Not many people know that my husband and I have been together since 1999, yup! Way back when Missy Elliot, Jay Z, and DMX were trending, and “Hot Boys” was one of the popular songs at that time, and let me tell you, I was very happy because I had a hot boy!
Being together since 1999 means that we’ve been on this financial journey as a couple for a lot of years. We started dating each other in high school and even back then we had to learn how to stretch our lunch money. We had “lunch money” problems in those days.
My husband got more lunch money than I did. I always noticed that he was always very cashy but that was mostly because he was a big saver, he has always been a big saver when it comes to money. When Friday evening comes, he was always the one full of cash. This habit he always said he got from his father because he too was big on saving. He would always see his father putting money monthly into his bank account and so he just picked up that habit from him.
As for me, growing up poor we didn’t have any money to put in a bank account, that was not the priority at that time, so whatever money came into my hands was quickly spent. Whatever lunch money I got was spent off at “Biggas” in Liguanea (Jamaica) or Popeyes in Sovereign Centre Kingston buying food – if you know you know.
However, being in a relationship with my husband back then, and observing how he handled money, I started to wonder what pushed him to be saving and how he even did it.
When we moved on from lunch money in high school to now pocket money in University, my husband still had that saving habit and I guess it began to rub off on me because when I started living on campus and had to fend for myself, I too began to develop this saving habit as well. The lunch money wasn’t flowing in anymore because I was now on my own so I had to learn the value of working for money and saving it so that it could stretch to pay all of my bills while I was in university. I couldn’t go off spending that lunch money all the time as I used to.
Then our relationship transitioned, and we started working and began getting a salary. So now we had “working people money” problems.
I studied Actuarial Science at the University of the West Indies and I was lucky enough to get a really good job that was paying well, so now that that money was flowing in I had to really learn the value of saving but bwoy it was not easy.
I remember my husband and I, before we were married, got into a big argument because I said to him if I had $100k Jamaican dollars I’d be set, I wouldn’t need anything more in life than that one hundred thousand dollars.
Who tell me to say that? Listen this man looks at me like, “this girl is crazy a hundred thousand dollars can’t do anything.” His words to me were “how are you going to buy a house, how are you going to set up yourself?” But I just never really thought about it like that, I was not in that kind of mindset then. I grew up poor, so all I knew then was what my mother told me “study your book, get a good job,” so that’s what I did, 100k at that time was a lot of money and I thought if I could get that, I wouldn’t need nothing else because what else would there be, what else would I need.
My husband opened my eyes to the possibility of having more in life. He was future-focused and wanted us to work toward buying our first house together. Of course, that was a big leap for me because I was always just renting money. All I knew then was that when you have money coming in and you spend it because you’re just so happy to be earning.
But once he helped me to start dreaming bigger, I began to believe it was possible to own a house earlier than my mother did. Remember I told you that my mother bought her first house in her 30s and so when my husband put that idea in my head about buying a house together in our 20s it activated a whole different mindset, it flipped a switch in my head from working to just spend money to now working to save the money and finding additional ways to earn so that we could money to put into asset buying and investing and building wealth together.
I’m telling you this story because I want you to see that when it comes to wealth building, it is important to choose your partner wisely. When thinking about your life partner you have to think about somebody who can level up your money mindset, especially if you come from a poor background as I did. If you already have that right mindset and you’re big on saving and investing naturally, you want to find a partner that has a similar mindset or at the least is willing to come up to your level of thinking and expand their mindset.
Teamwork makes the dream work, as they say, so if you can find a partner that you can work together towards the same goals it can really set you up for financial success. They have a song that says “me a focus on the work and she a spend the money,” hear me, you don’t want that. Both of you should be working toward the same vision so that you can reach your dreams and goals faster. Financial success requires teamwork, it requires you to have regular discussions and check-ins with your partner about your goals.
Focus every year my husband and I sit down and figure out what we want the next year to look like for each of us. We think about what we should focus on as a family and especially with our son we have to think about what we need to be focusing on for him as well. This discussion is really helpful because it sets the tone, it sets the pace for what we want to work towards. If you are not doing that with your partner, consider it.
So my single ladies and single men, look for a partner that can level up with you. Get with someone you can talk about your financial goals with. You want to have these money discussions, this money dates with your partner that sets you up to reach your goals faster. Doing this will cause you to experience less money stress, and makes life more enjoyable, this way you won’t have someone who will average you down or pull you back. These are the things we want to look for as we find the right partner in our journey toward financial success. The hot boy or hot girl has to be about their money too. We need a money boy and a money girl as well. That’s what it needs to be about, building wealth and legacy together.