How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

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pondering
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How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by pondering » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:32 pm

I'm really struggling with talking about money with my wife. We have blown through a low 6 figure inheritance and I'm not sure if I need to increase my earnings or cut the family spending going forward.
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livesoft
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:35 pm

Every day we have to pay a bill or my spouse gets a paycheck. So that's about once every 3 days.
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by squirm » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:04 pm

I tend the finances, wife is fine with that. Money and investments bore her.
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:05 pm

pondering wrote:I'm really struggling with talking about money with my wife. We have blown through a low 6 figure inheritance and I'm not sure if I need to increase my earnings or cut the family spending going forward.

Clicking on the thread title, the post itself was not what I expected. It seems there should be more background to this situation.

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randomizer
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by randomizer » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:07 pm

Probably every couple of weeks. Sometimes just as a passing reference. Other times more deeply.

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pondering
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by pondering » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:13 pm

I'm really struggling to engage her about spending. The conversations are very very difficult.

She makes more than I do, so is entitled to do some spending, and she has a pension from work that covers her retirement savings for the most part.

I've resigned myself to a lower income lifestyle in retirement or a longer working time if my mind and body are able.

I understand her perspective, but I worry. A lot.
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by HIinvestor » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:22 pm

H and I have talked from time to time and even gone to a few financial planners--one was fee based (as a benefit of a temp agency I had paychecks thru) and two were initial visits with Schwab and Vanguard. We talked about assets, debt, projected retirement, income stream and expenses. We also talk with the CPA when we do taxes. H has always made way more than me and worked full time but I'm the person who manages most of our finances. I did most of the raising of our kids and supervised their educations. H's pension covers most of our annual expenses--we make most spending decisions jointly.

The consensus was that we were on track to retire as planned and even leave a significant financial legacy for our heirs, no matter how long we live.

It sounds like you and your spouse might benefit from some couples counseling so you can both talk a bit more about saving, spending, retirement goals, etc. it sounds like that's a touchy subject in your household. Around here, we talk freely and often about finances and how to save/spend. We have been very careful with windfalls so they're not quickly squandered.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by bligh » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:25 pm

There is too little information and background. However since you have asked, I will give you my humble opinion.

As long as the spending is within one's means, it comes down to goals and what one want out of his or her life. When both of you want the same things out of life, the conversation is easy and shifts to actionable next steps. When what you both want differs, the conversation becomes one of seeking a compromise. Sounds like you guys want different things right now.

If the wife has a vision of working hard, playing hard and enjoying life today, after all, who knows if you will make it to 65, she will approach spending very differently from someone who is making a dash for early retirement in 10 years. If the wife's goals are to have nice things and live in luxury, while the husband's are to live simply and to go motorcycle camping, they will spend very differently.

Make sure the two of you are on the same page about goals and how you want to spend your life. Now and in the future. The finances can then be discussed and managed to help meet those goals.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by cinghiale » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:29 pm

You are husband and wife, but your reply appears to describe two individuals living together more than it does a married couple. Do you hold separate accounts? Do you refer to your funds as "my money" rather than "our money?" Does your wife?

I never made a higher paycheck than my wife. But every penny was always "ours." Your comment about resigning yourself to a lower income lifestyle someday is troubling. Aren't you planning to do this together, and for the long haul?

Not wanting to pry, but what exactly is "her perspective?"
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by qwertyjazz » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:31 pm

bligh wrote:There is too little information and background. However since you have asked, I will give you my humble opinion.

As long as the spending is within one's means, it comes down to goals and what one want out of his or her life. When both of you want the same things out of life, the conversation is easy and shifts to actionable next steps. When what you both want differs, the conversation becomes one of seeking a compromise. Sounds like you guys want different things right now.

If the wife has a vision of working hard, playing hard and enjoying life today, after all, who knows if you will make it to 65, she will approach spending very differently from someone who is making a dash for early retirement in 10 years. If the wife's goals are to have nice things and live in luxury, while the husband's are to live simply and to go motorcycle camping, they will spend very differently.

Make sure the two of you are on the same page about goals and how you want to spend your life. Now and in the future. The finances can then be discussed and managed to help meet those goals.


+1 have a conversation about goals - that should help you both decide how often to discuss how finances fit into that
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by vveat » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:37 pm

Have you done any tracking of the regular spending, or any retirement projections - to serve as a basis for the discussion? I am having difficulty getting to the right conversation if there is no common starting point but different opinions on what is much and what is little. Why don't you put some numbers together and then try to sit her down. You are not very clear on what is the problem and why the conversations are difficult, but I would say if there is an area you think similarly start from there.

