Episode 7: Bianca & Max

November 23, 2018 | 45 minutes

This episode features Bianca & Max, two techies who have come a long way with handling money in their relationship. Bianca & Max share real-talk on how their money conversation has evolved from the chaos of the early days to today. When they first met, Bianca and Max had approached their finances differently: Max's experience of the 2008 downturn turned him on to spreadsheets, where he kept a close eye on every dollar that came in and went out. Bianca, before she met Max, was spending money on stuff that didn't really make her happy. Tune in to hear how they got on the same page about money.

"I'd been in the tech scene for so long and it felt like this point where like, why was I working so hard if I was just going to spend my money on experiences that I didn't really care about? So it was a mindset shift to investing money and being more careful about spending so I can put it towards something that is more lasting, that I care about: which is building a family and building a house or investing in multiple properties, things like that. So that was sort of like the “a-ha moment” for me, and it just kind of manifested itself in Max." - Bianca




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.

Dalmar: Welcome to this week's episode of the Money Date. We have Bianca and Max joining us on today's show. Welcome, Bianca. Welcome, Max.

Bianca: Thank you. Thanks for having us.

Max: Hello. Thanks so much for having us.

Bianca: We're excited to be here.


Aditi: I'm actually going to kick you guys off today and ask you about your love story. Tell us a little bit about how the two of you met.

Bianca: So, we have mutual friends and one of my good friends from home, actually from Danville, where I grew up, invited me on a lake trip. So we literally met in the middle of nowhere on Lake Shasta.

Aditi: Talk about a romantic setting.

Bianca: I know, there was more booze than water. It was, like, a really messy houseboat filled with like 25 randos and Max was one of those randos

Aditi: Folks, that's how love is made nowadays.

Bianca: Good old-fashioned meeting in person.


Dalmar: That's, that's a whole lot of fun. What made Max a stand-out amongst all the other randos?

Bianca: Honestly, we talk about this all the time still. We were like the only two responsible, really paranoid ones who like, who wanted to stay sober enough to drive the boat around without it being an actual disaster. There were so many people on the boat that we didn't know so, I think we were both just equally kind of like uncomfortable. And we like gravitated towards each other because of that? It's funny.


Dalmar: That's incredible. And were you able to avert disaster?

Max: Yeah. It was, it was a the three-day weekend, so it was, uh, it was, uh, it was like, I think the busiest weekend at the lake. So it was like, yeah, it was, uh, there was no disaster, but it was definitely like a, I come from, like, boating experience backgrounds. So to be with like 25 people who, who aren't familiar with like how boats and like that type of activities work. It was, uh, it was kind of like, I'm glad Bianca and I were babysitting all of them.


Dalmar: That's pretty, that's pretty impressive. Uh, we've talked with a bunch of couples, uh, now, uh, who approach situations with very different perspectives, but it sounds like the two of you, at least, shared common interest: uh, not just averting disaster, but a shared sense of concern about the wellbeing of everyone else. Is that sort of similarity and outlook and personality, something that sort of moved forward and translated into other aspects, specifically finances and how the two of you approached them?

Aditi: Yeah, I think what Dalmar is trying to ask is: how do you guys manage your finances?

Bianca: Let's just jump right into it. So, yes to Dalmar’s question, we’re the two people I think out of our family members that are like the glue, and that sort of like shared responsibility has definitely infiltrated into the way we think about money. Um, although I have learned a lot from Max, as I'll let him explain how he had done it for the past, like, five plus years. I just recently started when we began dating like a little over a year ago.

Max: Yeah. So I'm probably going to be a more, uh, interesting person to have on this podcast. Uh, I've been tracking my finances in like a Google sheet for the past five years. And so I think a quick summary of that is, like, I've tracked every dollar I've made and spent since I graduated college.

Aditi: Wow, that's awesome.


Max: Yeah. Yeah. Um, I think it came from like a, came from a family background, who was like, we were going through like the 2009 recession, where, like there was a lot of ups and downs and I was like trying to help the family get back on track back in like college, and it came from like when I jumped out into like my professional career and I had, having had my own income, had my own expenses, like with rent and everything. It was like, I was like, I never want to be in a situation like that again. So I've just been, like, each month I track like the income side and then each month to track the expense side and then I keep a tally like, year-to-date to see where I, where I am if I'm on track towards my goals. A lot of those came into the relationship with, with Bianca and I, where she was like probably making fun of me for doing it at first. But then now it's like, we're both learning a lot.


Aditi: She's like, sign me up. Bianca, did you have a similar family background or not at all?

