If Instagram is to be believed, all couples are happy 24/7, live lavish lives and always look ready for a close-up. What the social media filters don’t capture is the work a relationship takes — even if it’s a healthy, supportive partnership. When you share your heart, home and financial goals with another person, difficult conversations are bound to come up. Though it isn’t often celebrated — or posted for followers to read, like and share — working as a team to meet a financial milestone is a powerful way to feel connected to your one-and-only.
For inspiration, here are four couples who tackled money-centric goals as a duo.
“We raised our credit score by 100 points.”
Marie Tedrow and her husband, John, share plenty of things: a love for Xbox gaming and three sons. Plus, financial goals that will help them to build a steady future. For their income, John is a stay-at-home dad and professional gamer, Marie works as a network analyst and Japanese translator.
In June of 2019, they decided they wanted to buy a house, but their credit scores needed a major bump. To keep themselves motivated, they tracked progress monthly. Though they were tireless in their pursuit, it still came as a pleasant surprise right before the holidays when they realized they hit their target in December.
How did they do it? Marie says it’s all about communication. As she puts it, no one likes scolding their spouse for overspending, but living paycheck-to-paycheck isn’t fun either. Rather than giving the credit score race a negative connotation, they approached it like a game and tried their best to be gentle with one another. “It’s a very delicate balancing act because no one wants to say no to having fun, but I also know you must be responsible,” she says. “Planning our monthly budget together really has brought us together. The smile on my husband’s face when all the bills are paid is wonderful.”
“We invested $10K in a brokerage account.”
Jessica and Laurence are married, traveled together frequently (before the pandemic, that is) and work together running a small business. She’s the travel blogger behind Independent Travel Cats and Laurence is the photographer behind Finding the Universe.
Their financial goals are joint, and since they are freelancers, their month-to-month cash flow varies greatly. For them saving for retirement is tricky as self-employed expats without access to workplace retirement plans. Much of their cash was kept in bank accounts and conservative investments. So they started thinking critically about long-term savings and set a goal to open a brokerage account and invest $10,000 for long-term growth.
Jessica says the experience was equal parts scary and fun. “While researching the right options was interesting, taking a leap of faith into the stock market was a little heart-racing,” she says. “We are both well aware of those risks and the money we need [in the near term] is tucked away elsewhere.”
Since meeting their $10,000 investment goal they’re now tracking to invest more in 2020. “We enjoy checking the markets together,” Jessica says, “although we stop ourselves from doing this too often.” Not panicking and selling your investments is the key to long-term growth. Here are six things to do instead of selling.
“We traveled around the world for six months.”
Than and Leslie are busy. He works as a business operations manager and Leslie recently launched a nutrition counseling business. When they wed in 2012, it marked the start of a journey toward achieving four financial goals: getting a month ahead on their bills, investing for retirement, eventually buying a home and traveling the globe for half a year. Fast forward to 2020, and they’ve achieved all of them.
It wasn’t without complications though, since as soon as the couple said “I do,” they realized they had vastly different perspectives on managing money. “I spent my 20s going out, staying at hotels, and generally living a financially unsustainable lifestyle,” Than says. “Leslie is frugal, environmentally and socially-conscious, and working to pay off debt as fast as possible.”
At first the couple had money fights. They eventually realized that the key to moving beyond the bickering was to plan ahead. Using a software tool called You Need a Budget (YNAB), Than was forced to face his overspending habits. They also saw that Leslie’s debt payments were perhaps too aggressive. Even though it took a while for them both to get on board with the program, they eventually achieved their first milestone goal.
Most recently, thanks to a combination of savings and credit card points, the couple took that trip of a lifetime, and spent six months touring through 24 countries. When they returned, they stayed with family in Philadelphia for eight months until they both found new jobs.
Today, Leslie is expecting their second child. They say building the dream life they both wanted could have never been possible without aligning on financial goals and learning how to team together for success, and happiness.
“We opened a second location for our business — and paid it off in cash.”
Throughout the course of their marriage, Nicole and David Pomije have set many financial goals. Not only is this a way to ensure they are on the same page, but as business owners, money is a constant topic of conversation.
Recently, they opened the second location of their company, The Cookie Cups. Going into the process, they decided they wanted to pay it off in full — in cash. Renovation started in March, the shop opened mid-October and as of the first week of January, they owe nothing.
What made it possible for them to achieve this dream was taking the time to strategize how they would do it. “We had to figure out how much money we would potentially need over the course of the construction process. Then, we had to figure out whether this would actually be realistic based on our current income to build a bakery and pay our bills at home while running our first bakery. What gave them peace of mind was their track record: eight years of being side-by-side, taking every step of life as a team. As Nicole puts it: “At the end of the day, knowing we are in this together is the biggest thing and keeps us strong.”
More on HerMoney:
- My Husband Controls the Money! (And Other Marriage Mistakes Women Make)
- How Couples Can Split Their Money and Bills to Be Fair
- 5 Simple Tips to Save for Retirement on Any Budget
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