Today we’re talking about handling finances as a couple, and how to traverse some of those tough situations together. Including, debt, retirement, college savings and more!
Today’s guest is my husband, Drew Erickson. We’ve been married since 1997 and we’ve certainly had our fair share of fights about money (especially not having enough).
This episode was inspired by my family finance posts.
Big thanks to this week’s sponsor, Family Routines. By getting into a routine with your money and organizing things in your house, things just run smoother! 🙂
Mentioned in this post:
Other things you might find interesting:
- Buying a car on Carvana
- Our Podcast on creating a Will & Trust
- Our actual budget for our family
- Splurges worth buying
- Family Travel Ideas
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other marriage podcasts:
Check out all my podcasts:
Hilary Erickson 0:00
Hey guys welcome back to the pulling curls podcast today on episode 35 we’re talking about money that’s right but money with your spouse like money in a partnership is so different than money by yourself am my right So today I’ve got my favorite guest coming on and we’re talking money let’s untangle it Welcome to the pulling curls podcast where we untangle everything from pregnancy parenting Homer teens even some family travel because heavens knows our lives are tangled I’m your host Hilary Erickson Okay guys, you know my special guest he’s been on before he’s on every quarter ish maybe it’s my husband drew Erickson. Hey, Drew, welcome to the pulling curls podcast. Howdy, howdy
Drew Erickson 0:42
Hilary Erickson 0:45
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Drew Erickson 1:21
Right? I wouldn’t say it’s a bad talk. I mean, we generally are pretty well on the same page most of the time.
Hilary Erickson 1:28
I will say money is a much happier talk now than it was a few years ago.
Drew Erickson 1:32
True. Very true.
Hilary Erickson 1:34
Yeah, so I am asked on some of my Facebook pages my Instagrams people problems talking or dealing with money as a couple. And so we’re gonna go through a few of those. Now one of the biggest ones drew was one person’s a spender and the other one’s the saver. What do you think?
Drew Erickson 1:52
I think at various times, both people are spenders and both pe- people are savers. Yeah. Our experience has been that Especially if it’s a big project that we we tend to gear towards saving towards that particular thing in terms of spending. My hobbies tend to be have tended in the past anyway to be more expensive than your hobbies,
Hilary Erickson 2:15
right? washi tape is cheaper than a lave. Yep. So I think that’s true. And I think it’s really easy to feel like you are the saver no matter how you are in relationship. But if you were thinking of like an outside viewpoint, you know, that’s really different than maybe what you really is going on, right? Because you’re like, Oh, well, I needed to spend that money. I’m not a spender. I just needed magnetic eyelashes. Right? Right. That’s a need.
Drew Erickson 2:39
Right? It just depends on perspective.
Hilary Erickson 2:41
All right. So you talked a little bit about like saving for something. And I think that really helps. I remember when we were saving for our first house, it was really hard because it just seemed like it was never going to happen. There was
Drew Erickson 2:51
no way that we were ever gonna be able with both of our incomes to ever be able to save enough to buy a house in that area.
Hilary Erickson 2:58
Right. So realistic Do you guys don’t know our backstory, we lived in the Bay Area in Santa Clara, California. So we were, you know, everyone else, all of our friends were buying hundred thousand dollar houses across the country and we were buying a half million dollar house. So it was a lot to figure out. But I mean, we always we were socking aside money to buy a house, but in my mind, I was just like, well, that’s never gonna happen. I’d much rather have a nicer couch, you know, but I think if you have a priority, it does definitely help you, you know, to both work towards a goal.
Drew Erickson 3:24
Absolutely. And a lot of ours are spending as of late has been towards either equipment for the podcast or things for the business, whether that’s software to do one particular part of the business a little bit better, just that kind of stuff paying for software subscriptions for things that we use a lot in the course of our business.
