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Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

heart Happy Valentine’s Day!

Couples all over the world are proclaiming their love for each other. In many cases, that love is shown with gifts – diamonds, chocolates, teddy bears, and roses.

It’s the roses we want to talk about today. Do you remember the song Rose Garden, first popularized by Lynn Anderson? It goes like this …

“I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.”

Did that help you remember it? The song continues …

“Along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain sometimes.”

Well, boy it sure is pouring right now! 

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Piling on

We face an economy that we haven’t seen before (or we were too young to really remember). And of course, financial disagreements are a leading cause of divorce as we discussed on a recent show.

When couples disagree, it makes a bad situation even worse. If relationship troubles get piled on top of financial challenges, it’s likely that the financial situation will only deteriorate more.

So you risk not only losing the roses, you may lose the whole rose garden! But there is a way to get the garden blooming again.

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marylynn
My sister says something that I love … “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

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No one is an island. We all need key partners in life – personally and professionally. But the personal partners – whether you call them your husband, wife, significant other, life partner, mate, or something else – are the most vital part of our lives.

H.E.A.R.T.

So this Valentine’s Day, no matter what other gifts you exchange, give each other these give great gifts:

Help

Encouragement

Admiration

Respect

Teamwork

Help
We need to listen, really listen, to our mates. To what they’re saying and what they’re not saying. Because what they’re not saying may be more important.

They may be scared. They may be stressed. It’s important to try not to assume, to not try to read minds. Because we may very well assume the wrong thing.

Open up to your spouse. Don’t judge them. Be a refuge, a helper, in this time of storm.

Encouragement
We need to go beyond a willingness to help. We should actively encourage the person we love the most. Let them know that:

  • You have every confidence in them.
  • Together, you just know you’ll work through any difficulty you may be experiencing.
  • You will stick by them through thick and thin.

Admiration
We’ll keep going … moving beyond a willingness to help and some encouragement. Do you see how we’re stepping into this?

You started out as a fan. Are you still? Brag about him or her now and then. Publicly. Out loud. You used to!

Hollywood portrays love mostly as a noun in the movies and on television. Love is something that just “happens.” But love is also a verb. It implies action. We sometimes forget that.

Respect
Once we’ve reached the admiration level, respect will come relatively easily. We are so careful about what we say to other people. But sometimes we fail to use the same filters with the person closest to us.

We see each other all the time so we just say what’s on our mind. It’s only human, but it can harm our relationship. We should treat our spouses with more respect than we treat anyone else. After all, they deserve it … they put up with us!

Teamwork

Now with the other four pieces of H.E.A.R.T. in place, we’re ready for teamwork. Make quality time for each other so your relationship remains strong. Work on your problems together. If opposites attract, use that to your advantage. Your two brains can find a solution that neither of you would have thought of on your own.

Teamwork really will make the dream work!

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Thanks so much for spending some of your time with us today. Join us next time as we talk about a group of people that is really suffering during these tough times. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Should You and Your Spouse Have Separate Accounts?

games Disagreements about how to handle the family finances is often sited as a leading cause of divorce. There seems to be an increasing number who are separating their finances so they don’t separate! This would have been unheard of just a generation or two ago.

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Opposites attract

In many relationships, there is a spender and a saver. Or sometimes you have two spenders who spend differently – one who frequently buys little incidentals that may add up to a lot of money over the course of the year and another one who can’t resist the major purchases.

Is it wrong?

While some people are finding separate accounts the way to go, others think that it’s just wrong. They believe that it’s a bad sign if a couple doesn’t co-mingle their funds.

Does that stem from a time when you had one wage-earner in the home?
Is it a control issue?
Perhaps it has to do with religious beliefs?
Or maybe it’s a trust issue?

We don’t know the answer, but we do know that many couples are making this work.

Why it works

We think keeping separate finances works for a number of reasons. Among them:

  • The saver isn’t frustrated by money being spent on things they think is unwise.

  • The spender doesn’t have to defer gratification so long that they just can’t stand it anymore. 

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How it works

We’ve seen a number of ways to do this. Here are two examples:

The Allocators. These couples begin by allocating who pays for what. It’s a negotiation process. If you choose this system, determine your respective spending priorities. Then, whenever possible, let each spouse pay for those things they feel are most important. Divvy up the basics however you see fit.

Once you’ve figured out who will pay for what, each spouse then gets to spend, save or invest however they want.

The Allowancers
. Okay, we struggled with a name for this group. That’s the best we could do!

Allowancers may maintain a joint account to pay mutual bills like the mortgage or the utility bills. Then they divvy up the excess as allowances.

But don’t forget to take out the trash or you may lose your allowance!

With their allowance, each spouse can save or spend however they want. One spouse may even save to spend … on that next major purchase.

A final thought

You may have heard us say this before, but our thought on this issue is this:

If it works for you and your family, it works.

It doesn’t matter what other people think or even say. What does matter is that you find a system that helps you keep your finances in order. After all, they are a key component to living out your bigg dreams!

How do you and your partner handle your finances? 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00326-020909.mp3

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When A Saver and a Spender Become a Couple

opposites_attractWe’re told that opposites attract. We also hear that money is one of the most frequent things couples argue about.

In a lot of relationships, there’s a saver and a spender. Or maybe both people are spenders, but they spend differently. One likes to buy bigg ticket items infrequently while the other spends a little bit of money on daily extravagances.

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marylynn We’re both pretty frugal, but I have to admit I do like my gadgets. We were at a conference recently and there was a microphone I just had to have! And of course, I do like my clothes.

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georgeAnd I like to go out for dinner more often than Mary-Lynn. Do you suppose that has anything to do with the fact that I’m the one who usually cooks dinner?

