I met Talaat and Tai through social media as they were standing up their blog, His & Her Money. I like the idea that a couple that are actively managing their finances together – working through their differences – are willing to share their experiences with others through their blog. I invited them to ‘sit’ for A SavvyInterview once their blog was up and running. Well, their blog is up and here they are. I hope you enjoy meeting this couple that started off as high school sweethearts, got married and started a family.
RetirementSavvy: Tell us about your blog. What was the catalyst to start it?
Talaat & Tai: HisandHerMoney.com is a blog that seeks to help as many people as possible achieve financial independence. We’ve witnessed too many people struggle with their finances. Not too many people know the basics of personal financial management. Our goal is to see that change. We want to shift people’s mindsets to begin to see their money as a tool to freedom, instead of a means to acquire more “things.”
The catalyst that started us on this journey was first our personal story. We got married, but we both handled money differently. One of us was good with money, while the other was not. One had a great credit score, and the other did not. One had debt, and the other did not. So, were we not compatible to have a great marriage? We beat the odds and figured this whole money thing out TOGETHER, and became debt free!
After having conversations with other couples about financial stewardship, we found that we absolutely loved helping people in this area of their lives. People locally who are in our lives have often sought us out to answer questions that they have about their money. We figured that we could help even more people by starting a blog and putting the information out for all to see.
RS: What is the one personal finance concept you believe someone seeking financial freedom should understand and practice?
T&T: The one concept that we wish more people would grasp, is that there is no such thing as “good” debt. We believe that all debt is bad. We believe that debt has far too many people trapped in bondage. People are making life decision based on the amount of debt that they are in. That is no way to live your life. You should not have to take a job that you are not particularly fond of, simply because it will pay you enough money to keep up with all of your debt payments. Whether or not you and your spouse decide to have children should not solely be based on the fact that you are drowning in student loan debt. We want people to understand that debt is not good and that they should work tirelessly to eliminate every shred of it in their lives. It is our conviction that becoming debt free allows you to build a life that is reflective of who you are as a person. We encourage people to strive to live a life that is full of passion and purpose, instead of debt and depression.
Talaat: We have differing opinions when it comes to whether or not credit cards are necessary to have. The biggest reason for that is because we have had differing experiences with the use of credit cards. I started my adult life by accumulating TONS of credit card debt, because I didn’t have good sense when it came to finances. It took a ton of hard work and a paradigm shift in thinking about money, before all of that debt was eliminated. However, being in financial quick sand like that left some scars. I went from one extreme to the other. I went from racking up multiple credit cards, to not wanting to have anything to do with another credit card ever again.
Tai: I on the other hand, have always been wise with my money, even from an early age. I have had the same credit card since I was in college. I have always paid off my balance at the end of every month and have never once been in debt. In our marriage we found a middle ground by only having one credit card that we pay off at the end of every month, whenever we choose to use it.
RS: What was the best financial advice you ever received? The worst?
T&T: The best financial advice that we have ever received was to get out of debt and stay out. The American dream has seemed to become one that is filled with debt payments. Whether it is a mortgage, a couple of car payments, furniture bills, heck you can even go and finance yourself a new pet dog. We’re so grateful to have been advised on the dangers of falling into these types of trapping and ensnaring ourselves with a bunch of debt. Our lives were truly revolutionized by this advice and we have never looked back sense.
The worst advice was to take out a line of credit on our primary residence in order to pursue investment real estate. Absolute disaster! We thought it would be a great idea to go into the real estate “flipping” game since it looked so easy on all those great television shows. Therefore we took the line of credit on our home and purchased an investment property that we renovated and placed it back on the market hoping for our big payday. Unfortunately, we listed the property on the market right when the real estate bubble burst. We were now stuck with TWO properties, our primary and “investment” residence, that we were shelling out money to maintain every month. Talk about a nightmare. We ended up taking a big loss and it took us quite a bit of time to recover.
RS: How do you define wealth?
T&T: Wealth for us is not defined by the amount of money we have or don’t have. It is first and foremost, our relationship with God, family and friends. After that, a bank account with a lot of digits would be nice too…LOL!