Want to take control of your finances and improve your communication with your spouse? Read our guide to financial intimacy for entrepreneur couples.
Disclaimer: This guide is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Please consult an attorney or certified financial planner who will put your interests before theirs.
Why do approx. 45% of marriages end in divorce?
There are many reasons, but at the top of that list is too little cash and not enough communication.
According to a recent survey by credit firm Experian, 59 percent of divorcees say finances played a role in the breakup of their marriage, and 20 percent said financial conflict was a significant factor in their divorce.
Don’t want your relationship to end up as one of these statistics?
As you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that your answer is “no”. Then you and your spouse will need to learn the art of financial literacy!
From savings to checking accounts, setting financial goals, and managing your money together, getting financially literate won’t just help your bottom line…it will also bring you closer together.
Best of all, you’ll develop financial intimacy (something many marriages are lacking!) along the way.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Marriage and Finances: Why Smart Couples Take Control
- Chapter 2: Money Issues in Marriage
- Chapter 3: Yours, Mine, and Ours: Money Patterns
- Chapter 4: Mastering Money Conversations
- Chapter 5: How to Manage Finances in a Marriage
- Chapter 6: Systems of Money Management
- Chapter 7: Financial Literacy Books and Resources for Couples
- Chapter 8: Money Management Advice from Top Entrepreneurs
In a hurry? We’ve created a financial goals for couples workbook complete with exercises, as well as an online money allocation spreadsheet, to help you and your spouse gain control of your finances. Grab it for free now.
So, what’s financial intimacy anyway?
Zara D. Green, co-founder of Grown Zone, says:
“Financial intimacy is the act of two people literally exposing their financial resources to one another in the context of a relationship. Just as with physical/sexual intimacy, relationship partners should always be mindful of protecting their health and safety, before merging their money. Bonding financially with a love interest before getting a complete understanding of how he or she handles money is a recipe for both emotional and financial disaster.”
Jacquette M. Timmons, author of Financial Intimacy: How to Create a Healthy Relationship with Your Money and Your Mate, describes financial intimacy as:
“… a movement designed to help you understand how you work with money in the context of romantic relationships, family obligations, cultural influences, and career, political and economic realities.”
So what it comes down to is that both partners in a relationship can be vulnerable and open when it comes to expressing each of their financial needs, wants, challenges and desires.
You trust them to listen and to understand, and you give the same support to them in return. Sounds challenging, right?
Well it doesn’t have to be, and that’s why we’ve created this resource for you! So it’s time to get naked!Financially naked, that is.
If you’ve never opened up financially to anyone before then this is going to be uncomfortable… but that’s OK.
Most of your “firsts” with your spouse were probably awkward too, remember? Your first date, first kiss, first time being intimate – great things can come from imperfect situations, right?
What’s more important than comfort is your ability to open up and leave yourself vulnerable to your spouse. Youtuber LoveAtFirstSight has a great free video guide to establishing emotional intimacy with your partner. Watch it here now:
You’ll need to be emotionally vulnerable before you can reach that sweet spot of comfort and openness that financial intimacy provides.
Now a surprising benefit of improving your financial intimacy with your partner is that you’ll probablynotice an improvement in your sexual intimacy too!
Now ain’t that worth reading this entire guide?
Regardless of when you decide to share the contents of this guide with your partner… get ready to know one another on a deeper (and better) level. Yep, you read right. Better! Alright, let’s jump right in…
Disclaimer: This guide is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Please consult an attorney or certified financial planner who will put your interests before theirs.
Chapter 1: Marriage and Finances: Why Smart Couples Take Control
Saving money for post-retirement rarely feels important in the early stages of a relationship.
Why would it when you’ve got the wedding, trips away together, rent (or buying your first home together) and other more immediate financial concerns to worry about? Well, here’s the thing…
“A retirement crisis is looming. As people live longer, one study finds that half of all households are at risk of coming up short on retirement money. And while many working households may feel they simply don’t have enough to spare for retirement, experts say some of the biggest barriers to saving up are psychological.” ~ Jennifer Ludden, NPR
The solution? Think longer term. Where do you both want to be in the next 20, 30 or 40 years?
Chances are, your future version of yourself wants you to save up. There’s also research that suggests that the richest way to live is as a DINC (double income, no children) married couple.
What happens then if you and your spouse don’t have the same philosophy regarding the importance of retirement savings, or how best to save or spend your money, or who should be the “breadwinner” in your household? Soon you’ll find yourself in the middle of an argument over who spent $50 out of your bank account and wonder how exactly you landed yourselves in that position.
With marriage comes not only the union of love, but the union of finances. You have to start making banking decisions (Do we keep separate accounts?) and planning for the future (How do we handle retirement?). Consolidating your finances is different than combining household items. It’s not quite as simple as keeping one couch in the living room and another in storage, or designating which half of the closet you’ll use.
