Marriage and Finances – Why Working together is Critical

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This is a fun one for me… I’ve wanted my hubs to weigh in on this whole debt free/personal finance passion I’ve developed. When he told me he had finished a piece for me to share with you, I was beyond excited.  So without further ado, here is his perspective on marriage and finances and why it is so important to work together!

I’d like to start off by saying howdy! My name is Dallas Hageman aka Mr. Biker and I am a motorcycle nerd. My epic wife thought is was a good idea (big mistake) for me to take over this blog for the moment and give my two cents on budgeting with a partner. You already know all, or most, of our background and I, couldn’t tell it any better than Sami has so instead I wanted to chime in on the necessity of being a good partner while tackling debt or reaching any financial goal.  If you have a significant other that has decided to hop on the debt freedom train but are annoying the hell out of you, then I have a few words that will help enlighten the situation and (hopefully) bring harmonious bliss to your relationship.

First off you have to accept the situation. Typically when a couple comes to us with concerns about finances, claiming to be working their way out of debt-to no avail, we find that one of them usually isn’t on board. One partner is on fire like a debt dragon slaying warrior, going after their debt like it’s holding their life for ransom and the other partner is seemingly void of any care. Both partners have to accept that they, as a collective couple, are in trouble.

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Think of it this way: you two plan a great and long kayaking trip together (awww how romantic). You set out on a calm body of water and float your merry way along the banks enjoying the sunshine and each other. Suddenly, the water picks up speed and one of you gets a little nervous, so they start paddling a little, but you are both still having fun and enjoying the day. Then, you both see that the kayak is heading straight towards a waterfall with jagged rocks below, no doubt ready to kill or maim you both. So, what do you do? Well unless you’re glutton for punishment you PADDLE! Paddle like your life depends on it… but what if only one of you picks up an oar and attempts to avoid the imminent danger? That kayak and you both will continue to head at a quickening pace towards the deadly end. The kayak in this story is marriage and if you’re committed to one another then you both better damn well paddle your hearts out. You are both in the financial mess that you personally may, or may not have created. Accept it and move on.

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If you’re thinking that it’s really easy for me to say this then you would be dead wrong. When Sami and I got married I had about $24k in debt, most of which was for my Harley Davidson, she had $163k+. Soooo yeah, you could say the scales of debt and who owed what was a tad skewed. Did I throw a fit? Did I refuse to help pay off what she owed because it was HER debt and not MINE? No. No, I didn’t. I was a grown adult and realized that when I made my vows to her it was to her-AS A WHOLE-. Everything… all the good, the bad and the baggage that came with her. Why? Because we became one on our wedding day and you can’t cherry pick a partner. (Let me tell you a secret too, you’re not a 100% package either… in fact, if you’re like me your partner traded down.) You want the good with a mate, you get the good, but also the bad. That’s life.

Let me ask you something. If you still don’t see the upside of partnering WITH your partner then what is the alternative? Let’s say you don’t do anything to change. Maybe you dig your heels in even more. Now what? Not only are you in debt, but you both will be even MORE in debt in the future. Not paddling the kayak doesn’t get you anywhere but closer to the edge. Your partner might eventually resent the fact that they are doing everything they can to dig out of a debt grave while you have your arms folded, acting like a child. It’s time to graduate to being an adult if you married them then partner with them. If I had thrown a tantrum and claimed that “These financial problems aren’t fair so I’m not be helping you get out of financial crisis” where would we be today? I’ll tell you where. We would still owe $195k, probably even more by this time and I dare think our relationship would be strained. However, since I took her burden and shared it we are now debt free, working on a savings goal and looking at buying a house… in a year and a half. So, would you rather have a victim mentality for the next 30 miserable years or suck it up, help with the payoff, and start living life with your best friend.

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It’s your choice to partner with your spouse. Plain and simple. But, if you refuse to get on track- and the vicious arguments come (believe me, they will)- it won’t be your partner’s fault for all of the strife created. It will be yours… because you refused to paddle.  So paddle my friends, paddle like your life depends on it!  And slay that debt once and for all!

Until next time, spend safely!

Note: I am not a personal finance professional.  All of my advice is strictly opinion.  I am not responsible for your success or failure.  If you need professional financial help, please seek advice from a trained professional.
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