September 3, 2019 | 46 minutes
In this episode, Andy Hill (@AndyHillMKM) of Marriage, Kids and Money joins us with his wife Nicole. Andy and Nicole have a heart-warming story of how two people with very different ideas of money have learned to bring their visions together. Plus, they dive into how they’re sharing their passion for personal finance with their young kids. TLDR: teach em’ while they’re young!
"I've learned to speak more of her language over the years. It's speaking less about the numbers, the goals, the facts, and the figures and more about the emotional side of things. What drives her, what excites her, what personal goals does she have in her life." - Andy
Aditi: Hey folks, you're listening to The Money Date podcast, a podcast that my husband and I launched to help young couples get real about their money.
Dalmar: We'll ask our friends and a few strangers all the uncomfortable and awkward questions about how they handle their money.
Aditi: All the gory details and hopefully a few tips and tricks along the way that you can pick up and use in your own relationship.
Aditi: In today's episode, we're joined by Andy Hill of MarriageKidsandMoney.com. Andy is not just a prolific blogger and podcaster, he's also an all-around nice guy. Him and his wife Nicole join us for a conversation about how they've handled money in their relationship and talk to us about the good times and bad.
Dalmar: Alright, Andy and Nicole, welcome to the show today. We’d like to get things kicked off by learning a little bit about the two of you, your origin story, so to speak. How did the two of you meet?
Andy: Ooh, you want to take this one?
Nicole: A poke?
Andy: You’ve gotta clarify very quick because that sounds sexual.
Nicole: A digital poke on Facebook.
Nicole: We have a mutual friend. I moved out to California a few years after college and found a lovely group of Midwesterners to hang out with. I moved in with one of them and she happens to be one of Andy's friends from middle school, high school, college. They're very close. I was rooming with her when I started a Facebook page. He saw pictures of us hanging out and he was like, “Oh, I guess I should go visit my friend Erin and meet her.”
Andy: Cause she’s got really hot roommates... one in particular.
Nicole: I had seen a picture and video of him prior to him poking me on Facebook and was like, “Oh, he's super cute”. I’d had lots of failed relationships till that point so I was definitely open to meeting a nice Midwest boy and it was just perfect!
Andy: So social media, YouTube, all that good stuff that's out there now, it really helped us to get together actually.
Aditi: You should tell Facebook that they shouldn't have removed that poke feature
Dalmar: The only example of it working.
Aditi: So tell me, when did you guys, as you met, as you started dating, what happened? Tell us a little bit about the evolution of your relationship.
Andy: So we got together, that was the end of 2008, and I went out there to go visit my friend and my new friend Nicole. And we hit it off pretty quickly. We had been talking on the phone prior to that for like a month and really connected and then when I got there, we had a great weekend and we went into, like, “Okay, we're together now.” I think I put my bag right in her room when I got there. It was very presumptuous.
Nicole: The first weekend he came to visit me out in California, which we did the long distance thing for like six months, but the first time he came to visit we went down to visit a friend of mine who was having a birthday party. We went down to San Diego, it was a really long day of bar hopping and my car got broken into as we were heading back to Los Angeles. After a really, really long day and got back to my car maybe at like 9 or 10 at night the whole thing was just filled with glass from somebody busting through the window. So it was very interesting -he was totally my rock through that. The fact that something like that happened during the first weekend we had ever hung out and we were able to laugh through it and make it more of a fun event rather than stressful or anything like that. I feel like that pulled us closer together, like going through a hardship right early on.
Andy: I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say that. That’s really cool. I'll take that.
Aditi: I think you should rebrand as “the best thing that ever happened to me was my car got broken into.”
Andy: Right? And there we go. That works. She still has that car.
Andy: But yeah, we dated long distance for six months and then she eventually moved back to Michigan where she's originally from and shortly after that we got engaged.
Aditi: One of the challenges about being long distance, Dalmar and I spent seven years doing long distance and Know the trials and tribulations that come with, but one of the challenges is that money is actually something that comes up rather quickly in a long distance relationship because you're spending money trying to fly out to see each other, spending money together. When did you guys even start talking about money and finances and your relationship?
