Talaat and Tai McNeely, the couple behind His and Her Money, teach couples through their podcast and videos how to plan for their financial futures together.
“One of the things that we teach other couples is to approach it without fear,” Tai said. “Be as vulnerable as possible because it’s going to help your marriage in the long run.”
“The first thing is to have an honest, transparent conversation about where you are financially,” Talaat said. “A lot of people have dreams and ambitions about the future, but they don’t take the same painstaking effort to find out what their current financial picture is. It’s important for couples to sit down and paint a picture of their current financial situation, because you don’t know how much wellbeing you’re going to need if you don’t know how sick your finances are now.”
The best way to start a financial plan is to work on a budget together.
“A lot of people hear the word ‘budget’ and they get offended,” Talaat said, “but really a budget is just a plan. When a couple sits down, they make an active plan before the month begins. They’re essentially telling their money where to go instead of getting to the end of that month and wondering where all their money went.”
Try, try again
Talaat cautioned couples that things won’t always go to plan, and to give themselves room to make mistakes.
“If you stick with it for a few months, it’ll start being second nature,” he said. “You’ll start to see that you’re overspending in some areas. You’ll start to see that now that you have a plan, you’re saving more money.”
The McNeelys also encourage couples to diversify their income streams, using their own business as a perfect example.
“The pandemic has taught people to not get comfortable with just their typical 9-to-5,” Tai said. “Look at some of your talents, look at ways you can make extra income in case something happens with your main source of income. This may not be a long-term thing. Maybe it’ll help build up your emergency fund or your savings, or pay down some debt or just be able to have some living expenses in the meantime while you’re in transition between employment.”
“On the His and Her Money YouTube channel, we have a playlist that’s dedicated to side hustle ideas that can get your brand going, because the pandemic has taught us multiple sources of income is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity,” Talaat said. “The big takeaway for couples when it comes to being financially secure is to be proactive.”