Marriage and Money: 4 Easy Steps to Financial Closeness with Your Spouse

BY: - 15 Aug '17 | Money

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This is part of a sponsored campaign with Wells Fargo. All opinions are my own.

Recently, I had such a wonderful time sitting on BMWK’s Financial Intimacy panel sponsored by Wells Fargo.  Founders of BMWK, Ronnie and Lamar Tyler, strategically positioned this discussion as the kick-off event to their 3rd annual BMWK Marriage Cruise—to make it clear that financial connection, closeness, and transparency is a cornerstone of happy marriages.

FROM L TO R: Lamar and Ronnie Tyler – founders of BlackandMarriedwithKids.com, Kara Stevens - founder of TheFrugalFeminista.com, and Tracy A. Tynes – Wells Fargo Miami Regional Brokerage Manager discuss how couples can achieve financial intimacy during a panel discussion during the kickoff session of the 3rd Annual BMWK Marriage Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, Fl on July 29, 2017.

FROM L TO R: Lamar and Ronnie Tyler – founders of BlackandMarriedwithKids.com, Kara Stevens – founder of TheFrugalFeminista.com, and Tracy A. Tynes – Wells Fargo Miami Regional Brokerage Manager discuss how couples can achieve financial intimacy during a panel discussion during the kickoff session of the 3rd Annual BMWK Marriage Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, Fl on July 29, 2017.

Step 1. Create shared financial goals.

The exciting thing about having a life partner is that you get to co-create aspirations and dreams: own a home, slay debt, get a PhD, start a business, retire by 40, have a huge family, vacation in the Caribbean four times a year.

What’s even more exciting than having shared dreams is creating an action plan and budget to reach them because every dream has a price tag. When you sit down to speak to your spouse about your individual goals and your common goals, please use the following guidelines to organize your conversation:

  1. Think about your short-term goals which you want to reach within one year.
  2. Think about mid-term goals which will take between two-five years to achieve.
  3. Think about long-term goals which usually take at least five years to realize.

    Couples listen intently during the "How to Establish Financial Intimacy” panel discussion sponsored by Wells Fargo at the kickoff session of the 3rd Annual BMWK Marriage Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, FL on July 29, 2017.

    Couples listen intently during the “How to Establish Financial Intimacy” panel discussion sponsored by Wells Fargo at the kickoff session of the 3rd Annual BMWK Marriage Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, FL on July 29, 2017.

Step 2. Execute a plan that will move goals from the start to finish line.

Creating shared financial goals is only the first step of engendering financial intimacy in your marriage. Once you’ve identified what you’re pursuing, the next step is to discuss the “how” and “when”:

  1. Create a timetable for each goal. In my experience, I work backwards: I set a realistic date for achieving any of my goals. After the date is set, I’m able to create milestones along the way. For example, if I have a short-term goal of saving $12,000 twelve months from now, I’ll be able to figure out that I would need $1,000 every month or $250 every week until I fill my money pot.
  2. Review your progress consistently to determine if you need to adjust your timeline. Wells Fargo created this simple yet effective financial worksheet to keep you organized and focused.

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Step 3. Take the stigma out of money talks.

One of the reasons that couples are not on the same page when it comes to their money (i.e committing financial infidelity) is because there are a lot of hidden messages, shrouded intentions, and ambivalence about financial disclosure. When you’re single, this financial baggage only affects you.  But when you’re married and with children, your inability to work through past financial money trauma and mixed messages will directly impact your family’s ability to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals. Try any of these easy ways to help take the edge off money conversations:

  1. Share one article from a site like The Frugal Feminista and Black and Married with Kids about a money topic of interest. Make sure the article is short, engaging, and easy to understand. It will be easy for you to read, easy for you to share, and easy for you to take action.
  2. Give each other financial compliments. No matter how dysfunction you think you are when it comes to money, you do something, even if it’s a small thing, well. Give props for organizing the mail, packing lunch for work, setting up bills payment, calling a creditor, saving at the grocery store, finding great online resources like Wells Fargo’s Hands On Banking tool and Budget Watch or brainstorming an additional stream of income.
  3. Create a “money talk” calendar: Similar to a social calendar, a “money talk” calendar schedules dates and times for discussing your family’s financial goals. Bring your best to these talks: heels, cologne, and desire. Make it sexy. Consider a “budgets in bed” breakfast or a “money, wine, and cheese” dinner to bring some zest to the topic.
Couples listen intently during the "How to Establish Financial Intimacy” panel discussion sponsored by Wells Fargo at the kickoff session of the 3rd Annual BMWK Marriage Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, FL on July 29, 2017.

Couples listen intently during the “How to Establish Financial Intimacy” panel discussion sponsored by Wells Fargo at the kickoff session of the 3rd Annual BMWK Marriage Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, FL on July 29, 2017.

Step 4. Ask an expert.

