Getting your spouse on the same page

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Beachdrinks
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:23 pm

Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Beachdrinks » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:27 pm

It’s very common for married couples to disagree about money. I used to be a reckless spender but have completely turned it around and I am now a committed BH. I am having trouble getting on the same page with my wife.

Has anyone else experienced difficulty in getting their spouse to follow a plan of responsible saving and investing vs. spending? I imagine there would be some amazing advice on this difficult topic here.

Doom&Gloom
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Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Doom&Gloom » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:42 pm

There is. Lots of prior threads on the subject. Have you searched?

Edit: And welcome to BH!

sailaway
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by sailaway » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:52 pm

You have to start by establishing some shared goals.

mega317
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by mega317 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:54 pm

These threads always end up the same, so yeah just go read the others.
Beachdrinks wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:27 pm
getting their spouse to follow a plan
My experience is that you generally can't "get" anyone to do anything they don't want to do. Except begrudgingly and only if you have serious power over them, like you can fire them.

cherijoh
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Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by cherijoh » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:31 pm

Beachdrinks wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:27 pm
It’s very common for married couples to disagree about money. I used to be a reckless spender but have completely turned it around and I am now a committed BH. I am having trouble getting on the same page with my wife.

Has anyone else experienced difficulty in getting their spouse to follow a plan of responsible saving and investing vs. spending? I imagine there would be some amazing advice on this difficult topic here.
Were you married to your wife when you were a "reckless spender"? Change is always difficult - more for some people than others.

Are your savings goals reasonable or are you trying to make up for lost time all at once? Just like it is often easier to improve your eating habits by gradually making changes in your diet, the same is true for financial habits. Of course, this approach assumes you aren't drowning in debt or making minimum payments on credit cards.

Do you have a budget and do you know where your money is going? If not, track family spending for a while and jointly decide where to trim. Also jointly decide on your goals and how you will reach them. It might be a good idea to set goals of various time frames (short-, intermediate-, and long-term). If you only have long-term retirement goals, it might be more difficult for your wife to get on board.

Theseus
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Theseus » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:55 pm

mega317 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:54 pm
These threads always end up the same, so yeah just go read the others.
Beachdrinks wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:27 pm
getting their spouse to follow a plan
My experience is that you generally can't "get" anyone to do anything they don't want to do. Except begrudgingly and only if you have serious power over them, like you can fire them.
100% agree with this. I have a weight management doctor who is a close friend. She tries to help (unwanted advice) family and friends - not in a pushy way - to make better choices about eating and exercise and tries to educate them on what actually works for loosing the weight and keeping it off.

Not a single person has changed anything about their lifestyle in years. You can't make adults do anything they don't want to do.

Not Law
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Not Law » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:02 pm

I have been the primary manager for investing and long term planning. My spouse has left me to manage these things, not thinking of these funds as anything but "play money" - that is electronic blips that have no real meaning to our day to day lives. When our retirement accounts reached double comma level on tax day (April 15th) of 2014, she decided that we could never outlive that amount and did not want the children to inherit at the expense of our happiness. This has been a recurring theme of our long term discussions ever since.

This amount is what I calculated would provide twice our regular expenses, which is enough of a buffer in my mind. While we had not been wanting up to that point (cruises, trips to Europe, cash flowed two college educations, etc.), I conceded to her concerns a bit and have since used about 300k for some improved lifestyle expenses (helping grandchildren's college, funding their Roth IRAs), including purchase of a second home, with the understanding that previous vacation expense amounts would be used for maintaining the vacation/future retirement home.

As of today we are again at the double comma level. And we had that same discussion last night. She defers to my management of the funds, but puts gentle pressure to make sure that the kids don't get it all (it helps that the grandkids are getting some). I am planning as though we both will make it to our 90's, she figures we will both be gone by 80. Especially since we attended the funeral of a 72 year old cousin today. Her mother made it to 90, mine to 85, our fathers a bit younger. I am aware of the odds of one or both of us reaching 90, but she cannot believe we will live another 25+ years.

I just accept the fact that we have different viewpoints, and try to keep things on track to keep us protected for the long term.

Golf maniac
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Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Golf maniac » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:04 pm

Agree with shared goals. Go big picture, what are your goals? Then what do you need to do to meet those goals. Get the budget in writing and remember to reinforce why the budget is important. We began a long time ago by setting living on my income and my wife staying home. Then we expanded it to our investment savings, houses, cars. I may be lucky because my wife bought in. Now almost 30 years later it is an ingrained habit that we use every day.

denovo
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by denovo » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:24 pm

You know your wife better than others here on this forum. Everyone changes the mind based on differing modes of presentation. You have the best idea what would work, not us.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

Beachdrinks
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Beachdrinks » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:19 pm

Doom&Gloom: I did not know that, but I have since read a few of them. Very helpful.

Sailaway: We do have the same goals and this was a helpful project, she is just not able to connect the dots on what it will take to get to our goals.

Mega317: You are completely correct. Someone needs to want to make a change themselves

Cherijoh: I was a reckless spender when we were dating and married. I have always believed in ages and stages meaning what’s appropriate in your 20’s isn’t always what’s best in your 30’s. For example I’ve been to 68 countries and I wouldn’t change a single trip even if it meant I had more in savings. Now that we have a child though it’s time to set her up for success.

