Money and marriage: the keys to financial and relationship success

As a private practice owner, you have the proverbial golden goose. If maintained properly, your practice should provide you and your family with the income necessary to not only live the lifestyle you desire, but also to generate long-term wealth. Being on the same page with your spouse about how you handle money is essential to the health of your marriage and your finances.

Managing your business and family expenses so that you have cash left over that provides you with an enjoyable lifestyle is a balancing act that can put a strain on even the best relationships. Not being on the same page can leave you retiring alone and with little to show for your life’s work.

Instead, use these proven strategies we teach our client couples to help them stay married, partner to live a successful family life, and build a lucrative business without getting derailed by money troubles.

Have a budget to stay married: A happy and successful marriage requires an investment of thought and thought, time and effort, and some money.

Do you balk at the price of babysitters, romantic dinners, pet boarding, and vacations without the kids? Are you still too tired or busy to cook together, watch a movie, go for a walk, or be fully present to just sit, talk, and listen? Would a gym membership make you feel better and feel better for the benefit of your marriage?


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Formal relationship-building strategies such as seminars, retreats, and counseling are worthwhile, but investing more in the everyday moments can offer the highest returns of all. Be accountable to each other by creating an actual line item in your financial budget and using your calendars to budget for relationship time.

Identify your financial personalities: According to respected consultants Scott and Bethany Palmer, there are five distinct financial personalities that inherently govern our attitudes and approaches to money. Unsurprisingly, some of these personalities create opposite dynamics. For example, Saver and Security Seeker are the complete opposite of Spender, Risk Taker and Flyer.1 Being aware of how you and your spouse are different will help you better understand each other’s motivations so you can avoid the constant bickering and stress that can lead to divorce.

Calculate the monthly living expenses together: The Palmers cite the three biggest mistakes couples make when it comes to money: constantly worrying, doing superficial research, and stopping talking about finances. The following exercise kills these three birds with one spreadsheet, so to speak.1

Most people grossly underestimate the cost of living. Sit down with your spouse and your checkbook or whatever kind of spreadsheet you use, and go through it, line by line, together. Agree on your monthly living expenses so you know how much money you need to get out of the business each month. Be sure to account for additional expenses that only occur in certain months.

Knowing both of you that there will be enough money in your personal bank account to cover the bills will eliminate the constant worry of not knowing. You will have more confidence because the figures are based on an in-depth analysis of the facts. One person usually takes care of day-to-day finances, like paying bills, but getting this done together will keep the lines of communication open in a much less stressful way in the future.

Understanding the value of net worth: Net worth is not only valuable in dollars on any given day, but in all that it allows you to do for yourself, your family, and your community in impactful and rewarding ways.

Divorce is devastating to net worth, especially later in a business owner’s life when it should be something quite substantial. The wealth of divorced respondents begins to decline four years before the divorce, and they experience an average decline in wealth of 77%.2 What is your budget to avoid this?

Invest smartly: Just as your practice requires ongoing investment, so does your relationship. If you and your spouse disagree on money matters, invest more in the relationship before it’s too late. Don’t be one of the 75% of divorced couples who cite money as the cause of their marital breakdown. Learn how to work better to ease financial stress and build a successful life together, which includes achieving common short- and long-term financial goals.


Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the June 2022 print edition of Dental economy magazine. Dentists in North America can take advantage of a free print subscription. Register here.

References

  1. Palmer B, Palmer S. The Five Personalities of Money: Speaking the Same Language of Love and Money. Thomas Nelson; 2012.
  2. National Longitudinal Study of Youth: 1979. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.nlsinfo.org/content/cohorts/nlsy79

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the June 2022 print edition of Dental economy magazine. Dentists in North America can take advantage of a free print subscription. Register here.

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