07 Mar Two simple calculations to cut your money anxiety by 50%
Let’s talk about our love languages.
There’s words of affirmation (thanks for taking the garbage out), gifts (ooh, a Chanel bag), quality time (watching GoT together), acts of service (folding the laundry) physical touch (both hand holding and the NSFW kind 😉).
But I want to add a sixth language, inspired by the the Wu Tang Clan.
Cold. Hard. Cash.
Dolla Dolla Bill, Y’all
The love language of CREAM
Lisa and I used to fight about money all the time. Even when I was making good amounts of it during my Wall Street days.
41% of couples argue about unloading the dishwasher. Yes, 41%.
So imagine what happens when you merge two individuals’ disparate values, views and anxieties about money at the altar. (And if you throw kids in the mix…. eek!)
A 2-step plan for all lovebirds
If you can do basic algebra, you can incorporate these two steps into your relationship and watch your money fights plummet. (Our last one was in June 2019… and as a solopreneur, trust me it’s not because I earned more.)
Step 1: Estimate your worst case scenario
First, try this back-of-the-envelope calculation:
- Aggregate all of your liquid assets into a spreadsheet
- Calculate the percentage of equities
- Multiply that percentage by 50%
The resulting number is what you could expect to lose if the market experiences a 2008-like crash.
(And for the usual financial disclaimers: Past performance doesn’t guarantee future performance, this doesn’t account for correlation, nor private assets, nor your massive crypto holdings. IT’S A VERY ROUGH ESTIMATE.)
So for Lisa and I, with roughly 65% in stocks, we often ask ourselves the following question:
How would we feel if we woke up and 33% of our savings had evaporated?
This question helps frame certain decisions and behaviors in our day-to-day lives:
- Would we still make [big purchase X] with that in mind?
- Are there financial commitments we could easily get out of?
- Would we do anything differently today, knowing that this is a possibility?
- How correlated is our income to this scenario? (This one’s tricky…)
Here’s a template to get you started.
Step 2: Your spending layer cake
The second number is a spending approximation. Yes, it does require you to know how much you spend in any given year (a number which only 35% of RadReaders actually know).
But armed with that data, you can quickly tier your expenses into 3 categories:
- Basic Needs: Rent, car, childcare, insurance, food
- Basic Comforts: Eating out, gym memberships, small vacations, kids’ activities
- Nice to Have (aka Bull Market Buys): Coachella, wellness, coaching, summer trip, electronic gadgets.
Here’s what it looks like when Lisa and I ran our numbers:
Now it’s important to note, just because we could cut it, it doesn’t mean we will. But as Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” And being armed with this data brings tremendous clarity and confidence.
33% and 31%: Our sixth love language
We carry these two numbers in our back pockets. We talk about them often, with levity, curiosity and (since we’re human) doses of anxiety.
It’s been a game-changer for our relationship. I hope you’ll give it a shot. You got this!
Ready for a personal finance tune-up? Download our Guide to Lifestyle Creep.