All good things must come to an end—welcome to Pt. 4.
Just kidding, though, because we’re just getting this gravy train rolling. While this marks the end of the takeaways from the book tour, I have yet to actually finish reading said book—so prepare for more! (And while you’re at it, pick up your own copy here.)
If you're new here (hello), we've already covered:
Next week, we'll talk a little bit about credit cards, but for now, let's take this book series knowledge home.
There were a few newlyweds in the crowd who asked for Manisha’s advice on ‘splitting the pot,’ so to speak.
She talked about something I had really never thought about before: we’re the first generation to deal with the question of finance within marriage en masse, because we’re getting married later and typically participate in dual earner situations. Depending on your age and career, both members of the marriage could be coming in with sizable assets (or, less sexy, sizable debt).
She suggested “yours, mine, and ours” buckets if you aren’t comfortable combining your assets into one metaphorical pile.
The “ours” bucket pays for your housing, your food, transportation, and other things that you both need to live and benefit from mutually. In situations where one partner significantly out-earns the other, she suggested a pro rata “ours” bucket in which the contribution from each person is proportional to their income.
For example, if I make $100,000 and my husband makes $200,000, I contribute $50,000 to the “ours” bucket and he contributes $100,000. It’s only fair, honey!!!!!
The respective “yours” buckets can be used for things like gifts, personal grooming, shopping, and other shit you don’t think the other person should be on the hook for.
The debt conversation is more tangled, because debt situations vary significantly from person to person. She said that some people view marriage as assuming the other person’s good AND bad, which means assets AND debt.
She made a joke that we always ask ourselves if we’re physically, emotionally, and intellectually attracted to another person, but we never ask (aloud, at least) if we’re financially attracted. She said that’s a perfectly valid question, as money affects marriage more than most anything else.
She also noted that she deals with a lot of people who don’t know how much their partner makes. WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL, PEOPLE? How does that work? Y’all just ignorantly making big life decisions out there? SMH, I can’t.
The only way to decide how you’ll treat your (or your partner’s) debt within your relationship comes down to a conversation. And if your partner isn’t willing to talk about it, well… maybe you should give the ring back.
Switching gears slightly to the gender stratification within conversations about money, she said financial literacy amongst average citizens (both men and women) is about the same: low. The rates vary between 30-35%, on average. I.e., none of us really know what we’re doing. Yay!
But, she said, the main difference is that men have an elevated sense of confidence and assuredness about their money knowledge (LMAO #shocked) whereas women tend to have a more realistic perception of their understanding of money matters.
As a result, men begin talking about money earlier with each other—in college and sometimes even high school. Women, on the other hand, tend to avoid the topic altogether, feeling unequipped to engage in the conversation—so unless they take a genuine interest, they never learn.
That’s heartbreaking to me, because as Manisha noted, money gives women voices and choices. It allows you to have control over your own life.
As I’ve noted before, it really bothered me that all my male friends seemed to care about and partake in investing while my female friends didn’t know and—frankly—didn’t really seem all that interested.
(To be clear, my friends are obviously interested in making and having more money, but weren’t actively investing or trying to do so like my male friends.)
It is precisely because men become comfortable talking about and are confident in their money knowledge that they gain more true understanding over time. And, as we’ve all learned about the compound power of money, that can make a HUGE difference in the long run.
If an 18-year-old guy starts investing in index funds, he’s going to have way more to show for it in the end than a woman who waits until she’s in her late 20s or early 30s to get some skin in the game. Time matters. Unlike a lot of other things in life, when you start matters.
So, ladies, let’s have more candid conversations with each other about money. Ask questions. Find money mentors. Behave as though your income, savings, and investments are all you’ll ever have, and if you do so successfully, they’ll be all you need.
The first step is picking up this book. If you haven't done so yet, don't cheat yourself any further.
The young woman's money guide to all the things you're too embarrassed to ask your friends. Build the life you thought you were too broke to afford through managing your spending habits, travel hacking, and simple, smart investing.
Full-time Brand marketer at Southwest Airlines, part-time Yoga Sculpt teacher, occasional Waffle House Model and reformed materialist.
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