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28 How to face your financial fears together with your partner

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Facing your financial fears as a couple can feel daunting and even dangerous. In this episode Terry chats with Sarah and David Thwaites. Their story is a powerful example of how couples can move through the challenge that comes with change.

In the space of a little over a year they’ve gone from suffering separately in silence, to meeting weekly to manage their money and making big decisions together as a team. And in this conversation they reveal the true value and rewards of tackling the money monster together as a team.

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Hi, it’s Terry. Here and I am pumped to be able to introduce you to another two, very special guests.

Now we first met one half of this couple, Sarah at one of those networking breakfasts. We’ll probably never go back to you to be honest. And even though they’d had a really poor experience with others in the financial services space in the past, Sarah convinced her husband, Dave to come and meet with us and together they started that program about a year.

And since then they have completely reworked the way they work together as a team on their money life. And I want it to bring them on because facing your financial fears as a couple can feel really, really daunting and even a little bit dangerous. But I feel like their stories really powerful example of how to move through the challenge that comes with change.

And there’s many lessons to be learned in the space of the last year. They have completely transformed themselves. And because of that, that also changed their financial trajectory. And they’ve managed to go from suffering in silence separately to sharing the load and really nailing it together. And for me watching the way they’ve gone about it has been truly, truly inspiring.

So I wanted to get them on to discuss everything they’ve learned along the way. And in this episode, we discuss the driving force. That was really the catalyst for taking action and wading into the waters of money too. And then we talk about the most important ingredient they think is absolutely essential for getting their efforts aligned, the simple, weekly ritual they never miss and how it’s helped them to increase their awareness, which has improved their results.

The most important thing that I’ve learned along the way, working on their money together and advice for anyone that’s tried and failed at this before. And how to approach your next effort. Different. So if you’ve been learning, but sitting on the sidelines for fear of what could go wrong, then this episode is for you.

It’s going to give you the courage and the conviction to know that you can do it and it is worth it. So take a listen and let me know. So David Sierra, welcome to the show. Thanks Terry. Good to be here. You’re like, should I say something? I just wanna say big thanks to you, Sarah, because I said it before, but you’ve been crook and you’re a bit of a trooper, so I didn’t even ask them like, are you okay?

You actually do this. So you’ve got another sick bed and you’re here. You’re feeling okay. Yeah, good. We’re talking about money and relationships, and we want to get you guys on the show because you’re one of the more conscious couples that we’ve seen come through the program. And a lot of the conversations we had early days.

Or around how you were observing yourselves and the interactions you were having with us and then with each other. And so I was really keen to get a bit more background into you guys, where you came from, how you met and all those things, and talk about your journey in terms of what it’s like to actually confront the big money monster.

So tell me a bit more about you guys. How did you meet?

David: Yeah, so we met. University. So both of us doing health sciences in Albury and we stayed together, we finished our degrees, we moved down to Melbourne and then we both sort of packed up and actually moved overseas for a few years. So we did a bit of traveling over there and enjoyed ourselves.

We were definitely, we’re very conscious about money. We’re very selfish. I would say, just spending everything that came in essentially,

Terry: But plenty of experiences though.

David:  Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Terry: What was one of the best things you guys did together?

David: Yeah, good question. I reckon we did a, a ski season over in the French Alps. And I would say that that was probably the highlight for me in our time in Europe. So we spent about six months in a small town called Chamonix in the French Alps. And that was exceptional luck. We were skiing every day, went racking in a lot of cash. I worked as a physio, um, very sporadically, uh, Sarah in a bar. Yeah. Yeah. Skiing in the middle of the day. Sarah working at night. I was working in the morning. Yeah, it was brilliant.

Terry: Absolutely squeezing everything out of every minute of time, you guys are making the most of your time then.

David: Yeah. Yeah. The

Sarah: funniest thing about then in terms of like money stuff, like we had no money, like we literally would go to the grocer and we’d have something like five-year-old and we get a bottle of black to your wine of baguette and maybe cheese. Like it would literally be three items and that would be all we’d eat for the day. Yeah, I think I was in something like six zero an hour. Like super challenge a lot of the time, but it was our happiest time as well, which is kind of, yeah,

Terry: I’m reading a book right now. It’s called die with zero and I’m reading it because it’s like the other end of the spectrum and this guy, bill Perkins, I think I might’ve mentioned it. The last podcast, he talks about the memory dividend. He says like when you spend money on an experience, You get like experience points for the experience.

So that’s six months you go, let’s say it’s 600 experience points, but, and then he said that there’s something called the memory dividend, which is every time you relive it, like I just asked you to, do you get to enjoy it all over again? How true would that be for you guys? Do you feel like you’re always talking about it, reliving it and enjoying it again?

David: Yeah, I would say just in my line of work, I deal a lot with people and I would say that I would recount my experiences in France. At least once a month, it comes up regularly. It’s a topic of conversation that I enjoy bringing up. Yeah. It brings me joy every time. 

Sarah: yeah. Oh, at least some sort of experience of that time abroad. Yeah. And then we had a lot of like, Ozzy’s fly to visit other Aussies if this living somewhere. Awesome. So we had, I think like 20 people visit us over that time and just so whenever we see them, it all, you know, you’ve had a glass of wine and it all comes back and yeah. Spectacular, particularly since like, we all have kids now. So it was like a very, yeah. Unique like that sort of selfish time where you just get to think about yourself.

