When my husband and I first married, I knew his ring size but not his credit score.
That’s how far away money was on my mind.
Sure, I always believed money was serious and important, especially the day to day cash flow. I knew how to not spend more than we earned and to pay the bills on time. But as a newlywed, I missed the big future picture of our new life together.
It wasn’t until we started to seriously talk about starting a family, buying a house, or planning a vacation when we realized we had much more we had to talk about.
Even though we combined our accounts, we weren’t moving in the same direction because we didn’t even know what direction we wanted to go in. Our goals weren’t clearly defined.
We had to come together and act as a team.
That’s when we started to meet to talk about where we were headed based on the health of our finances.
Later, I heard the term “money date” from Elle of Couple Money. My husband and I had been having money dates but we didn’t call it that. I love the term from Couple Money and credit her for introducing me to it.
I’ll go through how we do money dates and hope you take away a few tips and start having money dates with your DrSpouse.
Q: What are money dates?
Money dates are NOT about running through each transaction by each other. That’s called bookkeeping. And that isn’t fun.
Instead, money dates are about setting up a time to be with your DrSpouse and going over your family finances. You just discuss the big picture, like which direction you’re headed, and if you’re hitting your goals within a time frame you have set.
Because it’s a date, you make a commitment to go on it together regularly. And you expect to make it fun.
Q: Why go on a money date?
Men and women rank different reasons for trouble in their marriage. Finances are consistently a top complaint. And they’re on the top of both men and women’s lists.
Money dates prevent those problems. It makes sure you’re on the same page and NOT having trouble in your marriage due to finances.
Additionally, studies show that when you talk about your goals, you have a better chance of meeting them.
As Dr. Jim Dahle of White Coat Investor says:
“If you’re not on the same page, at least read from the same book.”
Q: When to have money dates?
There is no max, I guess. You’re free to talk as often as you want! 😜
The minimum you should have a money date is quarterly.
Like any regular date, schedule a money date on your Google calendar. And before it’s over, schedule your next one so it doesn’t become your last one. You can always reschedule it, but if you don’t plan your next one it doesn’t happen.
Our DocWife.com household does money dates monthly. It works for us because bills are paid monthly.
Q: What do you talk about during a money date?
Goals next month:
- What is our current savings rate?
- How much are the bills and have we scheduled to pay them yet?
- How much is in the emergency savings account?
- What unexpected expenses have come up?
Goals in next few months:
- Are we saving for the next vacation?
- Are we saving for interviews and interview clothes?
- Are we saving for that expensive transition between training and attendinghood (to pay for credentialing, moving, vacation, etc.)?
Goals in the next few years:
- Are we contributing to all available tax-advantaged accounts?
- Is our portfolio balanced and appropriate for our level of risk?
- How many more student loan payments until they’re paid off?
- How fast is our net worth growing?
- Are we planning to invest in real estate or another business opportunity?
Q: Do you pull up statements, Excel spreadsheets, or what?
Yes, pull up data wherever you keep track of it.
My husband and I are millennials (Super Nintendo generation!) so we love apps that track everything for us. We use Personal Capital to show all our account balances without toggling through many tabs. If you want to try it out for FREE, use my link and you’ll get $20. We also use Mint for budgeting, which is also FREE.
Q: Where to have money dates?
A good time is whenever your DrSpouse isn’t exhausted. Typically, this is after everybody is fed, the kids are in bed, and you’re relaxing on the couch. I mean, you’ve already pulled out your phones anyway 😂 so just pull up the appropriate apps like Mint and Personal Capital!
Tip: Elle of Couple Money says make it fun and grab your favorite drink 🍷