You need to answer the hard questions of how your marital finances will work. How are you going to pay your rent, or the mortgage off? How much do groceries cost? What about the due date on those insurance premiums? Sure, you can say that money shouldn’t be a big deal, but it’ll land you in a world of trouble if you don’t develop healthy ways to manage and communicate about it within your marriage.
Why Money Matters in Marriage
Did you know that money issues are the biggest contributor to marital stress?
According to one study it’s also the number one cause of divorce. Well ignore all money matters and you may just find yourselves spending the next few weeks, months, or years (if you somehow last that long) wondering what the heck went wrong too. Imagine a life where you constantly question where your money is going and who the heck is spending it all.
- Where did the rent money go?
- Is there enough money for groceries?
- Did they spend the money you planned to use for purchasing household necessities?
- Did you buy something for yourself or your business when your spouse had planned on using that money for new work attire, a family emergency, or a surprise trip away for some quality time with who else but… you?
Imagine the day you discover that you’ve been harboring these questions against each other. It won’t take long until you’ve set yourselves up for disappointment, hurt, and mistrust. It’s much better for the health of your relationship and your own emotional wellbeing to just be honest with each other in the first place!
No one wants to be in a marriage where they feel unsupported romantically, emotionally, or financially, right? What if your partner feels like you’re not pulling your weight financially? That feeling can spell doom for your relationship.
This is a scary thought for an entrepreneur who might not have a steady income yet, or is struggling to escape the feast or famine cycle. More than miscommunication or a partner who works long hours, financial problems create cracks in otherwise solid marriages. Financial problems create cracks in otherwise solid marriages. Learn how to safeguard against this with this epic free guide to financial intimacy. #marriage #business #financialtips Click To Tweet So how do we money-proof our marriage then? By improving our financial intimacy of course! Let’s start by understanding some myths about marriage and money.
9 Myths About Marriage and Money
Since we know that money issues can kill marriages, let’s bring to light 9 money myths that can really hurt your marriage if you don’t work on your financial intimacy as a couple.
- Talking about money kills romance – Wrong! Couples who regularly engage in financially intimate conversations have stronger and more meaningful relationships.
- Your marital property needs both of your names – Depending on where you live, you’ll own half or at least a portion of any property that only bears your spouse’s name.
- Your debt is yours, and their debt is theirs – If your partner runs up a load of debt during your marriage and then files for divorce, guess who’s also responsible for paying it back? That’s right, you are!
- You’ll use a combined credit score after marriage – Even if you share joint accounts and the same last name, your credit scores remain separate and wholly your own.
- By law your spouse’s name must go on the deed – There’s no law requiring both spouse’s name go on the deed for the family home. Do what works best for your marriage.
- You can only operate joint accounts – Lots of married couples happily operate joint checking accounts. Lots of married couples happily operate separate checking accounts. It’s a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure situation.
- If you change your name you’ll have to apply for a new credit card – Stop! Don’t cancel a credit card that you’ve established a positive credit history with. All you have to do is contact the credit card company and they’ll issue you a card with your new name.
- Your spouse will be your beneficiary on all your accounts – It’s best to have your spouse added as the official beneficiary on all accounts, including life insurance policies and retirement savings. Don’t assume they’ll get anything otherwise.
- You can always make medical decisions for one another – Want to make sure your spouse can make decisions about end-of-life care? Your best bet is to create an advance health directive, write your wishes, and list your spouse as your decision maker.
Why Cashflow is Queen (Especially When At Least One Partner Is An Entrepreneur)
Regular cash flow is necessary for any marriage, and doubly so when you’re an entrepreneur. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, working out where your cash flow is coming from is one of the first few steps in starting your new business venture. A healthy cash flow supports more than just your business, it supports your lifestyle. Read our guide to gaining control of your finances as a couple now. Click To Tweet
At the start of your new business venture or during periods of low revenue you need cash flow coming into your home to maintain your household’s lifestyle. Paul Higgins, small business coach and Founder of Build Live Give, wrote in a blog post on How to Pay Yourself First:
“In the excitement and the trepidation, in the whirlwind and the worry of becoming an entrepreneur, your top concern is probably in making sure you have a well-rounded and functioning business. In your grind to get it right, you, as a founder, may forget one thing: to pay yourself! Easier said than done. Putting money away first thing after receiving your income seems counterintuitive. You likely have very pressing financial issues that can be dealt with right away in your business.
Paying yourself first isn’t about making sure to get your cut but, in fact, to ensure that when your business is having a downswing that you can still manage to run it. Having that extra cushion is also about being prepared, not just for the rough times in your business but also for any opportunity to take your business to the next level.”