Terry: What’s interesting. Cause he talks about it. It says like there’s the experience and let’s say it’s for an arbitrary number 600, 600 points of experience or whatever. And then he says, every time you’re ready to leave it, you kind of add another layer to it.

And he has the sooner you have the experience, the more you’re going to get to collect those dividend points. And the more one day it’ll actually exceed the rules. Um, so he’s like, so sometimes you don’t want to delay those experiences. So if it makes you feel better, bill Perkins would say two thumbs up for you.

Sarah: I think we did it the right way too, because we didn’t have to think about, I guess, more adult things in terms of our financials. Like we didn’t have kids, so we didn’t have to think about all the things that come along with that. So it made. Easy. And now we have that to be like, well, you know, at least, dot.

Terry: Yeah, cool. I had an opportunity and they always say that the acts of omission, you regret more than the acts of commission. So the things you didn’t do, you regret. And this is where I learned a lesson and, uh, me and a good mate from uni were slated to go over to America and do an exchange. And, um, and I chose not to.

And he went and our lives, our lives. Such different directions, you know? And I often think back on that now and think, ah, you know, I just, I’m never going to know I got to experience other things of course, but he has had a lifetime experiences over a course of a couple of years where he’s got to do all that stuff and it’s for me.

Yeah. I’ve been able to travel, but not like that where it’s just purely, all we’re doing here is seeing the world. It’s always been like some element of work or in between work for me. So yeah, one of my big regrets, but tell me more about three, four years ago, where you’re coming from, what was success to you guys?


David: three or four years ago, I was working full time. Sarah was working part time, uh, also looking after the two kids. So at that time of our lives, we’re really just sort of lucky. And I think struggling to get through the day a little bit. So success for us was potentially just getting home and getting the kids in bed.

Happy that we’d actually got through without buttoned each other’s heads off, you know? Yep. Yep. Yep. That would probably be a successful day at that time.

Terry: Got two Sierra. You’ve got something to say here. I can tell. Or you’re just nodding in agreement,

Sarah: just getting through the day. Yeah, we definitely weren’t like three years ago to the week we had just had our second.

So. Just trying to get through the day and during that fog. Yeah. And we weren’t thinking about money definitely in a way that was constructive or thoughtful or anything like that, it was pay the bills.

Terry: Let’s just get through. Yeah, it’s right. Yeah. And I think that’s pretty normal too. I said, it’s still, at least like when you have to, the complexity of your relationship changes so much, it’s not just two extra kids.

There’s now like another three or four relationships to think about. Cause it’s you and the first kid, you and the second kid, you and you as a couple. And then you as the couple with the kids. Hmm. So like, if you think about all the different complexities there, like your whole life gets thrown out of whack, so it’s not surprising.

And that’s exactly how it felt for me as well with the twins. We’re just like, yeah. Okay. We just keep our head above water.

Sarah: We try it. We actually did go to a financial planner just before Frida was born. Now we’re going to really add out this. We set their meeting and we went to the financial planner and it wasn’t what we expected.

And it didn’t give us any strategies or any how to use it. Basically set us up with a life insurance. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And consolidating our super at which fuck I wasn’t even working.

Terry: And, and you just said you weren’t emotionally connected to it in any way. It was just, it felt pretty transactional,

Sarah: super transactional.

And we didn’t feel any, we didn’t feel anything after, I didn’t feel like I’d gained anything.

Terry: So the audio and you had, you mentioned the word, like we’re going to do this proper adulting thing. So what does that mean? I

Sarah: guess knowing what you’re

Terry: doing. No, I just hear it a lot. And I think it’s good to know, like, what are people thinking when they say the word adulting,

Sarah: I guess from the perspective of when you were a kid and you’re like, oh, adult, you presume they knew everything and that they could do everything.

And it’s like, this will make sense when I’m older, you know, from frozen to when you’re not out, you realize that everything’s more confusing than ever, and you’ve got to learn to be unconfused, but you just presume that. You become an adult things click into place or it’s something happens.

Terry: So for you, it was about being less concerned.

Yeah, the whole thing going like more, just let’s find some order in the chaos here. Yeah. I know what to do. Yep. Okay, cool. And what was driving that? Was it the new bub on the way, or?

David: I think so. Yeah. I think that was probably a big driver for us. We thought, okay, we’re a bit behind here. We organizing things as we thought we might at this stage of our lives and that was a big driver.

So we’re like, yeah, we’ve got a second on the way we really need to do something about it. And that was probably the biggest motivator. Yeah.

Terry: Yeah, because it was real sort of career focus up until that point. And then you guys started to obviously you’re teaming up and nearby pretty well-educated you probably thinking now.

Okay. How do we actually keep some of this and do something with it? Is that right?

David: Absolutely like we, at that stage, we were probably a bit more focused on how do we buy a house and you know, how do we start putting some money aside? Because you know, Sarah had been working part time looking after our eldest at that point.

So we we’re on sort of one and a half. Wait. Really wet finding that we were able to put anything away and yeah, we were just wondering how do people actually do this? Yeah.

Terry: Excellent. Your interactions, like then, like, were they constructive or were you guys kind of just both going, like, how does this work or what was it like?

David: I felt like I should know what I was doing, but I really in hindsight had no idea what I was doing at all. Our money discussions were for one, probably quite scarce, but two were potentially a little bit volatile as well. So. Often now our discussions were probably around, I would’ve maybe seen something that Sarah has gone and bought just off the

Terry: cuff guilty.

