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?