Smart Couples Finish Rich – Ch. 1 Review

by Mike Holman

I recently read the book Smart Couple Finish Rich and really enjoyed it. Since there were so many interesting ideas in the book that I agreed & disagreed with, I thought I would cover the book one chapter at a time (yeah, I like stretching things out).

The basic premise of the first chapter is that couples have to work together on their finances. They should plan together and both of them should know all the relevant financial details ie bank accounts, insurance policies investments etc.

In order to achieve their goals a couple must be able to agree on financial goals to achieve, and be able to work together on saving, investing and spending.

I couldn’t agree more with this bit of advice. I think it’s pretty common for couples to separate their “family duties” and responsibility for looking after the money often falls onto the spouse who is more interested (or less disinterested) in that topic. Canadian Capitalist talks about some solutions for the problem of the spouse who looks after the finances dying and the other spouse having to take over. One of the more interesting suggestions was for the “financial” spouse to give a regular power-point presentation to the other spouse.

My wife and I were both into finances before we met and although I do more of the investment stuff, we both know what’s going on in our finances. We are currently working on a list of all our financial assets/ accounts / passwords etc that we will keep somewhere so if one of us passes away the other can take over. In the event that both of us die, our executor will have a copy of this information as well.

Do you have a partnership where the finances are shared? Or is one partner the main “financier”?

Next Chapter.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TheFinancialBlogger

I actually take care of everything called money in my relationship. One account, One line of credit, One mortgage. It makes things pretty simple. My wife is working with children and is definitely not interested in finance. I guess she is not interested in finance also because we don’t have any finance problems. When things go smoothly, people tend to leave them aside.

2 FourPillars

FB – if you don’t have any money problems then it sounds like you are doing a good job with the finances.

I suspect your situation is pretty common since a lot of people have absolutely no interest in finance beyond getting the bills paid.

Mike

3 TheFinancialBlogger

Well, I am still pretty far away from where I want to be but bills are paid and savings are maid. Now, it’s only a matter of time!

4 Canadian Capitalist

Mike: Thanks for the link. I’ll let you know how the PowerPoint slides work out. She liked the idea when I mentioned it to her.

5 moneygardener

Power Point slides sound kind of cheesy, but it’s actually not a bad idea. It is a pretty important aspect for both couples to understand anyway. Perhaps they presentation could be made to be funny with photos etc……

I handle all of the finances for my wife and I, however I am constantly updating her on what’s going on. She has input on all major financial decisions. Or course the biggest asset that we have between us to enable this to work is trust.

6 FourPillars

I laughed my head off when I first heard about the powerpoint idea since it’s such an “office” thing to do, but you know what? Whatever works!

Mike

7 Wooly Woman

I am the financier definitely. The good part though is that as I have got things in order, the debt down, and our credit scores up, Mr W. is now taking much more interest and responsibility. I think he didn’t know how to fix it (I didn’t either at one point), but now there is a path to take he is happy to be traveling 🙂 Sometimes I think he is bored about my finance babble, but we each have our interests, and I can talk on my blog about things instead if needs be.

8 telly

My husband and I handle the finances in much the same way as MG. I take care of things for the most part but we discuss where we’re going on a regular basis.

Sometimes, like Wooly Woman, I think I bore him with my finance babble though too. I bet sometimes he wishes I had a blog. 😉

Mr.Cheap, I can see how that could have affected your relationship. I have a couple friends, that, when the topic of finance even remotely comes up, they clam up and either leave or change the subject.

I’m beginning to understand that the subject of personal finances can make certain people very uncomfortable. I try to steer clear of the subject with those friends but I think that would be hard to get around if it were your SO.

9 FourPillars

I guess it boils down to goals and lifestyle – if one partner wants to save and plan for early retirement and the other person wants to live it up and worry about retirement later, then perhaps no amount of communication can bridge that gap.

Mike

10 moneygardener

telly you’ve inspired a post for me…

11 Dasha

Hi I’ve been lurking so far…

My situation is a bit different as my partner and I are still very young (he’s still in college and I’m just out of school a year). We keep out “personal” money separate and keep a joint account where we each deposit a certain amount of money for our joint expenses. It makes sense for us to keep most of our finances separate because he came into the relationship with a bit of cash and no debt while I have no cash but big (student) debt. We discuss everything though, and although I do not know the exact value of his money (I have seen his tax return though), I have a sense of the ballpark figure and he knows about my debts, payments on them etc. As we begin to move past survival mode in our finances and begin to save more together, our finances will merge together more. Although we are still years away from buying a house or having children, we discuss the financials of these things regularly. In out situation, this discussion centers mostly on career goals and the money vs time vs meaningful job questions.

12 FourPillars

Dasha – that sounds like a great plan. Certainly debt should be your first priority since it’s hard to start your working career with a lot of it.

Careers are one of the most important financial aspects to concentrate as well.

Thanks for commenting!

Mike

13 Brip Blap

I actually handled all the finances until about 6 months after we got married, at which time my wife and I decided that we would hand all of the finances over to her until our son arrived a year later. We jointly decided a “crash course” was necessary to get her up to speed on our joint finances, and it’s worked out well. Both of us are 100% up to speed on our finances. Since about 75% of our payments are automated now, we generally only need to discuss big questions – retirement account contributions, moving money into the emergency fund, etc. I couldn’t imagine having a partner who wasn’t at least familiar with our finances.

14 FourPillars

That’s a great idea to hand over all the finances for learning.

I agree, I couldn’t imagine a partner who wanted nothing to do with the finances.

Mike

15 telly

Good idea Brip Blap. When my husband and I were 1st married we had a fair bit of debt, mostly student loans and car payments. We passed the financial bookkeeping back and forth a few times. It’s a much harder job emotionally when there’s debt involved so it was only fair to take turns seeing the ugly minus signs!

Now that we’re in the black – I get all the glory. 🙂

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