Andy: Well, I mean you bring up a good point. Money became a part of the conversation because of the realities of the relationship. I think I was making maybe $40,000 a year and so traveling from Detroit to California quite often was a lot of money. You know? I would catch the cheap Spirit Airlines redeyes, which would help. It would save me a little bit of money. But yeah, it was a lot to travel out there and do the dating thing like go out to dinner and do all the fancy stuff. Because you want to have fun and especially if you're in Detroit and the wintertime, Southern California in December, January and February is a pretty great place to be so you want to take advantage of that and have as much fun as possible.
Nicole: You came out to visit a lot too. He was not frugal at that point. And I'm thankful that he hadn't gotten into Dave Ramsey yet because maybe we wouldn't be married. He might have been like, “I can't afford those plane tickets, Sorry.” You were a little more like paycheck to paycheck at that point.
Andy: I was very paycheck to paycheck. It was the best investment I've ever made. Absolutely.
Aditi: Take that Dave Ramsey.
Dalmar: Obviously that was only sustainable up to a point and time. And I know that the topic of debt and managing that is an important topic for the both of you and something, Andy, that you've discussed with many of your guests. When did that switch begin to happen?
Andy: When did the conversation about debt come into the picture? Probably around the time we were starting to get married or think about getting married. We started to talk a little bit more about “what do you have, what do I have?” And I had a lot of debt based on where we were in life. I was doing my MBA program and it was my first bout with student loans because I was lucky enough to have my parents help me out with my undergrad and then the second time around they're like, go for it, you know, figure it out and I ended up taking out about $30,000 worth of student loans. I used my home equity line of credit like it was an ATM machine and borrowed from that a lot. Anytime I'd want to do anything, pretty much go out to see my new girlfriend and my fiance. So I used debt a lot as sort of a tool to help me pay for things that I really wanted at the time in my twenties. I don't really regret it honestly because we were able to work hard together to get it out and it really worked out. It netted me the things that I really wanted in my life and that was a relationship with my wife that I have now of almost 10 years. So, definitely worth it. But, yeah, we started those conversations of, “Hey, I've got student loan debt, I've got a HELOC and you don't really have any debt”, a leased car that we ended up buying afterwards so that became a debt, but we started these conversations and we said, “Okay, well we're going to combine our income and we're going to make some good money.” I think even out of the, correct me if I'm wrong, out of some of our conversations, we said, “Hey, if we get any money from the wedding, like gifts and things like that, we'll pay off your HELOC like right away. So yeah, we had some of those conversations probably not too early in the process - I would say maybe months before we were married we were probably talking about these things. What do you think? Am I right?
Nicole: Yeah, I can remember two conversations we had about money before getting married, but we really didn't get into budgeting and stuff like that until after we were married. But the two conversations we had before getting married - there was one time, and this is gonna spoil one of the answers I think for the Newlywed Game, is that there was a situation that happened when we were first dating where Andy came out to visit in California and it was three girls and him and he didn't pay the cab. And for me, at the time was like, “You're with three girls, you should pay the cab.” You know? That was my thought at the time and I didn't know what his money situation was, how he thinks about money. And I was kinda like, “I don't know if this is chivalry or if this is normal or whatever.” It kinda threw me off because up until this point he had been paying for his plane tickets to come out and this and that. I confronted him about it. I was like, “You know, this is not how I grew up.”
Andy: It was something you were used to.
Nicole: Yeah. And we had an awkward conversation around it.
Aditi: Really curious, Nicole, did you feel weird about bringing it up? Cause money isn't necessarily something couples love talking about in the early days of their relationship.
Nicole: Oh, it was awful. But it was something really, really bothering me and I didn't talk to him about it until after he had left that weekend. We talked on the phone and I was like, “listen, this is going to be really, really awkward and I hate talking about money, but I have to discuss this with you because it threw me off.” And he had explained to me that he just grew up with, you know, a very feminist family and that would be an insult if he just assumed and would pay for everything all of the time. So we kind of talked about the differences in our backgrounds and our cultures and stuff like that and it totally made sense to me. But that was, yeah, that was like our first money conversation. And then after that there was another conversation that we had, ‘cause we had to go through schooling. We got married in the Catholic church and they make you go through some classes to get married.
Aditi: Premarital counseling. Yup. Yup.
Nicole: Exactly. So are you familiar too?
Aditi: Yeah,we've heard so many stories of couples and they've described some of the dynamics. I think it's awesome.