Bianca: Um, I had, luckily enough, I'm blessed to say that I had a pretty easy and, like, well-funded and supported lifestyle growing up. I will say, though, that my parents, because I'm a first generation, um, person in America, my parents specifically had a really hard time growing up financially. And from an immigration perspective, my dad came to the country, was sent back to Mexico, came back again, dealt with his dad dying and sort of being like the man of the house financially and from a support standpoint. So they sort of paved the way and made their own success by being so financially aware. Um, but it's interesting because they sort of, I guess sheltered me from all of that, that they dealt with. And same with my sister. So I didn't really learn any of that from my parents. I learned it from Max. Um, which has been interesting.

Aditi: Thank God for that lake and for Max.

Bianca: I know.


Aditi: So how did, how do you guys think about your finances today and especially, you know, given that you guys are slightly different personalities when it comes to money — how do you even bring those different pools of money together?

Bianca: We don't have any joint account or pool necessarily, at least not yet. But what we do do is track in Max's sheet and every, I would say like three to four days or so, we square up and we have this, um, essentially mantra that we will split everything 50-50. There are some exceptions, like dates or birthday gifts or stuff that is very specific to our family members that we want split. But for the most part I would say 90% of what we spend, we split half and half.


Dalmar: I wanted to go back to something that you said earlier, uh, Bianca, namely that, um, you, you had a very different approach to money when you and Max, uh, first started dating and that you've really come around and you know, you've not so much made fun of, maybe, his Google sheets and his employment of them, uh, more recently. What, what changed for you and, uh, why did it change?

Bianca: That's a good question. Um, I think because I was so used to, like, growing up in the household that I grew up with, I’m, again, so lucky and blessed to have had that upbringing, I just didn't really understand the concept of having, like, a fixed number to spend and not go over it. And if I did, like what were the repercussions of that? So I never tracked expenses. It was sort of like, “I'll spend until I feel like it's maybe a little too frivolous.” But it was all intuition-based, which is so unhealthy and dumb. Um, and I spent a lot on things that didn't matter, more than things that did. Also lived in one the most expensive neighborhoods for a while. Um, and spent a lot on rent in the like non-intelligent way and focused on just like doing things for fun. And a really bad habit that I had for a while, especially when I first moved here, was um, checking my bank account only every like four to six weeks. And now I check it probably at least twice a day. And it was just an incredibly bad habit I had where I would just like spend money and, if I got a notification that like, I was close to these like random arbitrary limit that I set, then I would be like, oh, okay. Sometimes I would continue to spend, sometimes I would hold myself back. But for the most part there was no, um, like close monitoring. I honestly sometimes I didn't even like check to see if I got paid some months.


Aditi: That's amazing. And it's, it's kind of an interesting sort of experience because you know, some, there are a lot of people who, especially in a city like San Francisco, who lived that experience, um, and they're just kind of like, hmm, I don't really think about it. But, you know, to Dalmar's point like, there must've been a moment, or is there, was there a goal or something that like made you change that behavior all of a sudden? Where you were like, man, I, I really want to buy a house or get a dog or whatever it was, um, that, that propelled you or just like inspired you to make that move.

Bianca: Um, I think it was this like larger vision I had where I was working so hard. I'd been in the tech scene for so long. Um, and it felt like this point where like, why was I working so hard if I was just going to spend my money on experiences that I didn't really care about. So it was like a mindset shift of like, investing money, being more careful about spending so I can put it towards something that like is more lasting, that I care about, which is building a family and building a house or investing in multiple properties, things like that. Um, so that was sort of like the “a-ha moment” for me and it just kind of manifested itself in Max.


Aditi: Oh my God, a woman after my own heart. That was exactly the inspiration that I had to be like: I want to get all of this tightened up because I want to own my own home at some point. The other thing that I'm actually really curious about is, you know, you guys talk, you said “we make a commitment to split everything that we spent together, or the 90% of what you spend together, 50-50.” And a common question that people ask us is, how do you figure out what's fair, especially in relationships where you might make different amounts of money or you might use things, you know, to different degrees. Did you guys ever discuss those nuances? Or were you just kind of like, nope, this is sort of how we feel about this?

Max: Yeah, I think it stems from like, it was like past experiences. Like I get, for example, like when I, when you live with roommates, like say you live with a room-full, a house-full of like four people. “Oh this is how we're going to stagger the rent, based on, uh, based on like square room size.” And then it's like, “oh well I went to the grocery store this weekend where I don't get that.” We’re like, that kind of overall experience, like, kinda sucks. So it's just like for me, in my opinion — Bianca could probably add hers on this — it's just easier to just be like, oh, that's what we did. The cost of it was this, it's 50-50. Like, it's just super fair, super easy.

