Trusting your partner seems like a fairly standard thing for a couple to do. However it is interesting how many people actually do trust their partners, especially when it comes to the joint bank account and money management. I decided to do this post today because I have recently witnessed two separate events involving spouses and money. Each was very different as you will see.
Controlling The Purse Strings
In my family my wife and I decided very early on that we were going to work towards the same financial goals. This was a huge relief for me as my wife entered into the relationship as a frivolous spender and I was very much a big saver. Our relationship could have had a very abrupt end early on, but we came to a fairly amicable agreement where by we set up an emergency savings account, serviced our debt, paid our bills and then divided the rest of the money into other areas. The main other area that my wife wanted was a spending account. She wanted this so she could buy whatever she wanted without feeling guilty. The concept has worked brilliantly for us and 5.5 years later we have paid off more than 2/3 of our mortgage debt.
We both never spend money without consulting the other, and this has built up a very high level of trust between the two of us.
The Story of 2 Couples
On Saturday we had one of my wife’s friends come over to help my wife with some baking. They managed to make a gigantic (and delicious) cake, which took almost the entire day to complete. That evening once the cake was finished the husband of my wife’s friend came over and we all had dinner together. It was a great night, with great food, and abysmal billiards play. One of the more interesting conversations surrounded what the friends husband did on his day away from his wife.
It turns out that he decided to buy a new XBOX game console. At first I thought that his wife was looking a little cranky at him, but then she told him that she trusted his decision and that she was glad that he got something he wanted. I was super impressed, as they are currently building a house and had just gotten married. So as you can imagine, money isn’t exactly spilling out from under the mattress. After a little discussion it turned out that he had not been going to his regular sporting activities recently and had saved that money for something he really wanted.
I personally think it is great that he got something he wanted and saved up prior to buying it.
In couple 2 I know the man in the relationship, he is in the same team as me at work (I’ll call him Peter – not his real name). Peter regularly complains about his wife and in particular about the amount of money she spends. I distinctly remember Peter and I speaking about his relationship with his wife and how he tries to spend as much money as possible to get the things that he wants, because if he doesn’t, his wife will spend it all before him. I was a little taken back by this, and suggested that this was a fast way to the poor house.
He agreed, but said that his wife just would never listen to reason and that she would buy things without consulting with him. One example of this was when she phoned Peter during work hours to tell him that she had just bought a new car. In retaliation he then raced off to buy new power tools and technology gadgets in a bid to ensure he gets something he wants before the money dries up. I personally just couldn’t live like this, to me it shows mutual disrespect to each other in the relationship and in my opinion it is not healthy.
Despite the semi regular bickering that I get to hear every time his wife phones him at work, they somehow seem to make this relationship work. I personally don’t think I could handle it, but I have known Peter for 3-4 years and he and his wife are still together… Somehow.
I would like to know how you make things work with your spouse when it comes to money? Are you on the same page or do you always seem to be fighting over money?