Screw Love. Are you financially compatible in your relationship? Important Money Topics to Discuss Before Marriage

Screw Love. Are you financially compatible in your relationship? Important Money Topics to Discuss Before Marriage

If you’re planning to jump the broom, it goes without saying that you love each other.

 

Well… unless it’s an indecent proposal or you guys have an arrangement.

“No judgment from me – Do you!”

 

As a lover of romance and any solid Rom-Com, I am not discounting the importance of love in relationships and marriage.

 

Hot, steamy, undying, can’t-nobody-tell-me-nothing love, can be fun, exhilarating and just downright sexy.

 

However, love itself won’t solve or prevent all problems, particularly when it comes to money and relationships.

 

Let’s keep it real, fighting about money sucks.

Before you go deeper as a couple , grab this FREE guide to help your money make more sense and stay on track to reach your financial goals.

 

Sometimes your plans, expectations, and behaviors with money are misaligned with your partner’s plans, expectations and behaviors.

 

Hence, the shouting matches over finances.

 

If you are already married or damn-near-married, there are ways to stop fighting over money.

 

Occasionally, those fights are necessary because your approach and habits are SO different from your partners.

 

Sometimes, the relationship can’t be salvaged because of those differences.

 

Even I have a few relationship deal killers of my own:

–        Stealing money from my purse or bank account

–        Getting credit in my name for use without my permission

–        Not paying any bills

 

All those offenses require little conversation, just the packing of his damn clothes and stepping to the left…to the left.

 

What are some of your hard line, “I ain’t playing with you” financial boundaries?

 

Maybe you already know the answers to some fundamental, but important questions like:

 

-Is your bae/boo/ future spouse a spender or saver?

 

-Does your partner have deep-rooted issues with money?

 

-Can you trust your significant other to handle all YOUR money, if needed?

 

-Are they controlling when it comes to money and how you spend it or do they plan to hand their paycheck over to you?

 

Hopefully, this post helps you go a bit deeper into you and your partner’s financial life or even consider what your hard “clothes packing” financial boundaries are.

 

The questions/topics below are designed to prompt you to have deeper, more thorough conversations with your partner about money and the role it will play in your relationship.

 

It’ll definitely serve its purpose if it saves you and your partner from future money fights!

 

The topics below can help you discover how aligned your financial philosophies are.

 

So, what do you need to do next?

 

Review the categories and determine what questions you’ve already covered in your relationship.

 

You will also be able to determine what categories you want to delve into with your mate.

 

I know, I know…you may not want to bring some of these things up.

 

Believe me, I understand that money conversations can be emotional and uncomfortable.

 

But let’s be honest, break-ups over money are worse – much more emotional and frustrating.

 

Ignorance is not bliss.

 

Sometimes it’s simply expensive.

 

Love and logic don’t need to be mutually exclusive.

 

Think about the role money has played in your past relationships or even the relationships of people you know. (We both know some ugly stories about people and their money fights)

 

It’s important to note that you are NOT recreating the Spanish Inquisition. The goal is not to prove who’s right or wrong. The goal is not to be hard-nosed and inflexible.

 

You should be using the topics below as a brainstorming tool to first, help you recognize if you are aware of your own position on these topics and second, determine if you and your partner are well aligned when it comes to money in a marriage.

 

There will be/should be areas where you are willing to compromise. However, it’s absolutely okay if & when you have areas that you don’t see eye-to-eye that you are less willing or unwilling to compromise on.

 

It is safe to have financial boundaries.

 

Real talk moment again – You may already be seeing red flags which is not uncommon in relationships, but what do they REALLY mean?  How much will they impact you in the future?  Are they deal killers that you are just trying to ignore?

 

Are you afraid to discuss certain topics because the hard truth may be that you just are not financially compatible and want to delay the impending breakup?  (See my ignorance comment above).

 

How many of your past breakups should have happened before they actually did?

 

We’ve already settled that you love each other. Now, are you willing to do the work to determine if you and your partner are financially compatible before you make a lifelong loving commitment?

 

Friendly reminder: Make note of the areas where you are unsure of your own position and take the time to consider it before your conversation or be upfront with your partner that you’re still trying to figure it out.

 

Money Management

Separate or Joint finances

    • You have various options to consider but the primary options are typically:
      • 1 primary joint checking account where both paychecks are deposited.
      • 1 primary joint checking or savings account where a set amount is transferred from each of you.
      • Joint everything.
      • Separate everything.
    • Ask your partner which option they prefer and what their experiences have been with the different options listed above.

Established emergency fund

    • How much money is important to have saved based on expenses, income, and level of job security. Here are a few areas to cover:
      • When was the last time you & your partner were unemployed and for how long?
      • When was your partner’s last promotion?
      • If your partner has been in the same role for a number of years, there are a number of things to consider:
        • (1) If they have maintained certifications or continuing education credits to keep their skills up-to-date.
        • (2) If they are at the top of their payscale
        • (3) The marketability of their skillset outside of their current employer (4) If below average performance is an issue in their current role (thus threatening their job stability)
      • How much are their monthly expenses?
      • How easy is it for others to get a job in their field?
      • How many sources of income do they have?
      • How much access to credit or other income sources do they have?

Bankruptcy

    • What are their general sentiments around bankruptcy?
      • Has it ever been filed? How many times? How long before it’s cleared?
    • What kind of bankruptcy did they file in the past? (Chapter 7 or 13)
    • Would they want to file bankruptcy again, if needed?

Credit/Debt Health

    • What is your partner’s Credit Score?
    • How many credit cards do they have? Do they available credit on the cards?
    • Do other people have access to their credit lines?
    • Are they a joint signer or co-borrower for someone else’s debt?
    • How does your partner feel about debt? (“striving to be debt free” versus “everyone dies with debt”)
    • Do they have collections or past due student loans?
    • Have they ever had a foreclosure or short sale and the circumstances around it?

