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Want to know what my most important financial tool is? What do you think? Budget? Emergency savings? Cash flow statement? Financial planner? Nope, none of those. My most important financial tool is my wife! Let me explain.

Family and finances can go together well.

Family and finances can go together well.

We're On The Same Page

My wife and I talk to each other about our financial goals and discuss our finances frequently. We talk about how we are going to achieve our goals and work together to implement our plans. Maybe most importantly, our goals mesh together so that we can both work toward the same things. We're a great team!

We Trust Each Other

I suppose it should be a given that marriage means we trust each other, right? But you hear about couples where one spouse goes crazy with spending while the other tries to reign it in. That's not the way it is with us. We trust that the other one isn't going to go on a wild spending spree. When one of us wants something that costs a bit we make sure the other knows about. This way there are no surprises when credit card bills arrive or when we look at our savings accounts.

She Keeps Me Grounded

I try to stay frugal and conscious of my spending but sometimes the bug hits me and I want to go out and BUY! I'll get all obsessed over this or that that I tell myself I need (Honey, we need to buy Rock Band!). When I mention it to my wife (remember, we don't go off on big purchases without the other knowing) she'll bring me right back to earth quick. See, it goes back to trust (and respect). Because I trust my wife's opinions, I'll listen to her when she tells me I'm being silly. It goes both ways too. We both help to keep the other on track so we can realize the goals that are truly important to us.

She Zigs When I Zag

We both attack out finances from different angles and work off each others strengths and cover for our weaknesses. My wife is awesome at keeping track of day to day money. She's always looking at our bank account to make sure we're on track and can cover our monthly expenses. I, on the other hand, am better at the long term goals like retirement plans and college savings for the kids. When a big expense comes up I'm better at understanding things like interest terms and maximizing our money while my wife can realistically see if we can afford it or not. Working together, we cover all our bases.

She Gives Me Financial Purpose

Back when I was a single guy I had some financial goals. I wanted a house, and a family and be able to retire, but those goals weren't concrete. They were more like something that would be nice to have but I didn't do much about them. Being married to my wife and having a family, those goals are now real. Not only do I want a house but we're acting on the goal to make it happen. I want to retire and I can now imagine my life in retirement with my wife, traveling and living it up. The two of us inspire each other to be the best we can for ourselves and our family. I can't fart around any more, spending on a whim hoping my goals happen. I have a family to take care of (and they take care of me). I have real reasons to make my goals happen; I have focus!

So you can have your spreadsheets and budgeting programs. Take your cashflows and your expense reports; all those iPhone apps that track your spending. They're all good but nothing beats my number one financial tool: My Wife!

This is a guest article from Craig who writes about personal finance at Free From Broke. You can get more articles like this one by following Free From Broke's RSS.

Photo Credit: Kjunstorm

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23 comments add your comment

  1. There’s no substitute for a spouse that improves you financially. There is power in being on the same page, no doubt about it.

  2. Ahhh fantastic post Craig! I thought for a moment Elle was writing like as if she were a man baby! ;)

    Wife giving purpose, and zigging when you are zagging. EXCELLENT points.

  3. My husband and I have a similar relationship. It’s the only way our plan to be debt free will work. I don’t make a penny right now, but not once has he made me feel like I am not greatly contributing to our finances. He values the work I do with both the kids and the financial planning, and I value his hard work and his paycheck:)

  4. What a great article! It is such a blessing to have a partner that is in sync with you and makes you better financially. I wish I had written this about my husband, he makes me better in every way.

  5. Wow, great article. And it perfectly describes why my wife whooped my tail into financial shape over 7 years of marriage, and she’s gotten a little better too. When you can play on each other’s strengths and have someone to be accountable too, achieving your goals is a lot easier.

    It seems like if done right, money should bring a couple closer together instead of creating tension. Maybe money’s just the scapegoat for some.

  6. I know exactly what you mean. I just got married about 8 months ago and it is such a blessing to have a spouse that is on the same page financially. We haven’t had a single money and we’ve paid off over 20k in debt (her student loans) since we’ve been married.

  7. This is a great post. It is critical for a married couple to have financial goals that match up well. Acknowledging different perspectives that a husband and wife have is also important because this can create a more balanced life, not excessive thrift or spending.

  8. Having my husband has definitely helped me stay focused on my finances. After we found a way to communicate about our goals and money, we’ve drawn closer. It’s nice to be on the same page. Great post Craig!

  9. Thanks for the kind words everyone! I think many times people fall in love and get into relationships and talk about everything with each other EXCEPT their finances. Then later on they can’t see why they aren’t on the same page. I think knowing your partner’s financial history and understanding their financial goals is critical to a future together. Aren’t a good percentage of divorces about money?

  10. Getting on the same page is the best one thing you can do for your finances. A few years ago my wife and I went to see Dave Ramsay. While we did not follow the plan it got us to work together on our finances. The money we spent on that seminar was the best money I ever spent.

  11. Great post! I work with many couples in my financial planning practice who are not on the same page, and sometimes working with them is more like marriage counseling than financial counseling (I suspect many marriage counselors state the reverse!). Finances can cause so much friction in a relationship, yet I’m always so surprised by how many couples just completely avoid the topic and continue to manage their money (and life goals) like two independent single people.

  12. Keeping each other grounded is what it’s all about! Great thread.

  13. What a sweet post :).

    I realised the majority of my bad spending happened when I was single so I would have to say being a couple with support for each other is an undeniable financial asset.

    Great post.

  14. It really is important that spouses are on the same page. You can’t have one trying to save money and get out of debt while the other goes on shopping sprees. You’ve got to communicate and work together towards your goals.

    Nice post Craig.

  15. This is a great post! You are absolutely right. I use my wife as a sounding board. I always bounce ideas off of her before making financial moves with our money.

  16. Awee Craig you are so sweet! Did your wife read that? Great post and you are right! I’m glad my boyfriend and I have similar views on money (we’re both cheap), I think it helps!

  17. I’m convinced my girlfriend saves me thousands every year. It’s fun to hang out, make a meal together, and watch a television show online. If I lived by myself I would seek out bars, restaurants, and more trips.

    I love the time I spend with her and it saves me tons.

    Great post!

    Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances

  18. This is REALLY SWEET!

    Drop the finances, the most important is definately to have an understanding wife!

    But if she’s on the same page as you, then I don’t need to be a pundit to tell you that things are going good!

    As an aside: I would still like to know some great iphone Apps that are fantastic (and free?) for monitoring personal finances.

  19. I had a house before the spouse:) but now I’ve got someone to be a man for. I’ve got to take responsibility for my family (us and 2 dogs at the moment) but I’m also making sure we can afford to have kids and one of us (probably her, I earn more) doesn’t have to work.