This week, Catherine @ ThisWifesLife will share with us how she manages her finances with her spouse.
Biography: I am 40 something working wife who’s aiming to reach financial independence and semi-retire by age 55. I devour information related to paying off debt, investing, making extra money and building wealth. I enjoy cooking, reading, hiking, crafting and reading while hanging out with my husband and our Great Dane and cat. Check out my blog site This Wifes Life and follow me on Twitter.
How do you divide financial responsibilities in your household and why did you choose this approach? Our approach is simple for us. I’m more of a “down to the penny” budget person whereas my husband has to have a cushion in his account. For me to feel comfortable I have to know exactly how much money is going out each month. So I took on the mortgage (a fixed cost) and he pays all the bills such as utilities, trash, cellphone, cable, etc. In the long-run it equals out. For him to feel comfortable, he doesn’t like to allocate every last cent. He likes to see a balance in his checking account and then when it gets larger he transfers it to his savings account. I’ll use everything in my checking account to pay off debt.
If you could change a ‘money habit that your partner has, what would it be and why? We’re both pretty frugal, but if I could change a money habit it would be that he throw more money to debt at this point in our lives instead of his savings. But like I said, it’s a comfort for him.
How do you and your partner agree on long term financial goals that affect both of you (i.e. retirement)? We’ve invested in rental property as our main retirement strategy, so there definitely has to be agreement before a couple embarks on that kind of responsibility. For us, it was just something we decided to do. Right now, we’re working to pay those investments off before taking another one (or five) on.
How does a budget meeting in your household look like? We actually don’t have budget meetings. We hold separate bank accounts, and each of us work on our own debts while working together…if this makes sense.
Do you consider yourself a saver or spender? What about your partner? How has this helped/hindered how you manage your finances? We are both frugal, and both savers. This really helps us manage our finances. If I would have married a spender, I would have gone crazy.
What approach do you use when resolving money fights in the home? Interestingly, we don’t fight about money. We’re definitely on the same page.
How soon do you think a couple should start discussing the topic of money in their relationship? What approach should they take? I think the earlier the better! Money is such an important topic, and if a couple finds they are getting serious they need to make sure they are compatible in this major way. Women especially need to find security in who they choose as a partner for a plethora for reasons. Such as not getting taken by a spender or on the flip-side being able to maintain some level of financial independence, etc.
If a couple has differing views around money, what can they do to come to a reconciliation and work together with their finances? I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan. For us, it was me getting him to a Dave Ramsey workshop to get us rowing in the same direction. I think if couples can do something similar to learn the same vernacular and get excited about finances that could go a long way.
What three pieces of advice would you give to other couples in dealing with their finances? Take care of each other. Get on the same page. Work together.
Are there any other remarks you would like to add? Being part of a couple is hard work. Don’t make it more difficult by worrying about money. It’s really an easy fix once you can talk about your fears and dreams and start working together. If you’re having problems, don’t look at the spender/saver as the enemy, try to figure out why they are the way they
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