Give to Get

by James on July 23, 2013 · 6 comments

Hi All,

For a couples blog, I tend not to say a whole lot about marriage and money, but I did want to take a minute to extoll the virtue of compromise in keeping your marital finances healthy.

My wife and I have very different priorities when it comes to money. Me – I’d rather be socking all my available cash into stocks, businesses or other appreciating assets. My wife on the other hand prefers to keep more of her money in savings and liquid emergency funds like money market accounts, while she also invests in a number of individual stocks. We also tend to set our financial goals jointly – that is we sit down and define where we want to go for the next few weeks, next few months, or years.

As you can imagine this sets up some tension in our long term goals. For example, our most recent move is to refinance our home. The refinance has two goals, to lower our monthly payments (interest rates are at 4.5%) and to cash out on some of our equity. What is the cash going to be used for? To renovate our kitchen – we’ve budgeted something like $24,000 to make the renovation happen. I’m not such a fan of the idea and feel that the cash could be used to either purchase a profitable small business or to invest in stocks.

That said, marriage is about compromise. My wife has been terrific about supporting a lot of my financial goals in the past, so I’m supporting her in renovating the kitchen, even with the large price tag. As my wife likes to point out, she has also been patient in waiting two years for the new kitchen, while investing in other income producing assets. Thus, in the end is a win for both of us.

So the bottom line is that sometimes in marriage you give and get a lot in return. Compromising on these bigger deals can help to keep both people motivated engaged and moving forward together.

Best,

James



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 No Waste July 23, 2013 at 10:05 am

Marriage is a partnership, a team.

This is why I personally don’t understand it when married couples keep their money separated.

But to each their own. if it works, it works.

2 Crystal July 23, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Yeah, my husband and I are both savers in general, but he still tends to want to spend more than me on entertainment (board games and comp games) and food. Sometimes I get a little crabby when it seems like too much, but in general, I am very happy that we save for our long-term goals like a team, so I try to keep quiet about occasional splurges. :-)

3 Jake @ Common Cents Wealth July 23, 2013 at 6:13 pm

My wife and I are very similar to you both. I’d rather invest everything we have whereas she’d rather be guaranteed a return (even if it’s small) and have access to the cash at any point. Being that we’re just beginning to invest after paying off all of our debt, I know we’re both going to have to compromise a bit to make it work.

4 James July 23, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Crystal,

Very admirable. Couples need money thats their own to spend – otherwise things get stifiling.

5 James July 23, 2013 at 9:44 pm

No waste,

I think how finances are comingled has to work for both partners in the marriage. For example, if one person is highly independent it would not make sense to have fully co-mingled finances. Its just not compatible with who the people in the marriage are as people.

James

6 James July 23, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Jake,

1. break up the debt into bite sized pieces then pay off a couple of the smaller chunks – this gives you an early easy win. Psychologically and behaviorally, thats easier than paying off the high interest rate stuff.

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