To your question, we don't talk often, but we are usually on the same page spending and saving-wise:
- we rarely talk about retirement plans as my husband trusts me to take care of these details (contributions, taxes, tracking), and he asks me occasionally about status
- we discuss big items (I would say anything $500+ or so) before purchasing
- I am using Mint for expense tracking and occasionally have to ask him about one or another item if I am not sure of category.

We have our own points of difficulty - both of them minor and more related to our personalities than to any real problems. We've found ways to resolve them over time
- I don't like cash spending because it can't be tracked, and we've always been more likely to argue over a missing $20 in cash than about $200 spent on whatever by credit card. Eventually I backed down and now regularly we have some "uncategorized" cash in Mint
- for grocery shopping I like making a list and sticking to it, while he likes getting what is on sale or looks good. Here he has mostly backed down since I am the one doing most of the cooking :wink:

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Toons » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:47 pm

Rarely,,,,,,
Maybe Once a year.
We think alike when it comes to finances.
She knows the deal.
Debt free,save and invest,etc etc.
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:48 pm

Seldom.

We have very different approaches to money, spending, saving, etc. That frustrated me for years, but I have adjusted and we learned to deal with our differences.

We have separate accounts as well as a joint account for our recurring expenses. We discuss major expenditures that will be joint purchases. Other than those rare occasions, we enjoy our time together rather than discussing finances :happy

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by digarei » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:49 pm

pondering wrote:How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Casi nunca.

Well, there are plenty of one-way conversations and sometimes tacit agreements. In difficult situations, I've asked myself the question, "Do I want to stay married?" Since the answer is usually in the affirmative, I don't push very hard on this issue. (My spouse may have a different take!)


OTOH, over the years I have notice some changes (from my perspective, improvements) in the attitude toward excessive spending. Some of this is my journey, as well.

bligh wrote:Make sure the two of you are on the same page about goals and how you want to spend your life. Now and in the future. The finances can then be discussed and managed to help meet those goals.


Easier asserted than accomplished for some. But I like your insights re: shared goals.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by corysold » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:54 pm

If it helps any, my wife isn't much interested in finances either. What I finally did that helped was create a spreadsheet that tallied up everything we spent vs. what we made. She didn't realize how much we earned and how much we spent and thought I was always just trying to be a miser saying we had to watch spending and not go out to dinner and what not/

After that we made a yearly budget. We'll make about $XX,XXX in 2017. How do we want to spend it?

Then we worked together. Let's spend $XXXX on housing. $XXXX on savings. $XXXX on Utilities, etc. etc. etc, until every dime was accounted for for the year. Now, we've sat down every couple of weeks and gone over how we are doing as we track. it's really helped us both understand our own priorties. We set it up that she has $X,XXX to spend however she wants, no questions asked. So she doesn't feel like I'm ever telling her no. We have our savings goals in place and we are both on the same page on how to get there.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Midpack » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:55 pm

I wish we did, but she has zero interest. She does balance our checking account, pays most bills (online) and we've always kept a budget updated monthly, but everything else is my responsibility. I used to trade individual stocks with no fixed income, but fortunately our portfolio these days is pretty much a lazy portfolio, mostly index funds with some tilts. She wouldn't have to know anything but to leave things alone mostly if I go poof. Dividends alone would almost meet her spending needs. We've been lucky...
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Kenkat » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:00 pm

We sit down twice a month or so and pay bills, post transactions to Quicken, update account balances, etc. She is far less interested in me and not a huge fan of all the online stuff, but tolerates it.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Levett » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:02 pm

Regularly. Helps to make a durable marriage.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Mike Scott » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:05 pm

We are generally in agreement about day to day finances. I have more specific long term goals than she does but I am also more likely to spend money. I do almost all of the regular transactions in our shared primary account and she checks the math to catch any mistakes and she also can see where everything goes. We occasionally talk about something specific (we bought half a cow last week) but the big picture usually comes out around tax time.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:05 pm

I gave up a long time ago.

Me: "Are you comfortable with a 100% stock allocation in our 529s now that we have exchanged out of the guaranteed tuition plan?"

Her: "huh?"

six months later:

Her: "what do we do for the kids' college?"

Me: "huh?"