Nicole: I do too, and it wasn't all just about church talk and God, they actually brought up finance and we were like, “Oh, okay. Yeah, this is pretty important.” They encouraged us to talk about whether or not we would have joint checking and savings or whether we thought we would have separate and at the time we were both just like, “yeah, joint, why not? We're getting married, we're all in. I don't want to start off with separate everything.” I don't know if we would have done that, if we knew now what we knew then. I mean, I think that there's a lot of different options that we could have explored like the “mine, yours and ours” option. But we did put everything together and we've figured out a way through trial and error to make that work.
Andy: Lot’s of trial and error.
Nicole: Yeah, so those were the two conversations we had prior to getting married and that's pretty much it.
Andy: Those conversations definitely helped us to understand more about each other. And then, as we've learned a lot over 10 years, to find some good middle ground.
Dalmar: You said, Nicole, that knowing what you know today, you might've done things differently where it concerned a joint accounts. What would you have done differently?
Nicole: I kind of like the idea of the “mine, yours and ours” where you have a joint account and it pays all the bills, it pays all of the things that are not necessarily flexible, so groceries and stuff like that. But then when it comes to like fun money or clothing, I think having separate accounts would be nice because you can use that at your discretion. You have $500 a month, you can get your nails done if you want to and nobody's going to look at you funny. You can go kayaking with your friends without the stress of somebody seeing that on the bank account. Now Andy and I have worked it out to where we give each other those line items in the budget. So it pretty much works out the same way. But I don't think there would be anything wrong with having separate accounts for that too. I think that could be kind of cool.
Aditi: It's so funny, Nicole, listening to you say that, you know, for me, I actually love not seeing those expenses on Dalmar’s side because I think it would give me anxiety seeing them. So I was like, “Oh, okay, that's on your side of the table, just don't tell you about it.” It's almost like nobody wants the transparency. And Andy, what do you think, would you agree with Nicole? Would you have explored a different way of thinking about things, and especially as you've gotten so savvy about money ever since those early years of living paycheck to paycheck?
Andy: Yeah, I think the joint thing worked really well for us in the beginning and when Nicole went to become a stay at home mom, because I was fearful that if it wasn't joint or if it wasn't altogether, and I'm sure there's ways you could figure it out but my mindset at the time, was that she's going to go from full time income to part time income to no income and I don't want her to feel like this isn't our money. So we'd have to figure that out obviously with the levels which go in each of these accounts, but very conscientious of making her feel like she still has control. She still has a say. She's just as important as I am in the money decisions. That's why I think we went with the joint and we just kept with it. But over the past couple of years we've had a lot of conversations about switching it up, especially as we've had some disagreements on what we both feel are important things to use the money for. I want her to feel that autonomy. I want her to feel that independence so I'm all for it. I wouldn't mind switching things up. I think it's good for the marriage to switch things up after 10 years. Don't you think?
Aditi: Totally. Especially with money, because it's the number one thing that drives conflict, you know? It's such a smart idea. I'm curious you guys, Andy, you podcast about marriage, kids and money and I'm curious how any of your money conversations or even feelings about money changed or evolved when you guys had kids?
Andy: Oh yeah. I mean, a lot. We were living for today. We were enjoying ourselves. It was the two of us and we were vacationing and having fun and going to concerts and doing wild things, going out and going to nice dinners and drinks and things like that. Personally, for me, when I learned that we were having our daughter something clicked in my brain, it just kinda went, “Okay. You're not just living for today. You're not living for just the two of you. You are bringing a human into the world and you've got to protect this person.” I've researched this, I've looked into this, there's like some physical science around this that happens in father's brains. It's a different emotion from Mothers where it's more of protection and things like that, but it’s the same sort of thing for fathers. It's like, “Alright, what can I do in my own fatherly fashion to make sure that everything is okay.” and for me it went to finances. It was like, okay, we've got this debt. Mostly it was mine. What can we do to eliminate that as fast as possible so we're debt free before our daughter comes into the world? Because that would, personally, make me feel great. That's where some of our conversations started to happen on how we could do it together. And my approach maybe in the beginning was a little heavy handed. My mentor at the time, as Nicole brought up, was Dave Ramsey and he's got this sort of heavy handed approach of like, you do it this way and if you don't do it that way, then you're dumb. And it’s like,”Okay. Well, maybe that's not true, but it works, right? I mean, it works in different fashions for different people, but for me, that was like “the book” that I read. I read it cover to cover and I'm like, well, no, this is what this book says, so we have to do all of these things. You see it's in a book, right? It's an author. He's published. So my explanation at the beginning or my bringing her across was not the best route. And I've learned to speak more in her language over the years.