Bianca: I would agree with that. Going like, “oh I'll get this one, you get to the next one isn't helpful for tracking.” And that's like what we've been so mindful of over the past year and a half. So why would we sort of jeopardize that, um, by like the day-to-day spending, especially. So that's sort of where it comes from.


Dalmar: Was that sort of 50-50 split obvious from the beginning or did you try other approaches, other systems before finally settling on it?

Bianca: That’s a good question.

Max: I think we were, before we were seriously dating, we were like, I paid for one meal, Bianca would pay for the next. Or like, I'd pay for one activity, she paid for the next. So we're already like kind of, uh, I think one of the things that we liked about each other when we were first dating was like, we're both super generous. Where it was like, oh no, I'll get this one. No, no, no, I'll get this. Like we'd be fighting to just split, to like take care of it. So it started where we were switching back and forth and then we're like, well it probably just makes more sense, really the, the 50-50 mindset came in when we started, um, getting like rewards, credit cards and rewards. So like, we would spend all on, like a credit card I had opened or credit card Bianca had open. So we would put all the spending on there for like our food, our groceries or gas or our everything but, like, rent. And then there'd be like, oh, just like split it in half. That was kind of the more, like, force-functioning aspect.

*{00:11:21:13} *

Aditi: Yeah.That's exactly what happened to Dalmar and I. Uh, we were also in a long distance relationship so we were just like, ah, if you're always the one flying out to see me, you know, just put it on our credit card together and we'll split it at the end of the month or at the end of the week, whatever works. So totally, totally relate to that experience.


Dalmar: Yeah. And Max, you'd worked at a NerdWallet before working at Twitter and obviously one of the things that they help, uh, folks our age do is, is figure out how to think about credit cards. Uh, did working at NerdWallet, um, and sort of the, the expertise they have on these issues change the way that you think about your spending? Or about shared expenses?

Max: I think in like parts of it, it did. Uh, before NerdWallet, I'd been like doing that, like switching between credit cards to get like the big bonuses. I've always done that aspect of it and then always like paid my balance off in full. But then working at NerdWallet helped explore, like, the avenues of like, retirement more, and then more of like, investing. But I'd say my overall principles I learned probably prior to that, which was kind of like what led me to wanting to work there.


Dalmar: Gotcha. And we've talked about having shared spending habits and putting these on on credit cards and, and part of what has unlocked that have been, uh, thinking about credit cards and rewards. We were talking a little bit in the beginning before we started recording about how Max, you specifically think about credit cards. Um, maybe maybe help us understand how you've arrived at your thinking now and, and maybe any sort of lessons and uh, and, and stories that are worth sharing with our listeners.

Max: Yeah, so I think my thinking started when like, whenever the earliest, like probably 18, when I was able to like first open a credit card in my own name. So I'm starting, like, baseline is like, with a decent credit score and then you can open cards and it was just like younger always was looking at the different bonuses you get when you sign up. And so then I would, like, sign up for a credit card and then I knew I wouldn't have enough money to hit the spending on my own. So I had to like, ask like friends and family to make purchases on my card or, like, offer to pick up the tab when we'd go to like dinners or movies …

Aditi: Max, you’re exactly like my brother and he works at NerdWallet too. Now I'm starting to wonder if all NerdWalleters are like this.

Max: Well the funny thing is we all, like, think about it I think before we join. There's like, everyone's all like little, they call them like, churners, there. That's uh, that's it. But yeah, um, I kinda came up with that when I was younger. And then, and then, when, uh, when Bianca and I started dating, she, I know she was using a debit card for all of our purchases, for like her Citibank and I was kind of like explaining to her, like: oh, if you like, open this card and we would be able to do this. And like, it was kind of a multiple effect, because not only did she not really use credit cards before, but then like I was like, we can put all mine and her spending on this credit card. So we'd hit like the bonuses really quick, um, and then use the points. Like we went to Thailand last year and paid for like, I think it was like, eight nights. Um, we paid for the flights round-trip with points, the hotels with points. And so that kind of, like, created that feedback loop to where we're like always doing trips down to LA to visit my family now, where we use points when there, when there's flights available and it's, it's just been mostly around rewards. And then I guess like any, any mishaps, like I haven't like ran up, like, I guess I pay like the balance down in full, which was like the one thing that like my mom always taught me. It was like: don't let your like, don't pay the minimum, don't spend more than you can. So that was where we were, like the Google sheets came into tracking, ‘cause I was using the credit cards but like, you know, a credit card, you don't see it at your payment, you see what your payment is like when it's due and you're like, oh my God, I have spent 4k. So the Google sheet was like my pressure checker to be like, okay I’ve spent $1,000 this month. I know my income is, you know, going to be like, like $4,000, $5,000. And then like, make sure I would use a Google sheet to make sure I wouldn't overspend because sometimes it kinda catches up in the rear.