It’s an asset to be open and honest about what you know and need to know when it comes to money; not only to yourself, but also to your spouse. If you and your partner realize that you need more guidance, consider enlisting the expertise of a financial advisor; using financial advisors like the ones at Wells Fargo can help bring clarity to competing financial goals and provide free or low-cost resources for you to incorporate into your family’s money management arsenal.

You can have financial intimacy in your marriage. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. But just like anything else that is worthwhile you have to put in the work. And the “work” begins with opening your heart and bank statements to see how you and your spouse can grow together in all ways, spiritually, emotionally, and financially, through clear communication, goal-setting, and follow-through.

wellsfargoDisclosure: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Wells Fargo.  BMWK has collaborated with them on a Couples Financial Empowerment Series that started with the Financial Intimacy Panel in Fort Lauderdale, FL and will continue with two awesome webinars later this year.  All opinions are my own.

About the author

Kara Stevens wrote 142 articles on this blog.

Kara is a motivational speaker, life coach, and founder of the personal finance and lifestyle blog The Frugal Feminista .

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These 4 Traits Can Turn Your Child Into a Money Mastermind

BY: - 18 Aug '17 | Money

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You want the best for your children. So what can you do to ensure they become adults who are happy and prosperous, rather than ones who are stressed out, living paycheck to paycheck?

Teaching them about saving, debt, and compound interest is a good start; but instilling them with the right attitudes and mindsets is even more important. That’s because psychological failings underpin most of our money failures. So, if you want to do it right and train up a money mastermind, practice these four habits.

Stress an Attitude of Gratitude

Who hasn’t fallen into the trap of wanting more? It’s human nature. We’re constantly seeking more clothes, better electronics, a larger house or a newer car.  But sometimes, if you just sit back, you realize that you have more than enough.

Appreciating all the blessings that adorn our lives is the antidote to reckless financial spending. Appreciation turns your attention away from what you don’t have and toward the abundance that’s already present in your life.

Stress appreciation as a part of your child’s life. I, for instance, am a believer in encouraging my children to list three things they’re thankful for before they go to bed. It could something as simple as their beloved stuffed animal Fluffles or the favorite meal they ate for dinner.  Creating a lifelong habit of gratitude will help insulate your children from the effects of our consumer driven society.

Foster an Appropriate Sense of Self-worth

Too many people seek validation through their material possessions. The late model car sitting in the driveway serves as a badge of success. The large house on the corner lot shows that you’ve “arrived”. The clothes you wear belay your importance. But, in the process we sacrifice financial freedom for the momentary validation our possessions provide. This is a curse that should never be re-visited upon our children.

I plan to encourage my children to derive their self-worth from things other than their material possessions. Being kind, empathetic, generous, and Christ-like will be vitally more important to them than the type of car they drive or designer name tag they sport.

Help Them Develop Self-Discipline

In the 1960s, psychologist Walter Mischel conducted the Marshmallow Test in which four year olds were placed in front of a marshmallow. They could eat the treat or wait fifteen minutes and receive an additional marshmallow when the researcher returned to the room. Many children ate their marshmallow immediately. Others held out for as long as they could before succumbing to temptation. But some waited the required fifteen minutes and received their additional marshmallow.

Decades later it was found that the children who had successfully delayed gratification by waiting the full fifteen minutes to receive a second marshmallow were also more successful later in life.

Many of our financial problems center over our battle to delay immediate gratification for greater rewards in the future. We’re tempted to purchase that beautiful handbag with our high interest store credit card, even though waiting until we’ve saved up for our purchase is always the smarter choice. Those that approach their finances with a higher level of self-discipline will always be more successful.

You can foster the self-discipline muscles in your child. It may be as simple as never giving in to your child’s demands for their favorite toy on the spot. Instead, make them save their allowance to purchase the object of their desire. Research also concludes that games with inherent rules help build the self-discipline muscle as does encouraging your children to engage in activities that nurture self-discipline like sports, playing an instrument, or doing assigned chores.

Foster the Right Mindset

Carol Dweck is author of Mindset, one of the most groundbreaking books on learning and achievement. Her work describes two types of mindsets, the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

The fixed mindset is one in which we believe our talents and abilities are fixed or inherent. “He’s so smart” or “she’s a natural” are expressions conveying such a mindset. The problem with the fixed mindset is that we become trapped by our labels. A smart child becomes afraid of intellectual challenges because any failure might challenge their label of being intelligent, and thus affect their self worth.

The growth mindset, on the other hand, believes that any ability can be learned and fostered with enough hard work. A child is not “naturally intelligent” but, with enough effort and practice, can become brilliant at math or science. The beauty of the growth mindset is that it encourages work and embraces challenges. More importantly, the growth mindset sees failure as a natural stepping stone to success rather than an attack on their self worth.

By encouraging a growth mindset in your children you allow them to view success in any area of life as a possibility, as long as they are willing to work hard enough. In this way no high paying career field or entrepreneurial challenge appears unachievable .

BMWK, what mental habits or mindsets are you fostering in your children?

About the author

Alonzo Peters wrote 296 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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