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#11 My Wife's Money Story | NEW MONEY NEW PROBLEMS PODCAST

#11 My Wife's Money Story | NEW MONEY NEW PROBLEMS PODCAST

January 17, 2023
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One of the most difficult things you can do in a marriage, is figure out how to best manage money together.

Now that you know my money story, tune in for the story of the other person with whom I manage money: my wife!

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Brenton: One of the most difficult things you can do in a marriage is figure out how to manage money together. And now that you know my money story, you need to know the story of the person that I manage money with. My wife's let's get started.
Hello? Hello, this is Brenton Harrison of new money, new problems, and your host for the new money, new problems podcast. I hope you all are having an excellent 2023, and we have a really cool episode for you today over the Christmas holidays. Uh, I was fortunate enough to have my wife's family and town to celebrate.
And there are two people who are really important to her money story who happened to be in town. And those [00:01:00] people were her grandma and grandpa groves. So these are her maternal grandparents. Uh, there are many people in my wife's family on both sides who are really important to her journey, but her grandparents have a really, really unique story and they are unique people. There are 96 and 95 years old.
And on new year's day of this year, they celebrated 75 years of marriage together. They come from radically different backgrounds and I think it'll be a really cool story to tell, to inform you of. Some of the things that Lenay brought into our marriage, uh, and some of the things that we use in terms of lessons from them, with how we manage money together.
Now I will tell you. You are going to be listening to a recording on a couch that had four generations of people on that couch. There were Renee's grandparents, my wife, her siblings, my mother-in-law, and even my four-year-old son who you will hear at points running around in the background. So it's a little crazy for the first 10 minutes or so the audio is a little wonky, but if you [00:02:00] stick with it, you can hear.
And after about 10 minutes, those levels will level out. Uh, but this is a really cool episode. So the next voice you hear. We'll actually be that of my wife, introducing herself for the first time on the new money, new problems podcast. I hope you enjoy it.
Lynae: As my husband mentioned I am here with our family and my name is Brenton's wife and I have my family here for the holiday season. I'm gonna allow each individual to introduce themselves and their relationship, obviously to myself and Brenton. So my name is Lynae. I am Brenton's wife.
Albert Clay: My name is Albert. I am Lynae's older brother, Brenton's brother-in-law, and I am the oldest grandson of the clan on the couch.
Mom: Hi, I'm [00:02:00] Darlene. I am Lynae's mother, and I'm Brenton's mother in love.
Grandma: Do you wanna introduce yourself? No.
Grandpa: Hello, I'm Albert. I'm Darlene's father. And I'm Lynae's grandfather.
How old are you, grandpa? What? How old are you? How old? And I have just turned 96 years old. January the first.
Grandma: I'm Katherine and I am Lynae's grandmother, Darlene's mother. I am married to Albert and we've been married 75 years. My name's
Brenton II: Brenton Harrison and I am four years old and I was, and me and mommy were playing in the kitchen and we were putting [00:03:00] glasses gone.
And we
Grandma: was sliding.
Brenton II: Okay.
Will: And my name is William. I am the youngest grandson. I'm Lynae's younger brother. Brenton's,
Lynae: other brother-in-law. Perfect. Brenton has had a chance to share some of his origin story. And for my portion of the episode, I really wanted to be able to share my origin story, and that really starts specifically with my grandparents.
So I think collectively all of our money habits are influenced by them. As they mentioned they are 96 and 95, or as soon to be 95.
They've been married for 75 years. And I think that they definitely set the tone for how our collective family manages money. Grandma and grandpa, I'm gonna direct this to you. Do you mind sharing, tell me about your parents, your family, where you guys grew up and specifically what your [00:04:00] parents did for a living.
And if you can give some context to the year.
Grandpa: I'm Albert and I was born in Denver, Colorado, a year of 1927 to Walker and Beatrice Groves. I, partly grew up in Denver and I spent three years in Kansas in the little town called Nicodemus. That's a black colony in Kansas.
Grandma: My mother was born in Sunflower, Mississippi. My father was born in north Little Rock, Arkansas. And growing up, we lived in Omaha because my grandfather brought his family there as he was an evangelist minister. And my father, when he first [00:05:00] came to Omaha, worked in the Smelters.
And my mother was a domestic.