So where is your personal (marital) cash flow coming from?
As an entrepreneur, you’re used to using your creativity and drive to secure investors, customers and loans, and you can translate those skills into your personal life.
Take the chance to get creative!
Your cash flow could be your spouse’s income or even yours if you’re maintaining outside work until your venture gets off of the ground.
Investments, interest from certain bank accounts, and cash-back offers from credit cards could also comprise part of your cash flow.
You’ll want to keep track of where your cash flow is coming from, how much money each source produces, and how frequently. This information should help calm any money concerns as you launch your success as an entrepreneur.
Why keep track of your personal cash flow? Understanding your cash flow gives you and your spouse the financial foundation to believe in your start-up.
It’s much easier to trust in the entrepreneurial process when you know that you have a reliable cash flow to support both of you (especially during periods of little to no income from your business). And when the profits do start rolling in? You’ll have a nice bit of extra cash for you and your partner to plan something fun with!
For instance, you could take a vacation, put a down payment on a home, invest in income-producing assets like property or stocks, give to a cause you both support, or trade in your old set of wheels for a new model.
Chapter 2: Money Issues in Marriage
Did you know that 73% of individuals have money management styles that are different from their partners?
If these differences are not openly discussed and you still feel weird about getting emotionally undressed and intimate about financial matters, then get ready for a wide range of troublesome events in your marriage.
Financial Red Flags in a Relationship: Behaviours That Don’t Work
Want to have a successful relationship? Knowing how to identify and keep out negative financial behaviors will be critical.
What are some Financial Red Flags that, left unaddressed, can hurt your relationship? Check out this list. Click To Tweet Recognize any of these behaviours?
- Your partner is too scared to discuss finances, so you handle everything yourself? You’ve successfully locked your partner out of an important part of marriage.
- Your spouse takes control of the virtual checkbook. Where does this leave you? Without any say in how your own money is used!
- What about that secret account of yours?
- Your partner’s got a habit of making big purchases and hiding the receipts.
- You’re maintaining secret lines of credit
- Your partner is lying about the cost of an item
- You’re stashing money in a secret bank account
How is it that many people don’t perceive these behaviors as an issue? Maybe because making large purchases and then concealing them from a partner is deeply normalized and often used as a punchline on popular TV shows.
“Part of the reason that we don’t want to tell our spouse about spending is that we don’t want to feel like a child again.” ~ Victoria Collins, psychologist who specializes in money and relationships
Sure, you probably don’t need to consult your spouse when buying the occasional snack, but what about the odd $300 spent on clothes or entertainment without their knowledge?
You have to decide where the threshold on spending money lies, but hiding purchases (even ones within the agreed upon limit) is a sign that you need to work on improving your financial intimacy with your spouse.
You can recover from these behaviors, but it’s a whole lot easier if you both are open about them. Work together to avoid bringing guilt and shame around money behaviours into your relationship in the first place.
This means you need to talk about your money patterns (and any secrets that still might be affecting you both). Having real and honest conversations is a necessary step towards improving your financial intimacy as a loving couple.
Chapter 3: Yours, Mine, and Ours: Money Patterns
Imagine being a wife and husband experiencing a situation like this…
“When my husband and I married I fought for control of the finances (didn’t know I was such a control freak until then). He was ok with that and never showed interest at being involved. Since then I’ve wanted to relinquish control and get his help. We’ve tried talking about how we can both be involved but are at a loss. He always did everything with cash. I do everything with cards. He likes things simple, I tend to keep it complicated. How do you share finances?”
Well this actually happened, and it’s not an isolated case unfortunately. It’s pretty common for spouses to bring different money habits and beliefs into a marriage. The key to fostering a healthy joint relationship around money is to first uncover and understand what each person’s unique relationship with money actually is. Click To Tweet
Only be acknowledging the differences can you then work together towards creating positive strategies and beliefs around how to manage money together.
To be an active partner in a marriage who provides love, support, and respect to your spouse, you have to develop a healthy relationship with yourself first. A basis of self-love goes a long way. The same goes for money.
So how’s your relationship with money?
Understanding Your Personal Relationship With Money
Did you grow up learning that it’s impolite to discuss finances?
Did your parents keep financial talk hidden from you and your siblings? How would you rate your parents’ level of financial intimacy out of 10 (where 0 means closed, and 10 means fully transparent)?
Did you discover somewhere along the way that talking money with your partner was just too stressful, especially if they didn’t grow up with the same views on money as you did?
Were you the type of kid who would eat the marshmallow if nobody was watching?
Watch this video if you have no idea about the marshmallow experiment – it’s fascinating, and it teaches us a lot about delayed gratification and success!
While striking up a detailed conversation with a complete stranger about your current debt levels probably isn’t a good idea, the idea of hiding important financial information shouldn’t extend to your spouse.
