Personal Finance…not anymore!

Today’s guest post comes from a good friend of mine MattyIce. He has been seen commeting on my blog from time to time and is an all around good dude. I twisted his arm a good bit and finally convinced him to hook me up with a guest post. Here it is…

Personal Finance is no longer personal in my life. I got married a year ago on August 16th. Over the past year my wife and I have gone through many learning experiences with money management. We have struggled to combine our own personal spending, saving, and budgetary habits/desires into one common goal….

A little about me…Ninja and I became friends in September of 2009. Girl Ninja and my wife had tried to get Ninja and I to hangout for over two years, but guys need time, they can’t just force a friendship. We finally went and played tennis one day (I got killed by Ninja) and I started asking about his hobbies, and what he does in his spare time. He told me about Punch Debt in the Face and his deep interest in Personal Finance. This common bond connected us and spurred a conversation that continues to this day. My wife and I live here in San Diego, CA and we are still newlyweds trying to become one in all aspects of our lives, including our finances.

Since September I became obsessed with personal finance, due to the help of Ninja and the rest of you Personal Finance bloggers out there. I wanted to learn everything I could about how to be wealthy in the future. If I was this passionate about Personal Finance when I was single, life would be easy. I could tell my money exactly where I wanted it to go, and it would go there. I could make homemade bean and cheese burritos every night for months until my debt was paid off. However, I cannot do that. My wife is one of my responsibilities now and her opinion and desires matter. Throughout this year we have had a few fights over money, and it was because both of us had very different financial goals. My goals were to pay off all debt with any extra income we made. For my wife this was her first year out of college and she was making decent money, so she wanted to enjoy it. She loves to shop and thankfully she always shops for a good deal, however those good deals start to add up. Although I would rather pay off our debt as fast as we could, she has every right to want to buy clothes and home décor with the money she makes. Money is a stressful topic and if you do not communicate your financial goals to one another it could ruin your marriage.

I took on the responsibility of paying bills in the beginning, because I felt like it was my responsibility as a “Man” to plan for our future. Our first big fight consisted of my wife feeling restricted and controlled by my money management. I checked the bank account frequently to watch every purchase, and then follow up with my wife to see what she bought. She had no freedom to buy anything with the money she had earned. This was our first conversation about each others financial goals. I learned, through this argument, that we had very different financial goals in mind, and we needed to communicate more. Since this conversation we have created a few helpful ways to talk/develop common financial goals.

1. Find out each others goals/ desires– Find out where your spouse wants to see their money go.

2. Figure out areas of compromise- This could mean that your spouse gets $100 dollars a month (cash) to spend wherever they want. This idea came up in our first fight, because then I couldn’t see where the money was being spent.

3. Set up plan together (budget) – Create a plan based off of these new compromising ideas. Consider each others Financial desires and then see what your budget looks like.

4. Implement new goals- Follow that new budget if it works for both people. If it turns out that it is not working, sit down and start at step 1.

My wife and I are still learning and growing in our marriage and will continue to look for better ways to communicate about our finances. To all you married couples, or very wise single people out there, what helpful solutions did you discover when Personal Finance was no longer personal?

13 thoughts on “Personal Finance…not anymore!

  1. Think you nailed it communication is the key. Understanding each others goals is the best place to start. This has to continue often so each of you know how the $ are being spent.

  2. What I have concluded since being married is that most arguments about money happen due to a combination of fear and control. Fear of not having enough money to meet ones obligations/goals leads to a greater need to control the spending. Discussing your financial fears, and goals with each other and doing your best to be respectful of your partners while they do the same for you will make your financial life run much more smoothly. Also practice thinking our instead of mine and yours, and make sure you marry someone who has financial habits that you can tolerate.

  3. My best advice after 13 yrs with my partner is to communicate repeatedly on this subject! You have to “lather, rinse, repeat” numerous times about finances. As life evolves and your goals/income/situations change, you need to do it again, and again and again.

  4. Great post. I think you both have a valid position. One thing I would recommend is that you guys pick a date in which you will start a new budget (based on the plan you’ve created together). Then your wife can feel she has some ownership over the process/budget.

    Just remember to remind her along the way that some months/years may be a bit more restrictive than others. Although this is her 1st year out of college (been there done that), she does need to consider curbing her spending. 1 year can turn into 10 if you’re not careful.

    And it seems like you’ve figured out how to let up some. I think that’s great. The first year of marriage is by far the hardest, so believe me, you’re right on track for these disagreements and discussions. Best wishes to you guys!

    • Thank you for your advice. I definitely want my wife to take part ownership, because then it is our budget and not my restrictive budget.

  5. Mr. BFS is more spendy than me and we also fought about his fun spending on and off for a few years – then we started “Fun Money” accounts last year and everything has been fine since then. We both get $125 a month deposited into our fun money account to spend as we wish. We still talk about our purchases since we enjoy each other’s input (and he likes the fact I can help him find what he’s looking for cheaper), but I no longer get ticked off that a board game or video game threw $50 of our budgeted money out the window – now it’s his window and I can still run a tight budget, lol. 🙂

  6. I think every new married couple has this problem! When we had consumer debt it was a bit of a push and pull problem as to who was spending what, and who was going to have more paid off towards their credit card.
    In January 2009, we started a monthly budget – I track all the spending but he is fully on board, and can be brought up to speed at any time by following the spreadsheet to see where our necessary spending is going.
    Also, we each get $40 fun money every week to spend on whatever the heck we want. It has worked out remarkably well.

  7. All I can say is communication is key. For the most part, my husband and I are on the same page. But at the end of the day, I would rather save and he would rather spend…period. We talk, goal set, revisit (similar to the lather, rise, repeat theory). Life changes and finacial situations (personal or not;) will change too.
    Also, I do not know any couples where both parties are as into finances as the other. It always seems that there is a math nerd in the couple and the other, while possibly interesed, still has to be prompted to talk about money. I wonder what the split is here for PDITF readers who are in relationships?
    Trina

  8. Trina,

    Thanks for your comments. That is definitely the case for me. One person cares more about budgeting and finances, while the other just wants to know how much is left in the bank. 🙂
    -MattyIce

  9. THIS IS THE BEST POST ON PDITF!!! Bring mattyice on board more often! Its the only redeeming quality about this site!

    okay, so enough about that. i just have to make mention that i love bean and cheese burritos and thats my main goal to save money! also, not getting married!! yessss!

    also, i hope the wedding was great! hurry back before mattyice buries this site!

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