Love should be the basis for a long and happy marriage. But even deep affection can be tarnished if a couple does not share the same goals and objectives.
J and J, both 28, are getting married this fall. He is an engineer; she is an accountant. Neither have any debt. Their combined 2013 income will be nearly $150,000 or three times the median income for U. S. households. But, as I stated in The Millionaire Next Door, America is filled with high income households that have very little net worth. Both J and J agree that becoming financially independent is very important. And they are willing to operate their household on an annual budget. My suggestions are based on the parameters which have been developed by studying the millionaire next door types.
They might consider living on one income and saving/investing the balance. This may be possible since they live in a mid-size city where the cost of operating a household is below the national norm.
The couple should read the profile of Dr. David North and his wife in The Millionaire Next Door. The Norths have a net worth of over $7.5M yet they have only one credit card. All their purchases except those made via cash/check are placed on one “central” credit card. All of their purchases are listed on one single statement each month. Each month they determine how much remains to be allocated according to their annual budget for each consumption category. Dr. North told me that using their “joint” credit card statement facilitates budgeting and making appropriations for the following year. Their planning, budgeting and consuming are coordinated events. The Norths also have only one joint checking account.
The typical millionaire next door couple never purchased a home that was priced at more than three times its annual realized income. Nor did they ever take out a mortgage that was more than twice their income. In longer terms, the market value of the couple’s home by the time it reached the age of 55 should be less than 20% of its household’s net worth. Note that 73% of millionaires have never purchased a custom home.
How much does the typical millionaire pay for his motor vehicle? The equivalent of less than 20% of his household’s annual income. But what about makes of vehicles? I suggest to J and J that they emulate the car buying habits of engineers. One in four millionaire engineers drives a Toyota; Honda ranks second. As I stated in Stop Acting Rich, engineers produce about 22 % more wealth per dollar of realized income than do millionaires in general.
And here is some shorthand: the median amount of income spent annually on clothes and accessories is between 2% and 2.4%.