Q: My husband and I argue about money, but not because we don't have enough. We have average incomes and our only debt is a modest mortgage, but he wants to save and never spend an extra cent. He thinks credit cards are evil and believes in paying cash for everything. I think it's OK to spend carefully and live a little. How can we find a compromise?
A: When most of us think of couples disagreeing over money, we often assume it's because there isn't enough—or that debts have become unmanageable.
Find a Balance & Focus on Solutions
However, it can be just as difficult if someone saves so much that it interferes with enjoying the fruits of their hard work. I encourage you to set quiet time aside with your husband so that you can share your frustrations calmly, listen to his concerns carefully and then work with him to find a balance. Avoid blame and focus on solutions.
As you plan together, consider:
- What is important to your husband financially? Did he grow up not having what he needed or is he afraid of not being able to provide for his family?
- Is he worried that both of you will not have enough money for retirement? Why does he feel the need to be so careful?
Share Your Goals with Each Other
With the lines of communication open, share your financial goals with your husband. Let him know what savings and spending choices are important to you over the next few years and why.
Maybe you'd like to make some updates to your home or go on vacation to spend special time with your husband. Sharing your goals and how you would like to spend the money may help him understand that what you are looking for is balance. Next, review your current financial situation against your long-term financial goals to see how much room there is in your budget to live a little while staying on track.
When will your mortgage be paid in full? How much savings do you have for retirement, as an emergency fund and for larger purchases?
You don't want all your eggs, or in this case, all your savings, in one basket. Review your monthly budget and aim to make realistic compromises.
It's never only about the money; finding out more about each other as you crunch numbers may be an added reward.
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