About Lee & Martika Jenkins
On today’s episode we’ve got another Ted Lowe interview, this time with Lee and Martika Jenkins. Lee is an author, pastor, and a former college and NFL football player.
He spent more than 25 years in the financial services industry before planting Eagles Nest Church in Atlanta, Ga. Lee and Martika have been married for 30 years and have three grown children.
Can you tell us a little about yourselves?
Lee: I’m Lee and in about two weeks I’ll be celebrating 30 years of marriage to this incredible woman. I spent 25 years in the investment business. But six years ago, I got out of the business world because the Lord was calling me into full-time ministry. The two topics I’m most excited about are marriage and money. We have three children who are grown adults and we love being empty nesters.
Tell us a little about being empty nesters.
Our children are now 28, 26, and 23. It was a joy raising them. And now it’s a joy to have them out of the house!
How do you have different personalities when it comes to money?
Lee: When we first got married, we were completely opposite. We were the classic spender/saver dynamic. I was the saver and she was the spender. When I wanted something, I bought it with cash. But Martika borrowed her way through school.
Martika: Back in the 80’s, you could sign one time and get five different credit cards. And I was so excited to have those cards.
Lee: When my sister introduced me to Martika, I went over to her apartment. I looked through her photo album and they have photos of Hawaii and all these places. And I thought not only was she beautiful and loves the Lord, she was rich, too! Little did I know that I’d pay for those trips later.
How did you meet?
Martika: We met the weekend that I quit my job to move to Atlanta. Lee helped me find a place to live when I got here and our relationship blossomed from there.
How did money impact the first years of your marriage?
Martika: It was tough because our money personalities were so opposite. Lee had to tighten me up and I had to loosen him up. He was so cheap it was ridiculous. We didn’t have a lot of money, but as the Lord blessed us financially it really helped our relationship to grow and become more intimate.
Lee: It was frustrating at first, but we had to wrestle with some of our philosophies and history. When you marry someone you marry their habits and what they’ve been taught. But it was very complementary even though we were financial opposites. We made a lot of the classic mistakes that young couples make.
What issues did you see with couples while working in the financial industry?
Lee: It’s a sensitive issue. Couples don’t realize that they need to work together. In order for the two to become one, it takes a lot of work. It’s difficult for some couples to get on the same team because you have to compromise.
One of the reasons couples aren’t successful financially is because they don’t understand the biblical basis of marriage. They’re selfish, and you can’t be selfish when it comes to this area.
How did this play itself out in terms of decisions and purchases?
Martika: When we first got married, Lee was on 100% commission. We had to talk about money more than most because we didn’t know how much was coming in each month. We had Money Monday’s where we had to sit and talk it all out.
We had restrictions on how much we could spend without the other’s approval and agreement. Because we were so tight, we had to communicate a lot. It helped our marriage because it helped us be more vulnerable.
What money advice would you give to a younger couple?
Lee: When you’re young, you have to talk about it a lot. Like Martika said, we’d meet every Monday. When you come into agreement, it helps your marriage in every area.
Don’t stay away from this subject—fight through the discomfort. Once you break through the first initial meetings it will become something that’s fun.
Do you recommend combining finances when you get married?
Lee: When two become one, that means everything. When you separate your money on purpose, you’re missing out on some deep intimacy and communication. One of the beauties of combining your money and doing things together is that it really forces you to talk. During that process, you get to know your spouse better.
How do you compromise when one of you is a saver and the other is a saver?
Lee: Some of my biggest regrets are looking back and seeing how cheap I was with things like furniture. Some of our early things had to be thrown out and re-purchased because I was so tight about everything. I learned from that because I actually ended up spending more money in the long run.
Recently Martika noticed I was stressed with things going on. She told me we were going on vacation. It was the best, but had she asked me I probably would have said no. She’s helping me to loosen up and the more I do that the better it makes our marriage.
The 10 Principles of Money and Marriage
We have the 10 principles and we usually say there are some you may be doing and two or three you really need to do. Here they are:
- Develop a spending plan: Some people call this a budget, but we like the word ‘spending’ better.
- Live within your means: Learn to be content with what you have and resist the temptation to want more and bigger.
- Avoid becoming a slave to debt: It’s important that your first inclination should be a debit card or cash. That way you’re spending what you have and not what you don’t have.
- Pay attention to your credit score.
- Find multiple sources of income: Don’t let your job be your only source of income.
- Save and invest for the future: Give to God first. Start saving second. Then, live off the rest.
- Be adequately insured: What would you want to have happen for your family if you woke up tomorrow in heaven?
- Honor God with your wealth: Be a generous giver! Honor God first and not last.
- Teach your children about money.
- Develop an estate plan: This can get complicated depending on your assets. But make sure you have an updated will.
Your one simple thing for this week:
Pick one thing from this list of 10 to talk about with your spouse.
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