I’m guilty.

David: I would bring it up probably both. When we were tired and stressed at the end of the night, we’ve got the, you know, I’ve got the kids in bed and things like that. Terrible timing. Terrible thing to bring up at that point, but it never ended well. And

Terry: I just went to the store and this is still in grinding me this way of thinking. And I was standing behind a lady and she got her groceries. And then she said at the end, and can I get 20 bucks cash out? And I was like, Do you want that full?

So Oregon, so cultural, you know, Floyd gone yet. I’m the one who keeps it on

David: things. Absolutely. Yeah, probably. I think Sarah felt the same that I was putting a front on that I was managing the finances. Yeah. That she was like, okay, Dave, we’ll manage that again. I was doing a terrible job with it. I had no idea what I was doing, but thought I should.

So again, we’d put a front on that. I probably thought. Was, or at least putting it out there that I was managing a better than I thought it was and

Sarah: what people don’t realize. We wouldn’t becomes a mother we’re most vulnerable, whether we’re more vulnerable than we will ever be pretty much. And one of the vulnerabilities we have is on our finances, even though Dave was like, okay, by putting on the strong front, I’m showing that I know what I’m doing that actually made me feel so vulnerable because I wasn’t really earning an income or much of an income.

And particularly when I’m about to. The next child, or I had just had the next child and then suddenly earning no income, obviously I’m adding value to the family, but it’s different when you get asked, oh, where did you spend that money on? Or there’s that? And then you’re like, it makes you vulnerable. And even in a very loving, very supportive relationship.

It’s yeah, David’s feeling vulnerable. Cause he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s feeling vulnerable because he’s telling me off yet. Looking back it’s interesting at the time it was horrible, stressful, even in a really loving, close knit relationship that we had been together for ages and had each other’s back.

Terry: You got it got super tight connection. So I reckon based on what we’ve seen, this is probably 90% plus of men in this situation. Same thing. Exactly. Same for me. The thing for me, it’s like, this is the role I have to play. And it’s like, society tells you. How to do it and how to be, and you kind of just, you’re playing the role in the inside.

You’re going, but you know, what the fuck you talking about? Sorry, from your perspective, what was it like then to, I guess, unload some of that and share a little bit more where you start to go, okay, let’s figure this out because maybe we’re not doing this the best way. Like, what was it like to be able to, I guess, step out of that role that society created for you for us and say, maybe this could be done better.

Maybe we could work on this better as well.

David: Yeah, it was actually Sarah that made the real suggestion that we needed to probably take it to an external source. And I think by that stage, I was quite stressed about the whole situation and trying to manage it a little bit myself, that I was quite open. And you got to the point, I was just like, yeah, throwing my hands up in the air.

Didn’t know what I was doing. So yeah. So at that stage it was actually a real relief. When Sarah said, look, fan the two guys that have been talking about finance, catching,

Terry: never again, but you know, on a bag, you guys are the only good thing that came out of that.

David: So that was for me, when, you know, when Sarah said this is something that we reckon we should get involved in and it almost felt like I was having a weight lifted off my shoulders.

I was just like, okay. I might be able to actually share a bit of the burden here. I might be actually. Yeah. Probably unload and sorta let a lot of my stresses and my thoughts about what’s going on now. Yeah.

Terry: So that’s what you initially thought, but then when you actually sat down in that sort of experience where you’re like, now we’re actually opening it up.

We’re talking about this with harasser at the time. Strangers, was it the same experience and it was at a bit stressful.

David: Yeah. Fronting, I think like, just to be completely honest with the fact that I’d pretty much just been freewheeling it over the last seven or eight years in my life. Put, basically nothing aside I’ve had consumer debts wasn’t going anywhere.

Like we weren’t sort of ever making a dent in it. Yeah. That is a little bit, I suppose it’s a bit embarrassing, you know, or you think it is a bit embarrassing, but I think came away really hopeful, I think out of that meeting and it was, yeah. As I said, more of a weight lifted off my shoulders rather than, okay.

These guys are judging me for everything that I’ve done in the past. Yeah. So I think that was probably more the experience I had in the end, but it was a bit confronting to start.

Terry: Yeah. And I asked that because that’s exactly how I felt in the same situation, you know, five, six years ago, first, go on to see Ryan I’m thinking like, what’s he going to do?

My situation is this enough money? What does this say about me? All that sort of stuff. All these narratives that are sort of going off in your head. And it’s super stressful if you think about it like that, but in reality, it’s really just a problem to be solved. In terms

Sarah: of me bringing guys to us, I think there was a slight moment that you weren’t keen.

And I sort of said something like, we’re not doing a good job of it. This can be our problem instead of your problem. I don’t want it to be like it is anymore. Unwilling to jump on board. Like I want to be a part of fixing

Terry: this. Yeah. Cause that was you stepping out of the, I don’t want to be in the vulnerable place anymore.

I want to kind of be on the same level doing this together. I felt

Sarah: like I knew if we did it together, we’d be able to do it. Yeah. Because it was our problem really. And a big part of what the trouble we were having is that it was all going back to, because I didn’t want to have Barb it. Yeah. Yeah. Cause that’s my narrative of Ooh, numbers.

