First Person: Rich Husband, Frugal Wife

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Some women are gold diggers who marry men for their money. And then there are frugal wives, who make their husbands into millionaires. It’s what I call the “rich husband, frugal wife” phenomena, and it’s something that I’ve been living the past seven years of my marriage.

Researchers say more than 90 percent of American millionaires are married, most for more than 30 years. Thomas J. Stanley, the author of “The Millionaire Mindset,” says there is a correlation between continuous marriage and wealth accumulation. He also suggests it’s not just a matter of being married to the same woman for decades, but being married to the right woman.

A millionaire’s wife has certain key traits and qualities. My husband was not rich when I married him, but together we are building a strong financial future. He is not a millionaire yet, but we are only seven years into it!

Here are some of the ways that I ensure my husband will be financially successful:

Be a planner
I plan out the weekly schedule of appointments as well as the monthly financial goals. Since there are sometimes unexpected expenses, I plan for those as well.

Follow a budget
I don’t stray from the monthly budget. I know what we have coming in as far as income and what we have going out for monthly expenses. Some months we have to spend money on car repairs and once a year it may be the tax bill, but I always keep a balanced budget.

An educated mind
I’m a firm believer in a college education. According to Stanley, 90 percent of millionaire husbands have college educations and 85 percent of their wives hold a college diploma. I don’t think you have to graduate with a civil engineering degree (like one of my roommates in college who studied a lot), but I benefited from my “impractical” English major. I can quote Fyodor Dostoevsky if nothing else.

Be frugal, not cheap
I am conservative with money. I don’t shop as a form of entertainment, although I do enjoy shopping. When I go grocery shopping, I keep a list, clip coupons and focus on healthy foods. I’m frugal with myself but not cheap toward others. For example, I may use a coupon at a restaurant, but would always leave a generous tip.

Support husband as main breadwinner
Stanley found that men are often the main breadwinners in millionaire couples. My husband is more ambitious, and I’m fine with that. I support him by making his home life comfortable and organized as opposed to fighting for “equal work for equal pay.”

The author said there are five key qualities that belong to the wives of millionaires. Their best qualities are: loving, honest, capable, supportive and responsible. The millionaire wives are also virtuous. unselfish, caring, understanding, forgiving, patient and disciplined. I imagine few “gold diggers” share these same outstanding traits. Also, wives of millionaires stick it out during rough patches such as business failures and/or unemployment. No one wants to be married to a person who packs their bags at the first sign of a challenge or hardship.

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