Theseus: You’re right, so I suppose I’m looking for successful strategies on how to educate someone on why they would want to adopt this change on their own

Not Law: You sound like an awesome parent/grandparent!!

Golf Maniac: Totally agree, we tried a budget and she wasn’t worried when we blew through it. I think we will have to make it more reasonable and then somehow I need to find a way to get her to care about staying on budget haha!

exit_r
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Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:25 am

Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by exit_r » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:29 pm

My spouse and I committed to having a weekly money date. No distractions, 15-20 minutes. Review what went where and what is up next. We eventually got on the same page, it was weekly and now we are at monthly.

Non distracted and dedicated time really worked for us. We both compromised and we are both happier now.

Boglegrappler
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Boglegrappler » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:42 am

One issue in this mix is that frugality and spending control is potentially just one facet of a controlling personality. I've seen some examples of this.

Even with shared goals, it may be a bit tricky to get on the same page if there is a feeling that one person is dictating all the terms....and choosing when there should be exceptions or exemptions :) . Good luck working it all out.

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Top99%
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Top99% » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:27 am

What helped for me was to sell my wife on the benefits frugality would bring: Earlier FI. In my case my wife didn't like her job so the frugality = >5 years earlier FI sale was effective. If your wife loves her job (or loves having you away from the house at work) this won't be too effective. Also, for frugality it helps to focus on areas that have the most favorable combination of expense and overall happiness impact first. In our case cars, cheap cell phone plans were easy areas we could both agree on. We went lighter on cutting entertainment expenses and focused on looking for opportunities to reduce the cost rather than the quantity.
Adapt or perish

basspond
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by basspond » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:04 am

We seem to be on the same but we still have differences of opinion on our financial life. Have open conversations about financial beliefs before any big issues. We had a big difference on a financial decision, and it took years, conversations, and even getting a 3rd party input to get us to agree. It was a learning and relationship building exercise for the both of us.

macman_65
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by macman_65 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:29 am

My wife and I have seen things differently for 26 years.
I tend to be more frugal and future planning she is more of a let tomorrow worry about tomorrow kind of person

The first part of our marriage we had a joint account that she managed the expenses out of but that was after I had money taken out for 401K. I decided that I wasn't going to worry about changing her as long as I was able to save for retirement. After a trial separation and reconciliation we have now evolved to completely separate accounts while I just transfer $x to her account monthly to pay my share of expenses.
I have taken on the responsibility to fund retirement and the kids college - and I am OK with that.

I had suggested a few months ago that she should consider opening up a Roth her response was that she doesn't have any extra money to save - (I can't see how that's possible) but I just let it go - life is too short.

msk
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by msk » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:49 am

Beachdrinks wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:27 pm
It’s very common for married couples to disagree about money. I used to be a reckless spender but have completely turned it around and I am now a committed BH. I am having trouble getting on the same page with my wife.

Has anyone else experienced difficulty in getting their spouse to follow a plan of responsible saving and investing vs. spending? I imagine there would be some amazing advice on this difficult topic here.
LOL. Bad news for you. She is not going to change. I realized early in our married life that DW will always be a spender, not a saver. But she has always been meticulous in adhering strictly to the law. So we took 3 mortgages at around age 30. Bought and rented out 3 houses and started paying those off. As soon as we had some breathing space I took a huge mortgage and built two apartment blocks, one with rapid pay-off of mortgage, then another. Not once did I have to make a plea that mortgage instalments had to be met first, month in month out, before any other spending. That way we built up equity very rapidly. So we ended up RE investors, 30 rental units 20 years later. You could start by taking a short mortgage (10 years?) and buy a home. Never came across a wife who objected to acquiring a nice home. Remember: all payment towards principal is saving-and-investing, though not towards interest. RE may not be the best investment in your neck of the woods, but it might turn her into a saver, be it unwittingly. Good luck!

wrongfunds
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by wrongfunds » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:04 am

Not Law wrote:double comma level
Is that 1 million or 10 million? I am hoping you actually meant latter even though that is not the correct definition of "double comma". If you are spending like no tomorrow with the former number, you are in rude surprise.

wolf359
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by wolf359 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:35 am

I can't get my wife to stick to a budget, so I don't. She doesn't like talking about money, and feels I'm trying to control her or limit her when I do. Somehow, our spending always matches our income. Our checking account is around $1,000 when the next paycheck hits, regardless of raises and bonuses.

BUT... This works both ways.

I automated our savings gradually, so that raises and bonuses went directly into 401-k and investments without hitting the checking account. We started with small savings amounts and gradually increased them as if they were just another bill automatically drawing from our paychecks. I no longer try to set up any budget whatsoever -- our spending still matches our income. Our checking account still goes to around $1,000 when the next paycheck hits, but our savings goals are being met automatically and without budgeting.

We could be more efficient with mindful spending and budgeting. But, simply automating savings (also called "pay yourself first") and not worrying about the rest worked better for our relationship.

clutchied
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by clutchied » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:46 am

Beachdrinks wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:27 pm
It’s very common for married couples to disagree about money. I used to be a reckless spender but have completely turned it around and I am now a committed BH. I am having trouble getting on the same page with my wife.