Aditi: Yeah, no, that's exactly what the problem we're solving at Zeta. So you and I need to talk. But more importantly, you know, I think the point you're making is, is really great. Like credit cards, we often talk about credit cards as bad things because most of us have had negative experiences of racking up some sort of debt or some balance on there. Um, and we all know those, those interest rates can be a real killer. But you know, there's, if for the folks who are really good at paying them off every month — and paying them off in full every month — uh, it, they can actually be a really powerful and great tool. And it sounds like you guys have totally figured out how to master that.

Bianca: Yeah, I think I come from a world where I was just so scared of them. Um, and I never really had experience building credit. I would just stand away from credit altogether. Um, and I use, again to Max's point, I use my debit card for everything, which actually didn't help me in the long run, because 1) wasn't building any credit whatsoever; ) the spend tracking was terrible and C) like, I wasn't saving anything, I was eating directly into, like, what I made. Um, which, yeah, made my spending fill even more like meaningless. Um, so it's been nice to like get into the churning world and I'm doing it now.

Aditi: We could do a whole podcast on that.


Dalmar: So we've talked to your good habits, habits that you've cultivated over time. Uh, what would you say are, are, are some of the aspects of finance that still scare the both of you today?

Bianca: I think for me, I'm really worried about mortgages and working with lenders. My parents are such a great example of like, successful and seamless homebuying. Um, and they'd moved a bunch of times. But for some reason, I'm still just really worried about how it will impact me. And I think it's because I'm still so new to like the world of saving and the world of credit-building and the world of investing. And I haven't had like a 10 out of 10 experience with a lender or like a mortgage person yet.


Dalmar: How about for you Max?

Max: I think like at the micro-level, it'd be like, the eating-out's and like, the you like living in like San Francisco, you know, there's a lot of, there's lot of things, like friends are doing on weekends and you always want to partake. And it's like: the opportunities are endless in terms of like fun activities. But it's like picking and choosing the ones that it's like, oh we actually have never done that. That's the one I want to do and that's the one I want to pay for. It's all just like, that's like the constant like, kind of like, weekly or monthly. And it's not a terrible problem to have by any means, but it's just always one where I'm like: ah, is this what we really want to do this, like, this week or this month? It's kind of like the reoccurring one.

Bianca: That's such a good one. Yeah, it's like a constant battle that I think Max and I are aligned on, but it's still a battle. Does that make sense?

Aditi: So true. I was just browsing Instagram the other day and one of my favorite quotes was like: why are there not more rap songs about staying in and saving?

Bianca: So true.

Max: That's funny. We like, Friday nights, a lot of time were both just like, so beat from the week that were, were like, grabbing like, either take-out or like, even like, Whole Foods and we’re like, eating and like, crashing early and it's like, oh my God. It's like, it's like, the best feeling.


Dalmar: You were talking about alignment and uh, and sort of being aligned at least when it came to savings and going out and, and, and sort of guarding against the tendency to just go out and uh, and hang out with friends which, which is tempting. Something that Aditi and I try and do every so often to align is to have these uh, sort of money dates where we check in and look at our spending. Do you guys do anything that's that formalized to align, or do you have recurring, or sort of a frequently occurring, conversation about your money and how you're doing?

Aditi: Or what do those three day, every so often day check-ins look like?

Bianca: Yeah, there are Asana tasks. We have a shared Asana board.

Dalmar: I love it.

Bianca: Yeah. I get so much shit for that from my friends. They think it's...but it’s effective! Yeah.

Aditi: You're a tech worker through and through, huh?

Bianca: I know. I might have over-indexed on it a little bit, because Max introduced it to me to like get my life together when we first started dating and now he's like: “Whoa, so many Asana task...chill..I don't really it that much.” but I just want to {inaudible}. I was listening to his feedback. It's funny. Um, but yeah, when we have to square up on expenses, it's an Asana task and I, we usually just do it when we get home from work.


Aditi: And how long does it take usually?

Max: Not that long. We do it like once a week. It's not like a formal, like, like yeah, it's an Asana task, but it's not like a formal like, oh this is this date. Cause you know, sometimes with money, it's like when people owe you longer, it's weird. It's never like, it never gets like that. It's like, oh yeah. Like, yeah, like I know where you live. We're going, we'll be fine.

