How Your Spouse Is Essential To Your Career: Find Freedom Through Financial Planning
Part four of the Partnership Series explores how financial planning affects career planning and marriages in general and how you and your spouse can become committed to creating professional freedom through financial security.
Financial problems are just one of the many reasons to blame for divorces, so get serious on planning your finances and ultimately, marital happiness together.
Couples are often fooled into believing that since they are earning more, then they can afford more responsibilities. Bigger houses, bigger cars, more children, extravagant spending. All of this combined leads to pressure at work and dependence on a salary to meet those needs. If your spouse were to be laid off or injured and could not work tomorrow, could you pick up the slack or have enough in savings until he/she found another job?
Understand that while finances can be blamed for the destruction of relationships and marriages, it’s your couple’s ability to manage money that will ultimately decide your success. Sometimes, it takes an outsider – a financially savvy friend or a financial adviser – to give an objective and realistic financial layout to sidestep emotional arguments and make sense of how individual and joint financial decisions affect your personal life and career. However, when it comes to a long term understanding of joint finances, it’s essential to learn how to communicate financial goals with your spouse. Learn to communicate and establish a fixed budget to create a financial plan for discretionary spending, debt elimination, retirement, and emergency.
Financial planning for career success is about having freedom from having to depend on any one job for complete financial support. If you have two or more separate incomes, try to live comfortably on just one and bank the rest. Reduce your minimum standard of living and save more so that you and your partner do not feel threatened when rumors of layoffs circulate or if he or she wants to change career courses.
Merging our finances wasn’t an overnight, magical transition for Franck and I. We had several separate checking and savings accounts with money in strange places – sock drawers, PayPal accounts, and foreign bank accounts. It took us two years to get on the same mental wavelength about our financial goals and what would happen in the event of divorce.
When we finally sat down with our attorneys in drafting up a prenuptial agreement and hired a financial adviser, we got the clear picture of goals and expectations we needed to do in planning our lifestyle and careers. When the facts and figures were in front of us there was no more denying that we needed to make every financial decision count. Countless conversations about eliminating debts, dealing with mortgages, retirement planning, and emergency funding were in order. Fortunately, there was a point that our finances no longer were an emotional argument, but a conversation and joint effort in creating the life we both wanted. If you’d like to learn the basics of financial communication, read the Wall Street Journal article Six Financial Mistakes Couples Make – it’s fairly old, but the content is relevant and helpful to couples who need to get on track or single people exploring long term relationships.
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