Before I get things kicked off this week, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the life of one of the greatest American writers, Toni Morrison. The author of classics such as Beloved, Song of Solomon, and The Bluest Eye has transitioned to become an ancestor. With her passing, we lose a literary titan and a voice for the unheard. Her mastery of imagery and character development have opened readers to worlds often hiding in plain sight. Do yourself a favor and purchase some of her work. Grab a book (or two) for a loved one, neighbor, or a child. You’ll be blessing them with the gift.
I’m back at work this week, but smelling like a vacation. Shout out to 6 God. The family and I took a trip to the 30A area of Florida alongside my good friend David and his family. For more on David, go read last week’s post. Between the constant yelling of children and moments of tranquility, I was able to do some reflection. Particularly on the solidified financial partnership Julia and I have formed. I say that to say, we’ve come to an understanding that generational wealth will begin with us and can only be successful through our continued teamwork.
We’ve come a long way from the beginning of our careers and made some decent money in that journey. Even with an abundance of resources, life often gets in the way and you’re often placed in situations where hard choices need to be made. All couples and individuals go through these “seasons”, as our pastors like to call them. A couple of those setbacks with no clear plans to move on from them can place people in the opposite direction of financial success they would like to be. The great thing for Jay and I, things were never that bad. We had some debt, but no real plans on how to devour it as a team.
The very first step we needed to accomplish as a couple, was devising a goal. Not some pie in the sky bullshit without any tangible methods to achieve said goal either. Looking at you Instagram business gurus. We agreed that we wanted to be financially free as a couple, make our debt work for us, and ensure we build generational wealth for our children by teaching and practical application. One of the first things we did was to create a budget for ourselves based on salary. This included mortgage, utilities, child care, groceries, gas, retirement, and general expenses. Then we had to decide what were some costs we were routinely incurring that could be lowered. One for us was car insurance. In my opinion, is probably one of the biggest hustles out there that us consumers continually throw our money towards. That’s for another post though. The next step was sticking to the script (what up Hov). That’s probably the area where folks fall short, the discipline to follow a budget and not deter from it. That’s a struggle that I personally have, but have made great strides towards becoming better at. It’s important to not beat yourselves up over the shortcomings and forgive yourself for not following the plan. Life lesson: forgive yourself and do it often.
Making the dream of financial freedom work often comes with holding you and your partner accountable. This can sometimes lead to tension and conflict or a better understanding of each other. The areas where I fall short, Julia is there to pick up the slack. She’s amazing at finding deals and negotiating to get the price she feels is fair. She’ll research for months to ensure she’s not paying a penny more than she should. For me, I’m meticulous with budgeting and will track every single dollar spent to the gum I purchased at the RaceTrac. I’m very anal with the budget I create for each pay check and have spreadsheets going forward as far as 2020 with my potential earnings and expenses. What’s more important is that our collective strengths with personal finances is our ability to be honest and straightforward with each other about them. We’re constantly talking about our goals, our plans, and our shortcomings. We share podcasts, articles, and research with each other daily. We take time to discuss what we’ve learned through those various channels and apply what makes sense to our lives. We’ve started challenging each other to become our better selves financially and it’s strengthening our bond along the way.