Spreadsheets. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then he’s onto him and then he’s not a hundred percent sure how to do it as effectively as possible and I’m not helping and we don’t know how to solve a problem. And it’s like, well, yeah, Guys could, you know, like, let’s try another thing, but let’s do it together at least like, so

Terry: insight, the we’re doing it one off at the moment, but if we were doing it together, we would do a better job because we talk about that sort of feeling of the Gollum verse Yoda sort of thing, where you’re kind of triggered around money.

And when you’re in your own head about it, it’s so hard to think clearly then if you just take it from one to two, it’s better, but from two. To someone who’s completely independent, external, even better because you’re out of that sort of vicious cycle of like the way all those kind of narratives that kind of keep you stuck.

You’re kind of now when you voice the thing, you’re like, well, that sounds ridiculous. As soon as you say it. And it

Sarah: was stressful meeting up with Ryan that first time, but it was also sort of cathartic because we could put all that shit on the table and be like, this is how shit works. Yeah. See what you can do

Terry: the

Sarah: more to the point that we could actually share it and fix it.

But if you don’t share it, then you can’t fix

Terry: it. Yeah. So you guys did something different, right? So I think a lot of people get to the point you got to, you guys did something different, which was decide to like take a step forward towards solution and help. Why do you think you guys did that? Where most people.

David: It’s a great question. I think it really is a tough first step and do see this quite a lot, even, you know, for reflect on sort of other decisions I’ve made in my life and, and things like that. It’s hard to make change and it’s a lot easier to sort of continue with the status quo than to change something, especially something as large as your financial future.

But I don’t think we necessarily got to a breaking point, but I think it was really, probably more of an opportunity that Sarah had stumbled across you guys.

Terry: Some money, people are not nursing.

David: we thought, look, we’ve got nothing to lose. We definitely can’t go any backward than where we currently are. So yeah, really the only direction is

Terry: forwards. So you kind of go, well, we know where that road leads we’ve been doing that forever. We don’t know where that one goes. That’d be any worse, something different from that would be good.

Yeah. It’s so interesting because I guess the whole pre-start part of us is like, certainly equals safety. We know what that looks like, so that’s certainly, and we don’t have the there’s no one certainly with it. So. That’s fine, but you’re so right, because when I think about making changes in this kind of area, and even like flexing and changing the way we use our money together, I’m like, I can only learn something new.

I’m not learning. Yeah. Anything new if I just keep running this same cycle, this same pattern. So like there’s months where I’ve actually, it’s kind of gone. What if we spent extra money this month? Let me spend it on this. Cause. We never spend it on and let’s just see how it goes. The primitive part of me is like, no, no, no, let’s stick to your place.

You know what I mean? But then the other part, it was like, you don’t know, like you got to just keep learning and changing. So I just find it really interesting that something tips you over the edge. Like you said, you might’ve got to a breaking point, but there was also a sense of opportunity and hope there as well.

I think that’s really important because you push yourself away from pain, but you pull yourself towards an optimistic future as well. You’ve got to have that positive, optimistic outlook

Sarah: too. Maybe just thinking about it now. Our early years with a lot of change and being like a very open, like when you live abroad, like some, like we slept in a van one night, like just stuff, you just go with it sort of thing.

So we’re very okay with change and adapting as well. Like we dealt with that. I think I never would have. It brought it up to Dave’s attention, but there was a brightness in Ryan that I hadn’t seen with people talking about money like that financial planner we saw was horrible. And like even a few of the other things were just cliche or niche, but there was this real authenticity and brightness in the way Ryan was speaking about things that I was like, wait.

This is

Terry: different new, could this be different? Yeah. Could this be different? Yeah. Yeah. And so that’s like getting you in and you kind of getting started. So you’re obviously super optimistic. Maybe you’re thinking you’re a bit relieved and then there’s the pot. The work comes and you’ve got to actually start digging into this stuff.

We start moving through it. Yeah. What was that like? Yeah, I think

David: it was difficult to go back and really start to think about things. Like, why do I think about money in certain ways? Why do I like the decisions around money? The way I do that was difficult, but really insightful. I think I found that really helpful, I think to really start the journey.

So we can sort of say what it’s been like in the past. This is, you know, it didn’t really work for us or how can we sort of re set our framework and move forward. That was difficult. I think reflecting on a lot of my own emotions and decisions and all that sort of stuff previously again, I think it was sort of quite relieving in the end to get all that sorta stuff off my chest and, yeah.

Yeah. And

Terry: what struck you about you guys, as well as the conversations you were having really early? Like I said before, with each other, with us as well about the things you were observing and you were noticing, so there’s, I’m questioning my assumptions now saying, hang on with that come from, you know, and it’s that bringing it to that conscious level of awareness where you start to.

Like, is that even mine? And it doesn’t serve me cause I haven’t really been thinking about it. I’ve just been playing at the same pattern cause

Sarah: it’s sort of been doing so I’m just going to keep using money really poorly. I’ll feel

Terry: bad about how bad I’m with the money. So I’m going to spend more money to feel better about the money.


Sarah: I think it was useful for us to also hear as a couple with shared finances and shared children and a shared life to actually hear each other. Money stories and each other’s psychology to then try and understand each other better as to why we have, or do or make those sorts of decisions because we’re very different.

We’re actually really, really different people. And that was quite clear when we put some of that down on paper, it’s like, oh, we’re actually opposite in most things. Yeah. To then try and kind of, when we do have those. Conversations surrounding money. Understand the brain of the other person.