Unfortunately for many married couples, it often does. 66 percent of couples who divorced within the first five years of marriage said that they partially blamed their ex’s unexpected spending habits. In that same group, only 25 percent talked about money once a year. Just once. As you can see, your level of success as a married couple is in direct proportion to your level of financial intimacy.
Here’s an insightful infographic that sheds some light on the relationship between money and divorce.
(Image Source: Debt.com) One of the keys to having a healthier marriage is to have a healthy personal relationship with money. Click To Tweet Can’t remember the last time you thought about your relationship with money? You probably already know whether your relationship with money is healthy or not (your pre-marriage savings and investment accounts balances are a real good indicator!), but your answers to the following questions will clearly define where you’re at.
7 Questions to Reveal How You Relate To Money
Have a go at answering these questions right now:
- Do I feel in control of my financial decisions?
- Am I constantly worried about money?
- Is my money working for me?
- Are my financial expectations realistic?
- Do I know where my money goes each month?
- Am I asking for what I’m truly worth with my products and services?
- Am I paying myself first, last or not at all in my business?
If you noticed some discomfort or emotional charge around answering any of the above questions then chances are you’ve got some stuff to work through.
So how exactly does our sense of worth and deserving get created, and how does that relate to money?
Watch Neuro Linguistics Programming (NLP) master practitioner, and author of Money Magic: Clearing Your Path to Money, Time and Happiness, Michelle Masters discuss this here:
Whatever your situation, you have a money story and you can change it if it’s not serving you.
Here’s Kate Northrup, author of Money, A Love Story: Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create the Life You Really Want, sharing how you can start changing your money story:
You don’t have to have a perfect relationship with money, but you do need a healthy one. Are you well on your way to being a money master, or do you need to reshape how you handle your finances?
What’s Your Spouse’s Relationship with Money?
Now what about your spouse? What’s their relationship with money like?
If you’re still working on that whole financial intimacy thing you probably aren’t sure. It can be difficult to establish a sense of financial intimacy when your partner struggles with his or her relationship with money.
Unfortunately, you can’t force someone to change their entire financial outlook. Developing a healthy relationship with money can be a deeply personal matter. Pushing too hard, too fast can ultimately backfire. What you can do is encourage your spouse to reconsider how they treat money by asking them to help you with your own relationship.
Most people feel great about being asked for their expert input or opinion on an important matter. What better way to amp your spouse up then to give them a little confidence boost?
Invite them to give input on your personal and shared finances, keep them in the loop with your business’ income, and discuss your money goals with them. Soon enough you won’t have to ask them for their advice anymore, they’ll give it to you freely!
Do Your Money Beliefs Match?
Both you and your spouse having a healthy relationship with money is not a guarantee that you will share similar financial beliefs. Is it better to invest heavily and early on?
Should you save money before putting it work? When you handle money as an individual these decisions are entirely up to your personal belief system. In marriage, you form a team with your spouse.
Your team is responsible for making these decisions based on what will yield the best results for the team. In short, your money should work for both of you, not just one person.
How to Set and Achieve Financial Goals as a Couple
For many of us saving money isn’t nearly as fun as spending it. Talking about money (at least at first) can be even less fun. But if you aren’t making financial goals as a couple, you’re missing out on deeper level of intimacy. Financial intimacy is as much about clarifying and sharing financial goals, as it is about uncovering our money patterns. Click To Tweet It’s one thing to know what your spouse wants, it’s another to know what you both desire and work together to get it.
1. Start by having an honest conversation about your personal goals.
Maybe you want to go after global domination with your business, while she wants to travel abroad? Or you’d like to put some money into developing a new product, and he’s planning on saving for a nice place you’ll both call home?
Perhaps it’s financial freedom that you’re both chasing, but does the road to achieving it look the same or different for each of you?
2. You don’t have to abandon your individual goals in pursuit of a shared goal.
Your personal goals won’t always align, and that’s OK!
3. Find a common ground on things that you would both like to work towards
If sharing this type of goal with your spouse is still new, start out small. Once you hit that first goal you’ll feel motivated to work together again, creating a better foundation for your relationship.
4. Seek third-party support
You may also find it helpful to engage the services of an experienced and certified financial advisor to help you plan your future together, or join a community of like-minded founders to learn how others are setting goals with their partners. Want help to set and achieve financial goals as a couple? Follow these 4 steps. #marriage #finances #entrepreneur Click To Tweet Creating an easy-to-follow plan will help both of you stay aligned and motivated. Want help talking money & setting financial goals with your partner? Grab our free Financial Goals Workbook for Couples.
FREE Financial Goals For Couples Kit
- Financial goals for couples workbook complete with exercises
- Money allocation spreadsheet (google sheet)
- Weekly entrepreneur & relationship tips in your inbox
Submit your info to receive our resources in your inbox.