Has anyone else experienced difficulty in getting their spouse to follow a plan of responsible saving and investing vs. spending? I imagine there would be some amazing advice on this difficult topic here.
GL!

13 years and my wife could care less. Her happiness is generally dependent on how much clothing she can purchase in a month.

She becomes unhappy when I tell her she can't spend any money on non-essentials.

the only thing that's really made a difference is that most of our money disappears before it hits the bank; not that she would know as she has no idea how much money is in our accounts.


I figured out a long time ago that she could "care less" about money. It's not where her motivation is; I spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to teach her about it, no impact.

She used to get mad at me for funding the kids college funds... just ridiculous stuff. BUT she's now on-board with that. So do I lose years and years of growth? No.


WARNING: this is not healthy so I don't recommend this but.... I don't consult her anymore on anything related to finances. She grew up in a financially incompetent family. I buy rental properties without her consent and just inform when I do it. I realized that the goal isn't wealth but merely the reduction of "worry".

Financial independence will be my gift to her if she's interested but she doesn't understand and I've given up trying to explain it. I also don't like harping on her about spending so I pretty much just set the course for the month and let it go.


Some of the best advice is to pick a spouse who is on-board because it is excruciating if they aren't.

forgeblast
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by forgeblast » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:32 am

The biggest arguments we have had have been over $$. She is spur of the moment and I am a planner, which also causes issues lol.
The way she got on board was reading Dave Ramsay's book. Its filled with stories of people who dug them selves out of debt and are
happy with what they are doing. The stories are what swayed her. She is fully on board and can see that living below your means does not mean
your poor, quite the opposite.
Life has been much better once she read his book, and I am so much less $debt$ stressed.

ponyboy
Posts: 494
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by ponyboy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:42 am

Theseus wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:55 pm
mega317 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:54 pm
These threads always end up the same, so yeah just go read the others.
Beachdrinks wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:27 pm
getting their spouse to follow a plan
My experience is that you generally can't "get" anyone to do anything they don't want to do. Except begrudgingly and only if you have serious power over them, like you can fire them.
100% agree with this. I have a weight management doctor who is a close friend. She tries to help (unwanted advice) family and friends - not in a pushy way - to make better choices about eating and exercise and tries to educate them on what actually works for loosing the weight and keeping it off.

Not a single person has changed anything about their lifestyle in years. You can't make adults do anything they don't want to do.
Yup...weight isnt lost in the gym...its lost in the kitchen. And it starts between your ears. If you arent 100% committed you will never lose the weight...people hate to hear that but thats the reality.

As for money issues...if the person isnt 100% committed its not going to change. Isnt that the #1 reason for divorce? Money issues?

jcf
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:03 am

Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by jcf » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:51 am

clutchied wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:46 am
Beachdrinks wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:27 pm
It’s very common for married couples to disagree about money. I used to be a reckless spender but have completely turned it around and I am now a committed BH. I am having trouble getting on the same page with my wife.

Has anyone else experienced difficulty in getting their spouse to follow a plan of responsible saving and investing vs. spending? I imagine there would be some amazing advice on this difficult topic here.
GL!

13 years and my wife could care less. Her happiness is generally dependent on how much clothing she can purchase in a month.

She becomes unhappy when I tell her she can't spend any money on non-essentials.

the only thing that's really made a difference is that most of our money disappears before it hits the bank; not that she would know as she has no idea how much money is in our accounts.


I figured out a long time ago that she could "care less" about money. It's not where her motivation is; I spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to teach her about it, no impact.

She used to get mad at me for funding the kids college funds... just ridiculous stuff. BUT she's now on-board with that. So do I lose years and years of growth? No.


WARNING: this is not healthy so I don't recommend this but.... I don't consult her anymore on anything related to finances. She grew up in a financially incompetent family. I buy rental properties without her consent and just inform when I do it. I realized that the goal isn't wealth but merely the reduction of "worry".

Financial independence will be my gift to her if she's interested but she doesn't understand and I've given up trying to explain it. I also don't like harping on her about spending so I pretty much just set the course for the month and let it go.


Some of the best advice is to pick a spouse who is on-board because it is excruciating if they aren't.
Ditto! Even though we share the savings goals, can't get her to even look at anything related to "growing the money". She thinks money should just sit in a bank account, and used as needed (luckily she is not a lavish spender, and likes to save money in the bank account). It's just difficult to teach the joy of growing your money if somebody is not interested.
Another side of this that I worry about is what happens if I suddenly die. She wouldn't even know what to do with all the invested money in different accounts. I do keep everything noted down in a secured file, so she can probably access most of it, but I expect her to pull it all back to a bank account paying 0.01%.

stoptothink
Posts: 4022
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by stoptothink » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:00 pm

clutchied wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:46 am
Beachdrinks wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:27 pm
It’s very common for married couples to disagree about money. I used to be a reckless spender but have completely turned it around and I am now a committed BH. I am having trouble getting on the same page with my wife.

Has anyone else experienced difficulty in getting their spouse to follow a plan of responsible saving and investing vs. spending? I imagine there would be some amazing advice on this difficult topic here.
GL!