Terry: Yeah. Yeah. And when you realized that you were really different in that way, was it a relief?

Would it shock you really to think, oh, we can’t make this work. Do we have to be the same? What was your thinking around that? For me

David: more, just a bit of a light bulb. Like it was more okay. Yeah. This is sort of the way Sarah thinks about it and this might be why she goes and does this, or, but she might’ve been the same bet.

Maybe this might be why he gets really defensive about using money in these situations.

Sarah: Yes. Value to the other person. Actions, and it’s sort of the way that they behave when suddenly, like they’ve said, this is the way I am. Yeah. And you’re like, oh yeah. Okay. It validates. That’s the way they operate. So then you can find a way to come to a negotiation or co validate, whatever it may be or, or go, or both of us are just working with.

This emotion, which isn’t helpful.

Terry: Yeah. It just gives you clarity a little bit of extra clarity around why this is happening, but also maybe just a little bit of distance between you and your reaction where you’re like, oh, this is this. Yeah. We kind of know what’s happening here. It’s not a mystery to us anymore and we can work our way through it.

Do you feel like having those conversations and I guess the other part of what we’ve gone through and what, what you guys have gone through as a couple is installing the regular habit of having these conversations about money setting, these conscious intentions, just that exposure. How valuable do you feel that is in terms of embedding it into your operating rhythm?


Sarah: the most valuable thing we read atomic habits. It’s the most valuable thing. Turn up, turn up. Yeah. And we’ve even started a weekly schedule. Oh, you have catch up. Yeah. It’s the personally I’ll wait to at doses, but I would suggest the most valuable.

Terry: And do you enjoy it or are you saying it’s valuable because it’s hard and it grows, it helps us.

Sarah: Just like everything in life. Some Tuesdays we rock up to it and we’re like, right, let’s go because we’ve got, you know, tolerance, resilience, and sometimes we’re tired and we’re less excited, but it doesn’t matter. We just have to turn up. That’s the point isn’t whether you enjoy it or not. It’s one of the most important

Terry: you guys are both runners.

So you understand that like, doesn’t matter someday. You’re off, but it’s not about whether you feel good about it. It’s just whether you do it or not. Do you feel like that’s kind of had a part to play in that because it’s that insight there is critical. Like who cares if you’re not into it, this is what we

Sarah: do.

That’s what I do with my meditation. So it’s turn up and you get the gold star and you get the gods. It might be shit. And you want to fuck it up, but just turn up and you get the gold stuff. And some of those books like atomic habit, they completely validate that as well. So.

David: Absolutely. Yeah. I think some days, yeah, you definitely don’t feel like getting amongst it and doing it, but yeah, it’s been really, really valuable.

I think just having that time blocked and actually do that. It’s been, yeah, probably one of the best things I think over the last week.

Terry: Hey, if you’ve been loving our content and want to continue the conversation, then you need to check out our new private podcast, community, David lockout, digital Treehouse.

This is a place where we can mate, hang out and talk shop it’s completely free. But the only way you get into this space is by being a listener. And we’ve, purpose-built the experience just for you. So when you join, you’ll be able to connect with others and tell us what you want to hear more about.

You’ll also be able to get your questions answered in live Q and a sessions we’ll host after episodes. Plus we’ll make sure you get first dibs on inside his office and you’ll get access to our epic resource library. This is a complete customizable database of the 100 plus top resources you can read, watch and listen to get your PhD in personal finance.

As we always say the fastest way to learn something is to discuss the Biden, decide with others on the same journey at different stages, and the best way to make new positive changes stick is to participate in a group where your desired behaviors. Yeah. So by joining our community, you won’t just be accessing everything I described above.

You’ll actually be casting, a crucial vote on who you want your future self to be what they’ll do, and then what you’ll have. So if you’ll came to connect with us, make lock, monitored, legends, and foster track. Your progress. All you need to do is click the link below in the show notes to join our team on, um, James Clear’s book.

You mentioned there atomic habits, he talks about. You’re building that new identity and every repetition being new evidence that you’re accumulating. What were your identities before and what would you say they are now with regards to how we work together as a couple with.

Sarah: Things were harder for us. It was tough for us because of X, Y, and Z.


David: I always had the thought that I just wasn’t a money person and I’m happy with not much. I don’t need to prove myself to anyone else by having lots of money or fancy furniture or anything like that. I just like, um, it doesn’t matter if my bank balances is nothing. That was probably how I saw myself beforehand.

Was it? I wasn’t a money person. I was quite happy just to. Coastal long and not being a money person for the rest of my life, but that was what I was telling myself. But I think deep down, I thought the opposite and, uh, it was more why can’t I get this right? Yeah. Gotcha.

Terry: Yeah. I guess almost yeah. The veneer and then the reality beneath that.

Yeah. Interesting. And so what’s it like for you guys now on those Tuesday nights when you’re at your best? What’s that look like? Take us into one of those interactions. I

David: think we, you have good constructive conversations, so we’ll both be, uh, sort of switched on and engaged and sort of asking good questions perhaps.

Yeah. Maybe being quite considerate of, uh, the other person and their thoughts and beliefs not being too confrontation. Definitely want to disclaimer that and say that, you know, we don’t always have constructive conversations about money. Why is that why that’s

Sarah: very quick to diffuse it these days, because it’s like, yeah.

We are on a team like we’re together. So it’s like, that can be diffused within a moment. And then the next moment, no joke.