Bianca: Um, probably like no more than 15, 20 minutes cause I go through my bank statements and you do, too.

Aditi: I love that. I know where you live. So how bad can this get?

Max: Correct.


Dalmar: Speaking about checking in something that you mentioned earlier on, uh, Bianca, is moving from a cycle where you were looking at your statements, uh, maybe once every four to six weeks to now, where you're looking at it every few days. What's, what's motivating the need or the desire to look at it with that level of frequency today?

Bianca: A healthy level of paranoia. And at the macro-level, what's really important to Max and I — and what we talk about all the time — is being able to build generational wealth for not just ourselves, but our like, future family, our current family, and being able to set our parents, especially, up for success and then give back to the life that they gave us. Um, because we've been so fortunate for so long. Um, and I think that, coupled with the paranoia that I mentioned, has been super helpful for me to want to check in on my expenses as much as possible.


Aditi: We typically jump into the second segment of the podcast, but Bianca, you actually said something that I think is, is like really, really interesting, because our generation is trying to figure out how to help our parents, or how to be there for our parents or, and because a lot of us saw our parents have a hard time with money and don't want them to worry or have learned better, better habits, um, because of their experiences. How, and it sounds like, what's interesting about both of you guys as you had experiences in your individual lives that you know, each sort of made you think, wow, there may be a world in the future where I'd want to be able to support my parents or help them in some way, shape, or form. How did that conversation even come up with each other? Like how'd you guys talk about it?

Bianca: That's a good question.

Max: I think it came up firsthand where like Bianca saw me already kind of helping my family a good amount. Um …

Bianca: Especially your mom.

Max: Yeah, helping out, helping out my mom, two younger brothers a good amount where I was like, the, like, big financial supporter...so Bianca saw that aspect and then it kinda like bleeds in it. It's like, oh like, here's what your expenses are now and if you want to have kids in the future it's like, you know they're going to balloon. It's like, it's kind of just like the reality of like wow, like, here's what we spend each month on like all the rent and like fun stuff. But if we want to fund kids, that's going to be, like, take a large amount or if you want to buy a house, it's just like you just, you just look at those things kind of practically and you're like, yeah, the way, like I guess coming from someone who has five years of Google sheets spending history, it's like, oh, here's what I made this month. That's definitely not going to pay for a kid. That's definitely not going to pay for a mortgage. So it's like thinking outside the box about our current spending habits to cover those, like, life events.

Aditi: Yeah, note to self: second puppy who eats all your cold medicine and needs to be taken to the ER is another thing that you should be planning for.

Max: Yeah, we've definitely had the pet conversation and get him out. Bianca really wants like puppies and I'm kind of in the camp that were like, it’s pretty expensive and time-consuming. Like two things we don't really want to take on right now.

Aditi: Yeah. Well, I highly encourage pet insurance. If you guys haven't looked into that, look into it. It's totally worth it.


Dalmar: So the, both of you are pretty savvy. Uh, you've also expressed sort of concerns or hesitations or fears about different aspects of financing. I know one of the things that's helpful, at least for me is, is turning to sort of trusted sources of financial advice in those moments when I'm a little uncertain about something. Max, do you have a go to source for financial advice?

Max: I'd say as each situation comes up, we've found like, like first starting a business or something, it's like you go talk to the accountant or you go talk to the lawyer and like, really ask them the right questions. Uh, same with like doing, doing taxes. But then like I, it's really, I think it's actually really, really hard to find like a one-size-fits-all. And like you could, you could do unlimited reading online like a, like a NerdWallet or any of those websites, but you really need to like validate that learning with like kind of an expert, to where it's like: Hey, what does this mean? What is this? Like, how do you take that, like, that kind of abstract like: what is planning for retirement mean for like me, Max. Like, you know, like here's what I make, here's what I spend, here's where I want to be. What, what does that mean? And you kinda, you kinda need that expert. So I'd say anytime something has come up, like helping, like my mom refinance her house, it's like you find that expert that's like, how does that apply for us? And that's where I've kind of like reverse-engineered into these like situations.


Dalmar: How about for you Bianca?

