Love and marriage…and money

My cousin is getting married this weekend and this week we have reached critical mass.  Or maybe mass hysteria is the term I’m looking for.  Do we have everyone properly seated at the reception?  Does everyone know where they need to be and when they need to be there?  Is everyone getting into town on time?  Who is doing this, that, and the other thing?  Each of these questions has been asked more than once and the level of stress involved in each detail goes up exponentially each day that passes.  It’s exhausting.  Add in the time/money/energy invested in finding the locations for everything and it quickly becomes overwhelming.  Anyone who has been through it knows this can be both the happiest and most grueling of times.

One piece of advice for my cousin, her future husband, and anyone else excitedly tying the knot this wedding season.  Please ignore the doom and gloom predictions about 50% of marriages ending in divorce (you’re in the good half, right?) and focus on what many people say drove them to break up.  Money.  Specifically, disagreements between spouses about money and how it is handled.  Is money the only reason people part ways?  Do all disagreements about money lead to divorce?  Is money the most important thing you can ever talk about with your spouse?  We could keep going on with the ridiculous questions, but clearly the answer to all of them is no.  The key is to communicate early and often about this topic.

I don’t have a comprehensive list of questions to ask one another, but the starting point is to figure out what you value.  What is important to you in general, and how does that impact the money in your lives?  Do you want a big family?  Want to go on nice vacations every year?  Want to ensure your kids graduate college debt-free?  These values may change over time, but the key is to start the discussion now so you, your spouse, and your finances are all in agreement.

The 10-20-70 principle is a great starting point for agreement between the two of you.  Start by paying yourself first (saving) 10% of every dollar earned.  Don’t spend more than 20% of your income paying off debt (credit cards, car payments, wedding expenses, etc.), and the remaining 70% should be aligned with the values you have agreed upon.  Simple, but not always easy.

Please reach out if you would like to discuss anything related to money.  All marriage questions were answered yesterday, sorry.

Congratulations to Sally and Eric.  I love you and wish you all the best.

I’ll start saving when…

“But, Dad, when I have enough to buy this Lego set, then I’ll start saving.”  Do these words from my 10-year-old son sound familiar?  Odds are you have either heard something like this from a child, from a friend, or even coming out of your own mouth.  It’s possible that you heard/said/thought something like this even today!  This form of procrastination is widespread and is certainly not limited to finances.  If you are interested, this book hit home for me and I would highly recommend it.

For now, let’s focus on finances and get back to the dilemma presented by my son.  Don’t let the context of buying a toy distract you.  It’s very easy to imagine a 20-year-old “needing” to have enough to pay for a new car, or a 30-year-old waiting to save because the new house payment needs to be made, and so on.  The message is always the same.  “I’ll start saving when I have enough…”.  Spoiler alert – it’s never enough.   Until we adjust our priorities to pay ourselves first (save), there will always be something new and different that demands our capital.

With this in mind, another must read book has provided a guide for how much to save once your priorities are in order.  The 10-20-70 rule allocates at least 10% of every dollar earned to be saved, so the new demands on your money (the budget, if you will) are based only on the 90% remaining.  This may sound drastic, but the reaction from everyone we have spoken to after they test it out for a few months is the same.  They never missed the 10%.

“Not missing it” may seem like a low bar, but that tends to be the biggest mental hurdle for those of us thinking about saving more of our money.  Once we realize it’s possible, we can then start focusing on all of the benefits that are now available with the extra cash on hand.  We have shown we have the discipline to save, the cash is available if it is needed, peace of mind increases, and so forth.

There are a number of places to store your cash, but there is one that is considered the gold standard.  Participating whole life insurance is what I use for my savings and it has proven to be even more flexible/beneficial/powerful than I first believed.  I would love to talk with you about how to start saving in your own life and how to implement The Perpetual Wealth Code™ whenever you are ready.  Talk soon!

Give Me Liberty…

One week ago we celebrated one of the greatest of American holidays, the 4th of July.  This post may seem to be a week late, but the spirit of liberty is not reserved for one day of the year.  Also, I was busy celebrating like the rest of you.  Joey Chestnut inhaled 72 hot dogs(!) in 10 minutes (a new record), parades and barbecues dominated the landscape, and folks in my home state of Iowa shot off what seemed to be a record number of fireworks after finally being allowed to purchase them in-state.  It was glorious.

I realize that recently (the past 10 years or so) it has been made to seem uncool to be openly patriotic or pro-American and that’s unfortunate for everyone.  Not because people need to be flag-wearing zealots, but because it’s good to remember what made the country great in the first place.  In a word, liberty.  We are free to say and do as we please, and we are free to work together to accomplish whatever we set our minds to.

This is what we celebrate on the 4th.  The freedom to connect with one another and build something greater.  The freedom to express ourselves and use our God-given talents to enrich those around us.  The freedom to keep our loved ones safe while protecting everything we have built.

If it’s not clear, I love the 4th of July holiday and everything it represents.  So does this guy.

The Perpetual Wealth Code™ is built on the same foundation of freedom of choice and responsibility we celebrate every day in America.  We teach people how to master their own finances, recapture the interest they pay to others, use the same dollar more than once, and how to think about their wealth with a mind toward liberty and abundance.

Continue to live in the spirit of the 4th of July all year, embrace the power to take control of and build your own wealth, and contact me when you would like to talk further about how to make this happen.

God Bless America!