Terry: No, it was good. I was about to ask, cause I’m with the same, like we, don’t not fight about money. We just fight way better. We’re just way better at

Sarah: disagreeing. And we have a big goal.

Like we have goals and the things have, we have awareness around what we want, so, and that’s together and apart. And so, yeah. It’s easier.

Terry: I

David: would have thought previously that potentially when we were having maybe discussions about money, that we maybe weren’t on a level playing field either. Like I probably would have felt that I should know, or I know more about this sort of stuff.

And Sarah is not that interested in it. So I’m going to make the decisions or I’m going to do the driving. Whereas I think now. I do feel like we’re on more of a level playing field and we both have knowledge in this area and we both have a in value in putting those decisions and doing everything. Okay.

Terry: Have you found that like your age good at different things and you can kind of lean into that as well? Like you’re really good at thinking through this type of thing. And you’re really good at making decisions about, is there are any of these kind of norms developed?

Sarah: Dave’s really good at those kind of bills that come out like quarterly or like, you know, like the electricity’s due and I’m like, good.

Yep. Put it in don’t care. Whereas I’m the person that comes with the list of things like gifts and like, I’m that social family coordinator and the connections person from that perspective, like these are the things that have got coming up. And actually this week, we both came together with our own lists, which was quite a cool, like we’d pretty much.

Race like, and so, yeah, we definitely have our own areas and sometimes Dave will get like, I think probably a bit too granular. He’ll be like, well, let’s go back. Yeah. And I’m like, oh, this round. But I think when those things happen or when I go, oh, wait a minute, we give each other that space to play our part.

In terms of that level playing field. Then we can get something that together we’ve done and it’s pretty good. And it’s easier to stick to that because we’ve played our parts and given each other space to make decisions.

Terry: Two-part question firstly, for you. And then for you, you said before that you kind of felt like it was Dave Singh, he was running it and you’re kind of vulnerable.

And in this place where you didn’t feel like you could contribute or you had anything to offer, but now you’re kind of saying here we are on a level playing field together. What has that done for you in that relationship or in your relationship with money and then for you, has that helped like reduce and relieve some of that pressure and stress that you talked about earlier?

So. Well,

Sarah: your money where your life she pretty much is like, cause I’m a very like spirit based connection based, uh, like I would say loving person. And so she’s all about like your money, like money is an exchange for life for us. And I’m like, well, shit that has to, I have to care about that then, because what I put my energy into has to be important because that’s my life force.

That’s important. Yeah. And so from that perspective, I think I’m still, like, I barely in trillion times sort of more secure in myself and like across a lot of different areas, not just with money and for our relationship as well, it kind of gives us that space to be like, We chair to challenging things for us, probably like we bungee jumped together.

We lived abroad by ourselves together. We’ve done all that like challenging things and money was slight, probably the last real challenging thing, but it was, you know, that, that thing that was so challenging that now that we can kind of take that togetherness approach, or that sounds a bit naff, but be together on it.

We can help each other with areas that we’re not

Terry: good at. Yeah. It has. It sort of helped with the stress and the pressures, that sort of things as well. Absolutely.

David: Yeah. I think one being a bit more on a level playing field with Sarah, but I think just having a plan and having some goals that we share. Is brilliant.

It’s taken a lot of the fear out of it for me, you know, just thinking, okay, we should be further along, but if I look at our plan, now I’m saying, okay, well, this is sort of where we’re going. And this is what we’re forecast. This is where we should be and we’re moving forward in that direction. So I think there is really supportive in that sort of things.

And I think we’re really moving along that pathway. Now we’re following that plan and it’s been a big relief for them.

Terry: Just on that point, like having that, I guess that bigger picture, and I don’t know if this is the same for you, but like you and I are similar in the sense of that, like the way you felt about it and in the role used to play exactly how I would feel.

But I guess the difference for me is like, when, you know, because before you did, like, I didn’t know where I was at. I didn’t know what trajectory they’re on. I didn’t know what our rate was. I didn’t know any of those things, but now that I know, and we know every month, What’s going on. We know where the money is going.

We know where it flows to. We know whether we’re winning or we’re losing every month, but we know in the bigger picture where we’re getting to, I don’t stress at all about that sort of stuff anymore. Is it the same for you? Is that just the knowing part that matters? Absolutely. Yeah.

David: It’s the fees really dropped out of it now.

And you know, there’s no sort of real concerns each month when we, when we look at it, we’re sort of on the track. It’s a lot like that.

Terry: Yeah. And has it helped you guys enjoy your money more and see it as like something to enjoy being able to take all the other stuff out of it and go, go on. Okay. We can relax a bit and have fun.

I think

David: having money set aside for those things in life that you enjoy takes the stress of spending it on those things out of it. Absolutely. If we’ve got a few dollars set aside there for each of us to go and socialize with their friends, rather than saying, oh shit, that’s money. We could’ve been putting aside this month.

We’ve allocated it to that. Stress has gone out of actually that expense, because we know that we’ve saved this month. We know that we’ve allocated that money to that specific task. So yeah, it does enable that freedom.

Terry: That’s a massive one for me, because if you don’t have any sense of where your money’s going and then you’re spending in that way and you just, you feel like you have to just constrict all the time.

I struggle to spend money on any of that stuff, because my default is just be like, keep money, but I can’t enjoy it. Whereas at least is really good at that. But we have exactly what you’ve said. We’ve gone down. This is what the money’s for this month and it’s okay because we know we’re already on track.

