July 24, 2015
I’ve been super health conscious as of late and the motivation to get it right and tight is driven by a friend’s upcoming nuptials in beautiful Jamaica – which I plan to attend. And while I don’t anticipate getting my groove back, as I don’t think my groove has fully been actualized as of yet, I would like to think that I could catch Winston’s eye should the need arise. Jokes aside, I am excited for my friend as she prepares for her married life. And while I have supremely enjoyed the single life, I do occasionally ponder what married life could look like. On the one hand, it would be awesome to have a live-in bestie; but, that bestie might not be in agreement with my non-traditional meal choices (a dinner of popcorn and dark chocolate almond milk for the win!). Needless to say, I’m not quite ready to make that leap, but I view married life as a beautiful thing that may happen for me one day. As I finalize my travel plans to attend the nuptials, I couldn’t help but to reflect on the financial ramifications of marriage. Two incomes joining forces definitely provides an income boost to the now combined household, or could lead to divorce if conversations are not had early on to plan for marital financial success. As a singleton, here are three areas that I am currently addressing and that I believe will contribute to later financial success in marriage.
- GET RID OF DEBT
A combination of spending mistakes, the pursuit of higher education, and the decision to purchase a home have all led to my accumulating a sizable amount of debt over the past few years. My pursuit of financial independence has prompted me to examine my debt and establish a plan of attack to eliminate it. I’ve often mentioned in a previous BGGM article that I have successfully eliminated my credit card debt, and am on track to rid myself of student loans in the next few years. I see the personal benefits of debt elimination, along with the benefits of not bringing significant amounts of debt into a marital situation. The less debt that I have as a married person lends to more money freed up to invest with my new boo.
- MANAGE SPENDING
I used to be a thoughtless spender, in that I would purchase clothing simply because it was “On Sale,” without any real thought to the actual use or longevity of said piece of clothing. Over time I’ve adopted more of a minimalist aesthetic, and now only desire things in my life that have purpose. This has translated to reduced and mindful spending towards things that hold value, as well as more money left over to save and invest. I would hope that my future spouse would appreciate my reduced likelihood to make secret purchases to our financial detriment, because I had to have that new Coach purse – even though I already own three. And that’s not to say that I would be opposed to treating myself every now and then, but I would definitely advocate for having conversations about any major purchases that deviate from the agreed upon household budget. Which leads to my last point:
- BECOME COMFORTABLE TALKING ABOUT MONEY
Money and sex are two topics that are similar in that they’re both pretty important but also elicit discomfort discussing. Healthy discussions about money were not something that I grew up seeing. Anytime money may have been discussed, it was in response to one of my parents doing something financially that the other person clearly thought was not okay. Rather than take a defensive stance, I would much prefer playing offense and engage my spouse in conversations about money before things became problematic. This includes our current personal financial situations, our financial goals, and any challenges that may be anticipated and how they can be overcome. Having these conversations early on and often can lead to marital financial success, but first require establishing a baseline comfort level with honestly talking about money. Brown Girl Green Money has definitely propelled me to a place of comfort that did not previously exist, as well as a level of accountability to maintain my pursuit towards financial independence.
I am currently very much enjoying my place in this world as a party of one who can pretty easily plan for a trip to Jamaica without having to check in with someone else. But I also wouldn’t be opposed to a change if the right person comes along. In the meantime, I will continue to do me – financially speaking that is – as this will not only support me but also, potentially, us.
Angela is a researcher/program evaluator by day, and crime fighter by night. And by “crime”, she means the perceived inability to turn dreams into reality. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to share your money story, chop it over life goals, or all things Shonda Rhimes. Also, check out Brown Girl, Green Money on the book of faces at www.facebook.com/browngirlgreenmoney.