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Naismith » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:07 pm

pondering wrote:She makes more than I do, so is entitled to do some spending....


Whoa, really? I can't imagine being in that kind of marriage.

Of course we should all do what works for each of us

But for me, our marriage has been an equal partnership, and everything financial is decided together, if not actually held jointly. Whose name is on what paycheck is a mere detail, not a ticket to entitlement. Nobody gets to spend more than another just because they happen to earn more. Earning is only one way of contributing to the family.

The last three years as we think seriously about retirement, we talk every week. In the past, it has been long hours of discussion when we were planning a renovation project or whatever.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:13 pm

Every day. Together down the same road. :D

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by delamer » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:15 pm

pondering wrote:I'm really struggling to engage her about spending. The conversations are very very difficult.

She makes more than I do, so is entitled to do some spending, and she has a pension from work that covers her retirement savings for the most part.

I've resigned myself to a lower income lifestyle in retirement or a longer working time if my mind and body are able.

I understand her perspective, but I worry. A lot.


The attitude that "she makes more than I do, so is entitled to do some spending" may be part of your problem.

You two have a joint income that should be used to reach your common goals. When you get into the territory of the person bringing in the highest income gets to make unilateral decisions, you are in trouble.

Each partner can have money that they can spend without being accountable to the other person, but you both need to agree on that amount.

The earlier idea of developing a spreadsheet showing total income plus various expense categories, then sitting down together to allocate money among the categories is a good start.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by blevine » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:37 pm

As the higher earner in my family, I do not feel entitled to spend to reward myself. Life just worked out that way, but our joint needs are all I ever think about.

And there is a big difference between interest in HOW to invest, HOW MUCH to invest/save and spending. DW is interested but not understanding investing really.
But she has strong opinions on spending. So that is all we discuss/debate, what to spend on. Investing is more of a one way discussion, I explain and she forgets most of it.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:41 pm

pondering wrote:I'm really struggling with talking about money with my wife. We have blown through a low 6 figure inheritance and I'm not sure if I need to increase my earnings or cut the family spending going forward.

The underlined part kind of sounds like a slow motion train wreck. What was the time scale, and do you have anything to show for whatever it was spent on? What was the discussion during this process?

pondering wrote:I'm really struggling to engage her about spending. The conversations are very very difficult.
She makes more than I do, so is entitled to do some spending, and she has a pension from work that covers her retirement savings for the most part.
I've resigned myself to a lower income lifestyle in retirement or a longer working time if my mind and body are able.
I understand her perspective, but I worry. A lot.

It's reasonable to spend in excess of basic needs if you have the means to do so, and you are saving enough for the future. But "blow[ing] through a low 6 figure inheritance" indicates something is not right.

Receiving $100k+ should give a chance to make your financial picture more solid, not more precarious.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:55 pm

I do the day-to-day money management. If any sort of money issue comes up outside that arena, we talk it over. After all, it's her money too.
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Traveller » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:11 pm

Naismith wrote:
pondering wrote:She makes more than I do, so is entitled to do some spending....


Whoa, really? I can't imagine being in that kind of marriage.


+1.

My wife stopped working when we had our first child 19 years ago and hasnt earned a dime since then - yet she has every bit as much right to OUR money as I do. We are married.

To answer your question - my wife has little interest in our overall finances, but we do sit down formally annually to establish / revisit goals and progress. We also sit down a couple times a month to check on our spending vs. our budget plan. She controls most of our discretionary spending and is committed to keeping that total each month within a limit we agree to which allows us to accomplish our goals.

Why is it hard for the two of you to talk about your finances?

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by pondering » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:25 am

My guess my wife's reluctance comes from a feeling that her Dad was very controlling. She was also single until her mid 30s.

Our income is around 160K, the 15 year mortgage is 1840 a month. I've used HelloWallet to track spending since the beginning of the year.
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by HIinvestor » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:26 am

Seems like it bothers you that the 6 figure inheritance has been blown and that you and your spouse are having a hard time talking about money together.

What other couples do and don't do really isn't the issue, nor is whether any or all of us will have enough to be comfortable in retirement. This sounds like something you and your wife may wish to get aligned on before much longer, so you don't end up in a lot of debt or outliving your money.

Perhaps a couples therapist might be a good person to help you two learn to comfortably duscuss this and other issues. Good luck!