Dalmar: And what is that language, Andy? How have you softened over the years?
Andy: For me it's speaking less about the numbers and the goals and the facts and the figures and more about the emotional side of things. What drives her? What excites her? What personal goals does she have in her life? And at the time, at that point, it was if we're going to have a child and maybe another one or maybe we were talking about three originally, I'm not sure that I want to be working full time, I want to raise our kids at home and that sort of became our driving force. Then okay, well I want to become debt free and you want to be able to stay at home with the kids. So, okay, we actually have a mutually beneficial goal here, we're just saying it in different words. So as soon as I started to be able to learn how to speak in her language of “here's why we're doing these types of things, it'll help us move in that direction for you to be able to stay at home with the, I think that's when we are able to connect a little bit more. What do you think?
Nicole: Yeah, I agree. I could care less about seeing the number in our brokerage account or in our 401K or net worth. I could care less, it's a meaningless number to me. What I think about when I'm at the store and I have to put purchases back because it doesn't fall within this month budget, I'm not thinking, “Oh, because I need that net worth number to grow.” I'm thinking, “if I put this back that's a little bit closer to Andy having financial independence and being able to be home working from home. We can go out to lunch together. We can do yard work during the day. We can spend time together while the kids are at school. He'll be home when they come off of the bus. Those are the things that drive me to be a little bit more responsible and not spend as much as we make. Andy's driven by those number goals. He’s like, “Oh, we'll be at 500 by XYZ date.” And I'm like, “who cares? Like what's the date you can be home and have lunch with me in the middle of the day when the kids are at school?”
Aditi: I love the way you said that ‘cause I'm so like Andy. I am EXACTLY like Andy. But Dalmar is more like you, Nicole, and he connects much more deeply to those, those human stories than he does to any number on a bank account balance. Is that fair to say Dalmar?
Nicole: Virtual high-five Dalmar.
Dalmar: Yeah, 100% Nicole, as you were speaking, I was like, that's exactly me. And Aditi, you took the words right out of my mouth. Andy we’re talking about the ways that your language has shifted to accommodate Nicole's approach and thoughts around finances. Nicole, how, if at all, have you shifted or changed or shaped your language to reflect or accommodate Andy's way of thinking?
Nicole: Hm. Let's see.
Andy: You've been very flexible.
Andy: I mean, seriously, give yourself some credit because you have been.
Nicole: I don't know how I've changed my language. I feel like, you know, I've just learned that when Andy comes to me with new ideas to take a breath and not be like, “okay, this is going to be it for the rest of our lives,” because he changes our direction and course so often that I know, “Okay, let's go through this exercise and then he'll see that it makes no sense.” So maybe the way that I’ve changed my language is that I've learned not to freak out right away.
Aditi: Humoring his ideas.
Andy: Aditi, do you come home with any ideas for Dalmar as well?
Aditi: I'm like, look, it's a fantastic real estate opportunity and Dalmar is like, “Oh God, here we go again but don't you think we've invested into many things?” But one thing I'm really curious about, and I love talking to couples who have the opportunity to spend a couple of years going through the realities of having kids and thinking about their future, Nicole, this is a question for you. How has your experience with money and your experience watching you and Andy navigate money affected or impacted your outlook on how you want your kids to manage money?
Nicole: Well, we both want them to be very responsible with money because we volunteer and we help to run the Dave Ramsey courses at a local church and we see a lot of people that have not been educated in money. And we were those people too so I'm not throwing anybody under the bus here. I mean, it is just not something that's taught in school, which is unfortunate. So we're taking it upon ourselves to really try to teach our kids that early on because we both got our money philosophies through osmosis, but we want to be really particular about the message that we send to our kids. We want to make sure that being charitable is something that just happens. We don't want them to have to come on that on their own later in life. We want them to put that one third away and know that that's what you should do. We want them to know that they have to work for our money. So we do chores around the house and if they do their chores, then they get their money and then they're pretty responsible with it in the choices that they make. Like we let them buy one new toy per month. Their birthday money is lasting like nine months.