Taxes

    • When was their most recent year of tax filing?
    •  Would they prefer to file Joint or Separate returns?
    • Do they understand how child support or back taxes can impact tax filings as a married couple?
    • Would they be offended if you filed for injured spouse relief? (injured spouse relief may allow you to obtain a tax refund (or a portion of the refund) when you partner’s tax liabilities would otherwise offset the refund)
    • Do they typically owe or receive refunds?
    • How much in do they owe in back taxes?

 

Living Arrangements

Cohabitation

    • How do you and your partner feel about living together before marriage?
    • Is your partner willing to move into your place or are there expectations to get a “new place” together?
    • Who should handle the management of bills and how will housework be divided?
    • How do they see expenses being divided (who pays what?) Do they believe in traditional domestic gender roles or are they open to anything?
    • Are they open to the idea of hiring help? (lawn service, housekeeper or cleaner, handyman, etc)
    • Would they be willing to sign a cohabitation agreement?
    • Who should pay for the furniture and moving expenses?

Renting versus Own

    • How does your partner feel about owning property?
    • How many properties has your partner owned in the past?
    • How many properties does your partner currently own?
    • Is your partner comfortable with only one name being on the lease?
    • Has your partner had past evictions?
    • Would they prefer a longer or shorter mortgage (15 years versus 20 or 30 years)?
    • Have they ever had a foreclosure or short sale and the circumstances around it (yes, it’s a repeat from above because it’s important)

Family Support

    • Is your partner supportive or opposed to parents or other family members moving in?
    • Is your partner supportive or opposed to financially supporting parents or other family members?
    • How much is a reasonable amount of family support?

Children

Child Support

    • How much is being paid in child support per month?
    • Is your partner current or in arrears with child support?
    • Are child support payments court ordered or an informal arrangement?
    • When was the last time your child support amount was reviewed?
    • Will your custody and/or support agreement be affected if we move in together?
    • Are they willing to opt out of receiving child support after you marry? (not recommending this, btw, but you/they might want to know)

Financial Support for Adult Children

    • What age is too old for an adult child to live at home?
    • How much is financial support reasonable to provide to an adult child?
    • Should adult children pay bills while living at home?
    • What is a reasonable amount of money for an adult child to contribute?

Allowance

    • What’s a good age to provide allowance?
    • What items should a child be made to pay for with their own money, if any?
    • How much is a reasonable amount of allowance to provide to a pre-teen versus a teenager?

 

Children’s Education

    • Do they have a college fund or savings establish for your kids (or plans to establish one in the future)
    • How does your partner feel about paying tuition for elementary or secondary school?
    • How does your partner feel about paying for college?
    • Do they want their kids to take out student loans?
    • Have they already co-signed for student loans?
    • Would your partner prefer they stay on campus or live at home during college?
    • Would they rather the child go to an in-state or out-of-state college?
    • Are they aware of the difference in cost for (Instate versus Out-of-state)?
    • Are they open to take out parent loans for their college tuition?
    • Do they expect you to help fund tuition of children born prior to your relationship?

Protection

  • Do they believe in prenups, postnups, or cohabitation agreements?
  • Do they have or support paying for the following insurance:
    • Life Insurance
    • Health Insurance
    • Auto Insurance
    • Property Insurance
    • Renters Insurance
    • Disability Insurance
    • Long-term care insurance
    • Critical Illness Insurance

Travel

  • Does your partner enjoy traveling?
  • Do they prefer 1 or 2 big trips or a handful of small trips annually?
  • What should the financial split be (50/50, alternating, depends on who picks, etc)
  • Do they prefer to travel in small groups or larger groups?
  • What’s the most amount of money they have ever spent on a trip?

Career Planning

  • How long do they plan to be in their current position or with their current company?
  • What are their career aspirations?
  • When was the last time a promotion was awarded?
    • This question can lead to other questions such as:
    • Is the role at risk of elimination or lay off?
    • Have they peaked in their career?
    • Is this the last role before retirement?
    • Or is there minimal career progression with their current employer or role?
  • Are they at the bottom, mid-point or top of the pay scale for their current role?
  • Do they have plans to continue their education to grow in their career?

 

Retirement Expectations

  • What do they think about Social Security and how dependent are they or plan to be on Social Security income?
  • Do they make regular contributions to an employer retirement plan?
  • Do they make contributions to other retirement accounts?
  • Have they taken early withdrawals from 401k, IRA, or other plans?
  • Do they have any loans against their 401K?
  • Do they own any stock of their employer (direct equity or Employee Share Purchase Plan)?

 

Investments

  • Are they interested in investing in the stock market?
  • Have they ever lost money in the stock market or another major investment?
  • How would they describe their risk tolerance? (risk averse, risk taker or somewhere in between)
  • Do they have an interest or experience in real estate investing?
  • Have they ever invested in the business of a family or friend?
  • Do they prefer to manage their own investments or have someone do it for them?

 

Whew! That was a lot!

 

Hopefully, you read a few of those questions and thought “Do I?”, “Will I?” or “Damn, that’s a good question.”

 

If so, this post has served you well! Don’t stop here – keep going!

Action Steps

  • Make a list of the topics you would like to cover with your partner. Share this post with your partner so that they can do the same.
  • Commit to a time and date to discuss some of the topics above (and more, if needed).
  • Take your time with the topics, it can be overwhelming for you and your partner to tackle in one sitting.  Tackle topics bit by bit.
  • Think about using a safe word when conversations get to heated.
  • If you are already married and have been fighting over money, check out this post for a few tips to reduce them.
  • If you are looking for more tips, rules and ACTION STEPS to manage your own financial life, grab this FREE guide to help your money make more sense and stay on track to reach your financial goals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional and the founder & primary personal financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners avoid common financial mistakes during a divorce or after a recent uncoupling. She is keenly focused on helping women confidently maintain their financial security with proven strategies for living with a budget, managing debt, and improving their credit score. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE 2019 Ultimate Resource Guide HERE.  

