Friday, June 12, 2015

United in Financial Goals

One thing that people comment on about our marriage is the way we handle money and our financial goals. (By people I mean my mom and two friends.) Our financial situation has been easy to handle for us--they say that money is one of the top causes of contention in a marriage. Money has most definitely stressed us out, but we have never had a fight about money in five years of marriage. Never. 

I think a huge part of that is due to the fact that we don't have a lot of money.  When you don't have a lot of money, it goes to the necessities and there's not much to talk about. But I also think that Zach and I have put a few practices in order that allow us to communicate and work on our financial goals together without stress or disagreements. 

money and marriage

Agree on Top Priorities
Set aside some time to really discuss your long-term goals. Knowing your long-term finanacial goals will really help you to determine what your short-term financial needs are. As yourselves: Where do we want to be in five or ten years? Look at what you'll need to get there. Will you need to purchase a home? Be a one car family? Work an extra job or two for a few years? 

From the time we met we've agreed on these five priorities:
1. Tithing 10% of our income
2. Me being able to be home with our kids
3. Becoming debt free
4. Using money to make memories not buy things
5. Being able to comfortably retire

Not all of these things can happen at once, which is why it's important to prioritize them. We are currently focused on the top three things. At one point in our marriage, we focused on all five. All of our financial decisions-since even before we were married--have centered around these shared goals. 

Budget Together

Working together to look at the money coming in and going out is important. If you do have money leftover after necessities, it is nice to have to sets of eyes with two different perspectives looking at the money and discussing what the best route to take to get to your financial goals might be. Zach and I always know how much comes in and where it all goes. When we did have disposable income, we didn't make purchases larger than $50 without consulting the other person first.

If you agree on your top priorities and they've been discussed, then it's crucial to discuss how to meet those goals together and how to work with what you have.

Handle the Money

I'm terrible with money. I really am. I pay bills late and I often spend any leftover money if I know it's in the bank. Zach has always handled the majority of the bills. When I was working I had certain bills that I paid and those bills were covered completely by my paycheck (I didn't have anything leftover). Zach paid fewer bills and handled the leftover money. He used the leftover money to add to savings or to pay off debt. While I fully understand that I need to be more responsible, it helps that Zach is my partner. This is a strength of his and so I gladly allow him to handle the finances. My strength is working numbers and getting creative. I have written our budget dozens of times--and I've run it through how things would look if we eliminated this or did that instead. It helps give us options and I share those options with Zach so that we can discuss them.

 I know how much every bill is and I know how much is in the bank, but I don't pay the bills right now. Whatever your goals and needs are, decide which of you is the best person to handle certain parts of your goal. Utilize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses so that you can start putting your plan into action and see results.

How do you work with financial goals in your marriage?

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