to the workplace. When she met her husband, Seaphes, in 1999 when they were both working for Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Miller was delighted to learn that they both shared a penchant for thrift. “We were so compatible in terms of our financial values,” she says. They were both regular contributors to P&G’s generous 401(k) program, and they both saved outside the retirement plan. In all, they socked away about 10% of their salaries toward savings, plus an additional 5% to 10% for donating to their church. And neither carried any debt.
Miller took the reins of their day-to-day finances after they married in 2001, but big-picture financial items are discussed together. Though Seaphes is the more aggressive investor, the couple has decided to follow Felicia’s moderately aggressive investment stance. “Short-term, aggressive investing has to be monitored day to day,” Miller says. “I don’t have time to do that and neither does Seaphes.” The couple has a 90% equity allocation, evenly distributed among large-, mid-, and small-cap mutual funds, in addition to international and individual securities. Moreover, they own two rental properties.
Prudent saving habits enabled Miller to leave P&G in 2002 to pursue a Ph.D. in marketing at the University of Cincinnati. They made do with just one paycheck during her studies. “We were already used to living on 80% of our salaries,” says Miller. “So we were able to make it.”
Couples often struggle with how to meld their financial principles. “The advantage of being in a relationship is that you don’t have to make all the decisions on your own, but the disadvantage is that you don’t make all your decisions on your own,” says Kiyosaki. Learning how to work together is key. “Robert and I made the decision early on that we were going to learn about money together,” says Kiyosaki. “If he wanted to attend a financial seminar, I was going with him.”
Learning About Money
Being married isn’t an excuse not to have your hand in the family finances just because you aren’t interested. Many women don’t feel adequately educated about money. That’s why it’s best to start off in incremental steps. Hounsell suggests having money discussions when monthly statements arrive from a bank or brokerage. When it’s time to do the taxes, look through the paperwork together and talk about how you spent your money in the past year. “You don’t have to learn every single thing,” says Hounsell. “But you do have to take responsibility.”
Preparing for the Unexpected
Almost everyone goes to the altar believing that their marriage will last forever, but as statistics show, only half are right. Furthermore, one third of women who become widows are younger than age 65. This means that women must be able to jump into the chief financial officer role of their own lives.
“You do not want to be sitting in a place where you have not established your own credit,” says Charlotte Stallings. “That’s just not practical in today’s world.” A