13 years and my wife could care less. Her happiness is generally dependent on how much clothing she can purchase in a month.

She becomes unhappy when I tell her she can't spend any money on non-essentials.

the only thing that's really made a difference is that most of our money disappears before it hits the bank; not that she would know as she has no idea how much money is in our accounts.


I figured out a long time ago that she could "care less" about money. It's not where her motivation is; I spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to teach her about it, no impact.

She used to get mad at me for funding the kids college funds... just ridiculous stuff. BUT she's now on-board with that. So do I lose years and years of growth? No.


WARNING: this is not healthy so I don't recommend this but.... I don't consult her anymore on anything related to finances. She grew up in a financially incompetent family. I buy rental properties without her consent and just inform when I do it. I realized that the goal isn't wealth but merely the reduction of "worry".

Financial independence will be my gift to her if she's interested but she doesn't understand and I've given up trying to explain it. I also don't like harping on her about spending so I pretty much just set the course for the month and let it go.


Some of the best advice is to pick a spouse who is on-board because it is excruciating if they aren't.
+1. I've learned to chill out on the small, completely unnecessary, purchases she makes and she's learned to just trust me with completely directing our portfolio and overall financial picture. I don't bug her about buying another pair of jeans she'll probably never wear and she doesn't even care to know the username and password to her own 401k and IRA accounts because she knows I'll handle it and if something were to happen to me, she knows where the flash drive is that has all the info she needs. Outside of emailing her annual updates, we never discuss money, and it has totally eliminated the contention that was the problem in my first marriage and was an issue early on in our marriage.

Jayhawk11
Posts: 41
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Jayhawk11 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:16 pm

My wife is a terrible spender, totally bad with money, and tries to shut down when we even talk about it. She also is a workaholic who will work until she can't, so she just can't see why I'd want to retire.

We've "solved" it such as it is, by me charging her for family expenses (her portion of rent/food/cable/etc.), and our savings (house fund, vacation fund, etc.) on literally the day she gets paid so she can't spend it. She has her 401k taken out off the top. She only has one credit card, which I have access to.

So she gets to do WHATEVER she wants with "her" money and I can't say anything about it. This is working right now, but I fear it won't be so easy if she every takes a less lucrative job.

thangngo
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by thangngo » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:27 pm

Beachdrinks wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:27 pm
It’s very common for married couples to disagree about money. I used to be a reckless spender but have completely turned it around and I am now a committed BH. I am having trouble getting on the same page with my wife.

Has anyone else experienced difficulty in getting their spouse to follow a plan of responsible saving and investing vs. spending? I imagine there would be some amazing advice on this difficult topic here.
Be it as a lesson to single men and women out there: find a spouse that share a common values and principles.

I think you should take over the responsibilities of family wealth management: manage budget, saving/spending, set goals and keep track whether goals are met and then set new goals. Keep your spouse informed monthly on the net worth/saving/spending/goal progress.

FootballFan5548
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 2:20 pm

Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by FootballFan5548 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:46 pm

My wife is a SAHM. She has a lot of free time and the Amazon app... it's torture.

Worst of all, she doesn't even have access to our joint credit card. For some reason Bank of America can't add her for mobile access since she was never signed on in the beginning. She spends and spends... in her defense, it's mainly on the kids, and rarely on much of her own stuff... but still, it's very frustrating.

I have FI as the goal in the future. I save, and invest like a madman. She could care less about any of that, and every time I explain how our investment accounts are doing she'll say, "yea but you could lose it all too".

We've had some talks, but at this point I still just save as much as I can and hope she'll be back to work when the kids get older and then she can spend all of her own money.

clutchied
Posts: 501
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:11 pm

Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by clutchied » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:47 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:00 pm
clutchied wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:46 am
Beachdrinks wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:27 pm
It’s very common for married couples to disagree about money. I used to be a reckless spender but have completely turned it around and I am now a committed BH. I am having trouble getting on the same page with my wife.

Has anyone else experienced difficulty in getting their spouse to follow a plan of responsible saving and investing vs. spending? I imagine there would be some amazing advice on this difficult topic here.
GL!

13 years and my wife could care less. Her happiness is generally dependent on how much clothing she can purchase in a month.

She becomes unhappy when I tell her she can't spend any money on non-essentials.

the only thing that's really made a difference is that most of our money disappears before it hits the bank; not that she would know as she has no idea how much money is in our accounts.


I figured out a long time ago that she could "care less" about money. It's not where her motivation is; I spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to teach her about it, no impact.

She used to get mad at me for funding the kids college funds... just ridiculous stuff. BUT she's now on-board with that. So do I lose years and years of growth? No.


WARNING: this is not healthy so I don't recommend this but.... I don't consult her anymore on anything related to finances. She grew up in a financially incompetent family. I buy rental properties without her consent and just inform when I do it. I realized that the goal isn't wealth but merely the reduction of "worry".

Financial independence will be my gift to her if she's interested but she doesn't understand and I've given up trying to explain it. I also don't like harping on her about spending so I pretty much just set the course for the month and let it go.