Andy: It's their generous, generous grandparents that'll give them some money and then Nicole has been really good at it because it was, part responsibility, but also part frustration for you where they'd have this money and they'd be like, “well I'm going to go to the store, I've got this money.” And then they'd want to go three days later and then three days later and you're like, “Well I'm not gonna go to the store all the time to buy these toys and you break them or don't use them anymore.” And so you limited it to one day a month, right?
Nicole: Yup, ‘cause I'm also a little bit of a minimalist, so it kills me to buy these plastic toys every two days.
Aditi: So it's like a ritual that they've gotten used to. They're like, “Oh, what is that one thing that we're gonna go get this month?”
Nicole: Yeah. And it's cool to see them be picky and choosy when they go to the store instead of being like, “I want 10 toys today and I'm going to cry and have a spaz attack if I don't get 10 toys today.” I'm not saying that we don't still have, like issues with them once in a while but when we go into a store, they're pretty responsible. They know that we're going in, we're buying one thing and we're leaving and they'll pick up three toys and they'll actually look at them, and these are five and seven year old kids, like they're not that old yet, and it kind of blows my mind that they're already able to look at three toys, put two of them back on the shelf.
Andy: And a good thing that Nicole's done too is even if she's going to the store with them and she goes to the store with them a lot, she has conversations with them beforehand, being like, “we're going to the store to buy groceries. We're not going to buy toys, other things. We're going to buy these things and then we're leaving.” So she has conversations with them beforehand so there's an expectation that, “Hey, we're not here to buy anything and everything. We're here to get these groceries and go.” So I think that's good and it's something that even as adults, we're hoping that they remember. Don't just walk aimlessly into Target and buy anything you want, your here for that one thing and then go. Right?
Dalmar: Rituals help with that. You know, Aditi brought up this word rituals and I know that this is something you've talked about as well, Andy, what other rituals have the two of you built up either with yourselves or with your kids in addition to the one that you've just spoken about to help keep you on track?
Andy: Well, we invented something called the “budget party” when we got together originally, and this was probably 2011, maybe 2010-
Nicole: We used to get pizza and wine and now we're lucky if we start it at 10 o'clock at night instead of 11 o'clock at night.
Andy: Originally it was a ritual to try to bring my wife on board to talk about the numbers, your “Money Date” for your show here except we call it a budget party. It included some wine and beer and pizza and you know, we'd watch a movie afterward and we'd look at the numbers. It was a lot less line items back then for us to review. We would look at our spending from the previous month, see how we did plan our spending for the next month and then talk about our financial goals. At the time it was, “Hey, how can we get rid of this debt so that you can go to part-time and then eventually full-time at home.” And then we've continued that tradition for the past seven years now, eight years. So that's one tradition we're doing.
Aditi: Quick question for you, I was just going to ask, do you ever plan or think about inviting the kids to that tradition?
Andy: Hmm. That's a good question.
Nicole: In the future. It's pretty adultish right now. It’s really looking at receipts. It wouldn't be fun.
Dalmar: It’s going to get very boring very quickly for them.
Andy: There are some traditions we're doing with the kids. She talked about the shopping trip, the once a month trip.
Nicole: You’d better believe they know when it's the first of the month.
Andy: Well yeah, they're ready. They’re like, “My August toy is going to be this.” They're planning it. But one tradition I started with the kids probably last year. We’ve done chores since she was about five now. We started a chore and reward program when Zoe was about five. So every Saturday morning the kids get up and we do their morning routine and then we make them some breakfast and then they have three chores to complete that support the family. And as they get older, the chores get a little harder. When Calvin was four when he was doing it, it's essentially like, “Hey buddy, take these clothes out of the dryer and put them in this basket and that's your job.” But as they get older, we’ve given them them more difficult chores and we give them a dollar for every age that they are. So, so we get seven bucks now and then she splits it between four jars - spending, saving, giving, and we just started an invest jar for her and we're starting to talk about it.
Aditi: Oh my gosh! That’s amazing!
Andy: Yeah, we're just trying to start some conversations with her early cause we know the importance of compound interest and what that can really do for her life. So we're excited about that. And then another tradition we do is called the “Big Give”, where in that give jar we have the money starts to pile up and then every quarter we get together and I show them a couple of videos from some charities that I think they might appreciate as kids and watch those videos and then they decide who they want to give their money to. We've had some really great experiences being a part of that. And then they get milkshakes too! We’ve got to throw in a little party.