Albert Clay: All right. So, born in 1920s, both of y'all. Don't get to talk to people born in 1920s, right? I'm wondering if you could, and if, to give the audience a little backstory, my grandfather was an orphan by the age of 13 and my grandmother had a lot of family members. And so their experiences back in the twenties and thirties is much different from each other.
And so I'm wondering if you can help give a little story on how your family handled money back then, comparably to each other.
My
Grandpa: father was raised in a little town called Bogue, Kansas. After he grew up, he moved to Denver and my father worked for the city [00:06:00] and county of Colorado on the highway. They were just developing the highway from Kansas to Colorado.
He was also raised up as a farmer. He, later on in his years of life, he moved to a little town called Wiggins, Colorado. In Wiggins, Colorado, he met a farmer, which he helped stack hay for him. He would go out into the fields and rake up hay. And we called back in those days, he would make a haystack.
Most of the time. My father handled the money and paid the bills.
After he passed away, I had my stepmother. First of all, she sold everything that we had. She sold the car, she sold everything that was in the house, [00:07:00] caught the bus, and she brought us to Denver and went to my grandmother's house with my brother, and I. Put our suitcases on the front porch, knocked on my grandmother's door, and when she opened the door, she says, here's your grandchildren.
She left that front door with her two stepchildren, standing, looking, wondering what was gonna happen next. My grandmother said, I'm too old. I can't take care of them. She didn't pay any attention to what my grandmother said. She just turned and walked away. I never saw her until I was fully grown and had finished school.
That was the thing that was hard, the hardest thing in my
Albert Clay: life.
Grandma: So
Lynae: you're orphaned at [00:08:00] 13. I understand that when your grandmother wasn't able to take care of you, you live with your aunt and your uncle, and your first job was working at a Walgreens.
Do you remember how much you were earning at the time? And did you use that for living expenses? Were you trying to save towards, like moving out on your own and having some, financial independence?
Grandpa: I really don't remember how much that job paid.
I went to school from eight 15 to three 15 in the afternoon. I got outta school at three 15. I worked in that drug store from four o'clock till 11 o'clock at night.
Went home, went to sleep, didn't have time to study my lessons. Got up the next morning, went to school, didn't know anymore the day that I left school. The day that I went back to school. I never had an opportunity [00:09:00] to study. Because only thing you can do is work and sleep.
So I decided when I got to the 10th grade, there's no point in me getting up, going to school and not learning anything. I quit school. My uncle had a coal company. He had a five turn truck. I would take that truck at age 15 to 16 and I would drive 35 miles and pick up a turn of coal and break it back and bring it back to the coal company.
15 years old driving a truck, no driver's license, but I would pick up that coal and bring it back to the coal company.
Albert Clay: So grandma, let's talk about you. You grew up in Omaha, Nebraska? What was your relationship with money? Who was the one that decided your financial [00:10:00] situation and, going on?
Grandma: After my father went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad. He was fourth cook and that was, that particular railroad was our family's source of income cuz all of my uncles worked the Union Pacific Railroad as waiters.
And so my father started saving all of the silver dollars that he received as tips at that time. My mother being a domestic, I believe she was making like 10 or 15 cents an hour. Dad always gave me spending money.
I never worried about saving it because my father was the one who gave it to me and I just depended on him like my mom did.
And by the time I was about 14 or so, [00:11:00] my parents divorced, and so my mother had moved to Denver. My dad stayed in Omaha. At that time my father talked to me and gave me an allowance, but he also gave me a charge card, and he told me that I could charge up to $50 a month, but that was to do me for any food that I needed, and it was to take care of my transportation.
The only thing that happened, I did not get a clear understanding of the charge card. And so in my thinking after he'd given it to me, a sale came up at Brandi store in downtown Omaha, and I was thinking I'll go and get what I want with my charge card, and if I get a good bargain, [00:12:00] I won't be charging anything for a few months.
So I took the charge card and went to Brandeis and went shopping.
When the bill came, my dad called me in and said, did you make a bill for almost $300 at Brandeis store? And I said, yes. I was getting stuff for school. And, I gave him my whole spiel and he said, that was not what it was for.
And he said, I'm gonna pay the bill, but if you misuse it again, I am taking it, and you will walk to school and you will stay in after school and you'll not go anywhere.
