What Does Your Marriage Look Like When It Comes to Money?
The importance of getting financial conversations on the table with your spouse
A lot of women I know were born in the time of June and Ward Clever. Ward went off to work, and June stayed home taking care of the house all day, looking forward to serving Ward when he got home after a hard day.
My home was no different, and I honestly can't remember my parents ever talking about money. All I knew was that mom paid the bills and most of the big financial decisions came from dad. Even to this day my folks don't talk about money...unless there's a problem!
The skinny on couples and money
My folks aren’t alone in this. According to a survey done by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in 2013 , “68 percent of engaged couples surveyed held a negative attitude about discussing money with their fiancé.”
The old truism is right: money is the number one thing couples fight about the most. According to a survey by Money Magazine in 2014, “70 percent of couples argued about money more than household chores, togetherness, sex, snoring and what's for dinner.” Again, most couples only talk about money when there is a problem—if you can call a fight a talk!
Thinking differently about money
One great thing my parents instilled in me, however, was that I could grow up to be whatever I wanted to be. There were no gender issues about women doing this and men doing that. It was always go for your dreams.
So, when I was an adult woman, I knew I wanted my life as it pertained to money to look much different than my parents’ life. My hope was to start a company (since I knew I wasn't a very good employee!) and to have my partner in life always be my business partner too.
What do you want to be?
I met Robert at a T.G.I. Fridays in Hawaii. He asked me out for quite a while, but I kept putting him off. Finally, like a good salesman, he wore me down. On our first date, he asked me two important questions:
What were my hopes and dreams?
What was my plan for attaining them?
That was it for me. It sealed the deal! No one ever asked me stuff like that on a date. Finally, I knew I had found a partner I could build not just a life with but also a business with.
Building a future together
In the beginning, we didn’t have much money. In fact, at one point we were so broke that we had to live out of our car. But this was actually a blessing because we built our wealth together and quitting was never an option. Even more, it made us stronger as a couple, put us into action, and forced us to be smarter and more creative about money.
For Robert and I, investing and business is like a game. We learn and study this game together, and we have a blast. People have picked up on this about us. In fact, a few years ago, I told my dad that Robert and I were going to take a little time to go on a vacation and enjoy ourselves. His response was, “Your whole marriage has been about enjoying yourselves!” And he was right.
Today, my marriage looks completely different than my parents’ marriage. For one, I don’t spend any time in the kitchen! (This is thanks to my mother who taught me, “If you don’t want to spend your life in the kitchen, don’t learn to cook.”) But more importantly, Robert and I talk a lot about money, our businesses, and our investments.
Let’s talk about couples and money
At the end of the day, your spouse and partner should be an asset, not a liability! Part of this starts with having a healthy relationship, and part of a healthy relationship is talking about the important things in life, like money.
Because this is such an important topic, I’m going to spend the next few weeks talking about couples and money in a series of posts. So stay tuned and check in each week for this important series.
In the meantime, I encourage you to join our Rich Dad Community. You’ll get some valuable resources that will kick start your thinking—and talking—about money together.