 

Managing Your Money As A Female Breadwinner: 12 Modern Rules to Reach Your Financial Goals

Managing Your Money As A Female Breadwinner: 12 Modern Rules to Reach Your Financial Goals

Do you have to follow all 12 rules to manage your money better?

 

 

 

 

Of course not.

Have you ever baked a cake and skipped out on a couple of the ingredients?

How did it taste?

I’m seriously asking …

Maybe it wasn’t too bad.

Have you ever tried making a cake without flour, butter, AND sugar?

You might be able to eliminate one or two of the ingredients (hello, flourless cake) but all three!!

*Barf city – side eye*

When you’re making a cake, some ingredients are just fundamental and necessary. Other ingredients give it a little more flavor.

While I consider all the rules to be fundamental and necessary when it comes to managing your money, you are free to apply and act on what makes sense to you.

You might actually like cake with walnuts, eggs, & oats as the main ingredients.

However, if you are looking for the best cake you’ve ever had you likely need more.

Similarly, if you are looking for tips to manage your money in the best way possible I can’t really imagine why you wouldn’t take heed to these money rules.

These rules are the guiding principles for modern women that are truly ready to regain control of their money and reach their financial goals by using these simple tactics!

So, let’s get into it! If you know you’re ready to dive right in and make your dollars make sense grab the money recipe right HERE.

Rule #1: Thou Shall Not Be Pimped (Don’t Let Everyone Borrow Money)

When your family knows your paydays as well or better than you, WE have a freaking problem. It’s as if someone is literally taking bread out of your mouth.

WTF.

You: “Can I enjoy my bread please before you ask for a piece?”

They keep asking. You keep giving. Usually just to get them to shut up.

You: “Here…take it! Now, leave me alone.”

And they do (leave you alone) ……but only temporarily.

It’s a vicious cycle. They treat your money like its “our” money.

It’s time to waive the white flag.

Scream “TIME-OUT!”

“Wo-MAN Down!!”

Don’t be afraid to set boundaries to manage your money better!!!!

Sometimes, as breadwinners, our budget troubles are caused by those that abuse our kindness.

It’s okay to say “No” when you feel like your loved ones are treating you like their personal 1st Federal (or ATM, gov’ment check, payday loan, etc).

When I first read that “No” was a sentence I felt crazy empowered. It was years ago, but it sticks out to me like it was yesterday.

Just saying it aloud and then later stopping the actions that were taking my power made me feel stronger.

Try it!

Aloud.

“No.”

“No!!”

A little bit louder.

“No!!!”

Sometimes, just pausing and saying absolutely nothing is damn near orgasmic too!

To far…. Ok, I digress.

If that sounds too difficult to do, here are a few other options.

If you’re not ready to say “No “quite yet, then try “Let me get back to you.”

It’s a very simple and non-confrontational way to respond.

When you do follow-up, immediately start off the conversation with “I hope you understand…” or “Unfortunately, I won’t be able to….”

Alternatively, you can say yes but it can be a really slow yes. Like a 2-Month- Long- Slow Yes.

Maybe they will tire of waiting for you and find an alternative superhero to save them.

Lastly, I’m giving you permission not to follow-up at all (not that you need permission from me anyway 😊)

Seriously, sometimes we must be our own protectors. Don’t be flaky or unreliable, just be like one of those guards that stand in front of Buckingham Palace.

Regardless of what funny faces or weird antics they see, these soldiers are SUPER stoic. They never break a sweat or position. They completely ignore you and all the distracting bullshit (well unless you touch them). It’s actually quite amazing.

That’s who you may have to be. At least, until you are ready to say “No” and mean it.

Guess what happens when people feel like they are being ignored?

They stop calling on you for help.

Have you ever heard the phrase to whom much is given much is required?

Well much is relative and sometimes too damn much is required by those that didn’t give the money to you or help you get it anyway.

There are some of us that were the 1st to graduate from college, the only ones in our family married, the only ones that own homes or investment property or even the only ones with good credit and managing money.

From time to time, it feels like we might be paying a penalty for those blessings when people have the audacity to say things like “well, you don’t really need the money anyway” or “it’s not like you’re going to miss it” (when they don’t pay you back).

Excuse the FIIRM out of me! What did you just say?

If you’re hearing or experiencing things like this in your life, please recognize that you have entered financial pimping territory.

I urge you to get out!

via GIPHY

Be a friend, be an ear, don’t be a martyr. You can’t carry everyone’s burden.

You can’t bail everyone out.

Sometimes it’s ok just to sip tea, listen, be understanding and do nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

Affirmation: It is safe for me to say “No” and still support the prosperity of others.

Rule #2: Thou Shall Treat, Not Trick Yourself into Debt (Don’t Use Debt for Frivolous Things)

There are times when I feel like I am more busy than productive and I’m here to tell you that there’s definitely a difference.

A BIG difference actually.

When I’m productive, I am focusing on things that (1) are important, (2) will make my life easier/solve a real problem or (3) add value to my life.

Here’s the catch. It’s usually not just one of those qualifications that make a task productive. It’s when the task covers a minimum of 2 of the 3 mentioned.

Think about your purchases in that same way. If you need to use debt to make the purchase happen, ask yourself the following 3 questions before you make the purchase:

  1. Is this item important?
  2. Will this purchase make my life easier or solve a real problem (e.g. save you time or save you money)
  3. Will it add value to my life?

Then ask yourself if you are using productive debt or unproductive debt.

Wait, What??

We often go into debt over our love for expensive shoes, clothes, fancy trips, not saying “no” enough to our kids or whatever your spending trigger may be.

When we use debt for those purchases that have no tax benefits and incur high-interest rates or pay high fees, that is unproductive debt. Plus, to top it off the items listed above usually, offer very little value to our lives or our personal balance sheet. It’s not an ideal way to manage your money.

If we are going to go into debt, it should be for something that adds true value to our life long-term (i.e. building a business, buying a house, continuing your education (sometimes)).

