You can have your spreadsheets, online budgeting sites, statements, etc… Want to know what the single greatest positive impact on my finances has been? I’ll tell you – it’s my wife. Let me explain…
Back in the day I was in debt, had no savings, no investments, and my net worth was measured in “things” I owned (not like a house but more like guitars and music CD’s). I wasn’t the picture of good financial health.
But I slowly worked my way out of my financial funk. I educated myself. I paid off my credit cards. I contributed to my 401(k). I started saving.
I did these things on my own. Had I not met my wife I would have continued to improve my finances but not to the extent that they are at now. My wife turbo-charged my finances, well, OUR finances.
Here’s why my wife is the greatest impact on my finances and my best financial tool:
We’re a Team
My wife and I work together on our finances. We’re a team. We discuss money and make sure our spending meets our goals. We let each other in on what we’re doing with money and what we’re spending on. I’m so lucky to have someone who I see eye-to-eye with financially. If one of us needs to make a big expense we let the other know. If it’s something that may be a bit outside the budget we discuss it. Our financial goals are in-sync and we work together to make those goals happen. We really want to work together, and with each other, as one financial unit.
My Wife Keeps Me Grounded
So, I write a personal finance blog where I talk about money, finances, frugality, etc… This means I always keep my spending rational and under control, right? Wrong! Every now and then I get an idea in my thick head that I want, no I NEED, to buy something (“babe, I really think we need a 17-inch macbook”). When I mention my urge to my wife she quickly brings me back down to Earth. It works both ways too. We bring reason to each other.
We Trust Each Other
I have no need to keep money secrets from my wife. We’re a team, remember? I’d like to say this is a given for a married couple but I think we’ve all heard of couples where one is hiding something from the other. Maybe it’s the cost of a shopping spree? Perhaps it’s a credit card the other doesn’t know about? I hate hearing about couples that act like that. I thank my luck for finding someone that I can be honest with and who is honest with me!
We Complement Each Other Well
No, not compliment. We do that too. I’m talking about complement. My wife and I add to each other’s financial knowledge and skills. We complete each other (yeah, that sounds a bit corny, but it’s true). For example, my wife is great with short-term finances. She knows what’s in the bank account and what we can afford to spend on a day-to-day basis. Me? I’m better at the long-term stuff like retirement and investing. My wife can tell if we can afford something now while I better understand interest rates and maximizing our money. We cover for each other’s weaknesses and improve on each other’s strengths.
I Have Real Financial Purpose (Maybe Purpose Overall)
As a single guy I did a little planning for the future, but as a family-man my focus has grown exponentially. I have a wife and three kids and I know what I do financially has an impact on us all. What I do with money, investments, income – it’s not just me anymore, it’s all of us. And that is so much better! My wife is awesome at looking at goals and making them happen. She’s a great motivator as well. She’s the one that got me going back to school to finish up my degree. She is, in great part, why we have a house of our own. She also puts up with supports the time I put into this personal finance blog, knowing that I love it and that I’m building it up to be a real second income for us.
Retirement used to be this fantasy land that was far off. Now I imagine living my retirement years with my wife. This means I have to act on our goals and make them real so we can achieve financial independence and live out our “golden years” the way we want to.
My purpose has real weight now and it’s no longer “I’d like to to this or that” but “this is how I will get it done.” I didn’t have this kind of focus before my wife.
So, with all of the great financial tools out there, the awesome books, the financial experts – the greatest impact on my finances is my wife!
(Happy anniversary honey!)