Hilary Erickson 3:44
I don’t I don’t know if that’s, I’d say that was the majority of our money. We just bought a new car. It’s true that we’ve been saving a long time for and we also got new carpet, right true. And so both of those things, we’re going to talk a little bit more about kind of how we save for those in later in the podcast, but I think being on the same page. Those were things we really wanted. We had a 2003 Honda Odyssey, so
Drew Erickson 4:04
and it’s definitely feeling its age,
Hilary Erickson 4:07
right? It’s a grandma car into it
Drew Erickson 4:09
well, and it’s kind of interesting. We talked about how much you know that we saved for a car and we bought a car for some people that are not as familiar with us, or one of our children in particular, who sees it as it’s not something that we need, because we need to give him money for school. It’s interesting to see the different perspective play out because we have actually had that money earmarked for that particular purpose for quite a while.
Hilary Erickson 4:32
Yeah. And we saved for a long time for it. So
Drew Erickson 4:35
you know, I mean, we had that van for 10 years before we were even thinking about replacing it.
Hilary Erickson 4:40
I’d say longer than Well, maybe no, it was about 10 years. We bought another Honda we are a Honda family in case Honda wants to sponsor us
Drew Erickson 4:47
Hilary Erickson 4:48
Yeah, we have an accord we have not we still have the Odyssey it’s gonna be our scout car. Well, I guess we don’t do scouts anymore, but it’s gonna be our camping car.
Drew Erickson 4:56
It’s our 15 year old learn how to drive.
Hilary Erickson 4:57
Yeah. And then we just bought a What are we by pilot? Yeah, so we are a Honda family. So but I think one of the important things is to not have to be on the same page with all of your money. And so we’ve always Well, once we had enough money to actually make a budget because we lived a lot of our lives when we got married when we were both in college, so we lived a lot of our life just like let’s starve, that was our budget. But once we had enough money to actually make a budget, we always try to appropriate a certain amount for fun money. Now that started out with like, $10 for the month because again, our budget was small, and it’s, you know, kind of increased by there. But why do you think it’s important to have fun money? Sure.
Drew Erickson 5:33
I think it’s important to have some control or individual choice and how you spend your money without necessarily having to go back and ask for approval for everything you spend money on. If you want to go by washi tape, knock yourself out, go buy washi tape, if I want to go by Dr. Pepper or wood chunks to work on a new project, that’s it’s I think it’s important to be able to have some of those things that are kind of liquid assets. To be able to put towards things that you personally want to do.
Hilary Erickson 6:02
Yeah, and you can save that money, we always got that money out in cash. So then you could save it. If you wanted to buy something larger. You know, if you wanted to keep your $10, two months in a row, you could buy something that was $20.
Drew Erickson 6:13
So I think there are people who kind of looked down on having cash around, but I think there is a value to having a little bit of cash in your wallet in case of emergency purposes, or you get to someplace where maybe you don’t have access to using your card or something along those lines. I think, especially with kids, kids always need some cash for something Damon, okay, so one of the other things we had people ask us about saving for retirement. Now this is kind of weird for us because we now own our own business. And that’s our main form of income drew has a pension from when he was a teacher. I have 600 401 K’s from the 400 jobs I’ve had and so thankfully, I consolidated them all last year, but it was a huge headache, FYI. But it’s important to consolidate them. But what do you think something is? Well, I think the thing that helped us the most was that actually meeting with a financial planner. And we’re lucky that I have a cousin that helped us meet with him. But I think you can meet with a financial planner with just a one time fee. Because my cousin was like, I don’t think you’d make enough money for me to actually run your finances for you. You know, maybe someday, but you know, I think you can meet with somebody who can just give you an idea of what to shoot for. And yes, that may cost a little bit of money, but it’s better than just floundering. What do you think drew about meeting with a planner? Well, I think the benefit of meeting with a financial planner is that sometimes, particularly if you’re working for a company or working in education, or someplace where you are regularly putting into retirement, you think in the back of your mind, well, I’m putting money into retirement. So I’m good. I don’t really have to think too much about it. But there’s so much more to it as as we found out when we talk to our financial planner, or people that we know that are more into financial planning, there’s more to it and sometimes it’s, I’d say a great deal of the time it’s better to kind of get out of your own head and see things from a different perspective see other places where you could be reaping a bigger benefit if you use your money a little bit differently than how you think you’re using it. And also, if you’re putting money into a company retirement, sometimes you get into a position where you’re not thinking about what that money is going to do 25, 30 years down the road, you just it’s out of thought out of sight out of mind, you put the money away, and you don’t really think about it. Whereas if you are talking to a financial planner, that kind of gives you an awakening, if you will, as to what is my money? What is how is my money working for me?
