Money

6 Secrets From Couples Who’ve Paid Off Debt, Built Empires, and Retired Early

You don’t object to the whole “for richer, for poorer,” but your life as a couple would be a lot easier with a little more of the former.

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The best way to get debt-free, make a fortune, and retire early? Work with your partner to tackle your financial goals as a team.

We talked to real couples who’ve paid off debt, improved their credit scores and even built business empires. And they’ve shared their insider tips for how you and your better half can duplicate their financial success.

So grab your partner and start using these strategies today to start living the richer life you both deserve.    

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Secret No. 1: Enjoy The Spoils of Passive Income 

Have you ever thought about investing in some real estate? No, you don’t need to have enough money saved for a down payment — you can start with a minimum investment of $500.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be invested in portfolios of real estate around the United States. 

You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina. And you don’t have to be the landlord — Fundrise does all the heavy lifting.

As tenants pay their rent, you can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation of the property. 

We talked to Christopher and Meghan Miller, who quit their full-time jobs and bought two acres in Berryville, Virginia. They live off their savings and income from side gigs — and use sources of passive income, like Fundrise, to add to their financial security.

They own rental properties, too, but Christopher said Fundrise is even better: “I view our investments in Fundrise as something even more passive than the rental properties we own. I don’t have to manage them; I don’t have to do the work to improve the properties; I don’t have to find tenants, evict tenants.”

Plus, it only takes $500 to get started with Fundrise — not $50,000.

Secret No. 2: Vow to Pay Off Your Debt, For Richer or For Poorer

Marriage is about two becoming one — unfortunately, that can mean double the debt for one household, too.

Figuring out how to cover your own bills can be tough enough, but managing two debt-payment schedules can be downright overwhelming. 

Here’s what we suggest: Refinance and consolidate your debt.

What’s that mean? Take out a personal loan, one that has lower interest rates and more favorite terms than your current situation. Then, you’ll use that personal loan to pay off your debt. You can do this for your debt, their debt and even your combined debt.

It might sound counterintuitive at first — like you’re just moving one form of debt over to another — but the truth is, paying one bill each month will be a lot easier, and this could even lower your payments, save you tons of money in interest and/or allow you to pay off your debt faster.

If you’re not sure where to start looking, use a website called Fiona. It’ll match you with a low-interest loan — rates start at 3.84%. It won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. (We know you don’t have time for that.)

Refinancing and consolidating debt was one of the moves Deacon and Kim Hayes made to pay off $52,000 worth of debt in 18 months.

They had a few high-interest credit cards that carried more than 13% interest. This kept them from making any real progress paying them off, so they refinanced, which lowered their interest rate and, in turn, lowered their monthly payments. This helped speed up their process and within just 18 months the couple was debt free.

If you’re worried you won’t qualify for a refinancing loan, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars.

Secret No. 3: Leave Your Kids $1 Million (Without Being an Actual Millionaire)

If you have kids, you’ve probably worried about what’ll happen to them if something were to happen to you…

That’s where life insurance can provide a peace of mind. You sign up for a policy and pay a monthly rate, and if you die, your partner and kids will receive the payout.

Traditionally, life insurance was seen as something only the wealthy needed, but that’s not the case anymore — especially since policies are so affordable.

Consider a life insurance company called Bestow. The application doesn’t take more than about five minutes to fill out, and you can leave your family with $1 million — for as little as $5 a month.

Derick Davis understood the importance of life insurance when his dad passed away. His dad had a life insurance policy, but it wasn’t enough coverage, and Davis, then 5, remembers his family struggling to stay afloat financially.

When he started looking into life insurance policies for his family — his wife and two sons — he found that life insurance was actually much more affordable than he expected. And now?

“It makes me feel that I’m doing the right things in order to give my kids the best chance if something should happen,” he says.

It takes minutes to get a free quote from Bestow.

Secret No. 4: Launch a Business Empire, One Shirt at a Time

So working together may not be your idea of romance, but building a business together could be a relationship builder, too. 

And you never know where it will take you.

For Adam and Coryn Enfinger, their little side hustle led them to full-time careers working for themselves.

Back in 2007, the Enfingers were a young, broke married couple with their first baby. When both of their cars broke down in the same month, Adam bought a bike to ride to work.

Those bike commutes inspired a business idea: Sell screen-printed T-shirts with animals on bikes.

The husband and wife worked odd jobs as they worked to launch Dark Cycle Clothing, which would eventually become a $350K business.

It wasn’t easy in the beginning — they sold maybe two items at their first event. But then Coryn decided to list extra products on Etsy. That’s when their business really started taking off, and by 2009, the couple made Dark Cycle Clothing their full-time career.

The key to building a business together? Get creative, hustle hard and don’t give up.

Secret No. 5: Cancel Your Car Insurance

If you’re like most Americans, driving to work, school and everywhere else in life isn’t an option — it’s a necessity.

So if you and your partner both have vehicles, one place to look for easy savings on your monthly bills should be your car insurance.

In most places, it’s straight up illegal not to have it, so you’ve probably accepted that you’re going to pay through the nose for it. But you don’t have to.

A free website called The Zebra will find the best deal for you — in just two minutes.

All you have to do is enter basic information about your car and driving history, then The Zebra compares prices from more than 100 companies to find you the best price.

The Zebra says it saves its users up to $670 a year.

If you find a policy you like, you can sign up online instantly.

Secret No. 6: Add up to 200 Points to Both of Your Credit Scores

Planning to set up home as a couple? Whether you’re planning to buy or rent a place, you’ll need a healthy credit score.

But fess up: When’s the last time you checked your credit score?

Let’s start there. We suggest using a free website called Credit Sesame. We like it because, again, it’s free, and it takes less than two minutes to sign up. Once you have access to your score, you can take steps to improve it with Credit Sesame’s personalized recommendations.

Salome Buitureria and her husband, Alfredo, both struggled with bad credit. Both of them got laid off from their jobs, and the credit card bills started to stack up as they tried to support their nine kids. Their scores were in the low 500s.

They signed up for Credit Sesame and started taking its recommendations. For Salome, it helped her find an error on her report and dispute it. It also recommended a rewards credit card she could qualify for that’d help her improve her score.

Today, Salmone’s score is around 690, and Alfredo’s is at 701, and now they have big plans to buy a home soon.*

Just because you have bad credit now doesn’t mean you have to live with it forever. Credit Sesame will help you get there — it takes approximately 90 seconds to get started.

And if you have a partner in crime to keep you motivated along the way? Even better!

Woman’s World has teamed up with the experts at The Penny Hoarder to bring you financial content. This article was written by Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) who is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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