Bianca: I would say that, but also, um, the like, general advice-giver would be my dad. Um, since I was 18 and I left home, um, he's always had full visibility into my accounts. And actually just a week or so ago, I finally broke off and got my own account and left Citibank and joined Chase. Which is like so bittersweet, because he's been like, my guy, for so long and I moved over to Chase because it'll be easier for Max and I need to do finances together. And a lot of my credit cards right now are through Chase. Um, but it was just kinda funny, um, to realize, like, when I was at the bank that my dad probably has been the only person that I’ve fully trusted with my accounts, um, for so long. Yeah. Um, and he's been the absolute best, uh, advice-giver throughout my entire life. He is incredibly frugal person. Um, and he's also really good about getting maximum value out of every financial vendor that he's worked with, which is a really good negotiating tool that has helped me not only in finances, but also like in my daily job with recruiting, since negotiating is like 50% of what I do as a recruiter. So it's really interesting to see like, his skillset, um, transfer over to like my daily life.

Aditi: That's awesome. Also #adulting

Bianca: I know. It sounds sad!

Aditi: Congratulations though. It's a big step.

Bianca: Yes. Yeah. It was good.


Dalmar: So, so your dad is this sort of good negotiator, a good advice giver. What are some other examples, Bianca, of good advice that he's given you when it comes to finances?

Bianca: Um, he's definitely a plan-ahead type of person. Um, so he has different financial situations mapped out and can basically like talk you through how he would handle each one. Um, I mentioned earlier that him and my mom had been really good over the years about buying and selling properties. So I've hoped his, or to mirror that sort of, um, experience that they had, that they built themselves. Um, another thing is like, just sheer grit and like working hard for the type of lifestyle that you want. And I think that is a, an often overlooked, um, skill that I don't realize I got directly from my parents, especially my dad, given the hardships and what he's gone through, especially since a young kid. Um, and I think there's definitely an aspect of , where I'm at financially and the comfort that I see now because of what I learned from my dad in terms of working really hard to get there.


Dalmar: That's quite remarkable and you're quite fortunate to have that sort of background and experience from him. One thing that you pointed out earlier was making that transition from, from Citi to Chase specifically and, and you seem to suggest that it was to, to help you and Max coordinate better. What, what difficulties were you having, um, earlier and, and what did the transition help facilitate?

Bianca: So I was on Citibank for a long time and sharing logins is fine. We use OnePassword, but it, it's nice to eventually have the opportunity to do, um, house, banking stuff, and just joint accounts, if we need one, all through one bank. Um, and the interface on Chase mobile and web banking is just so much better for that.

Dalmar: We were in a similar position years ago, um, where, you know, we had different banks, — um, I think I was with Citi and Aditi was with Bank of America — and we were looking for that way too to pass a sort of money back and forth to each other. But, but also crucially, a way to to deposit or a place to deposit money so that we can pay off our bills, or that sort of a thing, through a joint account.

Aditi: But we did exactly what they did. We picked CapOne for that exact reason. We were like: oh, it's just so much easier to transfer and they're mobile stuff is better. So...

Max: Oh yeah, I definitely see a world where all we would do like direct deposits to the same checking...

Aditi: Exactly

Max: ...cards and Chase… Chase just seemed like the best choice to deal with. And there's also the, they are offering like a $500 bonus for new …

Aditi: Hell yes!

Max: I've been bugging Bianca for that for about a like six months. I was like, it's free money and yeah.

Aditi: Hell yeah. So now we can actually jump into the newlywed game part of this podcast, which are, you know, the, we asked you guys five questions before we jumped into this conversation and we asked you each to write down your answers on your own. Um, and so we're going to now actually ask you to share those answers with us, um, and with our listeners. Sound good? Any questions?

Bianca: Let's do it.

Max: Let's go.


Dalmar: Question number one and Max, we'll have you answer this first: If Bianca won $1 million today, what do you think she would do with the money?

Max: I think she would buy a house with that money. And the reason for that would be not cause it's like a smart investment. The reason for that would be, cause she wants to have like 10 puppies and they would need a yard to run in. So if she had a house that had the yard, she could then house those 10 puppies.

Aditi: At least he knows your priorities.

Dalmar: There you go. I, you know, Aditi said earlier that, that Bianca was a woman after her own heart and uh, you know, I think that would one of Aditi’s top priorities as well.

Aditi: Seriously Bianca, we need to hang out.

Bianca: A million is plenty to fund a house and to fund the puppy addiction.

Aditi: Hell yeah.


Dalmar: How, uh, how, how close was Max to what you'd actually do with the money, Bianca?

Bianca: Pretty close. The buying a house theme is important. So he got that one.


Dalmar: Gotcha. If Max won $1 million today, Bianca, what do you think you'd do with the money?

Bianca: Um, I put real estate investment, um, and then sort of a branch of that is getting his family taken care of. Um, so making sure that his mom and brothers and dad are set up for success.


Dalmar: How'd she do Max?