Chapter 4: Mastering Money Conversations
Instead of focusing on the huge, fully vulnerable and emotional “nude” money talk, break it down into topics or sub-topics. Better yet, plan a regular time for the two of you to sit down and have a “money date”. That way, you’re both committing to working on improving your financial intimacy together, which is really what this is all about!
Money conversations don’t need to be all serious either. For instance, you could go to a nice cafe and share some yummy breakfast to ease into the conversation. The key is to make talking about your money goals and progress a regular habit.
7 Essential Money Conversations to Have With Your Spouse
1. “This is What My Money Looks Like” – Where are we now?
If you’ve committed to one another for life, you need to be honest about your current financial status. That means laying it all out on the table!
2. Income/Cash Flow – Where is our money coming from?
This is especially important if you maintain separate accounts. Determine what your incomes are and if you have any money flowing in from elsewhere.
3. Spending & budgeting – What are our spending priorities?
From bills to groceries to non-essential spending, this conversation should cover any money that’s going out. Are there any expensive “Grown-Up” spending habits that are wasting your money that you might want to get rid of?
4. Savings – What are we saving towards?
Planning for retirement or hoping to take a vacation next year? You can’t do any of that without money in the bank! What are you both willing to do in order to hit your savings goals?
For instance, how frugal are you willing to be? A word of warning on this, frugal living might not make you happy! Watch this video from Tasha & Joseph at One Big Happy Life to learn about the possible “dark side” of living frugal.
5. Debt Management – What existing debt do we need to pay off, and are we expecting any new debts?
For many living 100 % debt free is a long way from reality, but you and your partner should be in sync when it comes to taking on new debts.
6. Shared or Separate Bank Accounts?
Do you and your spouse work best from a joint account, or are your goals best handled through separate accounts? Maybe a combination of both?
No matter what you decide, you should always know about your spouse’s other accounts. Keeping money secrets is never a great way to build trust between two partners!
7. Entrepreneurial Ventures – How much of our own money do we need to invest into the business exactly?
As an entrepreneur, there is no cap to your vision for the future. Unfortunately, there is a financial limit. You don’t need to include your partner on every last detail of your newest ventures, but they should understand where your money is going and when to expect income coming into your personal account(s). Want to improve your financial intimacy with your partner? Check out this list of 7 Essential Money Conversations to Have With Your Spouse. #marriage #finances Click To Tweet
Who is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in Your Relationship?
It’s natural for one person to take the lead on different tasks. You might be better at cooking, whilst your partner always resets the wi-fi. However you split up household tasks, it works!
Naturally, one of you needs to take the lead on finances, but who should take over? Typically, the better money manager in the relationship will assume the role. Just remember that the CFO of your household does not need to be a permanent position.You could agree to alternate the responsibility after a certain time interval.
A good leader (especially one who’s in a partnership) includes everyone else in the decision making process. You might steer or lead the discussion as the proud CFO of your marriage, but always keep your spouse in the loop and ask for their input. Now it’s time for the juicy stuff!
How to Talk to Your Partner About Money (Without Fighting)
It doesn’t matter if you just got hitched or have ten years of marriage behind you, the time to start talking about money is now. The longer you put it off the more worried you’ll feel about the process, which can loop into a pattern of putting off the conversation longer. If you’re nervous, broach the topic gently. Tell your spouse you’d like to talk about money and give them time to process the request.
1. Approach the conversation carefully
Try some of these prompts if you’re worried about what to say:
- “Honey, I feel worried about our finances. Can you help me talk through some of it?”
- “I know we don’t have a great relationship with money. Maybe we can fix that together?”
- “Let’s sit down and talk tonight. I’m struggling with our money, and I think we should tackle the problem together.”
2. Show, Don’t Tell
So what do you do if your partner still doesn’t open up about money? One thing you can do is to show that you are practicing good money habits.
Remember, your partner will learn better when shown how to do something verses being told directly how to do something. If you keep a monthly budget, make sure it stays up to date. Even if your partner is not immediately jumping in on money talk, they will notice your positive actions.
3. Pay Attention To How You Say It
Pay particular attention to what tone of voice you’re using when discussing money with your partner. Be careful not to come across as accusatory or condescending. Nobody wants to talk finance with an angry person. Focus on the facts and look for solutions together. Always remember that you are working as a team.
4. Communicate Effectively
If you disagree with specific financial choices your partner has made, rather than point the finger at them calmly seek understanding.
“Honey, please help me understand how this debt came to be.”
