Spouses, Finances and Teamwork
This is a guest post from Kevin at No Debt Plan. Kevin helps readers eliminate debt, learn how to budget and save, and move themselves towards financial freedom.
My wife and I were married in January 2007. That’s almost a year and a half ago and it’s hard to believe. I proposed in October of 2005 — yes, we had a 14.5 month engagement because:
A.) I’m impatient
B.) I knew I had found the woman of my dreams
(For the record, we DON’T recommend that long of an engagement… but we made it!)
When we got engaged we weren’t even living in the same city. It would be January 2006 before our long distance relationship became a short distance relationship. With 14 months between our engagement and wedding days, we had a lot of time on our hands. We went through premarital counseling and went on a separate pre-marriage retreat that was a gift from friends.
One of the main topics covered in both counseling areas was money. Asking tough questions. Having tough discussions about your past and your expectations of the future. It makes me sad to think that there are a lot of couples out there who don’t talk about money as they prepare to be wed. As I’m sure you all know, many fights can take place over money. She’s a saver, he’s a spender. He wants to enjoy life now, she wants to save for retirement. These are the type of fights that end relationships or ruin homes.
And it is all so preventable! The simple fact of sitting down over coffee one day per week and discussing some difficult topics (Did your parents share their budget with you? Did they budget? Are your parents still paying off credit card debt from college? Do you know how a credit card works?) can help avert disaster.
I consider myself the luckiest guy on the planet (no offense, CleverDude and CleverDudette). My wife and I are on the exact same page with finances. True, I handle a lot of the calculations on retirement and our future, but she is definitely involved. We developed our budget together and don’t go on spending sprees. Each month we are “awarded” a 2% of total income spending account on our Excel spreadsheet. I can buy video games, she can buy pants and dog toys. When we make a decision to pay down extra money on our mortgage, it isn’t because I made the decision without her and she resents me for it.
It’s simply awesome. We’re on the same team.
The bottom line is you can work together or you can work apart. With the added stress of owning a home, having a family, owning a dog, working while going back to school, or just simply being an adult… working together is of course so much easier. If you both march in your separate directions for too long, the rope that ties you together is going to unravel. Frustration mounts. Bickering begins. Financial ruin follows.
Instead, have those hard discussions. Get on the same page. Compromise. Get on the same path and walk together, not apart.