This week I had a fantastic time meeting up with people at The Frontier for The Road to Financial Wellness.
Jason Vitug, Phroogal founder and author of You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life.
He’s doing a road-trip around the country to help raising financial awareness.
Financial Wellness in the Triangle
I shared my take and tips on the theme building wealth together as my personal finance blog’s focus is on couples.
In case you’re curious, here are some highlights along with takeaways I had after speaking with guests.
Mastering Your Money (without Starting Fights)
At its core, you two can get closer together and build your finances by:
- Dream & Create Goals Together
- Be Upfront with Each Other
- Play to Your Financial Strengths
- Use Tools That Fit Your Money Styles
- Have Regular Money Dates
Even though I wrote with couples in mind, the principles and the tools I highlight are the same for singles.
Dream & Create Goals Together
After interviewing and hearing from so many couples, I’ve started suggesting that the numbers take a back seat until there’s a discussion about the why.
When you have a chance, sit down and really talk about why you’re looking at your finances and what you want to accomplish.
Two of the most common answers people throw out when they’re giving reasons are financial security and independence.
Those are great starting points and can give you some wonderful advantages, but you have to dig deeper – why do you want to build wealth?
How do you want to spend your time once you have the money?
- Start a family?
- Buy a Home?
- Start a business?
- Volunteer More?
Everyone is different so don’t worry if your why looks different from some of your friends.
Define & Refine Your Goals
Once you have an idea of where you want to go, breaking it down into steps can help you reach it faster.
Lets’ say you two decide that you’d like to retire early.
The first step you might come up with is getting rid of your debt so you come up with the goal to pay off your debts in two years.
What happens next? You could then start build up your savings over the next year.
What then? You can focus on investing. As you can this whale of a goal becomes more manageable as you take it bite by bite.
Be Upfront with Each Other
Since you know where you’re heading, you should know where you are now.
Rip the Band-aid Off
Sometimes it’s hard to see the numbers, but I can tell that we don’t regret it and none of the couples I interviewed did either (and some of them started with six figures of debt!).
So go ahead and grab your numbers (I like to use Personal Capital to get them quickly) and review what you have.
- Credit Cards
- Car Payment
- Student Loans
- Family Debts
- Real Estate
Play to Your Financial Strengths
With your destination and starting point out there, it;s time to create a plan that fits you and your situation.
When you’re figuring out who does what, try to keep things based on interest and strengths.
How Splitting Finances Helps
Dividing up your assignments can be a huge stress relief.
- Partnership: With both involved, your partnership is
- Accountability: Having two pairs of eyes keeps both of you protected. You can
By the way splitting doesn’t mean you have to divide things up evenly. You may find that one of you can handle a bit more because of their work situation.
Just make sure you both are in the loop with your money.
Automate & Use Tools That Fit Your Style
Even though we’re working towards financial independence, that doesn’t mean we what to sweat over pennies or think about money 24/7.
We found that automating some of our financial system helps us offload the tedious so we can focus on the big picture.
Use Tools & Resources That You’ll Stick With
I’m a big believer that you need focus on a system that works for you, not what’s popular.
With finances some of us prefer the pen and paper method while others like to grab an app.
Honestly there are so many great free and cheap options out there. Some of my favorites are:
- Net Worth trackers: Personal Capital, Mint
- Budgets: Quicken, YNAB, EveryDollar, Spreadsheets/ Shared Google Docs
To stay on top of things, use online bill pay and schedule as much as you can. Once that’s set up, it’s only takes a few minutes each week to see how things are going.
Have Money Dates
Money dates can be fun, really!
The secret is to not just look at the numbers, but to chat about the big picture. How are things going? What do you need to fix?
Keep a regular day for your date and just relax. Remind each other what you’re working towards.
Road to Financial Wellness
If you’re looking for inspiration and encouragement, please be a part of The Road to Financial Wellness. Jason’s story and book are great resources to get you closer to your dreams and goals.
Please check out his road trip map to see when he’s stopping by near you. And please tell him I said hi!