For additional tips on how to talk about money with your partner without fighting refer to What to Do if Your Spouse Won’t Talk About Money and Fessing Up: How to Tell Your Partner About Debt. Wondering How to Talk to Your Partner About Money (Without Fighting)? Read this guide. Click To Tweet
Resolve Money Issues Without Damaging Your Marriage
Every marriage will have its share of issues, from disagreements over what to eat for dinner, who’s family you’re going to spend more time with during holiday season, to how the other person drives.
It doesn’t matter that you argue, what matters is how you work together to resolve disagreements. Below are some handy guidelines for managing disagreements.
Do’s and Don’ts for Handling Disagreements With Your Spouse
- Do stay calm, and ask that your spouse do the same.
- Don’t come in angry and expect your spouse to not react.
- Do keep things civil; you can’t take words back.
- Don’t call one another names or place blame for joint errors.
- Do take a break if things are getting too heated.
- Don’t keep going for the sake of “getting it over with.”
Remember, financial intimacy is all about being open and vulnerable with one another. If you’re coming in heated and argumentative, you’re sealing off the possibility of supporting one another in a truly emotional way.
Want help talking money & setting financial goals with your partner?
Grab our free Financial Goals Workbook for Couples.
Chapter 5: How to Manage Finances in a Marriage
So you’ve clarified your financial goals as a couple, worked through your individual money patterns and mindset, scheduled regular “money dates” in your individual calendars, and you’ve both committed to working as a tight-knit unit to improve your financial intimacy together.
Well done team!
Next up you’ll need to work out a systematic way to manage your finances, and ensure that you’re on track to hit your goals together.
Thankfully there are some neat tools and systems already available to make it easier for you to manage your money. Money management isn’t something that just magically happens once you understand your income and expenses. It takes work, regular supervision and review to keep your finances in top shape. Here are some money management tips for entrepreneurs. Click To Tweet
Money Management Tips for Entrepreneurs
We get it, you’re busy! Entrepreneurs wear dozens of different hats for their businesses and need an easy and efficient way to approach money management.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to managing your money:
Stay organized and find savings where you can (hello home-brewed or complimentary coworking space coffee, goodbye morning cafe stop).
This means you’ll have to save and file receipts, track your expenditures, and keep everything balanced against your business’ income. The right software will make organizing your business and personal money, and locating savings, a breeze.
Let’s take a look at some tools for business and personal finances, shall we?
Tools for Business Finances
Though different, these programs both provide the same, basic service…track your expenses, track your spending, make accounting easy. Their specific features will vary, so make sure you choose one that offers exactly what you need. Maybe though, business money management isn’t your strong suit. Hey, it’s certainly not for everyone! And business finances can be more complicated than the money issues you face in your marriage.
Come tax season, entrepreneurs spend weeks (or even months!) digging for lost receipts, determining which expenses are actually deductible, and trying to figure out complicated filing forms.
If that panicking entrepreneur is you, hire someone! Although you’ll still need to establish cash flow, it’s never a bad idea to hire a professional to take care of everything else. You have two main options for outside bookkeeping.
- Go with an established business
- Hire a freelancer
Your choice comes down to personal preference. Freelancer bookkeepers might be more flexible with tight deadlines and even tighter budgets, but an established accounting agency will usually provide extra services that contract workers can’t guarantee and they tend to be more reliable.
Here are 10 questions to ask before you hire a bookkeeper. When the accounting and bookkeeping side of your business is taken care of, you’ll be able to better focus on the things that only you can do like guiding the ship and ensuring that you have consistent sales coming through whilst keeping existing customers super happy.
Tools for Personal Finances
Ready to succeed financially but keep losing track of your spending? Are you consistently under or over budgeting?
Forgetting which accounts you transferred money into? Chances are you’re doing things manually or not using the right tools. Here are some tools that you can use to get you on the path towards financial success!
- Mint – This all-in-one financial tool is one of the easiest to use. You can access all (yes, all) of your accounts on its platform, easily pay bills, check your credit score, and budget like a pro. Best of all, it’s free to download, free to use.
- YNAB.– Still not sure if you have this whole budgeting thing down? You Need a Budget (yes, that’s their name) understands. Sign up for a free trial and you’ll get access to budgeting software, tutorials, financial literacy classes, and a community of passionate users. After your free trial the price jumps to $60 a month. (By the way, YNAB have an awesome youtube channel full of budgeting tips)
- BudgetSimple – This is another free personal finance and budgeting tool. Instead of leaving it up to you to create a budget, the program analyzes your financial data and use that information to create a planner filled with all kinds of goodies. You’ll get tips for saving money, cutting spending, and a plan to get out of the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.
Chapter 6: Systems of Money Management
Managing your money has never been easier. With easy-to-access online programs, smartphone apps, and endless numbers of articles and videos swimming around the internet, there’s no excuse to leave your finances in a state of mismanagement.
