Money & Marriage: 2 Ways Couples Can Get on the Same Page Financially

BY: - 30 Dec '16 | Money

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Soon after Derek proposed to Carrie, he got a bit of a surprise. He found out her house was headed into foreclosure. They still got married and faced the financial disaster together because, as they put it: “We had no choice. The bank wasn’t taking excuses in lieu of mortgage payments.”

The conversations and decisions that Derek and Carrie had to make early in their marriage were tough, but they helped them to understand how each of them grew up, what they valued, and helped them get on the same financial page.

I ran across their short book, One Bed, One Bank Account, in the library a few months ago. And I wanted to share two of their tips for merging money, because a lot of people will be getting engaged/hitched over the next few months.

The $100,000 Question

If I suddenly came into a 100,000 dollars, here’s what I would do with it:

  • I’d give $10,000 to church.
  • I’d spend $10,000 on a family vacation.
  • I’d save $20,000.
  • And, I’d put the remaining $60,000 toward paying off our house early.

My husband said he’d do almost the same thing: pay off the house, save for our children’s college and invest in our business. (Lord knows, we’ve had many difficult conversations surrounding money…it’s a gift to be on the same page now.)

But what if he wanted to spend $100,000 on a new Tesla?

Chile, we’d have problems!!

Derek and Carrie Olsen say that asking this simple question is a great way to begin having money talks, because it is a fun non-confrontational way to share what each of you value.

One at a Time, Please, One at a Time

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When my husband and I had our first budget meeting. It lasted six hours. It was awful.

I cut my him off before he could finish a thought. I questioned how he designed the spreadsheet, why he had a line for tithes and offerings, why didn’t we have a line for new clothing and anything else I could say/do to stay in control.

This was no bueno.

In their book, Derek and Carrie give several guidelines for budget meetings/money talks. But I think the most helpful tip that gave was one for making sure only one spouse talks at a time. And that the other spouse is an attentive listener. They recommend using a coffee cup, brush or anything else to help identify the speaker.
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The Point of It All

Many studies point to money problems being the number one cause for divorce. But it’s not really the money that causes the problems. It’s the communication about money that leads to our relationships either thriving or dying.

As a result of overcoming the financial disaster early in their marriage and growing toward each other, Derek and Carrie have dedicated their lives to helping couples have better conversations on money.

And that’s the point of it all: when couples understand each other’s motivations, backgrounds and hopes for money…they can both win. Because learning to communicate about money breaks down barriers.  It forces us to trust each other and teaches us how to resolve conflicts.

BMWK: What tips can you share for having open and honest communication about money?

About the author

M. Simone Boyd wrote 32 articles on this blog.

Last year, M. Simone Boyd quit her job as an energy analyst to research what makes relationships thrive or die. She interviewed 10 Christian Black Men to get their advice on relationships and wrote a free guide. Simone is one of eight kids, and her awesome husband is an only child. She leads workshops, writes, and goes to the gym at least once a month.

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Flip the Script: 5 Car Buying Tips that Put the Power in Your Hands

BY: - 4 Jan '17 | Money

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I find it amazing how we pay attention to saving nickels and dimes on small purchases, but we’re almost completely oblivious when it comes to the big purchases in our lives. Let’s face it, you won’t win the financial game by saving a few dollars on a loaf of bread or buying your favorite outfit on sale. The money game is won by playing it smart with the major purchases in our lives.

But too few of us do.

Take automobiles for instance. According to Edmunds, the typical average monthly payment for a new vehicle loan reached an all-time high of $503 a month, with the average new vehicle loan hitting a record $30,032.

The money game is won by playing it smart with the major purchases in our lives.

A record 32% of used car shoppers and 25% of new car shoppers had negative equity on their trade-ins, meaning they owed more on the car they were trading in than that car was worth.

Clearly, automobiles are decimating our finances. But if we’re smart, we can make sure our automobile dreams don’t run over our chances for financial independence.

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1. Always consider a used car.

I doubt that I’ll ever buy a new car for the rest of my life. That’s because the depreciation hit is too much for me to stomach. The typical mid-size sedan selling for $27,660 loses a whopping $7419 of it’s value in the first year of ownership. Smart buyers know that they can save a ton of money by purchasing a car that is one or two years old.

2. Know the value of the car you’re about to purchase.

We get into trouble when we pay $30,000 for a car that’s only worth $25,000. We lose money right from the start. That’s why when I purchased my last car I used websites like CarGurus.com. By entering the VIN number of the used car I was interested in, I was able to find out a realistic estimate of how much the car was worth. Car Gurus then told me what prices constituted a good, fair, or bad deal on the vehicle. When you come to the dealership with this type of information, you’re less likely to get taken for a ride.

3. Shop for your loan before you shop for your car.

Did you know that the dealership is that last place you should consider when obtaining a car loan Auto dealers receive a “kick-back” from the the bank or finance company when they find a loan for you. Let’s say, for example, that your credit history qualifies you for a 3% interest rate. Your friendly finance manager is allowed to add as much as 2% to the loan cost. You get a 5% interest rate, when in reality you could have paid only 3%. The dealer pockets the difference.

That’s why it pays to shop for an auto loan at your credit union or bank before setting one foot in a dealer’s showroom. Online lenders like CapitalOne are also great places to find good deals on auto loans.

4. Look for the safest, most reliable car possible.

Your best money move is to purchase a car and keep for at least 7 to 10 years. But, you have to make sure that you buy a reliable model so that repair costs later in the car’s life won’t eat you alive. A great resource is Consumer Reports Car Buying Guide which lists the reliability records of hundreds of cars. Purchase a car with a great reliability record and save money for years.

5. Understand the additional costs that come with car ownership.

Too often we simply pay attention to the purchase price of our vehicle without considering other expenses. If your new car only takes premium gas, for instance, you could be paying 20% more in gas for as long as you own your car. Make sure to check with your insurance company to see how your new car’s insurance premiums compare to the average as well. In addition, find out the average repair costs for the vehicle you intend to purchase.

By being smarter when making your large purchases – home, education, automobiles – you’ll set yourself up over the long haul to win the money game.

BMWK, what advice do you have for saving money when making major purchases in life?

About the author

Alonzo Peters wrote 276 articles on this blog.

Alonzo Peters is founder of MochaMoney.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping Black America achieve financial independence.

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