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One of the best pieces of financial advice I ever received wasn’t directly about money. It was - ‘Marry the right person. This one decision will decide 90% of your happiness or misery’
The advice came to me at 18 from a book I was reading called ’21 Suggestions for Success’ by H Jackson Brown Jr, an American philosopher.
From that book was ‘every successful person has had good teachers at some stage. Either a coach, parent, friend or mentor.’
To me both of these principles are about how important your choice in people is. Marriage is very hard to get right and human relations are complex. Both take a lot of work. If you are one of the lucky ones whose choice was very good, the long term benefits are many and varied. Usually your health and support system is better.
As I get older and see the damage some friends have done to themselves because of bad marriage choices, I’ve become more aware of the health damage and how it can be financially crippling if you get it wrong.
I think if there is one thing you want to get right it is this. I was young when I got married and was as silly as anyone at that age. I was forced though to grow up very quickly when our only parent passed away when I was 20. Happy finances and happy marriages usually go hand in hand. Conversations about money always need to be open decisions should be made together. That could be from anything on whether to buy a car, a house or what school to put your kids into.
I think teaching these principles to your kids and basic financial literacy early is important. They need to understand what working and saving can do for them. Even now when my kids want something they know they have to work and save for it. I like to give them jobs that are not just around the house but at work or at the football club where I coach. For instance, my 11-year-old films the games for me and gets paid to do so. They have shares and when they are given Christmas money from grandparents we discuss how they want to invest it.
They are still too young to talk marriage yet but no doubt this will be a topic of discussion when the time is right.