Do you understand me? And I said, yes, I understand. I understand. So I do know that my first experience with the charge card was awful [00:13:00] and that my father took care of it for me.
Will: Was there ever a time either growing up, either with your friends or people around your neighborhood where you would have money to go to the movies, but they didn't?
Grandma: Yes, but we were a close family and, I had cousins that I saw every day. I lived two blocks from my grandparents. So I saw my grandparents every day, going to school, coming from school, and I saw my cousins one, Margaret and I were three months apart.
And so if I wanted to go to the show or anything, Margaret went and I made sure that I paid for her. I was taught to be generous with what I had. My, my dad he made sure [00:14:00] when he died that he left me an inheritance. And his, a word to me about that was that I was to use it for my children and their children's children. He was generous, but he was not reckless
with his money. He made sure that I was well taken care of.
Albert Clay: So when did you all get married?
Grandpa: 1948.
Albert Clay: How old were you, grandpa? 21.
And how old were your grandma? You were 19. You were 19 years old.
Grandma: When I arrived in Denver to, be with my mother and go to University of Denver to study my mother lived in an apartment house and Albert lived across the hall from her.
And my mother kept telling me every [00:15:00] other day, I want you to meet this young man that lives across the hall.
And my mother kept telling me about this young man till I finally decide okay, I'll meet him. And I met Albert and believe it or not, even though we are so different, we liked each other. And it, just went from there. He was telling me today he was surprised that when he asked me to marry him, I said yes right away.
I didn't hem or haw or anything of that sort. I'd had enough schooling. I was gonna go to the University of Denver and make big bucks. And so might as well have a husband and make big money with him.
Albert Clay: So y'all were very young, right? And I'm wondering at that point, had you gone back to school, grandpa?
Grandpa: No. Not at that
Albert Clay: time. At that point, grandma, had you graduated from high school at [00:16:00] that point? No. Okay. I
Grandma: only had that one year.
Grandpa: The, education that I got at that time, the government was offering a GED. I went and took the test and took, got a G E D test, finished the GED.
test. That's how I finished my high school education. After that, I I went to Oakwood.
Grandma: I took classes there and after we had taken our classes and Albert had graduated, then they asked him if he would teach school in New Orleans . And and he agreed. And so there were a, teacher that taught grades 1, 2, 3.
I taught grades four, five, and six. Albert taught grades seven and eight and was the principal. And so we did that [00:17:00] down in New Orleans. Okay. So after I left there, I went back to Denver and I started working as nurse's aid in Mercy Hospital, which is no longer there. But, and I was working nights because I had a family and I had a couple of doctor friends that told me that I should take the R LPN test.
So I took the test and passed it, and I became an lpn. And then Dr. John Davis told me that I need to go for my RN . But at that time I had started working for the federal government and I was making about 600 a month which, was considered good money Yeah.
Then, and [00:18:00] so I didn't see the point in my quitting, but then the government closed that base and when they did, I got two years of unemployment from the government. That was almost what I made. And Albert and I, we talked about it and I told 'em I would save all of my unemployment and go back to college and go to nurses training.
I was putting my money into the savings account and we were using his money to pay the bills.
And he came in one day and he asked me if I wrote a check for $25 and didn't put it in the checkbook . And I said, no. And he said you had to because I didn't do it. So I said No. And he asked me again and I said, no. So Darlene and I, we were sitting at the dining room table and [00:19:00] I told her, I have a test tomorrow.
I better go to the library. So I told Albert, I said, I'm going to the library and I'll talk with you later. So while I was at the library, I got the thinking, I need to probably change this. So I, that evening I asked him, why don't we open up me a checking account and then you won't have to worry about who's spending the money in the checkbook.
And he thought about it and I said, give me a hundred dollars a month to spend and we'll go from. And so that's how that's set up. And after, like I had the hundred a month, then it worked so well for us that when I got through nurses training and had my own job, I could put my check in my own checking [00:20:00] account and it kept him from having to worry about the checks that I wrote or did not write and did not place in his checking book.
Oh, yes. After I had made all those changes, he found out about a month later that he had written the check for $25 and he had to apologize , which he did. I'm so sorry. I, but cuz he was Oh, he was, he, I couldn't study at home with him asking me about the $25. And of course in those days that was considered a fair amount of
Albert Clay: waste.