We can often get low-interest rates, tax deductions or see an appreciation in value in the item purchase, thus deeming the debt more productive.

Don’t worry Jimmy Choo will understand . . .  and if he doesn’t?

F’ em. (as in FORGET… Forget him!)

Affirmation: I am minimizing to prepare for increase.

Rule #3: Thou Shall Not Turn a Blind Eye to Money (Keep an Eye on Your Money Always)

Just because you don’t THINK you are good with managing money doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a say in what happens with your finances, especially if your partner isn’t that great with it either. Allowing the blind to lead the blind isn’t helpful in the long run.

Maybe your spouse or partner is really good with money and you find yourself saying:

“My husband handles everything I don’t have to deal with any of that crap.”

“I don’t know exactly how much money we have in the bank.”

“If something happened to _____ (insert partner or parent name), I would be in trouble… LOL”

Sorry, not sorry, but this is NOT funny to me!!

Sure, it’s my opinion and it may not be one that you share but for those who are wondering if this is a smart way to manage your financial life, I’m here to tell you that it is NOT.

I cringe when I hear people talk about their money in such a lackadaisical way because of the three D’s – disability, death, and divorce. That’s enough D’s to motivate me to get my Ass-ets in order!

Even if you’re single, you still shouldn’t be managing your money blindly- meaning it’s not ok to hide from your financial woes.

So, pull the covers from over your head and look your money straight in the eye.

DO NOT give full control of your finances to anyone or anything – not a relative, a spouse, a financial advisor, or even the signs in the sky.

It is no longer the 50’s and 60s.

Our parents and grandparents lived differently due to the constraints and traditions of THEIR time.

We must adjust to OUR time.

Hence, the reason these are called “MODERN RULES.”

Unlike generations before:

  • Women can get credit in their own names today.
  • Women work outside of the home and still raise children.
  • It is much more acceptable for women to express independent thoughts and goals

Today, cigarette lighters are used more as car charging accessories instead of its original purpose.

Most of us problem didn’t even notice this evolution.

Your own personal preferences are one thing. Sayings like “my mother never did it that way” or “that’s the way it’s always been done in my family” is outdated.

That train of thought doesn’t fly with me . . . and it never will.

More importantly, I don’t want it to fly with you either.

This rule is about being FIIRM and summoning the courage to confront your money and your relationship with it.

I really want you to look your money straight in the eye!

You are in control and get to tell it what to do.

Affirmation: I am learning to face my challenges with money head-on.

Don't Manage Your Money Blindly. Learn where you stand.

Rule #4: Thou Shall Save the Bacon, Not the Grease (Make Saving Money a Priority)

You bring home the bacon, then use the bacon for bills and necessities and then sometimes save whatever is left.

So many of us have not been taught to make saving money a priority.

We haven’t learned the importance of paying ourselves first and seeing the benefit of compounding interest.

Saving money, all too often, is as an afterthought.

It doesn’t always feel fun, it requires patience, and our money is pulled in so many directions that at times it can be quite difficult to do. (See Rule No. 1 & 2)

We must make savings a top priority, not an afterthought that gets thrown in a random jar that you’ll find yourself using again soon anyway.

Saving leftover change is cool and it may feel good to see that jar filling but for a woman that truly takes care of business and is serious about managing her money, it shouldn’t be your only means for building an emergency fund.

Affirmation: I trust myself with large sums of money

Rule #5: Thou Shall Practice Self Compassion Daily (Forgive Your Money Mistakes)

Lack of forgiveness can cause self-destructive behavior.

We all mess up.

No one is PERFECT.

Period.

Mistakes made today won’t be your last.

Just try not to repeat the same mistakes again and again because, well…you know…that insanity thing.

Remember WHY you are working towards your financial goals and allow yourself some grace. Make your losses your lessons and remember to treat yourself when you hit your financial goals – big or SMALL!

Reap the rewards of your good decisions.

Ideas to treat yourself include:

-Eat an amazing meal. I am talking about the ones that make you moan after the first bite. Bring a friend… or not. (I am the queen of dining alone)

-Find a great Groupon for a new adventure in your area

-Have a dance party in your living room. Invite your friends… or not 😊

– Buy yourself some chocolate, flowers or a sexy new dress

-Stay a night in your favorite hotel for reason at all

-Get a massage in your own home

-Buy your favorite candles, wine and have a sexy night of reflection or journaling (you thought I was going to say something else didn’t you)

If you find that you are down in the dumps often, are feeling deeply discouraged or even depressed, then rewarding yourself with small treats may not be enough.

You may need a bigger treat from a life coach, therapist, counselor or other professional that can help you sort things out. Trust me, peace of mind is a treat unto its self.

It is not a bad thing to seek help. It’s actually the opposite.

It’s the “grown-up-I-own-my-own-shit” thing to do.

I encourage you to pull your big girl panties all the way up and get jiggy with this money rule!

Affirmation: I don’t have to be perfect to make better decisions

Rule #6: Thou Shall Not Be Foolish (Make Rationale Money Decisions)

Now I know I just told you to treat yourself and have some self-compassion buuuuut…

Treating yourself for a job well-done is not the same as being foolish and doesn’t involve your entire paycheck!

I don’t think you really need me to explain this much more, but some examples would include:

-co-signing for the unemployed

-lending money you can’t afford to lose

-purchasing a car without understanding the terms

-investing your life savings in the stock market

-buying a car based on a new job you MIGHT get

-ignoring letters from creditors

-ignoring letters from the IRS

-spending your entire paycheck every single payday

-participating in fraudulent activity with a loved one

-allowing someone else to control your accounts and spending

-spending your rent money on concert tickets (even if it is Yoncé or Adele, sorry Beehive)

I think you get my point. 😊

Foolish behavior means you are hedging your bet when the odds are stacked against you.

If you’re looking for a way not to reach your financial goals, then any of the above will do.

However, for those that are looking for the winner-winner-chicken-dinner rule to live by, this should be towards the top of your list.