Some of the best advice is to pick a spouse who is on-board because it is excruciating if they aren't.
+1. I've learned to chill out on the small, completely unnecessary, purchases she makes and she's learned to just trust me with completely directing our portfolio and overall financial picture. I don't bug her about buying another pair of jeans she'll probably never wear and she doesn't even care to know the username and password to her own 401k and IRA accounts because she knows I'll handle it and if something were to happen to me, she knows where the flash drive is that has all the info she needs. Outside of emailing her annual updates, we never discuss money, and it has totally eliminated the contention that was the problem in my first marriage and was an issue early on in our marriage.
Yes! I realized I was the stupid chump who'd die of a heart attack stressing over her nonsense... Not anymore. Autopilot and peace.

asif408
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by asif408 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:36 pm

For someone not interested (like my wife), if you can automate and keep it simple I have found that works best. I convinced my wife to open a Roth IRA and make an automatic monthly contribution into a single fund (like a Target Retirement fund) from her bank. She has been doing that (and has probably forgotten about it, as she doesn't ask about it) for several years and that seems to work well for us. I don't harp on the amount, just the fact that she is saving is the expectation I have set. I save more aggressively so that tends to make our overall savings pretty good. I also highlight benefits, such as the tax benefit (as we get the saver's credit) and that we could use that for children's education expenses in the future (at least the contributions), as I know it is important for her to have money for that.

So basically keep it simple, automatic, and use justifications that are in line with things that are important to her (if you can find them).

Sandi_k
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Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Sandi_k » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:39 pm

What we've done is his, mine, and ours.

We have a good idea of what the basic household expenses are, and we contribute equally to the joint account from which we pay them. Short terms savings is included in this figure: for escrow expenses; for car maintenance and replacement; for vacations.

I also calculated long ago the target for retirement savings: 20% of gross income. So that dollar amount is part of what DH transfers to the joint account each month, and I have it set for an auto-transfer to Fidelity for his retirement contributions.

I also have requested that our accountant calculate the maximum allowable contribution to DH's SEP-IRA each year, and she tells him how much to contribute before each April 15th deadline. He is agreeable, and does so.

As a result, we spend what's in the joint account (I move the savings money before we begin our spending for the month). He knows the budget includes fixed amounts for groceries, hardware, dining out, entertainment, etc. As a result, we rarely have to discuss spending, unless he's working on a home project that requires purchases from say, Home Depot or Lowe's, or a yardwork project, such as replacing sprinkler heads. In those instances, he asks if there are funds available for the expense, and I transfer money as necessary.

Because he also has his own account for his personal desires - such as fancy tools or some electronic gadget, we never fight about money.

gotester2000
Posts: 317
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by gotester2000 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:04 pm

My wife is not interested in FI and managing finances. Like many other women she is interested only in real estate and jewelry and considers that as wealth instead of the digits on your accounts. She doesnt spend too much on other things.
I tried for many years to persuade her to manage finances but her interest keeps on fluctuating at best - basically she thinks that I am responsible for the family.
I used to be paranoid with fear and worry earlier about the consequences of my early demise on my family. Not anymore - just learnt to accept that people cannot be forced to your line of thought - do what you can and accept life as it unfolds - stop analysing too much and live your life.

clutchied
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by clutchied » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:06 pm

Sandi_k wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:39 pm
What we've done is his, mine, and ours.

We have a good idea of what the basic household expenses are, and we contribute equally to the joint account from which we pay them. Short terms savings is included in this figure: for escrow expenses; for car maintenance and replacement; for vacations.

I also calculated long ago the target for retirement savings: 20% of gross income. So that dollar amount is part of what DH transfers to the joint account each month, and I have it set for an auto-transfer to Fidelity for his retirement contributions.

I also have requested that our accountant calculate the maximum allowable contribution to DH's SEP-IRA each year, and she tells him how much to contribute before each April 15th deadline. He is agreeable, and does so.

As a result, we spend what's in the joint account (I move the savings money before we begin our spending for the month). He knows the budget includes fixed amounts for groceries, hardware, dining out, entertainment, etc. As a result, we rarely have to discuss spending, unless he's working on a home project that requires purchases from say, Home Depot or Lowe's, or a yardwork project, such as replacing sprinkler heads. In those instances, he asks if there are funds available for the expense, and I transfer money as necessary.

Because he also has his own account for his personal desires - such as fancy tools or some electronic gadget, we never fight about money.
May I ask if you earn similarly?

I modeled this out for my family and I would be left with close to $2k/mo in fun money and she would get maybe $300. This is proportionate to our earnings. I make like 2.5 times what my spouse does. While this is "fair" it's really not and would probably lead to some pretty hurt feelings.

Maybe if I took both 401k's and considered them savings and gave us both credit back it might end up more equitably. IDK... I'll keep looking.

delamer
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by delamer » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:50 pm

clutchied wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:06 pm
Sandi_k wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:39 pm
What we've done is his, mine, and ours.

We have a good idea of what the basic household expenses are, and we contribute equally to the joint account from which we pay them. Short terms savings is included in this figure: for escrow expenses; for car maintenance and replacement; for vacations.

I also calculated long ago the target for retirement savings: 20% of gross income. So that dollar amount is part of what DH transfers to the joint account each month, and I have it set for an auto-transfer to Fidelity for his retirement contributions.