Tired of arguing about money, trying to find old receipts, or not knowing where last month’s savings has disappeared to? The better you stay on top of your money, the easier it will be to establish and maintain a sense of financial intimacy.
So how can you and your spouse make money management less of a headache? Simple, you need to put some money management systems in place!
Financial Intimacy Tip: Maintain Separate Business and Personal Banking Accounts
We get it, multiple accounts seem like a huge hassle.
There are different logins to remember, multiple balances to watch, and sometimes even separate banks altogether. Adding in another just feels unnecessary. Especially at the beginning when cash flow is small, steady, and easy to track.
Is there really a point to keeping your business finances separate from your personal money when things are barely off the ground. You’ve got a bank account with your spouse, maybe another for personal use, a savings account, a credit card… where does it end, right? Well here’s what we’ve learnt (the hard way). Running your business finances through your personal banking account is a recipe for disaster. Here are our tips for managing your money better. Click To Tweet Any number of things can go wrong! Problems You Avoid By Splitting Personal From Business
- Your spouse spending the business’ money on non-business items
- You spending the business’ money on non-business items
- A chunk of your personal finances getting tied up in your business
These are all annoying enough, but what happens if you get sued?
Without a dedicated business account it’ll be difficult to maintain your business as a separate entity. For legal purposes, keeping your business separate from personal finances is a must.
If your business goes under, your personal assets are on the line. If you’re sued or owe a past-due debt and you haven’t maintained your business separately, they can easily go after you and your spouse’s personal money.
As an entrepreneur you already know how difficult tax time is. Why make it harder? Writing off business expenses is a hundred times easier when you’re not sifting through potential transactions. Was that charge for groceries for the pantry at home, or for the food you bought when entertaining clients? Keep it separate, keep it easy. So we advocate having a system for personal finances, and a separate system for business finances.
Trust me, your accountant will love you a whole lot more too! Now let’s look at a couple of systems we’ve been using for our own personal and business finances.
Improve Personal Finances with the 6 JARS Money Management System
T Harv Eker knows that you don’t need thousands of dollars to begin practicing new money management habits, which is why he advocates for the 6 Jars Method. You don’t need thousands of dollars to start using this method (although it’s fine if you do), which makes it great if you’re struggling with finding a system that actually works!
All you need to do is allocate your income into 6 different categories (“jars”). These could be physical jars, or sub-accounts on your personal bank account. The categories (jars) and percentage allocations recommended are as follows:
- NEC (Necessities), 55% – This is the money you’ll spend on things like rent, utilities, food, and bills.
- Long-Term Savings for Spending, 10% – Someday, somehow, something will go wrong. Your car will break down or your air conditioning will go out, and you’ll use this rainy-day fund to pay for it.
- Play, 10% – All work and no play makes, well…you get it. This fund should cover movies, music, or anything you do for entertainment!
- Education, 10% – Entrepreneurs know that learning doesn’t always go on in a classroom. Instead, purchase books, hire a coach, or invest in self-guided courses.
- FFA (Financial Freedom Account), 10% – Cash flow, cash flow, cash flow. When you’re in the business of working for yourself, passive forms of income are king. Invest this 10 percent to generate passive income you can rely on through slow times.
- Giving, 5% – It’s good for your community, it’s good for your spirit, and it’s the right thing to do.
Say you have a $1. Just one dollar. Using your one dollar, you can successfully manage your money using 6 jars. So how does this break down with a dollar?
- 55 cents to NEC,
- 10c to long-term savings,
- 10c for play,
- 10c for your education,
- 10c into the Financial Freedom account, and .
- 5c for giving.
Super simple, right? Of course you have full freedom to tweak the categories and percentages as you both see fit. It doesn’t matter how much money you do (or don’t) have, you can do this!
To get started you can simply sit down with pen and paper, and map out your jars and percentages with your spouse. Prefer to do it using a spreadsheet?
Great news! We’ve created a simple to use money allocation worksheet on Google Sheets for you.
You can grab it for free here.
As you can see, the 6 Jars is a beautiful system for managing your personal finances. Business, as you most likely know, requires a different focus – maximizing profits. So let’s take a quick look now at the best system we’ve found for managing business finances.
Improve Business Finances with the Profit First System
Growth is fun, of course. Reaching new markets, hiring employees, and developing new and better profits are, from an entrepreneur’s perspective, arguably just as fun as raking in the big bucks.
However if you don’t establish a solid profit margin before growing, and you’re not consistently paying yourself a monthly salary, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Say hello to Mike Michalowicz’s Profit First System! With the Profit First system you’ll still create different accounts for your money, but the goal is different.
The focus is on maximizing and saving profits, and paying yourself first. Before we jump into the specifics of the system it’s important to understand the mindset shift required to make Profit First work for your business.
