Money School for Couples – Product Interview with Neal Frankle

Neal over at Wealth Pilgrim has been a regular guest contributor to Frugal Dad.  He came out with an unusual e-product yesterday.  I found it interesting and wanted to learn more.  In the following post, I asked him several questions about his new project.

Neal, what is Money School for Couples?

It’s a series of 10 videos, exercises, downloads and white papers to help couples make money a non-issue in their relationship.

Why did you create it?

Over the last 25 years advising clients, I’ve seen so many people worry and fight about money when they really didn’t have to.  That’s a real shame if you ask me.

You had it pretty rough financially and emotionally growing up.  Did that have any impact on this project?

Probably….but not consciously.  I grew up in total financial fear. Both my parents passed away when I was in high school and I was homeless for a short time.  Even when I started having financial success, I stayed stuck in fear.  I made myself, my wife and my children absolutely miserable. In my case, having money didn’t solve any of my problems….it just changed them.

Those experiences remind me to be grateful for all the great gifts I have in my life. Do I need money?  Yes.  But I have to stay balanced.  Working for money has a cost too.  So if I spend and work wisely, I can have a great life.  It’s not just about spending.  It’s not just about making lots of money either.

I think it’s easy to lose sight of our gifts and sometimes, money really gets in the way of having a full and happy life.  At least that’s been my experience.  It’s about balance.

Why do couples argue about money?

One third of the problem is caused by not really understanding how money works.  How to budget, spend, get out of debt, save etc.  This is simply an issue of understanding. When one or both people fail to understand how money works it often leads to huge mistakes and arguments.

Another third of the problem is caused by not being on the same page with each other. This is a communication issue.

The final third is caused by not taking action.  Lots of people know what to do but for some reason they just don’t do it.

Neal, with all due respect, there are plenty of books that address each of these issues.  What makes Money School different?

I think there are three main differences.  First, I present the material in several 5 to 10 minute videos that are designed to be watched by the couple together.  It’s one thing to throw a book at your husband and tell him to read it.  It’s quite another to sit down together and go through the material.  In fact, the very first video has the couple give each other a signed commitment to work through all the exercises together.  What book does that?

The second difference is that each module has exercises which are designed to get the couple into action and on the right path moving forward.

The last difference is that Money School for Couples recognizes that folks often know what to do and still don’t get it done.  The program offers solutions for those problems too.

In short, it’s the only program I know of which deals with all three obstacles – and you have to deal with all three if you want to really make progress.

Can you give me an example of a couple who might benefit?

Sure.  In fact, I wrote about this couple on Wealth Pilgrim not long ago.  They are in their 30’s.  The husband is very tight-fisted and his wife is miserable. He wants to save everything he can for retirement. His wife also wants to save for the future but wants to enjoy life today too.  What they need is balance.  They can fight all they want…they’ll never convince the other who is right and who is wrong.

Money School will show them how much they need to save to achieve their goals and how much they can comfortably spend.  The program will allow them to learn together and come to joint decisions.  This is a perfect example of who this program is designed for.

I read in your blog yesterday that you had some real ambivalence about introducing this product to your readers…why?

Right.  I was really concerned about sending a marketing e-mail to my subscribers.  They never signed up for that so I just couldn’t send them one.  That’s why I’ve opened up the pre-launch program for anyone this week. I wrote about the product on my blog and anyone who is interested can take advantage of the pre-launch price this week. That goes or Frugal Dad readers too.

It’s also a bit weird for me to sell anything on my blog or through the internet.  I’ve never done that before and I just had no idea how people would react to it.  In the end, I just decided to do it but be as transparent as possible.  We’ll see what happens.

Thanks Neal.  Good luck with Money School for Couples!

Comments

  1. Wow! What a great story Neal! I didn’t realize all that had happened in your past. Thanks for taking the time to create something like this. Being “in the business” I see the emotional issues and frustrations that money brings to the table in a relationship. I think this series is a great step for couples looking to move forward together financially!

  2. Hi Neal,

    Congrats on releasing your product! I’m really happy to see more PF folks creating products in this area. One thing I would examine is the name. I’m not sure it’s appealing. AdWords clickthroughs / split-testing will tell you for sure.

    Don’t be afraid to market to your readers. They trust you and know you will only create something worthwhile…especially if you tell them so, and over-deliver! The few whiners can safely be ignored.

    -Erica

  3. Jason…thanks.

    Erica – I really appreciate the support and feedback.

    Yes…I will think about the name. I knew that I had to get it released and fix the mistakes rather than wait for everything to be right. At least that’s the way I feel about it.

    I’ll look into the Adwords.

  4. congrats Neal! relationships and money is one of the hottest topics over at Filife…and whenever the NY Times personal finance writers cover related topics their articles are on the most popular list. I hope these readers find your product!

    Right now there’s a conversation going on about the pros and cons of spouses having separate bank accounts. Maybe you want to chime in…. http://www.filife.com/answers/what-are-the-riskspitfall/18281

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