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Money and marriage: The keys to financial and relationship success

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

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

Instead, use these proven strategies that 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 issues.

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

Do you balk at the cost of babysitters, date-night dinners, pet boarding, and vacations without the kids? Are you always too tired or busy to cook together, watch a movie, go for a walk, or be fully present to just sit and talk and listen? Would a gym membership keep you looking and feeling better to benefit from your marriage?


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

Identify your money personalities: According to respected consultants Scott and Bethany Palmer, there are five distinct money personalities that inherently govern our attitudes and approaches to money matters. Not surprisingly, some of these personalities create an opposing dynamic. For example, Saver and Security Seeker are quite the opposite of Spender, Risk Taker, and Flyer.1 Being aware of how you and your spouse differ will help you better understand each other’s motivations so you can avoid the constant bickering and stress that can lead to divorce.

Calculate monthly living expenses together: The Palmers cite the three biggest mistakes couples make when it comes to money: constantly worrying, doing only shallow fact-finding, and ceasing to talk about finances. The following exercise kills those three birds with one spreadsheet, so to speak.1

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

Both of you knowing there will be enough in your personal bank account to cover the bills will eliminate the constant worry of not knowing. You’ll have added confidence because the figures are based on a deep dive into the facts. One person typically handles day-to-day finances, such as paying bills, but having gotten to this point together will keep the lines of communication open in a much less stressful manner going forward.

Understand the value of net worth: Net worth isn’t only valuable as a dollar figure on any given day but in all that it allows you to do to benefit yourself, your family, and your community in impactful and gratifying ways.

Divorce is devastating on net worth, especially later in a business owner’s life when it should amount to something quite substantial. Divorced respondents’ wealth starts falling four years before divorce, and they experience an average wealth drop of 77%.two What’s your budget to avoid that?

Invest wisely: Just as your practice requires ongoing investment, so does your relationship. If you and your spouse aren’t on the same page about money matters, invest more in the relationship before it’s too late. Don’t become one of the 75% of divorced couples who cite money as the cause of their marital breakdown. Learn to work better to alleviate the stress of finances and build a successful life together, which includes achieving joint financial goals over the short and long term.


Editor’s note: This article appeared in the June 2022 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

references

  1. PalmerB, PalmerS. The Five Money Personalities: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language. 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 appeared in the June 2022 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

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