I also have requested that our accountant calculate the maximum allowable contribution to DH's SEP-IRA each year, and she tells him how much to contribute before each April 15th deadline. He is agreeable, and does so.

As a result, we spend what's in the joint account (I move the savings money before we begin our spending for the month). He knows the budget includes fixed amounts for groceries, hardware, dining out, entertainment, etc. As a result, we rarely have to discuss spending, unless he's working on a home project that requires purchases from say, Home Depot or Lowe's, or a yardwork project, such as replacing sprinkler heads. In those instances, he asks if there are funds available for the expense, and I transfer money as necessary.

Because he also has his own account for his personal desires - such as fancy tools or some electronic gadget, we never fight about money.
May I ask if you earn similarly?

I modeled this out for my family and I would be left with close to $2k/mo in fun money and she would get maybe $300. This is proportionate to our earnings. I make like 2.5 times what my spouse does. While this is "fair" it's really not and would probably lead to some pretty hurt feelings.

Maybe if I took both 401k's and considered them savings and gave us both credit back it might end up more equitably. IDK... I'll keep looking.

Figure out your total joint expenses. Subtract from your total income. Divide the difference in half.

Each of you gets to keep one of the halves for personal spending.

The rest goes to your joint account to cover expenses. In reality, some of the joint expenses will have already been taken out of your paychecks to cover taxes, savings, health insurance, and other pre-tax deductions which of course need to be included in expenses.

delamer
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by delamer » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:11 pm

Many interesting responses, some of which describe arrangements that would cause me a lot of anxiety. :(

If you can agree on a savings level, then that money can go straight from your paychecks into your 401(k)s, IRAs, and/or taxable accounts.

You also can have money for major recurring expenses like mortgage, utilities, groceries, transportation, etc. put into a separate checking account.

Then the rest is fair game for spending. But the savings and recurring expenses money stays separate and untouchable.

Not Law
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Not Law » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:48 pm

wrongfunds wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:04 am
Not Law wrote:double comma level
Is that 1 million or 10 million? I am hoping you actually meant latter even though that is not the correct definition of "double comma". If you are spending like no tomorrow with the former number, you are in rude surprise.
I mean 1 million in 2014, spent some and now back at 1 million again. I live in a LCOL area. We have less than 8 years before I take SS at 70 (she will start at FRA). Those SS funds will provide for basic necessities. The investment funds will be used for living expenses and Roth conversions until I am 70, and then for extras for improved lifestyle. The ACA has limited what can be converted since 2014, as the subsidies are very valuable at my age. From 2004 to 2014, I Roth converted to the top of the 15% bracket, which will start again when the ACA is no longer a factor. My goal at this point is to have enough of the tIRA converted so the RMDs are not creating a "hump" tax on the SS.

WannabeBogleHead01
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by WannabeBogleHead01 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:02 pm

My wife has always been good, not great... until recently.

She felt restricted in her spending, so the solution was that each of us have an annual “slush” fund, that we can spend anyway we want. Mine goes mostly to golf equipment; hers, purses and shoes. It worked so well last year that we’ve increased the amounts by $300 each this year.

aristotelian
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by aristotelian » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:51 pm

My wife doesn't want to be involved in research or the day to day managing of accounts, but we are on the same page more or less when it comes to goals and spending. If we are having a conflict, I try not to approach it "getting my spouse on the same page" or "convincing" etc. People don't like to be told what to do. I never say "no" to a purchase, even if I disagree. I try to lay out the consequences or give a choice, i.e., "You can buy the couch, but then we're not going to be able to afford Mexico." Sometimes she buys the couch, but overall I get the best results that way.

Sandi_k
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Sandi_k » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:21 pm

clutchied wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:06 pm
Sandi_k wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:39 pm
What we've done is his, mine, and ours.

We have a good idea of what the basic household expenses are, and we contribute equally to the joint account from which we pay them. Short terms savings is included in this figure: for escrow expenses; for car maintenance and replacement; for vacations.

I also calculated long ago the target for retirement savings: 20% of gross income. So that dollar amount is part of what DH transfers to the joint account each month, and I have it set for an auto-transfer to Fidelity for his retirement contributions.

I also have requested that our accountant calculate the maximum allowable contribution to DH's SEP-IRA each year, and she tells him how much to contribute before each April 15th deadline. He is agreeable, and does so.

As a result, we spend what's in the joint account (I move the savings money before we begin our spending for the month). He knows the budget includes fixed amounts for groceries, hardware, dining out, entertainment, etc. As a result, we rarely have to discuss spending, unless he's working on a home project that requires purchases from say, Home Depot or Lowe's, or a yardwork project, such as replacing sprinkler heads. In those instances, he asks if there are funds available for the expense, and I transfer money as necessary.

Because he also has his own account for his personal desires - such as fancy tools or some electronic gadget, we never fight about money.
May I ask if you earn similarly?

I modeled this out for my family and I would be left with close to $2k/mo in fun money and she would get maybe $300. This is proportionate to our earnings. I make like 2.5 times what my spouse does. While this is "fair" it's really not and would probably lead to some pretty hurt feelings.