Hilary Erickson 8:33
Yeah, I think he really helped us see the bigger picture. In fact, when we’ve met with my cousin Joel, he has brought up wills he’s brought up like having umbrellas insurance for the whole house, just the more money you have the more insurance and those kinds of things you need. And honestly, I hadn’t even thought about that because or even having insurance in case somebody want a kid one of the kids friends is over and falls down and hurts themselves that just kind of helps to protect you if something goes wrong. Right. But I, you know, when you start off living poor, you don’t need umbrella insurance because no one would get anything if they like sued you. But the more you gain in in assets and stuff like that, then you would have more to lose. And it’s just not something we talk about in our society very much, or maybe just my friends, but I don’t know, I don’t think so. And also, he gave us some ideas, a lot of people thought, like, how do I decide if I’m paying off my house, or I’m putting that money in retirement. And he gave us some good ideas on that he just for us, he said, it would be actually better because we have such a low interest rate. And we have we own a good percentage of our house, it would be smarter to max out our retirement. And once we get to that point, then we could consider paying down the house. But until then, it’s more important to just max out retirement for us. But that doesn’t mean in your case that it’s going to be the same. So I would probably talk with somebody, a financial
Drew Erickson 9:49
planner is going to have again, that perspective of looking at your assets, in terms of what your assets on paper are and how that’s going to be of benefit to you. Again, how your money is working for you in your situation, things What if you have a good interest rate, maybe don’t worry about getting a new interest rate on your house, if you are paying high interest rate, he may have an idea of things that are happening in the market to help you get a better interest rate so that you can save a little bit of money rather than constantly paying the same interest rate and not thinking about it. Yeah,
Hilary Erickson 10:20
And drew and I have lived a really we try and live a debt free life. We got him through his master’s program without any debt. I mean, that does not work for every family and I 100% agree with that. But I worked a lot of ugly shifts in order to get him through his master’s program. So naturally, I want to pay off the house. But it was good to have somebody from the outside be like whoa, Nelly, you know, you’re gonna earn way more than your low interest rate in the market and when you retire, you’re gonna appreciate that so we also don’t plan on living in this house forever. So this is not our forever home because we have too many stairs. I’ll need a stair lifter. Okay, so another question we got was about college savings. And I think a lot of our friends are getting to that spot where they’re saving for college and drew and I made the choice to set up five to nine accounts I’m pretty sure my cousin mentioned this like long ago when we had a meeting with him, but somebody mentioned that their kids they didn’t know what state they were going to get the five to nine account and honestly every state has its own five to nine we picked the Utah five to nine account because we lived in California at the time when we were pretty sure that our kids were not going to go to school in California because it’s so expensive. So we picked Utah we’re from Utah, it just kind of made sense. And I’d also heard that they had a really good five to nine program which I would agree it’s set up really well. It’s very easy to access. It’s easy to put money in and to pick your investment options. But as I’ve had a kid go to college, the five to nine has been awesome because we can say this is how much money you have in your five to nine you have three more years of college How do you want to spend it so it’s given him it’s given us an ability to help him we do not pay for everything not even close? We did pay for a lot his freshman year that was a gift we want to we want to give to each of our children is to have that first year whether they are Learning to adult without so much financial obligation, he did have a small job. But anyway five to nines, we found them super helpful, don’t you think?
Drew Erickson 12:08
And I, it helps for them to be able to see that this is money that is dedicated to a specific purpose. There’s limitations, not from us, but from the financial institution or the state where the account is that of how the money can be used,
Hilary Erickson 12:23
right. And so it also showed our kids that education was really important to them. And when they felt like they couldn’t have everything they wanted, I would remind them how much money we are trying to save for them to go to college. And so sometimes that helps them maybe be a little bit more on top of their studies or stuff like that. It just shows them that it’s important for us and again, every family is going to be able to donate to those in different ways. And you know, our youngest may get a little bit more support going through school, she may get less honestly, who knows what our future brings,
Drew Erickson 12:51
when we’ve talked about it with them. She brought up a question the other day about Can I put more money into my five to nine if I want to and the answer is absolutely and I I think it’s actually pretty healthy if they get in the mindset where it’s not just mom and dad who are putting away money for their future, but they are also doing it as well.
