Marriage & Money – The Maker or Breaker of Success

We’ve all heard that statistic that says “The most common cause of divorce is disagreements over money.” While this may very well be true, it doesn’t have to be true for you.

Mike and I have always been on the same page about money and finances from day 1. A month after we started dating, I gave him the Dave Ramsey financial peace CD set for him to listen to on his way to work. Maybe we are both just weird, but somehow, he did not run away from me.

He started to really get into the whole Dave Ramsey way of life and even read a couple of his books. Whenever we were in the car together we would listen to Dave’s podcasts. It became normal for us to say “What would Dave do?”

Being so open and forthcoming about financial topics early on in our relationship opened the door for conversations about our own personal finances, goals, and ideas.

I immediately put Mike on a plan to pay off his truck and get started on the student loans. He got his truck paid off just a few months after we started dating! And now knows to never get another auto loan again.

Fast forward three years – we are now married and still have never had a single argument or disagreement over money. We share a credit card (I know, Dave would not approve, but how can I turn down the cash back?), and pretty much only buy necessary things like gas during the week. Neither of us eats out or goes shopping during the week. We go to the grocery store together every weekend and know the amount that has been set in the budget for us to spend. If we go shopping for something that isn’t food or gas, we still go together and the purchase has been researched and discussed beforehand.

As I previously alluded to, we have a budget that I make every month. It hardly ever changes month-to-month so we don’t need to have any budget meetings or discussions over what it’s going to be.

Each month I set aside $100 for Mike to spend however he wishes without undergoing any questioning by the FBI me. I usually can’t think of anything I want so I usually do not spend my “frivolous money”.

So far the budget has worked out great and I’ve tracked every penny spent for the past three years. I didn’t add Mike into the budget though until we got married.

I think a lot of couples probably have separate bank accounts where they may hide away some money from their spouse or have a secret credit card or debts that the other doesn’t know about. These are all recipes for disaster. You need to openly communicate, every day. You need to always have your goals and dreams at the forefront of your mind.

Whenever we are home with nothing to do, going on a trip is very tempting but I will say “we just need to stick with it so that one day we will be able to do whatever we want, while everyone else is working to pay off their debts and bills.”

We recently got into index fund investing through Vanguard. The goal for this fund is for a more long-term goal such as early retirement, down payment for real estate, or something we have not thought of yet. I opened this account in August 2017. Since I didn’t want to put a $3,000 or $10,000 chunk into it to be able to have the option of either investor or admiral shares, I opted for the ETF (exchange traded fund) option which is essentially the same. The main difference being that with an ETF you have to buy whole shares and you have to manually buy the shares. You are able to set up the investor and admiral shares on automatic investment so it buys shares of the fund for you, however with an ETF I have to go onto the website and manually buy. Right now we are 100% invested in the total stock market index fund.

We’ve considered paying off our house before we turn 30, but at such a low interest rate, (2.8%), it almost seems like free money. I think we can get a better return utilizing that cash somewhere else.

A 50%+ savings rate would probably not be possible if we were not on the same page about money. You have to both be 100% committed to the same goals so that you both have the motivation to be diligent and maintain discipline and self-control with your finances.

4 Comments

  • Steveark

    You’ve gotten a great start! Fast forward 37 years and you should be as happy as my wife and I who will mark 40 years of marriage later this month! We also have never had a single fight about money and have been slightly early retired for three years with no debt and considerably more assets than we will ever need. We never had any payments except for a mortgage we paid off early long ago. Kids are grown and successful on their own, last night we all watched our son receive his MD degree. The real key to successful finances is a partner with shared values who is committed to you, no matter what.

    • Capturing Cents

      Wow! You’ve got a lot to be proud of. Looks like your children will be set up to follow in your footsteps!

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