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.