Affirmation: I am focused financially on my future

If you are ready to TAKE ACTION with these rule and the others grab the action steps to Make Your Dollars Make Sense!

Don't let people borrow from you all the time and end up broke

Rule #7: Thou Shall Rock the Cradle (Make Saving for Retirement a Priority)

We are taught to put ourselves last, especially when it comes to our children.

Don’t get me wrong, kids are cool (I even have one 😊) and their well-being is important but when it comes to our children + money, sometimes WE HAVE TO put ourselves first.

Give yourself the proper “project runway” to retire comfortably by investing early.

You can get a loan, if necessary, for your child’s college education.

You can’t get a loan to retire.

Trust me – you can be a good mom and be good to your future at the same time.

Often, we miss out on an easy entry into saving money for retirement by not contributing to a 401K or 403B.

We feel like IRA and IRS sound too closely related and we stay far away!

Here’s how I want you to think about it.

We learned our ABCs at a very young age as the foundation to our literacy.  As an adult, we can recite them effortlessly, but we may have had difficulty remembering them as children.

Today we see the benefit of understanding that simple foundation. Now we appreciate simple things like our ABCs much more.

Making the decision to invest as early as possible in your retirement may feel like a challenge because of all your other expenses or because you feel like you waited too late to get started, but what seems challenging today will become easy & routine as you build the foundation for your future lifestyle.

Remember the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Let’s Rock and roll, baby!

Our children follow more of what they see than what we say.

So, SHOW them how to retire early and comfortably!!

Maybe the picture below will be your view during your retirement vacations or even your retirement life.

Affirmation: I am focused financially on my future

Retire on a beach - manage your money better

Rule #8: Thou Shall Not Put All Your Eggs in 1 Basket (Enough Said)

This money rule goes well with #3 -Thou Shall Not Turn a Blind Eye to Money.

This applies to people, bank accounts, investments and income streams.

This rule is not about your spouse’s, partners, parent’s ability to provide for you.

I’m sure “they is nice, they is kind and they is smart” (praying you’ve seen the movie “The Help”)

This rule is about recognizing that there is a possibility that maybe one day they won’t be able to provide the way they always have.

The concept of job security is just that. It is more conceptual than a reality for most of us.

It is becoming even more rare than normal to find someone that has worked at the same company for their entire career.

It’s also rare to find someone that has never been threatened with a possibility of a layoff or downsized. Half of the battle of reaching your financial dreams is being aware of the areas in which you are exposed to risk.

That possibility could be by choice or by force, either way, you need to be prepared for it.

Lesson: Seek multiple streams of income

Furthermore, having an account compromised and fraudulent charges hitting your primary bank account is no fun.

Generally, banks are quick to respond and resolve the issue but there are times when the resolution is delayed.  When this happened there’s a possibility that your life comes to a standstill or becomes disrupted because you don’t have access to your money.

Lesson: Don’t leave all your money sitting in a single bank account.

These examples are modern reasons to diversify.

Financial stability & independence embraces diversity.

Begin to diversify today, in order to minimize the risk if you lose your job, are a victim of identity theft or family emergencies occur.

Affirmation: I deeply appreciate my blessings and its safe for me to pursue my financial goals

Rule #9: Thou Shall Plan for the Shit Storm (Emergency Funds are Your Friends)

Rule #8 leads us to Rule #9.

Plan, plan and plan some more.

Don’t ignore obvious things that will grow into bigger, more expensive problems. Oil changes are necessary. . . so are doctor’s appointments.

Toothaches can become root canals.

Leaky pipes can cause mold.

These are obvious things to us.

Take care of the small things early & often so they don’t become big things later.

$100 may seem like a lot of money today but there’s no question that I’d rather pay that then $500 a month from now.

Sure, life doesn’t always go according to our plan, but you can be prepared as much as possible by having an ace up your sleeve or in your safety deposit box.

Oh . . . did I mention having a plan??? 😊.

Affirmation: I value the lessons money teaches me.

Rule #10: Thou Shall Create; Not Wait to Make More Money (Ummm, See Rule #8)

 Whether it’s asking for a raise, applying for a new job, starting a new business, or seeking out some extra pocket money, you have to be proactive.

Please don’t doubt your self-worth. We all struggle with it at some point and it can continuously resurface and stop us from pursuing our financial goals.

It’s ok to ask for raise. The worse that can happen is that they say “No” if you ask the right way.

It is not a bad thing to want to make more money.

If you’ve been saying for years that you need to do something to get more money, this commandment gives you permission to act TODAY!

So, let’s get to work!

*Cue Rihanna*

Affirmation: I deserve to attract and retain money

Rule #11: Thou Shall Let Auto Take Control (Learn to Manage Your Money & Bills Stress-free)

 Auto-mate, Auto-pay and, Auto-debit should be your new money boo.

You can be progressive and date all three or be traditional and monogamous with one, but it’s the necessary step to stay on top of your bills!

So, don’t call Tyrone . . . call ‘Auto’.

Automating your bills is one of the most empowering things you can do. You are telling the universe that you are in control of your money.

You are telling the universe that you choose not to stress about paying your bills on time.

While automating requires a bit of strategy it doesn’t have to be super complicated.

What’s even better about ‘Auto’ is that you can dump him anytime you want if you find that it’s just not a good fit for you!

Plus ‘Auto’ is the ex that will never show up in the middle of the night begging for you take him back.

You are in full control, even when things are on autopilot.

Affirmation: It is safe for me to be responsible and prepare for future increases.

Automate your bills to control your money better

Rule #12: Thou Shall Use Credit, Not Let Credit Use You (Use Credit to Help Manage Your Money)

 As I love to say, credit is like ice cream.

It comes in many flavors and can be sooooo good.

But if you have too much of it, it can be hazardous to your waistline.

Just like you can’t eat chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream every day and NOT work it off, you CAN NOT charge everything to your credit cards and not pay it off!

Self-Control is Power!!!