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by matatupuncher » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:59 am

I handle all the finances and my wife is fine with that arrangement. We don't discuss money very often but I will bring it up if she does something dumb. Last week she ordered five DVD's from Amazon and we already owned two of them. Stuff like this drives me crazy to no end.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by munemaker » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:13 am

squirm wrote:I tend the finances, wife is fine with that. Money and investments bore her.
Happy wife, happy life.


By my wife's preference, I handle the finances and try to talk to her when we are traveling in the car and have her full attention. She has almost no interest in the subject. She seems to have an overall understanding, but I am concerned how her financial affairs will be handled if pre-decease her, which is likely.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by maria00200 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:12 am

In our relationship, it's the other way around. I handle all the finances, and my husband just works and has his paycheck directly deposited in the checking account. He has no clue what's in there, and always has to ask before he uses the bank card, haha. We both like it this way because he doesn't feel like doing all the bills and dealing with the hassle of balancing the budget. I also control our Roth IRA with Vanguard, putting money into it etc. I guess he trusts me that much where i can handle everything. ;)

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by pennywise » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:18 am

matatupuncher wrote:I handle all the finances and my wife is fine with that arrangement. We don't discuss money very often but I will bring it up if she does something dumb. Last week she ordered five DVD's from Amazon and we already owned two of them. Stuff like this drives me crazy to no end.


And presumably she brings it up if YOU do something 'dumb'?

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Sheepdog » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:29 am

I take care of all bill paying and investing (in retirement). We talk about how we are doing regularly. That is important in a relationship. She is happy with that as long as we are doing well :D
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:41 am

pondering wrote:My guess my wife's reluctance comes from a feeling that her Dad was very controlling. She was also single until her mid 30s.

Our income is around 160K, the 15 year mortgage is 1840 a month. I've used HelloWallet to track spending since the beginning of the year.


My wife and I talk about finances daily. Nothing serious but we are currently saving for a house so that is a "goal" we are pursuing together. She wants the house more than I do so she is really interested in the topic of conversation.

I find the best way to help reign in you and your wife's spending (I have a hard time believing she alone blew through $100k+ on things solely for herself) is to simply write down what you bring home every month and what your monthly expenses are and see where you stand. I am a big believer in thinking far our (we want to retire in 20 years, at an assumed rate of return of X% so we need to save $Y every month). If my leftover is equal or greater than that number then I would start an automatic savings plan. Anything "extra" can get spent how you see fit. If you aren't happy with the left over to be spent on how you see fit either cut your fixed expenses, get cheaper hobbies, or readjust your goals.

With a $160k income you can achieve anything many financial goals, but you can't have everything on $160k.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:42 am

pondering wrote:My guess my wife's reluctance comes from a feeling that her Dad was very controlling. She was also single until her mid 30s.


I met my wife in her early/mid 30's, I was also in my early/late mid 30's, we were both single. That is not the reason why your spouse has different feelings on finances. When you are married, there is no "me" or "you", there is only one - "us". Decisions are made based on "us", not it's my earnings, my money or your earnings, you can spend it the way you like. You two need to get together on one page, now! What you describe is not what I call a "healthy" marriage. If something is important to your partner, as your partner that person should do whatever it takes to make it work (within reason).
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by fenyahyhi » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:58 am

Counseling might help to figure out why the two of you are having a bumpy time in communication. If she isn't interested in counseling then go by yourself. Figure out why you are reluctant to communicate your whole authentic self to her.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:01 am

In our beginning, I had the sole income and now my wife has the sole income. It has always been "our" money. To answer your question, I handle the finances so generally we don't talk finances about the day to day stuff. Generally our discussions are limited to around tax time and larger financial purchases like around the world plane tickets for our family of five or a new vehicle. We are almost identical in our financial philosophies so even those discussions are probably very tame compared to others.

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We see the same numbers, which helps.

Post by beattherush » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:13 am

Mrs. BTR and I discuss the overall game plan frequently, at least a couple of times a month. We don't set specific targets for overall wealth, but we stay on the same page about spending and saving and the rough overall outcome those will achieve. She handles the short-term and I handle the long-term as that aligns with both our interests and our day-to-day control. Basically, she's the CFO and CAO, I'm the CIO and CRO. We all know who the CEO is :)

I mention CIO for a reason: transparency is important. All our main accounts and primary assets are joint and beneficiaries are correctly aligned, but that doesn't automatically mean we have the same visibility. I've spent a good amount of time setting up joint access to everything via 1Password, making sure our passwords and authentication and alerting are up to snuff. And we both have a common view of the big picture. That's currently on Mint but we are in process of moving to Personal Capital for security reasons (I don't trust Mint's bill pay setup).