Aditi: I remember one family Christmas, instead of giving presents, we all got a check and it was a check that we could write to any charity that we wanted to write it to. It was one of those things that has just, at the back of my mind, always stayed with me because it required me to go do the research, figure out who I wanted to give this money to and then really make a case for it with my family because they had to sign off to make sure that we weren't trying to give it off to some cult. And it was a really, really great ritual and it's something that you're describing is something that I wish my parents had done more of when I was a kid.
Andy: That's incredible.
Nicole: How old were you when that happened?
Aditi: I was like 10. It was like a significant amount of money. I mean much more than what a 10 year old is used to seeing so I felt a lot of responsibility. I'm obsessed with animals, so all of my money was going to go to a dog charity. Everyone knew that, but it was fun to go through, “Who do I want to give it to? Is it this one or that one? Or somebody who is way closer to to the ground versus somebody that's the national organization?” And going through that thought process really made me learn some really good principles about investing and thinking about where I was putting my money.
Nicole: Did they do it again after that or just the one Christmas
Aditi: We didn't do it again, but it was something that just stayed with me and it's something that I would love for us to maintain. Even if it's one of your Christmas presents, you know? But it's something that you give every year. I think it's a really powerful ritual.
Andy: And you probably remember that more than any plastic toy that you got probably right?
Dalmar: You and Nicole have talked about two concepts which I wanted to jump into for a moment because these have both helped you meet your goals. One is the 50/50 path and the other one is the zero based budget. Can you tell our listeners what those concepts mean and why you settled on adopting those to help you meet your goals?
Andy: Yeah, sure. The 50, 50 path started from some of the things we've talked about already where we said, “Okay Nicole, you and I combined now, since we're dinks, no kids and we're making good money. We're probably making a little over six figures and we've got, you know, $50,000 of debt to get rid of- What if we just lived on half and tried to figure this out cause we were living on half before because we were single, right?” So we sort of adopted that live on 50 spend 50 since paying off that original debt load. It helped us to do some pretty incredible things. Not only did we pay off that $50,000 in debt in about 12 months, but we kept up that same pace after we had some of our kids and we were able to pay off our mortgage in less than five years as well and we've continued it. We're starting to slip away from the 50/50 model and a little bit of it has been some conversations that Nicole and I have had and my realization that it's like, “okay, let's enjoy a little bit more. I think say a high savings rate is like a superpower honestly, but it's also good to enjoy what you've saved and enjoy life. So we're working on some financial independence plans, but I'm in less of a hurry now because we've got such a great life right now and I want to continue and enjoy it and have some great memories with my wife. And then, I'm sorry, what was the other question you asked?
Dalmar: Yeah, the Zero-based Budget. So that 50/50 path was one approach that you've used in the past, a zero based approach or a zero based budget was another.
Andy: Yeah, and the zero based budget we've been using mint for a long time and with that we had utilized the zero based budget. Essentially that is assigning a dollar to everything that you want to spend in your life, whether that's groceries or getting your nails done or going kayaking with your friends on a weekend and labeling it all so that your budget will equals zero at the end cause you have assigned everything a dollar. We've done that for seven years. I love the infusion of these new advanced apps that are really you know, shaking things up, especially for couples. I love what you guys are doing, Aditi, it's another great way to really have the conversation with your spouse and make it easy. Take away all of the little things like, “I had that budget on a piece of paper somewhere. Where'd that go?”
Aditi: Which is the reality of a lot of couples still.
Andy: Yeah, absolutely
Aditi: So guys, we're going to actually transition us into the second half of the podcast, which is what we affectionately call the Honeymoon Game. What we do is we've asked you a set of five questions before we started recording our podcast and you've each written down your own answers to those questions. So what we wanted to do was sit down and go through those questions for our listeners so they can hear what your answers were. Are you guys ready?
Andy: I'm excited.
Aditi: Dalmar, take us away.
Dalmar: Alright. Question number one. If your partner won a million dollars today, what would they do with the money?
Nicole: What I wrote for Andy is brokerage.
Andy: Virtual fist-bump Aditi!
Aditi: Andy, how'd she do?
Andy: I think you're pretty spot on. In my defense, because you saved so much, you were able to have the emotional side of freedom. See how we’ve convinced each other these things in the past?
Nicole: You’d get the 4% rule. So you'd get $4,000 a month.
