What makes our marriage happy?

How good is your communication about money?

अपनी पहुँच बिहारी के करतब कीजे दौर।
तेते पाँव पसारिये जेती लांबी सौर॥

Dear Pracchi (Kachu) and Amrish,

Today is your 15th wedding anniversary. Dear Kachu, on many nights when I tucked you in bed at night, I would picture your wedding day and beyond. Now you are Mrs. Pracchi Shah! Mom and I have been married 41 years and while we have had our highs and lows, I truly feel my heart and soul loves your Mom more than the day I went around the sacred fire on Feb 24, 1978.

Marriage is a team sport and nothing can impact your marriage like money!  Or more specifically, different ideas about spending money.  These Financial Goals for Couples are great conversation starters to help you create a shared plan for managing your money, and a common goal for what you’re trying to achieve.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  Being happily married for this long has a lot to do with love, and really, more so with good communication about money! Having a successful relationship is all about having honest talks about money.  Not just once in a blue moon, but all the time!

To help you out, I’ve put together a few Financial Goals for couples to get those conversations going… I wanted to share some advice on what makes our marriage happy. Here are a few financial sermon not only for you but all and not so young married couples…!

Talk About Money Openly

One of the hardest things to do as a couple is to combine your separate, and sometimes very different goals. Talking frequently and honestly about money is so important.  But it doesn’t have to be dull or boring.  When we work together with the love of our life, we can do almost anything.  And when we talk about money together, we’re also dreaming about our future together and all we hope for.

Make a Budget & Track Your Spending

The foundation for your financial goals is your budget.  Having a budget that you live by every week is the easiest way to make sure you’ll accomplish all of your other financial goals.

Now hear me out… creating a budget is actually crazy easy to do.  Why is that?

With any budget, you’ll first need to identify all of your expenses.  To make sure you don’t miss anything, sit down with your spouse and make a list.  Your list will likely include mortgage/rent, insurance, car payments, student loans, credit cards, utilities, cell phones, internet, clothing, gas, groceries, entertainment, vacations, and charitable giving, if at all…!

Next, add up all of your expenses.  Are your monthly expenses more than your monthly income?  Then it’s time to cut your spending to make sure you’re not spending more than you make.  If your expenses are less than you earn each month, then you can apply your savings to paying down debt and saving toward your future needs, like children education, marriage, health, etc. I recall from my school days, a verse from Kabir Dasji,

अपनी पहुँच बिहारी के करतब कीजे दौर।
तेते पाँव पसारिये जेती लांबी सौर॥

अर्थ : कबीर दासजी कहते हैं कि व्यक्ति को पहले अपने सामर्थ्य का आंकलन करने के पश्चात ही अपना लक्ष्य साधना चाहिए ताकि वह अपने लक्ष्य को पाने में सफल हो सके। सामर्थ्य का सही आंकलन किये बिना लक्ष्य की लालसा उसी प्रकार है जैसे चादर से बहार पैर पसारना।

Live on Less Than You Earn

So, what are some practical ways to spend less so you can save more?

Other than spending too much on a car or a house, there are some common ways we often tend to overspend.  I’ve found that overspending on entertainment, vacations, clothes, groceries, taxi and gas is really easy.  So, when you control these expenses better, you can really get your spending under control fast.

Here’s my tip that will help you live on less than you earn.  Use cash (with due regards to NaMo)  to pay for your entertainment, vacations, clothes, groceries, and gas.  Set a monthly limit for each that you think you can live with realistically.  Then set aside cash for each item, in a separate mason jar or envelope.  When the cash runs out… you don’t spend any more on that item for the rest of the month. Ha-ha…! Friends, it is possible…!

Would you like even more creative ideas to help you cut your expenses and save more money?  I am just a call away.

Make Getting Out of Debt a Priority

Now that you’re on track with your budget and are aggressively cutting your expenses, achieving your financial goals can really gain momentum.  You now have the capacity to really go after your debt!

When tackling debt, it’s smart to have a plan.  To start, make sure you’re paying all of your bills on time.  Next, pay off your highest interest rate debt first.  Finally, create an emergency savings fund to handle unexpected bills.  One of the most common ways we fall behind and get into debt is due to unexpected bills.  Whether it’s a surprise medical bill, or an expensive car repair, weird bills can come out of nowhere.  So be prepared for these crazy bills when you have an emergency savings fund.

The sooner you get rid of debt, the sooner you can start making your financial dreams a reality.  Dreams like that new home, a child’s college education, that vacation you’ve been dreaming about… and of course, retirement…! Beware, it’s not far…!

Focus on what is strong in your marriage not on what is wrong. A happy marriage is a willingness to live with things you can’t change. I have learned to know what I can change and cannot change about your Mom, even though she would probably say I am still trying to change her.

A happy marriage is built on trust and a balance of dependence on each other. I have witnessed at least a hundred times I have called your Mom in the middle of my “health issues” and she quit what she was doing and came to help me.   Your Mom and I share an unspoken trust that we are there for each other 100 percent, no matter what. Luckily, we did not go through any financial crises, since my fauzi pension was always there to back us up.

Epilogue: Promise to love each other more than your children

Dear all young at heart couples,

A happy marriage focuses on the strong union between a husband and wife. Your children are an expression of your love for each other. Stand by each other when either one of you disciplines your child. You need to be a united front for your kids. Disagree in private after the kids are in bed.

Kachu, all I ever wanted was a daughter first and how lucky was I to get you. I am praying for your everyday happiness with days filled with hope and possibilities as you and Amrish discover the joys of marriage with Financial Goals in place. I love you both and cannot wait to see this next chapter of your life unfold. And will be super excited when you say, “Yes Kaka, …Yes Dad…!”

I call upon all couples to be serious and take a matured decision with regard to financial independence.

All my love,

Kaka, … Dad.

PS: Please do share your comments and views below…!

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