Married with Money: The Beginning
I started Married with Money to help people feel more comfortable talking about money and relationships. I’m a firm believer that mismanaging your money isn’t a numbers issue. The math is simple.
The actions, though, are not nearly as easy to control sometimes. Behavior is a tricky thing to master, and as a result we can often become defensive and closed off when we talk about money. Even when we consider our own relationship with money, it’s easy to mentally just ‘shut down’.
That’s not healthy. Lack of open, honest, judgement-free communication rewards no-one. When money is such a big facet of our lives and we don’t feel comfortable talking about it, it’s not surprising to see statistics that link money issues and communication as high drivers for divorce.
My goal at Married with Money is to help bring those conversations to top-of-mind and improve your relationship with your money, yourself, and the other important people in your life. I don’t believe that my message is limited in scope to people who are married or in a long-term relationship. Some of my content will focus on that, and some will draw on experiences my wife and I have had together.
But much of this is about the relationship between you and your finances.
If you have a healthy, honest relationship with your money, you’ll set yourself up for a more prosperous future.
My growing interest in personal finance and all money-related things began when I was in college. My degree in Information Systems helped land me a decent-paying job right out of school. I was fortunate, but like a lot of college kids, I graduated with more credit card debt than I wanted – about $10k.
I vividly remember talking with three of my best high school friends on a vacation to Florida right after we graduated in late May 2010. Despite being the only one with a job lined up at the time, I was also the only one with any sort of debt.
It kind of felt backwards to me, and it was a feeling I didn’t like. I made the decision right then that the first thing I was going to do with my money was pay off my credit cards and never, ever carry high-interest credit card debt again.
And I did.
A New Beginning
I started working in early June and spent all of my extra money above my basic living expenses paying down my debts. By October of that year I had paid off the remaining ~$10,000 in credit card debt I had accumulated from a series of unfortunate events like my car breaking down and some other very bad decisions (like that trip to Vegas I booked but never went on…).
I wasn’t out of the woods entirely, but the good feelings from paying off my debts kept me on a roll. In November, my car finally decided to give out and I needed to get a new one in order to get to work – I unfortunately wasn’t living in an area where public transit was an option. Through the previous months paying off debt aggressively, I had neglected any sort of respectable emergency fund. Add that to my list of “ToDo’s”.
In early December I had a nice used car and a nice loan to accompany it. Just like with my credit card debt, I hated every minute I had that loan and promised myself that I’d pay off the loan – which didn’t come with a great interest rate – as soon as I could.
That day came after 14 months, and I felt good about paying over $20,000 so quickly. This sort of stuff – getting ahead – was addicting and I started doing a lot more reading on personal finance and all things money-related. I didn’t want to get in the same situation again.
Meeting My Better Half
Fast forward to 2013. I had moved around in the company I was at, and I was traveling a lot. I had saved up a decent amount of money – it’s a lot easier to save when somebody’s paying for all of your meals 2 weeks a month.
In order to cut down on my travel and avoid the brutal winters in Minnesota, I decided to ask my boss if I could move to California. He agreed, and in September I packed up everything I owned into my Hyundai Sonata and made the cross-country trip. Solo.
It was easily one of the best experiences of my life.
In California I primarily worked from home, kept my expenses low, and was living a great life. But after a few years of doing the same thing, realized I was stagnating at my job. I met a girl, Kristin, and three years later switched jobs, got engaged, and we moved – back to the winters I so vehemently tried to get away from.
Today, I’m a 30-year-old IT professional living in Minneapolis; sometimes affectionately called the “Silicone Prairie”. Kristin and I got married in June 2017, and we’ve realized that many millenials and young couples just don’t know where to start when it comes to money.
Basic personal finance isn’t a topic taught in a lot of schools, and as a result many young people are lost, overwhelmed, and not making the progress toward their goals they likely wish they were.
I started this blog to share my experiences and philosophies on all things related to personal finance, with some occasional career-related anecdotes to boot. Kristin and I will talk about subjects like budgeting, saving, investing, and lifestyle choices. I’ll talk about earning money, too.
I’ll touch on the philosophical aspects of money but also provide you with the tools to take control of your finances instead of letting your finances control you. And over the course of our time, I hope to learn a lot from readers like you, too. If something’s of interest to you, or if you have a differing opinion, comment!
It’s that open communication that helps us grow and prosper.