Andy: No, $40,000 a year. Which is pretty good, right?
Aditi: Well don’t forget you gotta pay price tax, so...
Andy: Oh, that's right. Yes. From the lottery.
Aditi: Some of us had done more research on this than we would like. Andy, what did you say?
Andy: I said that Nicole would like 10 hot tubs.
Nicole: Just one big hot tub house.
Andy: Right? A hot tub house. A house in the shape of a hot tub where you're always in a hot tub.
Aditi: That’s actually a total tourist attraction that you can just put on the side of the highway.
Andy: You can do the first Airbnb hot tub house.
Dalmar: Different cuisine or different style cocktail in each hot tub, just bounced from hot tub.
Nicole: Ooh, I love that.
Andy: It sounds like we got an investor.
Aditi: Dalmar, have you thought about this before?
Dalmar: No, no, I haven't actually.
Aditi: Those ideas are coming quick. Okay, question number two for you guys, what's one item that you splurge on that's really important for your relationship? Andy, why don't you go first?
Andy: Okay. I said date night. This is something that we hadn't been doing for awhile when we had little, little, little kids and I saw it sort of weighing on us and losing some connection time. So I made it a goal for this year to do at least one date night a month. Something that we've done to switch things up a little bit is I plan one month and then she plans the next month just so we're both putting our stamp on it.
Nicole: But is that what you think I would have said?
Andy: No, this question was what do you think?
Aditi: Yeah, this one was for you.
Andy: So did you answer it for me?
Nicole: Yeah, I did.
Aditi: Okay, then tell us.
Nicole: This was the game time decision one. I put races, like running races that we've spent some money on those per year
Andy: Yeah, those are good for us. We spend time together and we do our exercise.
Nicole: And we stay fit.
Andy: Staying fit. It's important for the relationship too.
Aditi: Do you run together?
Andy: That's a good question.
Nicole: Maybe it doesn’t bring us closer together, we’re like, “I'm going for a run. You're home with the kid.”
Andy: You're right. It's the exact opposite of spending time together.
Nicole: But it does bring us closer together because we're just more relaxed and we get our alone time.
Andy: And being physically fit is pretty attractive too so that brings us together.
Nicole: Even the actual races, we used to run them together and now he just leaves me in the dust.
Aditi: Whatever works. Right?
Dalmar: So how would you answer that question about yourself, Nicole? I'm a bit curious what's one item that you would splurge on or that you think the two of you would splurge on that you think is really important for your relationship?
Nicole: Oh the home goods budget. I don't know why that's number one for me. I could care less about clothes or shoes or makeup or any of that other stuff. But I grew up in a tiny apartment, so that's always been a thing for me. I want to make a home that we want to be in all of the time and that our kids are proud of. So we spend a lot on the house per month until I feel like that checklist is done, which is never ending.
Aditi: Until the hot tub is in place.
Nicole: You're so right. That's gonna be the cherry on top of this cake that's going to be-
Andy: Cherry on the cake or whatever that saying is.
Aditi: So tell me, Nicole, it sounds like you've already answered this next question earlier on in the podcast, but feel free to elaborate or Andy, you can answer this first, but what's the first money memory that you have of each other?
Andy: Yeah, I would say that she touched on hers and I would just say trying to scrape up the money or borrow the money to make the relationship a reality was the money memory for me, like, “How am I going to be able to pay for these flights? How am I going to get out there? How am I going to try to do fun things and show her a good time when I'm not making that much money.” So I was thinking about it a lot. But I knew that it was really important to me. Saving up for the ring is a big deal. I ended up putting that on my student loans, which she's still wearing right now. Thank you, student loans, for that. Just trying to afford a long distance relationship back to California where we're not making very much was. Yeah, it was tough, but definitely worth it.
Nicole: Mine was the not paying the cab, it's a little more petty.
Andy: I'll one-up her there. So, for the chivalry thing, our first date we split the check.
Nicole: Yeah. I was like, “Would you like to split it?” And he's like, “sure.” I'm like, “Oh yeah, supposed to be our special date but alright.
Andy: It's probably a combination, like you said with the feminist upbringing, but more maybe probably me be being cheap.
Aditi: That's amazing. Dalmar? Do you wanna go next?
Dalmar: Yeah. Next question. Complete the following sentence. When it comes to money, one thing we cannot agree on is __. Why don't you go first Nicole.