We already know we’ve kept the money. That’s the job of the money. I don’t stress about it.

Sarah: I was really challenged with I’m the gift buyer of the family. Yep. And like, I don’t know if you’ve experienced this yet, but yeah. Your kids have a lot of friends and then your friends have a lot of kids and then like there’s weddings.

And, and so I was the gift purchaser and I’m there feeling guilty because I’ve spent X amount of dollars, which, and the whole thing was horrible. Whereas now I’m like, I have my birthday calendar and I’m like, this is whose birthday it is. This is the other events and functions that are coming up. And so it all just Allie gets allocated across and there’s no guilt ever.

Not that I like go, oh, you know, it’s like $400 for this gift. Or like, we’re still fairly like frugal, but yeah, for us, that’s important to celebrate our loved ones. And that’s a part of that in terms of. Yeah, like gifts or events or functions or whatever it may be. And so we get to do that and just be totally present with it because we don’t have to think, oh shit now.

Terry: Yeah. But it’s back to the point of not knowing, right. Because you didn’t know, you just have guilt and stress and you’re like, I’ve done the wrong thing here. I am spending money again. Yeah. I think that’s massive, right? Because if you think about the purpose of a gift, the purpose of the gift is to show a thought for someone.

But if it’s a stressful experience for you all the way through, like they say, the gift is to the giver, it wasn’t for you. Yeah. Where’s the value in it. You didn’t get any value from it at all. Yeah. So, yeah. That’s changed that experience for you then. I’d love to know. Just advice you guys would have, like if you were talking to yourselves, let’s say three years ago, you know, get into that place where maybe you wanted to go see the financial plan.

You would try on a few things. Maybe I think you’d read the barefoot investor, a couple of things. What would you say to yourselves to give you encouragement? To keep going in, to say yes, this is worth it. Like keep pushing through this.

Sarah: Maybe something. Well, this is a skill you’ve got to learn it. Nobody’s born with it.

Just keep digging until you find. Cause it’s kind of like, so for some people, maybe the barefoot investor, it worked and it was perfect, but just keep digging in and learning and learning and finding and practicing that. Like don’t look at it like a thing that has an end point that you just have to somehow know, look at it as a skill.

That you need to learn about and find other people that are really good at it and invest in that and put it to practice. I like

Terry: that. It’s a skill. It’s not a talent. And if you start thinking about it like a talent, you just wouldn’t even get started

Sarah: because usually when you’re told you bad numbers,

Terry: let’s just quickly just dig in on that one.

Honestly, it’s real simple math. Isn’t it? I say this all the time, but like, I think in our minds, we think this is all super complex stuff, but in reality, like we’re talking about fourth and fifth grade, Matthew

Sarah: but you can’t get good at something by not practicing it. It’s the practice. That then makes you for lack of a better word, a master. It’s not the going, oh, I tried that once. It’s like, oh, I did a push at once. I didn’t get tough. You don’t apply that to any other part of your life. And you shouldn’t apply that to your money life because.

It’s terrible

Terry: thinking. Yeah. And in terms of the practice and seeing progress, it doesn’t take that long. Does it like, it’s really not like, are you going to have to wait years until you’re a monster? This stuff like it’s stuff you can pick it up and you can get, start to get comfortable with in a couple of months.

David: Absolutely. Like the biggest thing for us, I think when we started, so we put in our first money map and within the first month we’d managed to sort of start building up that old money in the bank and we were able to go second. Was completely money. They just built up over the previous month. I was like, oh, this is getting somewhere already.

And then I think it was maybe even the second or the third month we paid off entirely. We chopped their credit card within the second or third month, which was just insane to me. Like, this is a debt that I’d been sitting on for years. Yeah. Like, so the progress was immediate. Like, it was amazing. And it was essentially just a process, but I think we put in place.

Yeah. It made a massive difference.

Terry: Yeah. You don’t think about the process anymore. Is it you actually more think about the decisions behind the process? Not the process itself. It’s just now automatic.

David: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So it is. And I think, especially now that we’ve built it into our weeks, we have these weekly money chats.

Once a month, we do the money map a couple of weeks later, we put in our diligence

Sarah: because Ryan would be like, guys, and we’d be like, I shit, got to get it done. Now. We’re like, we are ready just because we probably are. Fairly goal oriented people. And we have probably read a book well, so about like organization and scheduling and stuff like that and how you can make things more effective.

So we realized that we weren’t as effective at it as we could be. So we’re just trying to build that effectiveness up and it gives us that opportunity to. Well, the DOE we probably hadn’t taken that next step when things maybe aren’t exactly as you expected to then know how to pivot and be and adjust.

So now we’ve all got that weekly opportunity to be like,

Terry: yeah, that’s actually a crucial point, isn’t it? Because you’re planning a month out the month, like we’ve never seen a normal month. No. So you always. On the move. And for me, I’m just kind of tracking it week to week and saying like, how are we going against this?

And we just kind of have off the cuff conversations. Like, just see if you can not spend out of the can as much as you might for the next week. And we’ve done things like bottle cooks and things like that. So we’ve got a freezer at the back of my life, right. Three meals for the next couple of days. It’s coming out of that.

So we’re not going to be spending as much out of there and it just helps you to kind of adjust. And I think that’s valuable because you kind of realize actually you can make your money stretch a fairway and it doesn’t have to be.