Good credit can help you make more money.

Good credit can help you get out of debt.

Good credit can help you land the right job.

Good credit can help you take badass vacations.

Credit can help you manage your bills in a stress-free way.

Use your credit help you build the life you want! Credit does not have to be the devil.

At times, it can be a godsend.

Affirmation: I am creating a prosperous future

Over the years I’ve gained a greater appreciation for affirmations.

After all, words have power and that’s why the affirmations are included in this blog post after each money rule.

When you feel like your resilience is being challenged in the different areas mentioned above, take some major deep breaths and repeat the relevant affirmation at least 3-5x aloud.

As an alternative, when you feel your willpower is being tested, refer to the rules and write the affirmations down!

Guess what goes great with affirmations!

Action!

If you need a reminder of the affirmations and also want ACTIONABLE STEPS  with each rule, grab it here.

If you know a friend or relative that could you use it too. Download it here for them or send them this blog.

You have been given enough information to begin to help you make your money make more sense!

Now begin your progress to managing your money better.

Be patient and you’re sure to see progress!

Looking for SUPPORT…

Ready to CONNECT with like-minded women like you! Request to JOIN The FIIRM Approach Heroes here

The FIIRM Approach Heroes is a small Facebook community where we share and learn about improving your financial affairs and taking control of your money.

You need something to remember all these rules plus ways to help you stay inspired! Start by grabbing the action plan to these rules!

Ready for ADVANCED ACTION! Learn to create a real plan for managing your money better. Join my upcoming Cash Flow Confident course to confidently manage your personal finances without feeling deprived. Start by grabbing the action plan to these rules!

 

Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional and the founder & primary personal financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners avoid common financial mistakes during a divorce or after a recent uncoupling. She is keenly focused on helping women confidently maintain their financial security with proven strategies for living with a budget, managing debt, and improving their credit score. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE 2019 Ultimate Resource Guide HERE.  

 

What’s in your financial future? Security, Freedom or Independence (Part 2)

What’s in your financial future? Security, Freedom or Independence (Part 2)

Welcome back from Part 1.

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk Independence!

Que Beyonce and the girls!

 

Or Jamie Foxx and Ne-Yo (I like that version too)

 

Imagine your standard of living being independent of your decision to work a job.

 

Imagine your ability to earn money not being dependent on the efforts of your spouse, significant other or parent.

 

Remember the term independently wealthy? I don’t hear very often today, but it sounded super fancy when I was a kid. Independent AND wealthy for $1,000 Alex!

 

Well, financial independence is not quite the same thing.

 

While independently wealthy individuals are also financially independentfinancially independent individuals are not always independently wealthy.

 

The little difference is the wealth factor.

 

So, how do you become financially independent?

 

Financial independence is like being “grown” on another level. You are not dependent on a spouse, a family member, friend or a paycheck to take care of your needs. Ultimately, you are not dependant on one source of income.

 

You’ve figured out how to use a combination of your investments, savings and other passive income streams to your advantage.

 

This is difficult to even initiate if you aren’t financially secure and almost impossible without being financially engaged.

 

While financial independence may give you the feeling of freedom, it’s different from financial freedom.

 

Financial independence is more about the “how” of your ability to generate income versus the “what.”

You’ll see why shortly.

 

What impacts your ability to have financial independence?

Many would say a job! While that may true, I would argue that the biggest impairment is only having one stream of income.

 

If being independent is about being in control, having only one source of income spits in the face of financial independence.

 

There’s a much higher probability, risk, and impact to you if you lose your one and only source of income versus losing 1 of many.

 

So what impacts your ability to achieve financial independence…I’m sure you can guess the 1st one…

 

-having one source of income

-being primarily dependent on another individual’s income

-having more expenses than income (aka living outside your means)

-purchasing large amounts of material possessions with no monetary value

 

Financial Freedom

The definition of freedom previously referred to the freedom of caring or having constraints.

 

When you don’t care about something it’s typically because it doesn’t affect you.

 

Ironically, being free is kind of like being a kid.

 

Only in this instance, you have more power!

 

The moment you don’t care about how much money you have is likely when you don’t need it.

 

Ummm, what?

 

Did you just ask me, who doesn’t care about money?

 

Well, it’s typically those that:

  1. Live well below their means (2) Have more means than they will ever truly need

 

Financial Freedom gives you even more options! The option to be who you want to be, do what you want to do and give your time to the things you truly care about.

 

Financial Freedom is commonly associated with having a LOT of money. I’m not suggesting that it isn’t a way to obtain financial freedom, but what I suggesting is that it is NOT THE ONLY WAY.

 

Option 1: Your standard of living is independent of your ability to earn money. You have built a life that looks like you subscribe to “tiny living” or a nomadic lifestyle.

You only need true essentials to survive and may be much more concerned with experiences versus stuff.

 

Option 2:  You leverage your tushy off (which is not the same as working your tushy off). Under this scenario, your ability to earn money is not being dependent on your individual efforts.

 

You leverage your resources, your network, and your assets to generate enough money so you are not confined by the traditional means of earning a living.

 

When your goal is financial freedom, a higher emphasis is placed on lifestyle and choices versus just dollars in the bank.

financial freedom or financial independence

What does financial freedom look like to you?

 

This could be the lifestyle of the rich and famous or the lifestyle of Gandhi or Mother Teresa but the bottom line is that it’s the lifestyle that you choose!

 

Your income may come from a variety of sources including, but limited to wages from a job, your business, interest income, dividends, business interests, royalties, etc.

 

Imagine not caring about money or your ability to cover your obligations. Imagine having no constraints when it comes to your life’s choices.

 

Imagine having the power, the means and the choice to do what you want, help who you want and live how you want.

 

You have created a life that gives you the freedom to do so.

 

While I know financial freedom to be a “popular answer” to a common question, being free is not for everyone. It requires commitment and sacrifices whether you pick Option 1 or Option 2.

 

What impacts your ability to have financial freedom?

