182 – July 1
“There are two kinds of people in life—spenders and savers. Usually, they are married to each other.”—Anonymous
“Money is power” is a commonly held belief by both men and women. Whoever has the money in the relationship has the power in the relationship. This power is almost always abused by the one who has it and resented by the one who doesn’t. This is not a prescription for love and romance. Not talking about it only makes it worse. The subject has to be addressed, and if the relationship is to thrive, joint decisions about money must be made.
My fiancé and I were very happy with one financial program that worked quite well: We each took a certain amount of money monthly from our joint funds—we called it our “allowance.” This was money that we each had for personal items, and we didn’t have to account for this money to each other in any way. I believe this is a necessity for married couples. Then you can always feel free to go shopping and buy something without having to ask the other for permission, or explain the value of your purchase after the fact.
Make sure the rules are clear to each other, however. My fiancé and I were doing fine with our allowances until one day, when he brought up the idea that we should buy a new car. I said, “Fine, but what are we going to do about the down payment?” to which he replied, “Well, I thought we could use our allowance that we’ve been saving.” I looked at him, eyes wide in shock (picture deer caught in headlights). He had been saving all of his personal money. Not only that, but he just assumed that I was saving mine, too! I remember how angry he was when I told him I had spent all of my allowance. Oops.
Make your relationship work. Talk about your money, your expectations, your goals, your beliefs. Write them down. Then write some positive money affirmations and practice them together. Give each other space to talk about what is really important to you financially, even if you’re afraid the other person will think you’re frivolous, cheap, irresponsible, tight, or whatever. If the things you really want aren’t provided for, either in your current (low or medium) budget or your goal (high) budget, anger and resentment are going to creep in to your relationship. Design the plan to have everything you want, and what you have to do to get it. Then prioritize your goals and work on achieving them together.
And make sure you’re together on your definition of “allowance.”
“Everyone in my home creates health, wealth, and harmony there!”