Meet Bruce & Brenda McGrew
Marriage & Money: Getting on the Same Page
Brenda and I sat down together to tell you our story of marriage-money. On this podcast, you will get to know a little more about our lives and our personal journey to become debt free. You will hear why we direct our message to teachers and what our goal is with the TEAM podcast.
Resources from the Podcast:
- Interview with Chris Eubanks (Coming Soon)
- Financial Peace University
- Dave Ramsey
- Senator Blake Johnson
(The transcript is actually funny. I used a free trial from a service at trint.com that does auto-transcription from audio files and it leaves a lot to be desired.)
Bruce: [00:00:00] Hi welcome everybody to the team podcast, teaching educators about money. This is a podcast with my wife, beautiful wife. Well, thank you. Brenda McGrew of how many years? Twenty-five. Twenty-five years. How about that.
Bruce: [00:00:16] This podcast is going to be a two part or it’s going to serve two purposes. We want this to be about us but also I want to cover getting on the same page with your significant other when it comes to finances because that is so so important.
Brenda: [00:00:34] Wouldn’t you say, Brenda? it’s very important very important. Brenda is a writer, I’m a speaker and she’s close to having a panic attack. I’m very nervous! It’s actually hilarious. No, it’s not. We’re going to get started, again two part and about us and getting on the same page with money because we think that is absolutely 100 percent necessary for finances and Brenda is actually sweating a lot and it’s just me and her!
Bruce: [00:01:05] a little bit about Brenda and I, I already said we’ve been married 25 years in April; 25 years of marital bliss. Not! not even close. We completely destroyed our marriage at one point. That makes me sad to say that: me too.
[00:01:19] Very sad. But we rebuilt it better than ever. Thank you, Blake Johnson, who’s now a senator of Arkansas believe it or not, who would have thought that? That’s a podcast for another day at another time and certainly part of our story we want to share going forward. Brenda and I were high school sweethearts wasn’t that neat? I was 12. I was a cradle robber. I was 12. She was 18.
Brenda: [00:01:47] No not exactly. But I was 16 you were 15. Yeah. Well, that’s close enough. Yeah. You tell that story all the time. I know.
Bruce: [00:01:54] But anyway we were high school sweethearts So we have basically grown up together which I love love love.
[00:01:59] Now looking back Brenda and I had no training with money other than TV and TV in the 80s was a bad instructor. We learned about money from watching Dynasty and Dallas where the only thing that mattered is what it looked like right? Greed was good. That was the greed is good era. So we grew up we got into debt. We thought that was a normal part of life.
Brenda: [00:02:34] Oh absolutely.
Bruce: [00:02:35] You know you have to have a car payment. So then we both became public school educators where money is not there: it’s not there in abundance: which is all part of having a plan. But Brenda, she’s a librarian now, elementary school librarian. She’s been a kindergarten teacher. She’s been a second-grade teacher, 24 years and preschool. I am an IT director for a public school district. Been there 18 years. And so she and I have spent our careers in education. And so that’s why the focus on our Web site with TEAM, teaching educators about money.
Brenda: [00:03:13] By the way I came up with the name. She really did. I’m like you’re a genius of course. Absolutely. That’s the best thing he’s called me in our marriage. Oh no. But anyway we got careers we actually made a little money and then we got more debt. Right. Right exactly righ Because somehow debt is a sign of financial wellness. No. My goodness. But that’s what we thought, you know that’s a sign of prosperity.
Bruce: [00:03:45] So by 2012 Here’s what we looked like we had twenty-two thousand dollars in credit card debt and we absolutely lived check to check each month.
[00:03:58] There was not enough month at the end of the money. But shortly thereafter we met Dave Ramsey. I have interviewed Chris Eubanks a good friend of mine on another podcast. You can check it out, now the bad thing is it’s like an hour long, but that was Chris and I sitting down as two friends and discussing our past relationship for the past six years. But Chris was the one to introduce Brenda and me to Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University.
[00:04:26] And we turn our lives around after that.