-Tons of debt

-No money

-Lack of discipline

-Trying to do it all alone

-Mental Constraints

 

You hear about famous people traveling the world and living in “MTV cribs-style homes”. In the same year, you hear about their millions in back taxes or bankruptcy which implies that they were living beyond their means and thus are not truly financially free.

 

You also hear about people that have never had credit card debt (or any debt), live in an Amazon jungle and volunteer to help those less fortunate (by Western standards).

 

While this person may or may not have enough money to outlive them, they have made the choice to be free of the constraints of what most deem as a “normal life.” This is what financial freedom looks like to them.

You can’t gain either of these three statuses by accident. They all require discipline, commitment, patience and usually help from others.  

 

The statuses shouldn’t be viewed as stair steps. While you may start with financial security you have the option to structure your life to go straight to financial freedom!

 

As you are considering which one of these 3 ideas connects with you the most, I recommend asking yourself these basic questions?

 

  • What do you truly value in life?
  • What is preventing you from reaching financial security, financial independence or financial freedom?
  • Are the decisions you’re making beneficial or detrimental to your goals?

 

While progress starts with financial security, it’s up to you what level you hit next.

 

Take me with you along for the ride as you begin to take action towards real progress and accomplishing your financial goals! Grab your free copy of the FIIRM Ultimate Resource Guide. Learn what other women like you are doing to save more, do less and earn more. 

 

 

 

Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional and the founder & primary personal financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners avoid common financial mistakes during a divorce or after a recent uncoupling. She is keenly focused on helping women confidently maintain their financial security with proven strategies for living with a budget, managing debt, and improving their credit score. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE 2019 Ultimate Resource Guide HERE.  

 

What’s in your financial future? Security, Freedom or Independence

What’s in your financial future? Security, Freedom or Independence

I can’t wait until I’m grown!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever said that before? Come on, you can tell me.

 

Have you ever heard it from your children or maybe someone else’s children?

 

Let’s face it, being grown sucks at times. Plus, we spend way more time being grown than being a kid. So it can suck for a long time!

 

Almost every kid wants to be grown because they’re looking forward to being free of their parents (maybe you) and free of rules.

 

What we don’t realize when we are young people is that all we do is trade one type of freedom for another when we become adults.  

 

I have asked “What is your ultimate financial goal” many times to people. A very common answer is “I want Financial Freedom”.

 

When I hear that answer it makes me think of the “I can’t wait until I’m grown” phrase.

 

Do we really know what we’re even asking for?

 

Allow me to break down 3 common ideas:

 

Financial Security vs. Financial Independence vs. Financial Freedom

 

Let’s start with some facts. The Webster dictionary defines:

 

Security: freedom from fear or anxiety; freedom from danger; something given or pledged to make certain the fulfillment of an obligation.

 

Independent: not dependent; not subject to control; not requiring or relying on something else.

 

Freedom: the absence of necessity, coercion or constraint in choice or action; liberation from restraint of power or another; freedom from care.

 

Financial Freedom and Financial Independence are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.

 

But before we start singing Independent Women by Destiny’s Child, we should probably start with “Security” by Otis Redding.

 

You’ve probably never heard of the song, but the first line in the song is “I want security, yeah.”

 

It just seems so appropriate.

 

Many of us are seeking Financial Security but are saying “Financial Freedom”

 

Security is a basic need. Maslow said so.

 

Financial security is just as basic because I said so. ☺

 

You want to make sure that you are comfortable enough to handle whatever crazy things life throws at you that can impact your finances.

 

If you’re looking for financial stability, first you have to get rid of the obstacles in your way.

 

How do you get obstacles out of your way? You become financially engaged.

 

Most people are just financially literate.

 

Being financially engaged is an action that comes with an incredible feeling. It’s like being as confident as Cher and Tina Turner when they go out on stage!

 

In the back of their minds, they may be hoping and praying that nothing goes wrong but deep down they know they have enough experience and a strong foundation to weather any storm.

 

Here’s an example of what I mean:

Some households can’t afford to miss one paycheck. Many definitely can’t afford to miss two.

When you are financially secure you have confidence in knowing that if you were to miss a paycheck, you would be just fine.

 

According to AAA, most families can’t cover the expense of a major vehicle repair. I’m sure the same can be said for a major household repair.

 

However, when you are financially secure, you know you have access to liquid cash or available credit that can easily be repaid to cover the repair.

 

When you are financially secure it doesn’t mean that you are super rich.

financial freedom or financial security

Financial Security doesn’t need to look like this

 

It also doesn’t mean that you don’t incur financial mishaps. It DOES mean that you have your financial ducks in a row.

 

You are free of anxiety about being able to pay your bills and meet financial obligations.

 

You have the proper insurance coverage and estate documents in place to protect you and your family’s financial security.

 

You still may worry about things going wrong and it’s a “no refund kind of guaranteed” they will. But, those worries won’t keep you up at night.

 

It’s important to get on the path to financial security early so that you are fully prepared for any financial surprises and progress towards financial freedom, if that’s what you truly want.

 

What impacts your ability to have financial security? Throwing the covers over your head and ignoring your financial challenges or opportunities.

 

Many of these items you’ve heard before and haven’t tackled with the ferociousness necessary.

 

I’ll repeat them as a friendly reminder.

-Not being cash flow positive

-Not having an emergency fund established

-Not having access to credit or enough available credit

-Not having the proper insurance protections

-Living outside of your means

-Not understanding your spending triggers or focusing on physical possessions

 

You have to understand your complete financial picture (which includes the items listed) before you can gain financial security. Often we look at our finances in parts. You have to review THE WHOLE PIE!

 

Notice I didn’t mention how much money you earn above.

 

Think about it how many broke people you know that earn a lot of money.

 

Financial security is about being stable, responsible and feeling secure in your financial position.

 

That security looks and feels a little different to everyone, but the foundation is essentially the same. Not being wealthy is not a reason not to go after it.

