am going to be buying a new iMac this year, is because I have the Power PC chip and the new Macs use the Intel chip. I can’t therefore run Snow Leopard and some/more and more elements of Mac OS on my G4. We’ll be keeping it though, and I bet you anything you like, it’ll be running sweet as a nut in 6 years time.
Bottom line: I bet I’ve saved the cost of (at least) two of your PC, wind-up laptops (not to mention all the anti-virus software, etc to protect me from Windows down the years) by buying a Mac.
And so would you.
Short-sighted savings now, I’d say you fell for.
And, let’s face it; on the train, people don’t go past and say ‘wow, you’ve got a Dell?’, now do they?

Kevin January 18, 2010 at 8:57 am

I was hesitant to mention the Mac thing… should have used a different example. Don’t want all the Apple fans rampaging over here…

I’m not your average Windows user. I think a majority of the problems people run into with Windows are their own fault. Installing/uninstalling lots of programs, opening email attachments that have viruses in them, etc.

I neglected to mention that the price I paid for the brand new Dell was 50% of what I could have paid for a 2-3 year old Mac. To get an equivalent Mac it would have cost $1,500 to $2,000. That’s absurd when I paid $500 for a new machine that has a huge screen (17″ compared to 13″ or 15″ for that price of a Mac).

And I don’t care if people go “wow, you’ve got a Dell” or not. That goes back to marketing.

I can protect my machine and keep it running just as smooth as a Mac for 25% to 33% cost of new? I’m all over that.

Megan January 19, 2010 at 10:48 am

#4: You and your financial teammate can have great “we just paid off a debt!” sexy fun time. After all, if you’re really cutting down on your expenses, your options for cheap and fun entertainment are pretty limited.

But seriously, good list. Couples on the same page also benefit from seeing sides of themselves – and each other – that they maybe never knew existed. I guess I’m thinking of those couples who do extreme debt pay-offs – one or both halves take on a second job, they cut expenses like crazy, and they pay off like $30,000 in debt in a year. You can’t be lackadaisical when you’re doing something like that together, that’s for sure.

Kevin January 21, 2010 at 8:56 pm

You’re right on. The couples that are able to sustain that type of work and debt payoff enter “the zone” I think. It would be much harder to do it alone, but with the support of a partner you feel encouraged to keep on keeping on.

Pennystocks January 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Good Job on the Mac Book, that is always tempting, I got my Macbook for free and wish it was a dell

impressions January 29, 2010 at 12:05 am

Well, good for you that you are doing great in your finances with your wife. Well, i agree that teamwork really works.. Me and my partner is working together in our finances. And it does feels good when you know that you and your partner are supporting each other.

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