Will: So, grandpa, okay. At what age would you say that you learned the value of money?
Grandpa: You don't really, value money until you get to be a certain age. Then you value money. If you are [00:21:00] young you, spend it. When you started getting old, you value it. You want to have so much in the bank. You want to have so much in your pocket.
You value money. When you are young, you don't value money. If you see something that you want, you go buy it. You don't think about saving it or putting it up for a rainy day. If you see it, you want it, you buy it. But when you get older, you start thinking, I need to put this up for a rain for another time or a rainy day, or maybe I may need it or something breaks down, your car breaks down and you don't have to go out and, ask somebody to help you or bar borrow enough money to pay to have their car fixed.
That's what you save your money for so that you don't have to go a one or either wonder, how am I gonna pay that [00:22:00] bill?
I look at my bills and see what my bills are going to cost me during the month. I look at my check and I said I can save this amount outta my check every month. And I try to put aside, I don't even, I don't bring the money home.
I have the state to take the money out and put it in a checking account or put it in a saving account for me. Cuz if you bring it home, you're gonna spend it. If you get a raise money that you didn't have before, you'll spend that money. But if you take it and save it or, not even bring it home, then you, are already made or paid the bills off of which you were making.
Why get a raise and, take that amount of money home? Put it up. Save it.
Mom: Why is it important, [00:23:00] even at 96 and 94 years old to
Grandma: save? ,
Grandpa: when my father died, I got $10. Think of it, your dad has worked all of his life, lost his life, and he what? He had left. You get $10.
It's a different feeling for me. I guess when you go through hard times and you've been through hard times, and you know how you were raised with no money, not an extra dime to buy a slice of bread.
You think about those times, you don't want your children to be able to go through the same problems that you had when you were coming up. I want them to have something so when I'm gone, they can say, dad left this [00:24:00] for me, or Mama left this for me and, you appreciate it.
Grandma: All right. So you guys
Lynae: officially have been married for 75 years.
I know when Grandma said when you initially got married, you guys didn't have much. But as you have accumulated assets, resources, how do you think your relationship with money has evolved over time, even with separate accounts?
How often do you adjust the relationship that you two have for money over the course of literally a lifetime? How has that
Grandma: changed?
The main thing is how you, view money. I have a different perspective of money than Albert does.
Albert values money. As a matter of fact, I asked him once, how much do we need to save for you to be comfortable? Because he used to word we don't have enough [00:25:00] say where I'm comfortable. So I would say how much do we have to save for you to be comfortable? And first he told me 10 to 15,000.
And then he gets that and he says I'm still not comfortable. So I says, okay, but then let's save a little more. So we saved 20, $25,000. I'm still not comfortable . Now, I don't have to go through a comfortable, because I've never had a, time when I didn't have, if I went hungry, it was because I just didn't eat a meal.
And I don't know what it would be for someone who who would like to have a meal and eat beans and hamburgers every day. I do take into consideration his background versus mine [00:26:00] and, try to blend it. But I also try to make myself as comfortable too. I don't wanna be upset with him because he worries about money.
I just want him to worry about his own money and then let me have some that, that I don't have to worry about. So that's, the main thing. But he, money is very important to Albert. Very important.
Grandpa: I think about dad, I think of him often. My dad used to say when he got sick, if I had a steak about so thick, I think I could get well. All my life. I've thought that running through my mind, I thought if you just a [00:27:00] steak would get him well, but he didn't have enough money to buy him a steak.
I said if I ever get grown big old enough and get enough money, I'm gonna buy my dad a steak. Never got to that point, but I think it, filtered into me Always have enough money to buy a steak. My dad, as I said before, I wanted to walk like him. I wanted to talk like him.
I wanted to smoke cigars, like he smoked them. And I almost died trying to smoke a cigar . I wanted to be just like my dad. That was, that my dad was my idol. I love that man. Didn't get a chance to let him see me grow up and be somebody. There's one thing in our life between my brother and me, [00:28:00] everybody in the family had a mother and a father in the home. We didn't have a mother and father.
The family said, those boys won't amount to nothing.
Some things that have been said that just make you cringe, boy, just somebody said they're not gonna amount to nothing. That's why both of us went to college. That's why both of 'em went to service.
