By Chelsea Ellis-Hogan
June 2021 my husband and I jumped on a plane and headed to Las Vegas to tie the knot alongside Elvis Presley. It was actually my dream wedding! As we all know, the wedding day, the honeymoon and all those fun things are just moments to help you create memories to celebrate the love that has grown between two people so strong that you’ve decided it would make better sense to act as one and conquer love and the world together forever!
We honestly picked Vegas for our wedding not only for the sake of memories, but also because we knew it wouldn’t put us as a couple in any sort of financial debt as soon as we started our lives together.
The average cost of a wedding in 2019 was $33,900. (Source: https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/research/average-cost-wedding/)
We wanted to start our marriage off as a symbol of the way we wanted it to go…. And that’s just simply doing it OUR WAY!
& not going BROKE doing it.
Boosie and I both come from backgrounds of seeing firsthand what it takes to truly create cashflow to take care of your family and make a way out of poverty. Even though we strive for financial freedom, we also strive to keep a simplistic life that allows us to just enjoy the things we like such as live music, traveling, supporting family, entrepreneurship and trying new things together.
Both of my parents made it so that my sister and I grew up in a household that taught entrepreneurship, but budgeting and investing was one thing I knew I could work on personally as an adult.
Boosie grew up and watched his father move them from the projects to a home that he purchased with cash from his hard work and dedication. This is a piece of land that we still have ownership of. Our ancestor’s past successes and mistakes gave us our start. The wisdom we’ve gained from others, paired with new knowledge, will positively impact our future and future generations.
One thing that we vowed to do together, is continue to help create generational wealth for our family in a sustainable way. We know it starts with our personal habits and new habits we form as partners in life. Like many, we both started off saving cash, but not really knowing much about investing. We realized we were losing money from saving cash!
Before we were married, I’ve always re-read a book called “Smart Couples Finish Rich” to help prepare myself to be a better financial person for my future partner. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Boosie pivoted to studying about investing in the stock market due to everything being closed at the time and trying to find something productive to do.
We’ve both been in relationships where we were the sole person responsible for the budgeting of finances because we both had leadership qualities and our goal was to change that. We wanted to create a system that allowed us BOTH to be educated and operate in our strengths about our finances so that we can work like a strong team in order to move it forward.
I want to share with you a few apps and tools we use to keep our finances in order and invest as a team.
This is a great app for us due to we have an LLC that I run so we must make sure we are keeping our personal finances separate from our businesses finances. This app helps us track our mileage for personal and business which makes tax time easier. It tracks our transactions and we weekly review and match them up to the appropriate categories.
This is a system we realized we needed to help make sure we were updated on how our business finances were flowing. It helps me make household choices and helps Boosie make investment choices for us.
This is a very affordable app as well and should only cost between $5-$30/month depending on if there are specials going on at the time.
Once your business gets to a point of growth, you can connect your accountant or a bookkeeper to the software and have them handle your bookkeeping as well.
This app also allows us to create invoices for customers to help speed up the payment process.
You can connect all accounts including checking, savings and credit cards and it provides updates on quarterly taxes and due dates. This is one of many apps available for this, but of course this is just the one we have had success with.
Budget and expense manager
We use and review this weekly for budgeting.
This app allows us to track whether or not we are staying within our monthly household budget and we can make changes as needed.
Due to one of our main sources of income being from a seasonal business and naturally being two entrepreneurial spirited individuals, we know how important it is to budget and manage cash flow for the future. We must successfully manage our personal finances before we can manage finances within our business and community.
You are able to track and match up income and expenses and break it down into categories. It sends updates when you go over your budget and even suggest changes if it thinks you should increase or decrease spending in a category.
This app also keeps track and updates us on our credit score! We have a goal of continuing to grow and invest more into real estate so keeping track of our credit score helps us plan for future investing and grow our access to capital.
Boosie does a lot of research online in the stock market and investments. When researching, you have access to investors who have subscriptions that allow you to access their information and a community full of others learning and growing. We recommend always finding experts to learn from and not be afraid to invest into education what your budget allows! Changing your habits first starts with changing your mindset.
I always joke and say “My habits may get us rich, but his habits are going to make us wealthy” because we both understand how important leveraging his time to learn about long term investment will become of value not only to us but to those around us and to our larger community.
As a sidenote - any of the apps or items on our budget that we see that we spend a lot on, we take time to research them as a company to make sure they align with us and our goals as individuals.
Monthly membership to dispute fees. Access to legal representation is one of the reasons the wealthy has been able to keep their wealth. This has been one of the hardest habits for us to get into is getting advised by legal counsel versus getting advised from each other or the ones we trust in our circle. LegalShield also provides you with sample legal documents you can use for personal or your small business. As self employed small business owners, access to the things that allow you to operate properly truly matters. Legalshield gives access to people of all walks of life and truly allows us to make choices with confidence. They have an app and they get back to you between 1-2 days max!
Whether it’s late fees, speeding tickets, reviewing contracts or you not getting treated fairly they can give you advice that shows you how your choices fit in to legal laws. Do you have to follow their advice? Of course not! BUT why not know the FACTS of how your choices and the choices of others fit in with the laws we are responsible to follow within the government we live in? This will give you peace of mind and make your life so much easier.
When looking at all these things, it’s definitely a lot of data! I can say I’m a data lover. I love organizing data, reviewing and making the changes needed to do better next time. Also, I have seen households where only one spouse knew all of the logins, passwords, account numbers, etc. and it made it hard for the other spouse to do things when needed because they would have to wait for their wife or husband to provide login information. We wanted each other and our successors to have access to data in a way that they can understand and continue to make choices if my husband or I wasn’t around to explain it!
Boosie is amazing at remembering data so he really doesn’t need the spreadsheets as much. He’s a numbers guy naturally and that strength helps us so much as a team because that’s my weakness!
My strengths are organization, listening and tracking cash flow. I try my best to focus on those things that can help push us forward.
We both focus on creating cash flow in our household because we know that without it we wouldn’t have the ability to scale our income, investments and businesses. We never lose sight of making sure we are always bringing in enough cash flow to cover monthly expenses, with a goal of having our investments eventually cover those expenses.
Here’s a few documents we have for tracking purposes:
Accounts Payable Sheet
Ellis-Hogan Succession Plan Sheet
Real Estate Portfolio
As you see, we’ve found a system now that is working for us and allowing us to stay on the same page and make choices as a team. It takes a lot of accountability between us to make sure we stay consistent with reviewing and discussing the information. Our goal isn’t to be perfect, but to try new things and push ourselves forward together. It’s never easy being generational curse breakers. We find ourselves at times looking back and being surprised at all the new things we have learned together that we just didn’t know because of lack of financial literacy.
We try our best to give ourselves and each other grace on this journey of learning and discovering.
We plan to review our system yearly to keep finding what works for both of us and makes us truly happy! I’ve loved this journey of learning even more about love, life, adulthood and finances with Boosie and I hope this information can help you on your journey to financial freedom. I couldn’t ask for a better friend, partner and spouse to learn these things with. I am thankful to have Boosie who gives me the grace to genuinely learn, grow, make mistakes and to try it again! It is important that we all make Finances & Marriage something enjoyable in our lives.