 

Financial security is the step that can’t be skipped regardless of whether you’re looking to achieve financial independence or financial freedom. It’s the first step to having options!

 

Tina Turner was Anna Mae Bullock first! She weathered the storms and earned the right to be Tina Turner.

 

Can you stop at financial security? Heck yea! Anna Mae could have just stopped at singing in nightclubs and been fine.

 

Maybe you’re already financially secure.

 

Cool! Virtual high-five.

financial freedom or financial security

Keep on rocking out your financial life!

Maybe you’re just curious about your other options.

 

Either way – you’re in the driver’s seat to control your financial destiny.

 

You’re also in control of how much you read of this blog series.

 

I’ve given you enough to mull over for now.

 

Remember the goal is to help you with your progress on your financial journey. There are no expectations to be perfect.

 

Take your financial life to the next step by reading Part 2: Financial Freedom, Security or Independence: What’s In the Future for You?

 

 

 

 

Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional and the founder & primary personal financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners avoid common financial mistakes during a divorce or after a recent uncoupling. She is keenly focused on helping women confidently maintain their financial security with proven strategies for living with a budget, managing debt, and improving their credit score. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE 2019 Ultimate Resource Guide HERE.  

 

How to Make Money Conversations Less Awkward

How to Make Money Conversations Less Awkward

Stop whatcha doin’, cuz I’m about to ruin…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(If you know the song, I bet you couldn’t help finishing that line)   

I actually only want to ruin your belief that money conversations are awkward or hard.

That’s it. Simple, right?

I know that discussions about money can be uncomfortable and as humans we naturally fight any discomfort.

Just think about the last time you were in an elevator.

When you entered, maybe there was one person already there. You walked to the opposite wall of the elevator.

Maybe you exchange verbal pleasantries, maybe not.

 

For the next 10-20 seconds, you plan to ride in silence, avoid making eye contact and stare at the elevator buttons as if they’re the most fascinating you’ve ever seen.

 

Then you realize there’s a foul odor (I mean F-O-U-L) and you’re trying to figure out if it’s really possible for a smell like that to be coming from this unknown human nearby.

 

Ding! Time to get off (Thank God)!

 

Maybe you say goodbye as you hurry off at your floor ( likely not because you were holding your breath until the coast is clear!)

Those few seconds of awkwardness don’t stop you from riding elevators because they are a necessity for you to get things done efficiently.

Guess what! So are your money conversations (wink, wink)

While it might not be worth your time to address the awkwardness in elevators, it’s a worthwhile effort to make your money conversations less awkward with your family and friends.

Money conversations can cover numerous topics and therefore spur a ton of emotions.

If you want your family to be open with you about their financial goals and concerns then you first, have to be open with them.

 

Give a little, get a little…

While my previous blog post focused on marriage and how to keep money fights to a minimum, this post shows you ways to jumpstart the conversation with your family and friends about your intentions around your financial goals.

If you want to help make your money conversations less awkward, then it’s important to start with transparency.

 

Use transparency to knock discomfort the hell out of your way.

 

Just be sure that your tone matches your intentions. For example, starting a conversation off with “we need to talk” is probably not the best idea.

 

Romantic Relationships

In case you need a little more help talking to the love of your life, I thought we could start here.

When there have been financial mistakes in a relationship they need to be acknowledged before you can move on.

First, accept responsibility for your mistakes, then make sure you show empathy for your partner’s mistakes.

This helps your discussions start in a neutral position and can help your partner accept the impending change.

A script similar to the one below can be used as a starting point to get your partner to understand your perspective.

Parental Relationships

Your money conversations do have to be like elevator rides. You don’t have to get on and off at the same floors every day. Visit different topics depending on the areas of your life that require the most attention.

 

This is particularly important when it comes to having money conversations with your parents or your children.

 

It is common to hit roadblocks when talking about finances with your family as some topics are inherently more uncomfortable than others.

 

When you are the breadwinner and you live pretty comfortably sometimes your children (adult and minor children) behave as if money falls off trees or like your paycheck is THEIR paycheck.

At times, your parents might be guilty of this too.

If this is the case, it may be time for a change.

 

That message of change may be hard for you to deliver and harder for your loved ones to hear.

 

The scripts below may be a helpful way to inform the family that a changing is coming!

 

Platonic Relationships

Are you the friend that can’t say “No”?

Do you have plans to save money but feel bad turning down a night of tequila and tacos with your best friends?

Do you genuinely just want to go because you love life and you love having a good time (plus you love tacos and tequila)?

When you don’t have the discipline to say NO, you need to empower your inner circle to hold you accountable. Give them permission to speak up when you might be falling off track of reaching your financial goals.

Talk to them about the support you need and allow them to be a part of your progress.

Using a script similar to the one below can help you get support and make saying NO much less awkward.

 

Craft your jump start script based on your own personal relationship dynamics and communicate with patience and genuineness.

Shifting your relationship with money takes time and requires patience with yourself. Getting your family on board requires, even more, patience and understanding.

 

The next time you get on the elevator, speak up and acknowledge everyone who’s on. It may feel pretty weird but you’re really just pushing past some discomfort. It’s merely a lab test and they’re the test dummies.

 

Some may respond to you and some may not, but you did your part by kicking off a conversation.

 

Over the years, I’ve had learned some pretty interesting things about strangers while on an elevator.

 

Imagine what your family can learn about you and how easy your family money conversations could be if you set the stage properly.

If you’re looking to take your financial life to the next level grab the 12 Modern Rules & Action Steps for Building Your Financial Dreams and Making Your Dollars Make More Sense. 

 

 

 

 

Nikki Tucker

Nikki Tucker

Founder & Managing Director

 

Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional and the founder & primary personal financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners avoid common financial mistakes during a divorce or after a recent uncoupling. She is keenly focused on helping women confidently maintain their financial security with proven strategies for living with a budget, managing debt, and improving their credit score. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE 2019 Ultimate Resource Guide HERE.  

 

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