Houston, we have a serious problem...
Today's post is about a serious and common situation: when your partner or spouse is not on the same page as you regarding money.
I promised to write about my experience with this a few weeks ago, so here it is: how my wife and I worked out our differences and ended up on the same happy money page.
I started off pretty bad with money. I didn't have a budget, didn't think much about saving, bought expensive things on impulse, and ended up spending more than I earned each month.
My wife was better in that she didn't buy expensive things, but she didn't really think about saving either.
I started to change after reading Your Money or Your Life. That book made a big impression and really changed my thinking about money.
My relationship with money gradually improved.
As I read more about personal finance, I started thinking of saving not in terms of saving, but rather in terms of buying passive income. This changed saving and investing
from something I had to force myself to do into something I wanted to do.
My wife was happy enough to go along with the saving at first, but then we started having small arguments. Our main areas of friction were:
1. I wanted to save and invest more than she thought necessary. I was aiming for financial independence, my wife didn't really understand the concept.
2. I didn't want to buy a house and land in Japan. My wife wanted a garden she could grow plants and vegetables in.
3. I was interested in investing. I wanted to put our savings into a balanced portfolio of global index funds. My wife didn't understand the products.
We solved the problem by... wait for it... talking about it. I explained what I was trying to do and asked what my wife wanted from life. Together we agreed to save a bit more than she wanted to and a bit less than I wanted to. We talked about what we would do when we have a bit more time and money to spend on ourselves.
We compromised on the house and land by buying a cheap manshon as a base, and agreeing to look for a cheap house with land in the country, so we can get the garden without committing a large amount of money to it. We'll be able to enjoy it at weekends rather than every day, but it will cost us a fraction of the cost of a house in the city (a couple of million versus 40 million+).
I manage my wife's investments and sit down with her every few months to explain what is happening with her portfolio. She is still not interested in investing herself, but understands what I am doing with her money.
I think we were were lucky (or we chose the right person to marry). None of these are big problems. Broadly speaking, we have similar attitudes to money. We both prefer spending money on people and experiences over buying things. Travel and food, not new cars and fancy shoes. This has made it easier to bridge our differences.
No matter how far apart you are in money matters, talking about what you want and, more importantly, why you want it, should go some way to bringing you closer together.
How about you? Are you on the same page as your partner? Have you overcome any financial differences? Are you having any big problems at the moment?