Maybe if I took both 401k's and considered them savings and gave us both credit back it might end up more equitably. IDK... I'll keep looking.
The retirement accounts are community property. I contribute about 8x more to the retirement accounts than he does. I also pay the FSA and medical premiums out of my paycheck.

In total, I probably pay 2x more to our "general welfare" than he does, and I earn about twice what he does. But the only payments that come out of the joint account are monthly bills, and the aforementioned household projects/his retirement pull.

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Cycle
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Cycle » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:36 pm

Shoes, so many shoes. Several boxes per week of shoes.

I try to explain my spending priciples to my wife, mainly that I'm frugal but not on travel or health. She doesn't understand why I throw 8 avocados in the shopping cart when the prices are 3x normal without blinking, bc she thinks I'm a cheapskate across the board.... Mainly exemplified by the cutting of my own hair and us living in a house worth less than 10% of our net worth.

When we get older we will be grateful for taking time to travel and for taking care of our bodies, we will forget about all the material stuff we traded our free time for... Mainly shoes.

MikeG62
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by MikeG62 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:36 am

jcf wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:51 am

Ditto! Even though we share the savings goals, can't get her to even look at anything related to "growing the money". She thinks money should just sit in a bank account, and used as needed (luckily she is not a lavish spender, and likes to save money in the bank account). It's just difficult to teach the joy of growing your money if somebody is not interested.

Another side of this that I worry about is what happens if I suddenly die. She wouldn't even know what to do with all the invested money in different accounts. I do keep everything noted down in a secured file, so she can probably access most of it, but I expect her to pull it all back to a bank account paying 0.01%.
So not the same issue as the OP, but this pretty much sums up my situation as well.

DW has close to zero interest in understanding how our finances are managed. When we do discuss it, it all seems way to complicated to her. Like jcf, she thinks our money should be down at the local B&M bank. I do press the conversation from time to time and recently she has shown a tiny bit of additional interest. I am hoping over time she continues on this path of awakening, but am far from convinced that she will.

Beachdrinks
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Beachdrinks » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:00 am

exit_r wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:29 pm
My spouse and I committed to having a weekly money date. No distractions, 15-20 minutes. Review what went where and what is up next. We eventually got on the same page, it was weekly and now we are at monthly.

Non distracted and dedicated time really worked for us. We both compromised and we are both happier now.
Weekly money dates are such a great idea. I tried monthly and heard a great podcast where if that cadence isn’t working you need weekly or even more often. I like the idea of starting it with “celebrating a win” such as a promotion or even cooking more often that week. The problem is you don't want to feel like you're dragging someone into a conversation they don't want every week, but the topic is too important to avoid so I'm going to aim for this thanks!

Beachdrinks
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Beachdrinks » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:11 am

FootballFan5548 wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:46 pm
My wife is a SAHM. She has a lot of free time and the Amazon app... it's torture.

Worst of all, she doesn't even have access to our joint credit card. For some reason Bank of America can't add her for mobile access since she was never signed on in the beginning. She spends and spends... in her defense, it's mainly on the kids, and rarely on much of her own stuff... but still, it's very frustrating.

I have FI as the goal in the future. I save, and invest like a madman. She could care less about any of that, and every time I explain how our investment accounts are doing she'll say, "yea but you could lose it all too".

We've had some talks, but at this point I still just save as much as I can and hope she'll be back to work when the kids get older and then she can spend all of her own money.
one click order has not been friendly to over-spenders. Mainly on the kids is a huge win! Although we disagree over things like a $300 winter coat for a baby overall I don't get nearly as frustrated with the spends on the baby. I am hoping attempt #2 at a budget will go better.

Beachdrinks
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Beachdrinks » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:14 am

Cycle wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:36 pm
Shoes, so many shoes. Several boxes per week of shoes.

I try to explain my spending priciples to my wife, mainly that I'm frugal but not on travel or health. She doesn't understand why I throw 8 avocados in the shopping cart when the prices are 3x normal without blinking, bc she thinks I'm a cheapskate across the board.... Mainly exemplified by the cutting of my own hair and us living in a house worth less than 10% of our net worth.

When we get older we will be grateful for taking time to travel and for taking care of our bodies, we will forget about all the material stuff we traded our free time for... Mainly shoes.
Same problem (shoes), although whole foods did drop the prices of Avacados thanks to Amazon :) I will say the only bright spot of a high cost of living area is really small closets. Removes space to put new shoes which maybe cuts down on a few pairs a year. That's what I tell myself.

CT-Scott
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by CT-Scott » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:38 am

My wife and I make similar, fairly high incomes. It looks like with the new tax brackets, we'll be in the 32% bracket (but on the lower end of that). I make about 30% more than her.

My wife never wants to discuss our expenses, bills, or money situation in general (that last one is probably because she knows it will lead to discussing the first two). I pay all of the bills, and she lets me make pretty much all of the decisions on where to put money, etc. There are certain decisions that I have to run past her (e.g., changing checking accounts), and I may feel a bit frustrated needing to convince her of a change being for the best, but I'm also sometimes insensitive to an inconvenience that I deem as being trivial that feels like a bigger inconvenience to her (e.g., changing a checking account). She spends money on a lot of things that I deem unimportant, overpriced, or too frequently spent, but when I look at each of them, and consider her salary, don't seem like they are as big of a deal as I may make them out to be (e.g., cost of cutting/coloring her hair, monthly massage membership, spending on her Stampin' Up hobby). She's not a frequent/expensive clothes/shoes/jewelry shopper. One of my biggest frustrations is with the amount of food/groceries she buys that end up going bad and being thrown away a couple of weeks later.