Watch Mike Michalowicz share this key concept:
At the heart of the Profit First system is this formula: SALES – PROFIT = EXPENSES
The order is important so read it again. The above formula is actually an alteration of the traditional accounting formula (SALES – EXPENSES = PROFIT).
With the new formula, we are literally putting profit first! This forces us to then get creative about our expenses because whatever money we have left over after we take out our profit is all that we can allocate to expenses. This might mean cutting unnecessary expenses like software licenses, or finding cheaper options. Make sense?
So now that you’ve got the subtle but powerful mindset shift, here’s how to implement the Profit First system into your business. First, you’ll need these accounts to get started: Savings Accounts:
- Owner’s Pay
In this method, YOU decide the percentage of your business’ income that will end up in each account. You can even start small with a goal of 1 or 2 percent going into your savings accounts, and increase that percentage over time until you reach your goal allocation.
Here are some target allocation percentages from the Profit First instant assessment tool provided on the free resources section of Mike Michalowicz’s website:
Create your accounts, set your goals, and get your business in the best financial shape it’s ever been. We also recommend you tune in to the Profit First podcast to hear more about this system and how business owners like you and I have been successfully implementing it. Want to make the process of managing your business & personal finances simpler? Implement these money management systems today. #finances #entrepreneur #marriage Click To Tweet
Chapter 7: Financial Literacy Books and Resources for Couples
- The Heart of Money: A Couple’s Guide to Creating True Financial Intimacy by Deborah Prince
- Smart Couples Finish Rich, Revised and Updated: 9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner by David Bach
- Couples Money – What Every Couple Should Know About Money and Relationships by Chris Felton
- Money Magic: Clearing Your Path to Money, Time and Happiness by Michelle Masters
- Profit First free resources
Chapter 8: Money Management Advice from Top Entrepreneurs
Kimra Luna, Freedom Hackers
“I wish I had known to hire a CFO to teach us how to manage everything and that would have been very beneficial to the entire company. Four years later, I am having to hire a CFO to clean house and help with some of the mess that we made.”
Josh Stanton, Screw The 9 to 5
“When you run a business with your partner, usually one person ends up managing the finances while the other ignores it. I think this is a mistake because it forces one person to be more conservative while the other is happy to take more risk. This normally ends in arguments when suddenly there’s an issue in the finances that only one person saw coming but the other did not. It’s important to discuss the business financials often in any partnership especially when you’re working with your husband or wife. Failing to do so will result in poor decision making and future internal disputes.”
Ariana Sylvester, Tom and Ariana
“I wish I’d known how to approach talking about money with the person I loved. REAL money issues, like our perspectives on debt, using credit cards, and our spending styles. I wish I’d been taught how incredibly important it is to figure these things out BEFORE you start a business because that just complicates things even more (money talks don’t get easier when you have to have them for your personal life AND your entrepreneurial one!).”
Marc Johnston, High Thrive Coaching
“Personally, I never knew the struggles of starting a business. I’m glad that my wife supported me, if not I think it would have been hell on my relationship. We struggled for roughly a year and a half with little coming in so I ended up grabbing a second job to support the family. I wish I had planned better, taking the second job sooner or saving up more ahead of time. It would save my family a lot of stress. I can see how many would have given up too soon, only to make the struggle pointless. I am ecstatic with the results and glad I pushed through. The freedom of schedule, income, and level of decision making I have as a business owner can’t compare to my career working for others. Tip: Plan ahead for struggles, and push further and longer than you think you need to. It gets better eventually.”
Sarah Li Cain, Beyond The Dollar
“It’s more about having clear life goals and shared values than anything. Sure, money is important, but conflicts about managing money is just a symptom of larger issues at hand. If you’re upset at your spouse spending too much money for example, it could be maybe your fears and insecurities around not earning more. If you approach conversations from a common goal, it’s much easier to weave money into the conversation without everyone getting defensive.”
Where to next?
Thanks for reading our Art of Financial Intimacy: How to Manage Your Money As an Entrepreneur Couple guide. In order to be successful as a couple you’ll need to develop positive behaviours around talking about and managing money together. We recommend you:
- Start by clarifying your individual and couple goals, put some approximate timelines and costs on them,
- Implement some money management systems – both business and personal – to help you hit your goals together.
- Schedule regular “money dates” to review your finances together against your goals, and tweak as necessary. Sometimes goals and situations change, and that’s ok (provided you’re communicating with each other about it!).
To make this all even easier for you, we’ve created a financial goals for couples workbook complete with exercises, as well as an online money allocation spreadsheet, to help you and your spouse gain control of your finances and develop your financial intimacy together. Grab it for free now.
FREE Financial Goals For Couples Kit
- Financial goals for couples workbook complete with exercises
- Money allocation spreadsheet (google sheet)
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