You can't manage what you can't measure. Mrs. BTR and I see common measurements. That's half the battle.

As is probably evident, we are mostly an "our money" household. A few accounts are individually held, and we both can stash funds for a little fun money and surprise presents and whatnot. But we generally both have access to everything, even the individual accounts. I don't want there to be issues if there's an unexpected death or disability. And it greatly improves trust.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by bluebolt » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:24 am

This is a huge YMMV situations depending on personalities, income, goals, etc.

Here's what works for DW & I:

1) We pay ourselves first - between 401ks and automatic transfers, this is on auto-pilot from both of our paychecks/accounts.
2) We have separate accounts plus a joint account where we both transfer funds into and pay bills out of.
3) Due to #1 & 2 above, we each have a natural budget based on what's left over in our individual accounts and we don't micromanage each other's spending. Both of us are natural savers, so there's not much reason to micromanage it. Obviously, YMMV.
4) For major expenses that require planning/adjustment, we do a detailed review of how it will impact savings, cash flow & lifestyle.
5) I manage the investing & overall plan. I share when we've hit major goals or when I make major investments and ask if DW has any questions. This happens about 1-3 times/yr.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by SGM » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:32 am

We are retired. DW is not so interested in the details of finances. She tends to spend more than I do, but for good reason. We joke about "compensatory cash flow" and a "fun fund," and maybe buying another house to put her new purchases. We get a good laugh over silly financial errors that we hear from acquaintances, online, and in the news. If the market is up I tell her we are rich today. I keep the conversations about finance mildly humorous.

Budgets are for beginners or for those unable to save a substantial amount of their income. DW has good judgement so we have discussed purchases, AA, real estate, simplification, SS optimization, conversions, etc. We often come to complete agreement.

March and April are the only time the conversations get more serious, because of income tax.

DW buys and sells or donates items that bring in some money each month as a check to her and much more for the charity. She does it for fun and it is a lot less difficult than running an antique business. DW has rescued the charity from closure, but keeps declining the request to be Chair for the charity board.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by arsenalfan » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:44 am

Sounds like you need to get on the same page.

One tactic is to sit down and create an investment policy statement with SHARED FINANCIAL GOALS. Ask the questions, let her lead the way with her answers.

Yes, an IPS has asset allocation, emergency fund, etc but it the GOALS section helps focus on WHY you're doing it. eg.

1. By Age X stop working, have $Y per year to spend, requires having $A in pretax and $B in retirement accounts. This requires annual savings of $C
2. By Age X have $Y saved for (kids college, second home, mortgage paid off, SpaceX trip to Mars). This requires annual savings of $Z

This could help bring medium and long term goals into focus and THEN go into budgeting.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by junior » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:14 am

pondering wrote:My guess my wife's reluctance comes from a feeling that her Dad was very controlling. She was also single until her mid 30s.

Our income is around 160K, the 15 year mortgage is 1840 a month. I've used HelloWallet to track spending since the beginning of the year.


Ideally you should make and agree to a budget. The controlling stuff and single stuff isn't really relevant except to the extent that she is unwilling to agree to a budget. But having a budget is just common sense.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by greg24 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:22 am

pondering wrote:Our income is around 160K, the 15 year mortgage is 1840 a month. I've used HelloWallet to track spending since the beginning of the year.


It sounds like you are doing well. What is your retirement contribution rate? My best suggestion is to find a way to agree to raise your retirement contributions, as you'll save a lot on taxes, and then feel free to spend every penny you have left. Somewhat of a compromise.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by englishgirl » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:38 am

I earn more than my husband, and yes, I feel entitled to some spending. But I budget $200 a month for all such spending that is "mine". It probably could be less, but it is what works for right now. There is a vast difference between having some extra spending money because you bring in more, and blowing through six figures.

We discuss money fairly regularly but are still very sloooooowly bringing our finances together. He's the one that is reluctant to share finances, so we're going at his pace.
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by fposte » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:39 am

This sounds like it isn't really a "how often" situation for you but one where you need to have the startup discussion about how money works in your family and what goals you're working toward together. Right now it sounds like you guys don't have a plan at all.

There are a bunch of different ways to handle money in a marriage, and while they may not all be right for you it sounds it might be worth your trying something else. You could try identifying a budget for fun money vs. savings, or setting up a yours, mine, and ours approach where each of you contribute to the family bucket a percentage of your earnings.