Max: Yup. That sounds, that sounds spot on.


Aditi: Look at you guys. Okay. Next question: What's the one purchase that you and your partner have made in the last year, or that your partner has made in the last year, that you are like WTF about?

Bianca: You want me to go first? So Max came home one day. Actually no, he did not come home with them. I came home and saw a bunch of boxes in our apartment complex and they were survival backpacks for literally like, a Walking-Dead style Armageddon. It was ridiculous and there weren't, it wasn't just one. It was a four or five. Yeah. Yeah. And they were not cheap. Let's just put it at that.


Aditi: Were they extra two just like backup for the first two?

Dalmar: You've got to have some in the car, maybe some at home

Max: Yeah, no, it was like, it was a, I wanted to buy one cause that when we were talking about like earthquakes and stuff at work and like prepping and I was like, oh we should probably have like an earthquake bag. And the one of them was like, it was like $400 but if you got, if you've got five of them…

Bianca: $400

Aditi: Oh my gosh, this is amazing. If you got five, did you get three free?

Max: No, it was like, it was like 10 or 20% off. But I was thinking like, oh I'll get one. I'll keep one for Bianca, and I will give one to like, my brother and my mom, like Bianca's parents, but then Bianca came home and saw what price I paid for them. So when we returned them all and just went with like the Amazon brand.

Aditi: Thank God for Amazon. It's probably saving a lot of millennials, you know?

Max: Yeah.

Bianca: Yeah. I've never been angrier.


Aditi: Max, what about you? What's the one thing Bianca about that you're just like, what?

Max: I can't pinpoint it but like her random like shopping urges where she'll be like, oh, I'm like going in like Hayes Valley for drinks after work and then she'll come home with like, $400 in clothes from like Azalea. So that's always like the, the random like impulse buys and I'm always like what? You spent that today, on like a Tuesday?

Aditi: I love it.

Dalmar: Yeah. Damn you, Azalea, I’ve fallen into that trap before. Them and Welcome Stranger are like the two in Hayes Valley that I try and avoid now.

Bianca: Yeah. I love that store.


Dalmar: Cool. Next question. Complete the following sentence, Bianca. When it comes to money, one thing that we can't agree on is “blank.”

Bianca: Those instant gratification purchases. So that's actually a good segway. I feel Max does retreats research, excuse me, for five years on like, a pair of shoes. Whereas I walk in and if I see some Adidas I like and they're $200 I'll get them and not even really try them on just ‘cause I like how they look.

Dalmar: Excellent.

Max: Yeah, that sounds spot on.


Aditi: What'd you say?

Max: I put the saving slash investing slash spending like, it's not a Bianca problem, it's more like our problem. Like we just, we we're not, I'm not sure like what percent we should be saving, what percent we should be spending, what percent we should be like, investing in. So it's always like, like the ongoing discussion.


Aditi: Is it because you guys have different priorities, or do you want to save or spend different amounts?

Max: Yeah, that, and like, it just seems like San Francisco is like such an — we've been here now three or four years — it's like, such an expensive city that it's like, it's like: oh, are we like, on track to be ahead? Are we, what do we need to change to get ahead? So it's more like the pressure of the city being expensive and then wanting like kids or a house or something like, you know, big expense that you're like, you're always debating like, oh, should I go out this night or should I not or, it's always like the, the constant, um, the struggle.

Bianca: That's such a good point. I feel like we're always talking and maybe even disagreeing sometimes on what we should and shouldn't be spending because we don't know like if we're on the right track. There isn't documentation on like: people who are in their mid-twenties living in SF trying to plan for their family's success and their own success and kids and a house should be saving and spending x amount, month over month.

Aditi: This is exactly the, the work that we want to do because we've got a lot of this data now aggregated that we can actually share out with folks like yourselves so that you can know whether or not, you're on track or not. And it's so interesting cause like the one question that I get from every single couple is: how are we doing? Like, are we doing good? Is this, is this normal? Um, and so, you know, the fact that you guys haven't figured that out is so not surprising, because it's something that most folks have not.

Max: And it's such a taboo thing where you're not like out with friends or like with coworkers like: Yo, how much did you save last month?

Aditi: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Max: It’s no like, how conversation goes...

Aditi: No, exactly. No rap songs, you know? Yeah.

Bianca: So true.


Dalmar: So you talked about sort of the difficulty of, of, of understanding where you fall and you know, one of these things is motivated by the fact that San Francisco is a very expensive city to live in. Are those pressures internal or external? So are they, are they motivated by, by family saying: Hey, when are you two going to, you know, uh, settle down, have kids; or are they internally motivated, or both? When do you begin to feel that pressure?

