Buy-in for Joint Goals

by Dual Income No Kids on March 15, 2007 · 0 comments

We’ve recently had several posts on how we deal with divvying up our finances. One thing that we didn’t cover is the importance of jointly contributing to household goals and expenses. We know that most couples experience shifts now and then on who has more money and who has less. At the same time, we believe that couples who jointly contribute to household goals and expenses will feel more mutual ownership. This leads to a greater likelihood of both partners feeling more satisfied and engaged in household financial decisions.

If possible, have both partners contribute to big ticket items. For instance, if one person contributes their money to supporting regular household expenditures and the other person contributes to a larger savings goal such as a house or a car, the first person’s contribution can feel more like a sunk cost and they will likely feel like they have less of a stake in the larger purchase. Clearly both people are contributing, but in the end the second may complain that they were the ones who made all the contributions towards the larger item.

For instance friends of our have a situation where the wife went back to work after having a child, and paid for 100% of child care expenses (an ongoing household fee), and the husband pays for the mortgage. Due in part to the way they have their finances set up, at the end of the day the husband feels like he has more ownership of the house and the wife is left feeling like she is throwing the majority of her paycheck down the drain. If however, they shared the cost of both items, the ownership and responsibility would be more joint.

We’ve also seen this to be the case in our own lives. If all of James’ extra money goes to buying stocks and all of my money goes to supporting our household, it doesn’t feel as equal. While I’m indeed contributing more to our household while James is in school, we still find ways to make sure that we are both contributing to the financial goals that we set. In terms of household expenses, James pays for the utilities and I pay for the internet expenses. This makes it easier to manage, but also makes it so we both have buy-in to our joint goals and expenses.


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