Now if your wife won't talk about finances with you at all or be willing to adapt her spending to reflect your shared goals, that's a problem; nothing to do with her dad or her age at marriage. But it's also possible that her life view isn't focused on retiring early and that she did exactly with the inheritance what she'd planned--to live it up short-term. That's a very un-Bogleheadish plan, but assuming she's financially stable that's not automatically a wrong one. Did you guys lay out expectations together for the money that didn't get met, or did you operate on assumptions that were never explicitly shared? Sounds like it's time to explicitly share, if so.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by T-Wrench » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:57 am

fposte wrote:This sounds like it isn't really a "how often" situation for you but one where you need to have the startup discussion about how money works in your family and what goals you're working toward together. Right now it sounds like you guys don't have a plan at all.

There are a bunch of different ways to handle money in a marriage, and while they may not all be right for you it sounds it might be worth your trying something else. You could try identifying a budget for fun money vs. savings, or setting up a yours, mine, and ours approach where each of you contribute to the family bucket a percentage of your earnings.

Now if your wife won't talk about finances with you at all or be willing to adapt her spending to reflect your shared goals, that's a problem; nothing to do with her dad or her age at marriage. But it's also possible that her life view isn't focused on retiring early and that she did exactly with the inheritance what she'd planned--to live it up short-term. That's a very un-Bogleheadish plan, but assuming she's financially stable that's not automatically a wrong one. Did you guys lay out expectations together for the money that didn't get met, or did you operate on assumptions that were never explicitly shared? Sounds like it's time to explicitly share, if so.


Agreed. My wife and I meet once a week after the kids go to bed for a budget meeting; it's just a chance to discuss our budget, what needs to change, what is going well, etc. She doesn't care to get into the nitty-gritty details like I do (where are we on the risk curve?), but does want to have a clear enough understanding of where our money is going and why.

Before we got married, we went through premarital counseling that had one meeting solely devoted to money and getting on the same page. For the sake of your marriage, I would definitely, as fposte said, get a plan together, make sure you agree on it, and start dealing with the difficult task of talking about all of this. Our budget meetings were very hard at first, but they were necessary to avoid bigger disasters (crushing debt, among others) and avoid ending the marriage. I would take this talk very seriously and give it the attention and care it deserves. Good luck.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:14 am

blevine wrote:As the higher earner in my family, I do not feel entitled to spend to reward myself. Life just worked out that way, but our joint needs are all I ever think about.

And there is a big difference between interest in HOW to invest, HOW MUCH to invest/save and spending. DW is interested but not understanding investing really.
But she has strong opinions on spending. So that is all we discuss/debate, what to spend on. Investing is more of a one way discussion, I explain and she forgets most of it.


Exact same situation. I make more than my wife (though the margin is getting smaller), but literally spend nothing on myself. My wife has, many times, used the statement "spending my own money" when she goes over the allotted monthly discretionary spending limits we have set, and it has been the cause of most of our marital (ahemm) debates. It isn't a major issue, she doesn't have expensive tastes and doesn't go overboard (and we can definitely afford it), but it does bug me when she goes over the limits that we jointly set. I've learned to just accept when it happens, within reason, as it isn't worth the fight.

Otherwise, we only discuss finances quarterly when I update our portfolios. I show her the numbers, we discuss it for about 2min and she goes about her day. She trusts me to handle almost all of the major financial decisions; I think that is kind of the give-and-take with me being more flexible on discretionary ("want') spending.

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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by Midpack » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:32 am

oldcomputerguy wrote:I do the day-to-day money management. If any sort of money issue comes up outside that arena, we talk it over. After all, it's her money too.
I tell my SO everything I do financially as it is her money too, and she appreciates it, but she couldn't care less. I've told her our net worth dozens of times in the past several years, and every time I later ask her what it is, she never even comes close - always low (maybe a good thing?).

If others here know how to get a right-brained SO interested in just basic investing/portfolio construction, I'd sure like to know.
Last edited by Midpack on Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:34 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: How often do you discuss finances and spending with your spouse?

Post by *3!4!/5! » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:32 am

pondering wrote: We have blown through a low 6 figure inheritance
pondering wrote:My guess my wife's reluctance comes from a feeling that her Dad was very controlling.
Was the inheritance from her Dad? Maybe blowing through the inheritance was a way for her to wrest control.

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