Brenda: [00:04:29] He’s the third most important man in my life. Oh, I guess I need to say my kids and then Dave Ramsey.
Bruce: [00:04:37] Oh my goodness. Dave Ramsey just got put above her children, this is great! no no no no!
Bruce: [00:04:42] We knew nothing about money which is funny because I’m a numbers guy. I excelled in school with numbers. I had a professor in college that wanted me to be an accountant because I was so good with numbers and so I was an idiot numbers. I learned through this that money is 20 percent numbers and 80 percent about the emotion. And until you get that figured out it doesn’t matter how good you are with numbers. Brenda let me ask you something because this is important. Tell me about being on the same page as your spouse when it comes to money and the absolute importance of that.
Brenda: [00:05:27] Oh I think it’s very important. You know financial struggles are hard enough as you know it’s hard enough when you’re on the same page but when you’re on different pages and go in different directions it’s got to be difficult. And I mean I’m not going to say it’s virtually impossible because you know one being on the good page and one being on the bad page is better than both of you being on the bad page. But anyway it’s of utmost importance that both of you get on the same page.
Bruce: [00:05:54] Well that’s absolutely right. And I think some people don’t appreciate that. Certainly, people I visit with about money is taboo. So it’s tempting for one person in the relationship to deal with the money and the other just like has the attitude of will you handle it. Everything she and I are going to talk about and present through this; through the website or the podcast and through the blog; it’s all going to be assuming that you and your spouse; your significant other are locked in on the same page. Brenda, when we went through financial Pace University for the first time what was it clicked with you and I’ll mention this in my podcast with Chris Eubanks when I visited with Chris. You know I had never heard of Dave Ramsey. Never heard of FPU and I told Chris we went through the program strictly because he and his family had moved into the area and started worshiping with us at the church at success. We were being supportive of them. After those nine weeks were over, our lives are virtually changed forever when it comes to money. So what with you Brenda; what was it that clicked with Financial Peace University that maybe was not there before.
Brenda: [00:07:17] OK. Well looking back you know I don’t know that it was one particular thing but I was just so tired of living paycheck to paycheck. Both of us as educators got paid once a month and you know like you said there was more money than we had money. The beginning of the month we were doing well but then at the end of the month you know the money wasn’t there and we were literally robbing Peter to pay Paul and as the one who was going to buy the groceries and going to Wal-Mart and getting our necessities I felt responsible when there wasn’t enough or when there wasn’t milk in the refrigerator it’s like wow you know that’s my fault. I ran out of money I spent too much on the first shopping trip. And so when we started FPU and I realized, you know hey this could actually work. But I remember thinking about that first baby step and they said you know put a thousand dollars in the bank and I literally laughed inside thinking you know Chris I can’t even put a hundred in the bank account. I’m going to put a thousand in the bank. And I thought you know this man makes more money than we do. He doesn’t understand our situation. How can we get the money in there? But then you know we sit down we created a budget. And I thought you know this this could really happen.
Brenda: [00:08:31] But then of course that doubt in the back of your mind what’s going to happen when I stray from this budget you know is it going to throw us all off and then we started communicating our concerns and we did it together and together we created an actual livable breathable document. And I you know I didn’t have to go without eating I didn’t have to go without you know going out with my friends or once in a while and all of that because we put that in the budget. Why have we not thought of this before? And when we sat down and started having our monthly meetings and we saw that we were paying off bills and you know we went from now we only have $300 left to get by the month. I mean we were literally high fiving each other and it was like wow we’re doing this. And from then on I mean my whole mindset changed it was like How much can we save, how much can we pay off what are we going to pay off next and what’s our next step. And I mean that’s great.
Bruce: [00:09:36] And the funny thing is you know Brenda and I were at different places both bad places when it comes to money. But we were different places. So you heard Brenda talk about what was her aha moment or what clicked with her.
Bruce: [00:09:48] For me it was something totally different but something equally significant and that was I learned through FPU how bad debt was. I learned that it was the slave master. I had never thought about it. I always thought we’d make X amou