Hilary Erickson 13:08
Yeah, so five to nine are great. There’s one in your state, some states have a tax write off, there is no federal tax write off to the five to nine. The main benefit is the money that you’re investing. You don’t have to pay taxes on the interest or or
Drew Erickson 13:21
Hilary Erickson 13:22
you don’t have to pay interest on the interest or the dividends well, however you’re invested. When you’re when you take it out, that money just comes out. And so as it grows, especially if you start out with our little which we did not we were waiting for, we were paying for that house in California,
if you start it when they’re little, then that interest is grows and grows and you get it free from Uncle Sam, which is awesome. Okay, our last question is a little bit about our goals for savings. And we talked about that in the beginning saver versus spender. But having goals for savings is awesome. And I remember our friends, Denise and Troy used to have a list on their fridge or their wall. That was when their ship comes in list and they had both gotten to law school we were again, just living poor and it’s awesome to have friends that you can live poor with, I have to say that was a real benefit to be around a bunch of people who also had no money at the time. So
Drew Erickson 14:10
what helps you expand your perspective, they were a little bit older than we were had. I think they had three kids at the time. And we had several friends that were in that same group but it was nice to be able to see things that they were saving their money for, and things that we should have on our radar
Hilary Erickson 14:25
So ever since then, I’ve kind of had a ship comes in list in the back of my brain and I think it’s awesome to dream as a couple about the things you would like to do like carpet was on our ship comes in less since we bought this house we had horrible, frayed Mohawk carpet. It wasn’t Mohawk like it had the Mohawks between the seams because it ripped up anyway. so grateful to be able to get new carpet but that was on our ship comes in. But again, we’ve lived in this house for eight years. And it’s just taken a while for the old ship to come in. You know what I’m saying?
Drew Erickson 14:53
Yeah, and I think some of those things that like putting in new carpet repairing or fixing the roof, replacing the roof roofing material, those are things that eventually you’re going to have to spend money on. So why not start putting a bit of money away for those types of things? Yeah.
Hilary Erickson 15:07
And in that same vein, we actually have separate accounts. So when we say for our car, there was a specific account that we were saving for the car, we have an account for like a super rainy day fund that if you know, we were low on cash, or you know, so we’re saving like six months of income so that we could have that if ever we needed it. But we also have a household improvement account because it’s really easy to kind of ignore the house like you want to go on trips and and you don’t really want to replace your roof because that’s not fun or exciting, but it needs to happen. So we have a household improvement. We have a family fun account. And again, sometimes when you’ve lived for for a long time, it can be really hard to spend money on a big trip. But yeah, I think that having the extra money has been really difficult for us. That sounds really dumb. But when you fund it all the needs in your budget and then you realize that you have some leftover what do you do with that money? Do you do you To increase your retirement, do you increase spending in your house and all those kind of things, I think that’s so important for a couple to talk about openly. And to get on the same page with priorities. And maybe you have butting heads priorities. Maybe one wants a car and one wants carpet. But you can, that’s why we have two separate accounts because we’re slowly building each one. But I can obviously if we needed a car ahead of time, we could have pulled the money from the house fund or something like that. But I would encourage everybody to have a date night where you think about what you would do when your ship comes in. And some of those things are not going to be really fun like fixing your roof or your sprinkler system or boring things like that. But some of them might be awesome. Like when your ship comes in, you’re gonna take it right back out on a cruise, right?
Drew Erickson 16:39
Absolutely. Yeah. I think it’s important to also have fun things on your list of when your ship comes in just as as important as it is to have the maintenance kinds of things in place.
