Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.
The fifth week of that job was magical…
I sold one system.
Natalie and I celebrated.
The next week, I sold 4 systems and the week after that 8!
We were finally out of the danger zone and into the happy zone. I had become so used to drawing blanks, that drawing a check become a new adventure, especially since they went from $0 (literally) to $800 to $1,000 to a stratospheric $2,000…in a week!
That’s still good money in 2021. but really good in 1988!
What did we do next?
We had planned together on how to make the money…now we planned together on how to use the money.
The first component of the M.V.P. Award is Money.
Seems simple enough, but imagine that couples fight, disagree, and divorce when they KNOW what their income and expenses are. The unpredictability of sales exacerbates the situation, and the ups and downs of income can wreak havoc on marriages that are not built on a firm foundation.
I am not going to play financial planner or counselor (though I did that back in the 1990’s with a Larry Burkett/Dave Ramsey type radio show – ahead of it’s time!), but there are a few things I present for your consideration.
- Keep one bank account. Unless you have more than the FDIC limit for insurance, you should pool resources. Yes, I know some people that prefer “your money, my money” but that di-vides the household. A house divided against each other…you know the rest. In marriage, adding your money multiplies it – subtracting, actually divides it.
- Set spending limits – Create an upper limit on how much each other can spend without consulting the other person. Early in our marriage we could not make a $20 decision without a committee meeting. As things got better it went to $50, then $100 and as high as $1,000. Funny thing. Now that we are successful, we still discuss what we are doing with money. It is not a game of “Mother, may I?” but just makes sure no one is “surprised” by new golf clubs or expensive purses.
- The “B” Word – Make a Budget. Running a household is just like running a business. You should have projections that run at least 90 days forward. Beyond the “money in and money out” equation, there are a few other things that a well-balanced household budget would contain, such as Giving, Saving, Investing (back into your business) and Fun. If your budget is at a deficit, then build your plan with lean living. Focus on increase of business income as a priority. Like my mom used to tell the bill collectors, “You will get it…when I get it!”
- Show Them the Money – The number one issue I hear when I meet spouses, is that they don’t understand the basics of how compensation is earned and paid. Yes, I have worked with companies that had Black-Scholes formulas for their commission programs, let alone reconciling to make sure you are paid accurately. If you don’t understand, how can you blame a spouse for their rightful concern. Spend time showing them how you make money…the opportunities and the pitfalls.
There are a host of other things that I could outline but I think you get the picture. The few things outlined are to get you started on opening a sensible dialogue. You know what your situation is and what is needed.
I challenge you to plant a “seed” of change that will yield a harvest of unity and peace.
Matters not if you are looking for a miracle to pay your mortgage this month or closing a mortgage on a million-dollar mansion…marriage is all about openness, sharing and agreement.
Sharing money keeps expectations of how the family business will treat windfalls…and downfalls. It confirms and affirms a joint understanding of how the precious commodity of money will be used to further that family enterprise.
Show Them The Money!