Max: It's mostly like internal as just wanting to get ahead because we, we haven't had those like, external pressures, but it's just like internally, we're just always thinking like, now that we're like, a team, you know, we're thinking like: oh, here's what I would really want do, like in terms of like a vacation, instead of like, oh I just went out for drinks and then it's like, oh, here's what we really want to do. Like the type of house we'd want. So just kind of like, sizing things we see in the future that we really want and then working backwards.


Dalmar: So it seems to be less about the goals then — cause you seem to be aligned on that — and more sort of a question of the strategy. Like how much do you spend, how much do you save, how much do you invest?

Max: Right, right. And then like the flip side of that, like the denominator of the equation is like: we love San Francisco, we love being close to work. So we're like, we're kind of in the belief that like, we want to be here as long as we're working here to, to be close. So we're like, we're trying to think like how to keep expenses low in like an expensive city versus being like, oh we should go move where rents less or cost of living is less. So whether that's like the denominator. So to say.


Aditi: We knew a lot of people in New York that were similar and you know, they were renting like 250 square foot apartments. Like is it like living in New York is, is something that's worth the experience. So willing to, to rough it out if that's what we need to do. Cool. So the second to last question we have for you is: what money question do you think is important to ask your significant other when things start to get serious?

Bianca: I wrote down, um, like not necessarily how much you have in savings, cause that's aggressive, but how you think about saving money and if you don't, why don't you and if you do, um, like tell me more. I wish I asked that earlier on. Actually I wish Max asked me that earlier on to get me thinking, to get me thinking about it.

Dalmar: Say more.

Bianca: Um, I guess there's like a larger conversation of dating, but like the harder conversations should be had earlier on and money is one of them. So it would have been nice to be like, how'd that push to do better financially earlier on.


Dalmar: when did that conversation actually happened for the two of you?

Bianca: When we moved in together maybe?

Max: Yeah, like six months in. Yeah. Well we started having initially like three or four months in...

Bianca: I would say like six months actually acting on the conversations.


Dalmar: Gotcha. And how about for you Max?

Max: Mine was like, student loans, debt, rent. I think those are like, three good ones to hear like what someone's student loans situation is. Um, and then to hear like, oh, are you making the minimum payment or are you trying to pay that? Like, you know, trying to break down those payments and pay it off quickly to kind of avoid that like, long 10-year payback period. That's a good one. Debt’s a good one. Like credit cards. Like if you, you know, if you're dating and you're seeing someone's like putting everything on a credit card, it's like you probably have a conversation like: Whoa, like what do you, you know, what are you, what's your balance? I don't know. It's kind of like those things where you don't want to be direct about it, but it's like, oh, what do you, like, you paying your bill off in full? Like what do you like credit card...

Aditi: Guys, I love this. I like, I just can imagine you guys like, being like, so let's talk, let's talk some real-talk real quick.

Max: I've always joked there, there should be like a dating app for like credit score or something, but no one like, it never lands. And that I think, I think the last one, like: rents a good one. Like if you're like, you know, you're paying like an absurd amount in rent for like, in like a city where it's expensive. It's like, oh, there's like, you know, there's cheaper rooms available, there's cheaper apartments, even though it's an expensive city. So rents like a good one to hear someone's payinglike full price for the newest apartment in a, in an expensive city.

Bianca: These aren't random, by the way. He's literally drawing from his experience with me.

Aditi: He's like: and then I asked this and this and this...

Max: I asked Bianca about all three of them.

Bianca: When we first met, I was living in almost $1,900 a month, really shitty Marina apartment. Just because wanted to say I lived in the Marina, it was so stupid. And then, uh, my student loan payment was at the minimum and I think like, 30 or 40% and my payment was going to, to interest. And now I'm paying, I'm like $1,500 a month because of Max and I'm on track to pay it off over the next few months.

Aditi: That's amazing.


Dalmar: That's a big turnaround. Last question for, for the rapid fire set. Max, we'll start with you this time. What's your, you're spending number?

Max: My spending number, like that I'd probably run it by Bianca if it was, I was gonna make a big purchase?

Aditi: Yeah, exactly. Like what's that number that you're like: let's just check in before I go drop $400 on a backpack.

Max: Yeah, probably like probably $200, maybe $250. And as, Bianca mentioned there'll be a lot of research and reviews read about that $200 and where it's going. So rest assured, it would be like the best one in that category or that price.


Dalmar: When we talked earlier about $400 a backpacks, uh, did, did the number drop to $200 after that experience?

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