I take care of managing all of our bill-paying and savings, including retirement plans, and she mostly allows me to allocate them as I see fit. If I think we need to reallocate funds in her 401k, I run that past her, though. She's completely on board with saving as much as possible, and we're currently able to max out our 401K accounts (including the catch-up for her) and Roth IRA. It took a bit more convincing for me to get her on board with the HDHP/HSA plan. She has much more medical expenses and has been resistant to using the GoodRx app. For better or worse, she actually hits her deductible early enough, that she doesn't really need to worry about shopping around for prescriptions using GoodRx.

I'd say that's a common theme for financial issues that cause us some friction: I'm the type that will spend *too* much time doing research to find the best deal on everything, and she's the type that wants to spend *no* extra time doing research, even if it means grossly overpaying for something.

The idea of getting aligned on common goals is something I've heard before, and is the approach I plan to take in trying to get us on the same page. I know that she'd love for me to tell her that we've saved up $xxx and can quit our jobs tomorrow, but with the amount of savings we have and the amount that we currently spend, that's not in the cards. I'd be open to *trying* to radically cut our spending to see if we could do it, with the idea that we could get to FI early. Somehow, that's the type of discussion / sales pitch that I'd like to have with her. My wife seems to be getting more open to the idea of downsizing/moving, but right now we have a daughter who is a Sophomore in college, and my wife wants to table the discussion of moving until after our daughter graduates, which seems reasonable to me. So as our daughter's graduation date gets closer, I'm hoping we can get on board with making some significant changes to our spending and look into moving/downsizing, with the goal of earlier FI.

ccieemeritus
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by ccieemeritus » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:41 am

Most people are unsuccessful with budgeting. I would be unsuccessful with budgeting so i don’t try.

I’ve found “paying yourself first” to be successful. That means putting some money in a 401k before it hits your checking account. Then trying to live on the checking account.

It may be easier to get your wife to agree to an increased 401k payroll deduction than a budget.

retire57
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by retire57 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:30 pm

We are fortunate in that my DH of 34 years and I are both collectors and love to spend.

Fortunate, because what we love to collect are shares. Buy, buy, buy!!! :D

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Cycle
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Cycle » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:04 pm

Beachdrinks wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:14 am
I will say the only bright spot of a high cost of living area is really small closets. Removes space to put new shoes which maybe cuts down on a few pairs a year. That's what I tell myself.
We also have tiny closets, 1928 home; however, some cruel engineer developed an innovative shoe rack that allows one to fit about 40 pairs of shoes on the back of a closet door. My spouse buys and sells shoes on poshmark, so while there are usually a few new shoe boxes per week showing up, there are typically an equal amount going out thanks to the limited space. If it weren't for the credits from poshmark, we'd be paupers.

JFKtoSFO
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by JFKtoSFO » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:49 pm

My spouse was a reckless spender, but also has a higher salary. Many purchases fell under the "I deserve this" label, and retirement accounts were practically non-existent. When we were married, after strongly encouraging them to read Millionaire Next Door, I insisted we use the pay yourself first method. A portion of each paycheck immediately goes into a bank account that autopays bills. After that, once spouse maxes the 401k, Mega-backdoor, iBonds, and a backdoor Roth, anything left is ok to spend.

Just for fun, I made a spreadsheet that shows how fast we can get to the two-comma club at our current savings rate. That seems to stave off any temptation to stray from the plan.

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Toons
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by Toons » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:54 pm

For Starters.
Both Of You Sit Down Together.
Hammer out a strict budget Together.
Stick To It Together.
You Will Be Rewarded ,Together.
Live Beneath Your Means.




:happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

KATNYC
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by KATNYC » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:43 am

Finances are the biggest reason for divorce. Being on the same page is important.
We use a budgeting app that is on our phones with all accounts linked. We can view expenses, income, and net worth at the click of a button.
We have maxed out the 1 available 401K, contributed the max to IRA's and we are opening an HSA for 2017 this week.
Being hyper-aware of money by tracking spending and looking at the budget almost daily for the last couple of years has made a positive difference.

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meowcat
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Re: Getting your spouse on the same page

Post by meowcat » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:39 pm

We are definitely not on the same page about everything. I handle the long term investments/401(k)/IRA, while she handles the day to day cash flow into and out of our checking account. She is responsible for all the bills. She is not good with money, never has been. Whenever I want to talk to her about money she thinks I'm trying to start an argument. She is not frugal and if it weren't for me we would be in serious trouble, financially. She doesn't understand "pay yourself first" of "living beneath your means". I struggle daily trying to get her to pay ourselves first and build up our EF. She wants no part of it. We don't have any debts, and for now, our retirement savings are on track, but she's not happy about it. She is a nickel and dime monster and she doesn't understand that small leaks can sink a very large ship.
More people should learn to tell their dollars where to go instead of asking them where they went. | -Roger Babson

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