Myth No. 1: If we love each other, we won't fight about money.
Fact No. 1: Money has very little to do with love... and a lot to do with how much you fight.
Repeat after me: love has nothing to do with money. It doesn't matter if you love your spouse or partner more than anything in the world. If the two of you have conflicting values about money and make financial decisions that fail to accommodate each other's feelings about the subject, you are going to have serious relationship problems.
Love does not conquer all. If it did, then one out of every two marriages would not end in divorce. Love usually gets you to the altar and creates passion for a few years, but a solid, long-lasting marriage takes more than just love. So please stop for a second and consider these basic facts:
1. How you spend money has nothing to do with how much you love each other.
2. The two of you were probably raised differently when it came to money.
3. The two of you probably value money differently.
4. The two of you probably spend money differently.
That's a lot of differences. So if the two of you happen to be fighting about money right now, I've got news for you: you're normal. And here's some even better news: you don't have to change who you are or what you value in order to finish rich. Nor do you need to become financial geniuses. As you will learn in this book, the things you need to do in order to become wealthy are basically quite simple. They don't require a lot of brains or education. They don't require positive-thinking exercises or memorizing mantras. All they require is what I call "positive action."
So if the two of you are fighting over money right now because your attitudes toward it are different, that's okay. Take a deep breath, exhale . . . and "let it go." By the time you're done with this book, you will see how quickly and easily you can transform both your lives and your relationship merely by following the nine simple steps I'm going to lay out for you. In the meantime, just remember – love's got nothing to do with finishing rich . . . nothing!
Page 1 of 3 – Find more money myths busted on page 2.
Excerpted from Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach (Random House). Copyright 2002 by David Bach.
Myth No. 2 It takes money to make money
Fact No. 2 It takes very little money to make money... as long as you are patient and disciplined.
My grandparents had only a few dollars a week to invest. Nonetheless, over the course of several decades, they became wealthy.
I can see you rolling your eyes. That was then, you say; this is now. Well, not so fast. Let's look at the numbers. The nice thing about building wealth is that it's basically a numbers game, and the rules don't change much over time. Consider the following:
A dollar is still worth a lot of money
I want you to do an experiment. Go down to your local coffee shop one morning and for one hour count the number of couples buying cups of coffee. If it's a fancy franchise like, say, Starbucks, the price of a nice little cup of cappuccino will be about $2.50. Watch how many nice normal people spend that much every morning on coffee. Have you ever stopped to think about what the cost of those little cups of coffee can add up to over time? How much could you make if you spent $1 less on coffee every day and put what you saved into a good investment program? Let's take a look.
A dollar a day can lead you to become a millionaire
Here's what happens if you start making a dollar a day work for you.
$1 a day at 5% = $1 million in 99 years ("too long... won't work") $1 a day at 10% = $1 million in 56 years ("start at age 7, you're a millionaire at 63") $1 a day at 15% = $1 million in 40 years ("start at age 7, you're a millionaire at 47")
Now your brain is having a few thoughts. Okay, a dollar a day and compound interest are interesting and kind of neat, you are thinking, but where are we going to get annual returns of 10 or 15 percent? (The answer is the stock market, and we'll cover that in detail later on.) You're probably also thinking, "Hey, David, it looks great, but I'm not seven years old." That's right, you're not seven. But maybe you have kids who are. If so, do them a favor and show this to them.
Of course, that doesn't solve your problem. You're a lot older than seven, and try as we might, there's no way to turn back the clock. But there is a way to make up for lost time -- namely, by kicking in more money. Since you're older than seven, you probably can afford to invest more than $1 a day. Let's see what happens if you put in a grown-up amount.
Page 2 of 3 – Find out where ten dollars a day can take you on page 3.
$10 can turn into a million a lot faster than $1
Here's a startling but probably true fact: if you can manage to save $10 a day, you can get rich.
I'll say that again: all you need to do in order to become wealthy over time is to commit right now to putting a fixed amount of money every day in growth investments. (Don't worry about what kind of growth investments; we'll cover that later on.)
$10 a day at 5% = $1 million in 54 years ("still doesn't work great") $10 a day at 10% = $1 million in 34 years ("not quite so bad . . . we're getting there") $10 a day at 15% = $1 million in 25 years ("that's really just around the corner")
Now let's go crazy. What if both you and your partner saved $10 a day?
$20 a day at 10% = $1 million in 27 years $20 a day at 15% = $1 million in 21 years
There are no tricks here. Becoming rich is nothing more than a matter of committing and sticking to a systematic savings and investment plan. How you set up and run that plan is something we'll deal with later on in this book. For now, I just want you to focus on the fact that you don't need to have money to make money. You just need to make the right decisions -- and act on them. Check out the chart below on how to build a million-dollar nest egg.
Wherever you are right now in your life, a little extra savings can go an amazingly long way toward building a sizable nest egg. Consider the following simple plan for a couple in their fifties.
Say Jim and Maureen decide today to start using the Couples' Latte Factor (a technique we'll learn about in Step Four) to enable each of them to invest an extra $10 a day in their retirement accounts at work (a practice we'll discuss in Step Five). That amounts to an additional investment of $600 a month. Multiply that by 12 and we are now talking about a yearly increase in savings of $7,200. If they both start at age 50 and continue putting money away at that rate until they are 65, the results could be truly phenomenal.
Let's asume Jim and Maureen invest the extra money in a growth portfolio consisting of 75 percent stock-based mutual funds and 25 percent short-term bonds. With this sort of mix, it's reasonable to expect them to earn an annual return on their money of around about 11 percent. (It's not guaranteed, but that's what these investments have averaged for the last 30 years or so.) By the time Jim and Maureen reach 65, their extra savings should total nearly $275,000. And if their emploers have a policy of matching, say, 50 percent of their retirement-plan contributions (which many companies today to), their total would be more than $412,000. Anyway you cut it, that represents a significant extra cushion for retirement.
Remember the truth that...
...most people overestimate what they can do financially in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve financially over a few decades.
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