We could sit down and talk to each other and say, they don't think we can make anything. Let's make something out of our lives. I guess that's the thing that drove us, has driven us to, the point we are today.
Making something out of your life.
Lynae: Do you feel like after 75 years of marriage, any of grandma's spending habits have rubbed off on you a little bit? Do you feel like you might be a little more inclined to splurge or does it always have to be for a function or a bill?
Grandpa: Let me say it this way. Money isn't tied to what I [00:29:00] do.
I like money, but money doesn't stop me from doing what I want to do.
Lynae: So will you spend money on travel? Will you spend money now?
Grandpa: We went on cruises two, at least two cruises a year.
Grandma: We went on, cruises but, with the way your grandfather thinks, it has to have some value.
And I've been able to get a lot of things done by using the fact that it makes sense.
He has not always been happy with the way I've spent money and I have not always been happy with the way he has not spent money. You have to get to a happy medium because I don't think money is such a hot topic that you really have to have [00:30:00] solid foundation of how you're going to do it.
And no one person in any relationship should have the final say. It should be what you both agree on. And if you agree on something and it isn't working for one of you, you should be able to come up with a reason why it's not working and what can be done to make it work. And like with my parents, my mother and father were divorced, but if I was in need of anything, they come together like gangbusters to make sure that it happened.
Albert Clay: The question I have is you both retired, you retired as an educator, grandpa, grandma, you retired as a nurse, but that wasn't the end of, your work or bringing in funds.
Grandpa [00:31:00] you opened, you started your own business, right As a brick mason grandma. You started doing contract work with Headstart in other places. So if you could talk about your post career and how you incorporated that income into your post-retirement life.
Grandpa: I retired from the state. Then I went back to laying bricks. I wanted something to do. I, couldn't come home and sit down and look at that idiot box all day. I had to have something to do.
So I went back to laying bricks, my own company.
And how did you start your own company? How did you, how did that work?
A guy bought some land and he was building a house. He asked me to lay the bricks on his house. He built one house. I [00:32:00] laid the bricks on that one house. He built another, brought another house. I laid the bricks on that house. He bought two houses. I laid the bricks on both of his houses. Believe it or not, I had, two or three months ago, a guy called me and asked me to come and lay some bricks.
I said, man, I'm too old, , too old to be laying bricks. I said, oh I don't lay no bricks. Call me, ask me. I said, I got a little job here. I need, you need to brick, brick said, man, I don't need no brick anymore. I said, I don't have all my tools in the shed back there. I'm not laying any bricks.
But when I quit working, I had something to do. The biggest brick job that I'm proud of is the room that I put on the back of the house.
I'm proud of that room. I sat back in there and look around and say, I did this. That makes you feel good. Yeah. Say I [00:33:00] did this.
Lynae: We've had a opportunity to learn more about your relationship with money, your parents origins with money, how that influence your habits.
What do you want your legacy for us to be as your children and grandchildren? What is your legacy to our family with money?
Grandpa: Don't spend every dime you get your hands
Grandma: on.
Lynae: We won't grandpa, I promise
Albert Clay: too. Late
Will: grandma. Do you have any lessons that you want us to
Grandma: take? As far as, I see with money you want it to do some good not only for yourself, but for others.
You want it to be where you take care of yourself and your family and that you can also help somebody [00:34:00] else that's really important. But, you have to come to an agreement because if, you come to an agreement and your husband or the wife is unhappy, you're not gonna enjoy that money because there's gonna always be some little something about it that's not quite right, or there's always something for someone to argue about.
Grandpa: I don't think we, I don't think we talk about money too much.
Grandma: The reason why we don't talk about it that much.
We've already gone over the hard knocks. The hardest thing was sitting down and deciding how much we were going to save, how much we were go going to pay for a house, how much we were gonna pay down and, all of those kinds of things. What area we are gonna live in and what school we want our children to go to.
And so we've done that hard stuff. [00:35:00] See and, so after you get through there, get through that. When you get 90, what else is there for you to do? But sit back and eat and watch your favorite TV shows and go to church.
Lynae: Thank you for joining in for the new Money New Problems podcast. Again, my name is Lynae. I am Brenton's wife, and I wanna thank you for joining us for My Money Story with my family here. So thank you to everyone who participated and asked questions, and thank you for your time.
Join us on the next episode of The New Money New Problems Podcast