Hilary Erickson 16:49
Yeah, so but talking about it, not just ignoring it or getting frustrated when your spouse does something you know, they can’t read your mind that you need to see receipts for XYZ or Maybe you don’t need to have such a handle on your finances like I would just obsess over like you would spend something and I wouldn’t know what it was for. I wouldn’t know how to categorize it. It would make me crazy. Maybe that didn’t help our marriage. But we had a lot of people who asked I’m really growing up guys. Now I just put it through the the expenses, Drew. Yeah, I’m excessive. He is expensive. So we had a lot of people say we don’t have enough money. And so we didn’t really want to do this episode on just like not having enough. But if you guys are interested in an episode about increasing your income, and kind of how we’ve worked to do that on our own, we would be willing to do a podcast on that as well. today’s podcast really was just talking like communicating in your couples relationship about finances. So hopefully you guys enjoyed it. You have anything else to say drew
Drew Erickson 17:44
just that. I think it’s important, not just important. I think it’s even enjoyable to actually have some discussions about where your future is going to be what things you’re going to spend money on what the goals are just that you’re kind of on the same page. And when we say separate accounts, it’s not that we have separate bank accounts, we just have different pots that we’re putting money in towards certain goals or certain certain projects.
Hilary Erickson 18:06
Yeah, that’s a good point, I should say we every single account has both of our names on it, we have full access to both accounts, we both use money out of both accounts. In fact, most of those accounts are just savings that we then put in checking to spend. So it’s just different ways to allocate the money. And we see that when we look in our checking account versus just thinking about it in our brain,
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Drew Erickson 18:24
and in this age of electronic banking, it’s actually quite useful to have both of our names on the accounts where we can both see what’s going on. We can both see what’s happening with our kids accounts. So if something needs to be transferred for one of our kids to be able to pay a school fee or something rather than one of us having to always be this the gate keeper of where that money goes. Either one can take that role when that moment comes up. So it’s not a lot of burden and stress on one particular person all the time.
Hilary Erickson 18:52
Yeah, one more thing on those separate accounts. I always feel like it’s nice to just have the money in there because we made the decision that so we allocate our energy extra money extra being in quotation marks, we allocate it by the percentages past our budget. So let’s say our budget is 5000 we make 6000 Then we have $1,000. You know, maybe we put 10% of that towards kids five to nine accounts, we put 20% into family fun things like that. And so we I just have a spreadsheet where I put in the number it allocates it for me, and I just transfer the money and and it’s just nice that every month, I don’t have to read aside, well, how much money do we want to put towards the house? You know, and you may need to do that because if your roof is leaking, then you might need to pull money from other places, but
Drew Erickson 19:31
which case that would be an emergency expense. And hopefully, you’ve put aside money for that eventuality.
Hilary Erickson 19:37
Right. So just something to think about just I like it was a pain to go to the bank and set them all up and that we are at our bank way too often. I think. Yeah,
Drew Erickson 19:45
we’re a little bit too closely associated with some of our bank.
Hilary Erickson 19:49
Yeah, they’re like, oh, Drew and Haley Marcus. Yeah. So it’s because we’ve had the wills we’ve set up like business accounts so and our bankers are just very nice. Thankfully, we do enjoy our bankers. Yeah. So if you would like to know more about finances, I actually have a family finances section on pulling curls. It’s not on the menu because we don’t talk a ton about it anymore. But actually, back in the day when I was starting up the blog, I shared our actual family budget, I shared exactly how much we were spending on like groceries and babysitting and all those kind of things. So if you want to check those out, I will put the links in the show notes. Big thanks to our special guest, Mr. Drew Erickson.
Drew Erickson 20:26
Always a pleasure.
Hilary Erickson 20:30
I think it’s nice to know that couples don’t always agree and that everyone’s working through their finances in their own way. You know, something I forgot to mention is once upon a time, we really wanted a trombone. And this was back in our super poor days. And I was like, what the fudge we can barely buy groceries. How are we going to buy this $5,000 trombone and it was just something we saved for for a really long time. That’s how he got all of his birthday money. I just would give him a check of and I would allocate it in an account for his trombone and Then finally he got it. But it did take a long time and I was a little bit frustrated that we were spending money on trauma, but I’m sure a lot of you can feel the same way right? We all just have things that we’re saving for. If you liked today’s episode, we’d love it if you would share, subscribe and review. Don’t forget to review guys. They help out so much and we drop an episode every Monday and until then I hope you have a tangle free day.
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