Nicole: Spending money on the home, because even though we do have an agreement now, it's an agreement. It's not that we both agree that that's an appropriate amount of money.
Andy: Great answer, the best answer.
Aditi: It’s an agreement, but let's just say maybe we don't both agree.
Andy: I think it's been one of the defining things in our relationship over the past couple of years. Like there's no right or wrong way to use your money. It's just somebody's way. And if you're married to that person, do your best to try to understand their way because there's two people in the relationship and that's something that I've been working on.
Aditi: What comes to your mind, Andy, when you answer that question?
Andy: So for me, originally, I wrote down buying the house. The first house that we were in was my bachelor pad and it was a little smaller, like a thousand square feet, and it was fine for the two of us and a little baby. So it was a big, difficult thing for me to want to do to get a big mortgage and get a big house and have more stress of making sure I don't lose my job and I'm always earning the right money, especially as we are going from, you know, two full time workers to part time to a stay at home mom. It was a lot of extra stress me, so it was very difficult for me to say, “yes, let's do that. I'm excited about it.” But years passed and I love this place. I love where we live. I love our community. I love our neighbors. I love the school district we're in and I do love this extremely well-decorated home.
Aditi: And isn’t it right that Joe from SAC and Benjamin lives down the street from you?
Andy: Yeah. He just lives a half a mile down. So I go play board games every Thursday.
Aditi: I love it. I love it. I was talking to him yesterday. He’s so awesome. Okay, last and final question. What do you think your partner's biggest money fear is?
Andy: I think Nicole's biggest money fear might be not being able to enjoy life.
Nicole: Yeah. That's pretty good. Like vacations. I would say the first thing that comes to mind is not being able to vacation cause we love having those moments away from all the stress. Yeah. and then I said for Andy losing his job ‘cause he is the breadwinner. I'm not pulling in an income right now so all of that weight is on his shoulders. I know that that's something that's a stressful thought, which we're trying to combat with having these plans for financial freedom.
Aditi: And the Podcast just got nominated for an award, didn't it?
Nicole: Two awards
Andy: Yeah. It got nominated podcast of the year. I'm excited about it. And Family Finance Blog.
Dalmar: As we sign off here, one question that we like to ask people is what advice they would give to other couples out there about, about managing money. I'd like to modify that slightly so you can answer both questions or just one of these, Andy, because you've had all sorts of people on your podcast, you've had millionaires, industry experts, people who've taken early retirement and have had exposure to different ways that people think about money. So either give us the best advice that you would give or the best advice, Andy, that you've heard from a guest on the show about money and finances that you'd like to pass on to our guests and listeners.
Andy: Yeah, I guess my advice for couples listening today would be: take some time to have really important deep conversations with your spouse and find out what their motivations are both financially as well as personally, and then do your best to help them and meet them in the middle and have some great conversations together because that's really what it's all about.
Nicole: And have them once a month and call it a budget party.
Andy: There you go, thanks baby,
Aditi: And call them in agreement that is just an agreement.
Andy: That's all right. I love it. And don't ever get rid of the cleaning lady. If it's on the chopping block, gentlemen.
Dalmar: Is there anything that you would add to that, Nicole?
Nicole: I would say even though we’ve graduated from the Dave Ramsey course and we now do a lot of things they don’t necessarily recommend, I would say if you haven’t gone through the Dave Ramsey course, or at least just watched the DVDs, that gets you 80% there.
Andy: I agree
Nicole: They’re very good. You take them with a grain of salt, but they help you get out of debt, they help you in general to think about your finances in ways that are very simple that you don’t learn in school. I would say go through that. I think that’s my best advice.
Aditi: Well thank you both for being here and hanging out with us and for being so funny. And I wish we could have recorded the video as well because you look amazing.
Andy/Nicole: Aw! Thank you! You’re too kind!
Aditi: The Money Date podcast is an initiative of Zeta, a company I launched to help couples track and manage their finances together. If you are inspired by what you heard on this show, you can learn more about us at askzeta.com
Dalmar: And if you would like to support the podcast, here are a few ways to do so: you can subscribe to it, leave reviews on iTunes, Anchor, or wherever you happen to listen to your podcasts, or share it on social media with your friends. If you would like to be a guest on our show, write to us at podcast at askzeta.com.
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