While every couple has their fair share of disagreements, most would agree that becoming a millionaire couple sounds like a pretty awesome idea. But what if you and your spouse don't exactly agree on the best way to go about achieving your money goals?
Is it possible to achieve millionaire couple status? What if you and your spouse have different ideas on everything from investing for the future to the best ways to budget for living expenses? We could think of no better place to turn for answers than Ericka Young. She is an author, speaker, and financial educator that we've been lucky enough to feature on our podcast multiple times.
In addition to being a financial wizard, Erika is also a proud wife and mother of two. She and her husband Chris are living proof that it's possible for couples everywhere to free themselves of debt, work toward shared money goals, and create a better future, even if they aren't always on the same financial page.
Read on to learn more about their journey to millionaire couple status!
Ericka Young and the Road to Financial Independence
When Ericka and Chris first got married, they found themselves staring down the barrel of $100k worth of shared debt. Between their collective student debt, car loans, and credit cards, it wasn't long before the couple found themselves coughing up over $1,000 each month just to stay on top of their bills.
While both had good jobs, things began to get a little tighter when the couple decided to have kids. Looking back, Ericka now credits Chris for being the first to decide that things needed to change for their growing family.
Making Changes to Jump Start Her Journey
While Ericka admits that she was skeptical at first, she now wholeheartedly agrees that choosing the path of financial freedom was one of the most important decisions that she and her husband ever made. Like many other couples, Chris and Ericka's story began with a few small changes in their day-to-day lives.
Ericka admits that, at the time, making changes such as ditching credit cards was no easy task. But as she and Chris began making time to have regular conversations about money and agreeing on healthy boundaries, things began to get easier, one small step at a time.
It wasn't that the couple got together to pick apart every single swipe of their debit cards, Ericka explains. It was more that they began to open up about major expenses and establish clear goals and communication around money.
How Can Couples Learn to Close the Money Gap?
Not only did Chris and Ericka Young manage to free themselves from debt, but they also went on to become a millionaire couple, even though they often brought different ideas to the table along the way. Ericka even went on to become a successful financial coach and the author of a best-selling book called Naked and Unashamed: 10 Money Conversations Every Couple Must Have.
After helping over 500 couples achieve financial freedom, it's no surprise that Ericka was able to offer some valuable insights about how couples can create lasting change around money. Let's check out some of her advice about how to get and stay on track.
Bring Yourself to Face Your Finances
Ericka jokes that “budget” has become a bit of a swear word for many people. She also emphasizes that taking a good look at your finances is the unavoidable first step to starting a new life. “You can't change something unless you have solid information,” she explains.
Taking control of your money is largely about understanding how much you currently spend, as opposed to how much you think you spend. But taking a shared look at the math also often solves another problem commonly faced by couples.
In her time as a financial coach, Ericka recounts how she experienced meeting people who would hint that their partner was overspending, even though they couldn't find the words to come out and say it. Adding up your finances together can be a great way to uncover the facts and open up communication, without feeling like you have to call your partner out.
Related Interview: What To Do When Your Spouse Has a Spending Problem (w/ Ericka Young)
What If Your Spouse Doesn't Want to Participate?
As Ericka points out, getting on the same page financially is more about finding common ground than forcing your spouse into submission. One thing she would often suggest to couples is to start with the “why” instead of the “how.”
Spend some time coming up with shared goals for the kind of life you want to live. Whether it be living debt free or traveling more, once you develop a shared goal, it can be far easier to figure out how to achieve it.
It's also important to ask your spouse what it would take to make them feel comfortable getting started. For some people, not being forced to give up a favorite hobby or enjoying a set amount of “fun money” each month is all it takes to close the deal.
Develop Solid Family Spending Habits
Becoming a millionaire couple isn't just about bank balances. You're building a solid foundation together; then you can sort through your finances.
To start, shift your focus. When couples focus less on the need to win every argument and more on achieving shared goals, the road to family financial independence can actually bring them much closer together. One of the best ways to get started is to establish an open line of communication. Make sure you are able to share your experiences with money, both now and in the past.
This can go a long way toward understanding your partner. You want to make them feel like you value their opinions and input. You'll also start to develop a deeper sense of trust as you begin tracking your finances together and having conversations about investing in the type of future you want to create for your family.
Couples and Credit Cards
Should both members of a couple immediately banish credit cards from their life? Not so fast, says Ericka.
“I hate credit cards,” she says, before following up with an important caveat. “However, when people are starting off and they don't have an emergency fund, I do not want them to get rid of the credit card.” In such instances, she points out, it may be their only failsafe.
But keeping a credit card on retainer doesn't necessarily mean using it for everyday expenses. The only exception, Ericka says, would be if you were attempting to raise your credit score to take out a mortgage on a house or other vital purchase.
Even in such situations, it's essential to only use credit cards if you can pay them off quickly and responsibly. After all, Ericka points out, “Your biggest wealth-building tool is the ability to keep your income.”
Confessions of a Millionaire Couple
After becoming a millionaire couple themselves, Chris and Ericka Young began a podcast called For Better & Worth to help couples everywhere navigate love and money. So how did they learn to keep their own differences from affecting their financial journey?
Looking back, Chris says the fact that he and Ericka weren't always on the same page was actually an asset. After all, he jokes, “If we're both doing the same thing and saying the same thing, then somebody's unnecessary.”
Chris and Ericka say that the key to their journey was learning to really listen and see the other side of every disagreement. “That's really where I think people go wrong,” Chris explained, “they don't give space to hear what the other person is saying.”
Final Thoughts on Becoming a Millionaire Couple
At the end of the day, Chris says, “Everybody just wants to be heard.” That's why he and Ericka always made it a point to schedule a set amount of time each week to discuss important financial decisions. Even if it was only 15 minutes at a coffee shop or during a drive, they made time to talk.
The couple explains it's important to be intentional. For them, that meant two things. Make sure to set aside time to discuss your finances and decide what you're going to talk about beforehand. Chris explains that remaining dedicated to checking in with each other “gets us to a point where we meet in the middle.”
Chris and Ericka Young are a great example of how couples can work together to achieve their dreams by keeping their eye on the prize instead of the little road bumps along the way. Ready to forge a powerful financial partnership with your spouse? A budget can be an excellent place to start. Check out this list of the best budget apps for families!