Everyday Cheapskate: A Couple's Guide to Common Money Myths
Counter: Never think of a credit card company, real estate agent or mortgage broker as a financial advisor. They are sales people looking to close deals. Get advice from a wise person who will not benefit financially from the decision you make.
Myth: We have plenty of time.
It does seem as though you have a lifetime ahead and that you don't really need to save money now, while things are tight and you are struggling to get going. But that's a myth. The truth is you cannot afford to go one more day without a savings commitment for many reasons: You will want to retire. You do not want to feel forced into debt when something unexpected happens. You do not want to get used to spending all that you have. You want to create a sense of security and peace in your marriage.
Counter: Think of 10 percent of your net income as a mandatory savings obligation, just like your rent or mortgage payment. Pay it to yourselves without fail starting right now, if not sooner.
Myth: Some money issues are best kept private.
Whether it's the $40 pedicure you launder through your grocery tab using the convenient cash-back feature, the $80 cash you collected from your lunch buddies when you put the whole tab on your credit card, or a secret credit card account, keeping money secrets from your spouse is not good for your marriage. You might be able to pull off financial infidelity for a while, but eventually, it will come back to bite you.
Counter: Start out with a commitment to full disclosure and total honesty. That will build something into your marriage that money cannot buy: trust.
Myth: Everything will be fine as soon as we make more money.
It does make sense that if you are struggling now, you won't once you get a big raise or finish school or get your grandmother's inheritance or win the lottery. The truth is that more money will never be enough until you learn how to manage well the money you have already.
Counter: Make the necessary adjustments now to live beneath your means. That will ensure when more money comes into your lives, you'll know exactly how to take care of it.
Myth: It's too late.
No matter how long you've been married or how difficult your situation may appear, it's not too late. It will take longer and be more challenging, but you can turn your situation around. Two people committed to reaching a single goal is a powerful force.
Counter: Decide right now that you are going to do whatever it takes to debt-proof your marriage.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at email@example.com, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.