Love & Money: A Life Guide for Financial Success

| book, finance

Jeff Opdyke

I browsed through this book on a whim and ended up reading it cover to
cover. This John Wiley book is a great read if you’re looking for
sound advice on finances and relationships. Here’s the book blurb from
the publisher’s site:

Reviews: “The financial decisions we make in our lives are sometimes not the easiest to discuss but have long-lasting effects. [Opdyke's advice] has opened the door in my relationship to conversations that were a long time coming.” – Josh, regular reader of Opdyke's “Love & Money” column, Florida

Real answers to real questions about money and relationships:

  • I have too much debt and my credit isn't very good. How can I fix my financial problems? And how do I break the news to my boyfriend?
  • How do I teach my kids the value of money, when my parents shower them with expensive gifts?
  • My wife makes more money than I do, does that give her a greater voice in our financial decisions? Are we still equal?
  • How much should I give my child in allowance? And will it really help him learn the value of a dollar?
  • We want to have our first baby, but we don't know if we can afford it yet. How much money do we really need to have in the bank?

If you're like most people, you're struggling with questions like these. Whether we like it or not, money makes a big difference in the choices we make and the lives we lead. Unresolved questions about money can put unwanted stress on even the healthiest relationships–between spouses, between parents and children, and even between friends. In Love & Money, columnist Jeff Opdyke offers practical personal finance advice, as well as strategies for dealing with touchy financial topics–so that money doesn't end up costing you something even more valuable.

Random notes:


  • Most people are terrified of budgets because they think of them as strict limits. Use a spending plan instead, and remember that you’re giving up that latte for something specific like a car.
  • Debt affects relationships and self-esteem. Tell your significant other if you have a debt burden so that it’s out in the open.
  • Little things add up. Be conscious.
  • Mix savings with investments. Find an emergency buffer level both of you are comfortable with.

Building a life together

  • Discuss finances as a couple.
  • Keep a joint account instead of his-and-hers.
  • Resist temptation to hide your expenses.
  • Keep your relationship as equals even if one person earns significantly more than the other. Recognize the value contributed by a stay-at-home spouse. Don’t let your money substitute for your time or effort around the house.


  • Consider finances when thinking about having a child. Will you be able to provide good opportunities without depriving your children?
  • Be careful about toys. Teach kids that material things != happiness instead of indulging them all the time.
  • Allowances can help your children learn how to manage money. Don’t have any big expectations like making them learn how to donate to charity or save for college. Resist the temptation to supplement this through your generosity. Make it regular, not dependent on their behavior: that way, they don’t see money as the reward.
  • Think about the messages you send kids. When they want something, do you tell them you can’t afford it—and then turn around and get yourself something?
  • Plan for education Really Early.

Middle years

  • One income or two?
  • Relocating because of a career is very difficult. Is the traveling spouse willing to give up that dream if necessary? Is the trailing spouse willing to walk away from his or her own career if necessary? Try to find a win-win. Acknowledge difficulties, particularly for trailing spouse.
  • People have different vacation needs. Find a good compromise. (It’s vacation, after all.) Might not even be together all the time.
  • Talk about your life goals. Check for compatibility. Find good compromises.


  • Plan for retirement really early.
  • Medical aid is expensive. Think about that, too.
  • Should you support your parents? Should your children support you when you’re old? Book: Parents should have planned ahead for their own retirement, so should not oblige children as their children’s primary responsibility is to their new family. (For us Filipinos, though, this is practically a given…)

UPDATE: Clair wrote:

I have been browsing through Logsense
( — that blog also some various tips that are
helpful :) Thanks for sharing your notes. Finance – that is something
I am horrible at. The game last Saturday just made me realize how
clueless I am. I ought to get a grip on myself. Am not getting any
younger. And I ought to think of the future, not just the now! Thing
is that with things overwhelming me now, I forget about things for the

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