Seven Couples Talk Money

But the really interesting stuff is in the subtext.

Photo credit: Shelah, CC BY 2.0.

I’ve read through Bloomberg Businessweek’s “How Couples Do Money” profile a few times, and I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that you’ll read it at least once, because it’s so fascinating.

Bloomberg’s Josh Eidelson, Eva Holland, and David Gauvey Herbert interview seven different couples, including:

  • the twenty-somethings in Los Angeles who are putting all of their resources into building their band, Bonavega
  • the Washington, DC couple attempting to redistribute some of their privilege by donating 20 percent of their income to charity
  • the couple in Arizona who both work at Walmart and appear to earn less money, combined, than the DC couple puts towards donations

What makes these seven interviews so interesting are the stories behind the stories. The LA couple with the band, for example; we learn that 28-year-old Brandon Wilbarger is putting everything he has into his music career, and 25-year-old Samantha Lepre is providing support and has loaned him money to help the band, and then we get this:

Samantha: I definitely feel like I’m invested in Bonavega in some way. I would feel — I would want to kill him if he made it big and then we didn’t date anymore, because I basically am the mastermind behind it all. So it would be an issue.

Veronica and Leticia Macias, who also live in Los Angeles but do not work in the entertainment industry—they’re a gerontologist and a construction estimator, respectively—approach money like Billfolders:

Veronica: Her debt [when we married] was a substantial amount, like $7,000. I wasn’t upset. I was more worried than upset.
Leticia: I just felt embarrassed. But I knew I was going to pay it off. I made that my hobby. I was infatuated. Every single day, I would check my score. Every two months, I called my credit card companies to get an increased credit line, because that helps your debt-to-income ratio. I opened up a new credit card of my own. I got a car on my own. It got to the point that my credit score was much higher than Veronica’s.

And then there’s Renée and Matt Fixel, the couple in Chandler, Arizona who work at Walmart:

Renée: I had to stop going to school to work. That’s when our finances became very hard. And after we both quit our jobs to work at Walmart, it was even harder. We make $10 an hour. And with student loans, it’s just not enough pay to survive on. We don’t have kids right now.
Matt: We can’t afford it, not in this economy. But a lot of the women Renée knows from high school, they’ve all got the belly to show, “Hey, I’ve got kid No. 1 or kid No. 5 on the way.”

Read the whole thing and let us know which parts resonated with you—or which couple your financial situation most resembles.