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How to come to an agreement on the family finances

We’ve found a good way to reach an agreement, on how your household saves and spends money, is to hold a summit! Heads of state do it; why shouldn’t you?

This summit has a three-fold purpose:

#1 – Values
You each need to fully understand where the other person is coming from. What’s important to him or her? By knowing each other’s values when it comes to money, you’ll be more flexible in your own financial decisions.

For example, a saver may value being debt-free. A spender may think it’s important to “live a little” now. Both positions can easily be defended. If you understand why it’s so important to your spouse, you’ll be more willing to accommodate his or her desires. You’ll find that you’re more flexible in looking for solutions.

#2 – Goals
Now that you have a good grasp of your respective values, you can discuss mutual goals. Only now you can both work to help each other get what’s important. So the spender will try to find ways to reduce debt. And the saver will see that buying a toy once in a while makes the spender more committed to saving. It’s win – win!

#3 – Strategies

You can’t stop now. With your goals in mind, develop specific strategies. For example, you may each set aside a certain amount from each of your paychecks for debt reduction and that certain toy. You’re working together to get more than you could get working alone!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Next time, we’ll talk about the energy crisis … only it has nothing to do with oil. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Backyard Bliss

at_the_topWe both enjoy our work so we tend to work a lot. We feel fortunate that we get to work side-by-side. However, just because we’re physically near someone, it doesn’t mean you’re really “together.” So this past weekend, we took our own advice and had some bigg down time.

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marylynn I love garage sales because there are so many great bargains! So George drove, and I dragged him all over hitting garage sales.

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georgeAnd thanks to Mary-Lynn, we followed that up with … yet more shopping.

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We have these gorgeous, bigg, old trees on our lot, but that means there are a lot of limbs down after every storm. We had a fellow who mowed our yard and hauled the limbs away. But he had knee surgery this spring, and the gentleman who mows it now doesn’t do that.

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marylynn That’s right. But here’s the thing … I have a love for fire! So I thought … why not burn these limbs? So we bought a fire pit! But there was something about the fire pit we bought that George really liked.

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georgeYeah, I thought it was cool because it’s also a grill. Since I’m a purist, I like to cook with charcoal rather than gas. This way, we can cook on wood, which we get for free, and not spend money on charcoal!

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Even hassles don’t create angst

We also bought a chain saw. Now, don’t be alarmed … this chain saw is about the size of a blow dryer! But when we opened the box, there were pieces missing. So back to the store we went. Then we realized it didn’t come with the oil we needed. Back to the store again.

It proved the theory a friend of ours has – no home improvement project is complete until you’ve made at least three trips to the store!

But it was our day off! We weren’t in a rush so we enjoyed the time together in spite of it all.

Backyard bliss

So last Saturday night, we sat around our fire as we listened to music and grilled some hot dogs … and okay, a few marshmallows! It was so relaxing … all on our own back patio.

We had backyard bliss. (Don’t confuse it with the song “Ballroom Blitz”!)

So we caught up by slowing down!

Even if you work with your spouse or significant other – and maybe we should say, especially if you work together – it’s important to have “together time” that’s not associated with work.

We wish we could say that we planned to do this, but we would be lying. We’re good at planning our business and work activities, but sometimes we struggle with planning personal things.

But now that we have our fire pit, it will be easy to walk out the door and relax! Not long ago, we talked about why it’s good to spend time in nature. For many of us, nature is in our own backyard!

So you don’t have to do a lot of planning. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You don’t even have to go anywhere. Stay at home and have some fun!

marylynn Don't forget the bug spray…that was our 4th trip to the store!

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How Dual Income Couples are Bucking Traditional Roles

man_womanThe Council on Contemporary Families published a summary of previous studies, looking at data over 30 to 40 years. Here are some highlights:

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1. Men’s share of household duties doubled as a percent of the total over last 40 years, from 15 percent to 30 percent of the total. The number of hours women spend on these same duties has declined over that period.

2. The younger the couple, the higher the share of household duties performed by the man.

3. Time spent caring for children tripled for men and doubled for women over the same period. Couples are placing much more emphasis on spending time with their kids than they did 30 years ago.

4. The longer a woman works outside the home, the greater the percentage of household responsibilities assumed by the man of the house.

5. Men are working less and spending more time on family duties. Women are trending in the opposite direction.

6. When the woman of the house works more hours, earns more money, or has more education than the man, the man’s share of family duties increases.

7. About one of out three couples now has a woman who earns more than the man.

They pointed out that there had been an expectation of immediate change when women started working. That didn’t happen to the disappointment of many! However, over the span of a few decades, things have changed quite a bit and they predict this trend is here to stay!

The bigg payoff

Couples are redefining what it means to be the man or the woman, the father or the mother, in a relationship. This summary shows that the divorce rate is lower when couples divide up the duties more equally. In fact, it’s even lower than with the traditional relationship where one person is the breadwinner and the other person runs the house.

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georgeMary-Lynn and I both grew up in a traditional family that stayed together. But we’re pretty non-traditional.

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marylynnYeah, I remember that my mom was always in the kitchen. I determined long ago that wasn’t for me! She kept telling me “you’re going to have to learn how to cook, what are you going to do when you are out on your own?” I told her I would just meet a guy who knew how to cook and marry him. And that guy is George! And let me just add…he’s an AWESOME cook!!!
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Roles are getting redefined so don’t listen to what other people say. If it works for you, your spouse, and your family … it works!

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This week, our newsletter subscribers received a great article about how to get more flexibility at work so you can have more time at home. You can get it, too, click this link to subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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