Sarah: Gemini floody we’ve done baguettes. Exactly.

Terry: I’ve already done that.

You’ve already done that.

Sarah: I think for us, because we have two little kids and we’re working in working on projects and Dave still works in Melbourne. We needed to allocate that time to be together on those things because otherwise time gets

Terry: allocated just slightly money. You don’t give

David: it a job.

Terry: Exactly.

Exactly. That’s so linked to time and the money thing, like if you’re not deliberate with your time, it’s hard to be deliberate with your money. If you’re not delivering your money, it’s hard to be literate with your time. Yeah.

Sarah: It doesn’t matter what happens really. Probably the last couple of months, Tuesdays.

Well, That’s we just have to do it. So it’s what we do. Yeah. It’s kind of like that run. You don’t feel like doing writing on the side and can’t be stuff, but you just do it because that’s, what’s scheduled

Terry: in. Yeah. Yeah. Dave, I’m just keen to hear from you as well. Like advice that you would give yourself.

We talked about the narratives, the thinking for you before moving into this situation, moving into this, making this a project in your life, how would you mentor yourself three years ago through that?

David: I think it would be probably swallowing your pride and you don’t actually have to do this by yourself.

There’s other ways there’s other resources out there. And I suppose try and give myself a fair bit of confidence to take that step. So that was probably the big thing for me. Yeah. So obviously pleased that we did it, but there definitely was a bit of resistance there, I think for me. So to just be probably a lot of coaching around.

Take that first step and just encouraging myself. You haven’t done anything wrong up until now. You could be a lot

Terry: better. Yeah. And normalizing it for me, it was like, oh, hang on. Did anyone ever teach me this stuff? No one ever taught me this stuff. How do I expect myself to be a pro at it? Like, I’m just gonna all of a sudden start handling money and be a pro that’s just unrealistic.

No, it’s kind of taken the pressure off a little bit there too. Isn’t it. And saying it’s okay. It’s okay. To not know all this stuff.

Sarah: But I think that’s the point it’s not about going on now. We’ve got it. It’s about recognizing that you have to keep applying yourself and taking care with it so that you can.

Kind of growing your skill.

Terry: Yeah. And your awareness, like awareness, you guys are doing what you’re doing, which is your Tuesday night. Catch-ups your awareness around your patterns? Your normal-ish month might look like when it’s changing and then how your life impacts your moods, how you move in, plaque, your money, all that sort of stuff.

It’s I know for me, that’s super interesting to see how that works. You know, it’s like that whole. I’m feeling bad, like you said before, I’m feeling bad and I’m going to use money for mood repair in some way. We’d why it’s bizarre. But I think the more you see it, the more you can start to go and here we go again, change

Sarah: my life, actually, just understanding that like those things like the psychology and the mood, and like, you really brought like, obviously Ryan.

The most beautiful spreadsheets

and seriously, it was depressed. The spreadsheet itself was depressed. It wouldn’t open up the times. I’m not coming out. I hate myself, Brian, and anyway. Having really easy spreadsheets to use. That makes sense. Yeah. Takes a lot of the challenge out of it with everything on there. So you’re like, oh, and like, we’re pretty good now at adding things.

And because we do keep tweaking, but also then understanding that emotional psychology and learning and all that stuff that you bring to. It’s so helpful because it helps us be more understanding and giving each other space, but it also helps us be like, we’ve toned down our wine by four 75%, because that’s not the way we work our I’ll just leave it at that.

Terry: What you just said though. Across the board. So people like we don’t know. And then we start to know when we start to get, eh, does that actually align with my values, my goals, it doesn’t, it’s actually just a pattern we’ve fallen into and we just see it all the time. People are like, oh, we’re going to cut that out.

Now we just got to look. You’re actually just going to optimize this over time and it’s not going to be a deliberate thing. It’s going to actually start to fall into line. And that’s the same across the board. It’s actually shocking how all you need to do is get the facts. And just keep getting the feedback and your behavior starts to sort of fall into line with what you consciously want.

Not what you emotionally yeah. Yeah.

Sarah: It puts that gap between your emotions and your critical praise, which is pretty important.

Terry: Yeah, it’s massive. Yeah. Yeah. Just that period of 15 minutes to reflect on what happened in the month. But for me, it’s, it’s so valuable to look at it and say, okay, so that was okay.

We’re pretty happy with that. Or we missed out there. This is what we’re going to focus on. It’s just a continual process of optimizing. And course-correcting back to your point before day. Like if you don’t have the clear goals and I guess that bigger picture that you’re working towards, you got no other third reference point.

So you kind of don’t know whether you’re winning or you’re losing your dislike. Did we save. That’s fucking boring. Stressful. Yeah. Amy’s in itself is boring, but like, when you think about what it’s for and what you’re trying to achieve, what it’s got to fund then becomes something worth thinking about and fighting for, for sure.

Yeah. I just want to say a massive thanks to you guys for coming on. I’ve been trying to get you for a little while, but yeah. Wrapped to have you on here and thank you for coming after even being sick for a couple of days.

Sarah: I’m way better now with no COVID here

Terry: now. Yes. All right, we’re going to wrap it up.

So guys, if you enjoyed that and you’ve had a conversation recently, either with yourself or with somebody else about this part of your life, and you feel like that other person could get some value, do us a favor and invest in that relationship, help that other person as well and share this podcast with them.

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