Heather Maude: Pre-Marital Money
A recent conversation with a friend of mine over how we spent the money we had saved when we got married – she put indoor stairs in her house along with a second bathroom, while I put down payments on several pieces of machinery – made me think. What are the top investments women married to the exceptional men found in agriculture would suggest to ladies about to tie the knot?
1. Home improvement projects. You are not the first bride to be told your husband will, in fact, fix every major and minor issue with your house. And, he likely means it. What he doesn’t say, or possibly realize, is that those improvements will be squeezed into the zero to 15 days each year that fall between planting, weaning, receiving calves, shipping calves, spraying, fence projects, water work, helping the neighbors (possibly even with their house projects) and freezing cold weather. If you do not like the idea of using a bathroom that faces the front door, and perhaps does not have its own door, or if you have electrical outlets that will blow out a candle when there’s a breeze outside, and you have the dough, drop it on a professional and fix those issues.
2. A reliable vehicle with 4WD. In the early years of farm and ranch marriages, you have to scrape. One area that inevitably happens with is vehicles. If you’re going to be traveling a distance to town on a regular basis, and especially if you’re facing bad roads, investing in a solid vehicle that you like will be a lifesaver.
3. Insurance. If you have a job that allows a group rate insurance policy that you can keep after leaving the company, buy in as though you’re going to have 12 children who like to jump off rooftops.
4. The horse or 4-wheeler of your dreams. Well, maybe not that extreme, but farm and ranch transportation on the outfit you’re marrying into has likely been set in stone for generations. Arriving with your transportation of choice tends to cause fewer ripples than suggesting you purchase it later on.
5. Water improvements. Have you ever had to haul every drop of drinking water? How about every drop of water used in your entire house? If not, you want to keep it that way, trust me. Whether it’s a new well, cistern, pipeline or pressure tank, there are few things more valuable to the farm and ranch wife than water.
6. Gravel. When he gets stuck, you will be the one to pull him out. The plus side to this is you won’t need therapy, as pulling out husbands stuck in the mud tends to get every past, present and possible future issue right out in the open. After it has happened once or twice, you’re good to go and can invest in as much gravel as your yard can hold, plus two loads. Just pile it somewhere, you’ll need it.
7. Something to make your life easier on the farm or ranch. This isn’t meant to sound selfish, but practical. If you have what you need on hand to pull a calf, fill the sprayer quickly, or do chores efficiently (see number six), it will enable you to do those things without bothering your spouse, who will not always be right there.
8. Something nice. If that sounds vague, it is. But, whether it be a good mattress, piece of furniture, high end set of pots and pans, or tulip bulbs, most women you talk to treasure those seemingly lavish items at the time of purchase that have lasted the test of time.
If these items don’t sound appealing to you, it won’t take long until some breakdown results in pulling out your checkbook, or a shiny piece of equipment catches you or your husband’s eye. It’s hard to see those dollars slip away, but ultimately it’s worth it to make a solid investment in your future as a couple.