We’re told that opposites attract. We also hear that money is one of the most frequent things couples argue about.
In a lot of relationships, there’s a saver and a spender. Or maybe both people are spenders, but they spend differently. One likes to buy bigg ticket items infrequently while the other spends a little bit of money on daily extravagances.
We’re both pretty frugal, but I have to admit I do like my gadgets. We were at a conference recently and there was a microphone I just had to have! And of course, I do like my clothes.
And I like to go out for dinner more often than Mary-Lynn. Do you suppose that has anything to do with the fact that I’m the one who usually cooks dinner?
How to come to an agreement on the family finances
We’ve found a good way to reach an agreement, on how your household saves and spends money, is to hold a summit! Heads of state do it; why shouldn’t you?
This summit has a three-fold purpose:
#1 – Values
You each need to fully understand where the other person is coming from. What’s important to him or her? By knowing each other’s values when it comes to money, you’ll be more flexible in your own financial decisions.
For example, a saver may value being debt-free. A spender may think it’s important to “live a little” now. Both positions can easily be defended. If you understand why it’s so important to your spouse, you’ll be more willing to accommodate his or her desires. You’ll find that you’re more flexible in looking for solutions.
#2 – Goals
Now that you have a good grasp of your respective values, you can discuss mutual goals. Only now you can both work to help each other get what’s important. So the spender will try to find ways to reduce debt. And the saver will see that buying a toy once in a while makes the spender more committed to saving. It’s win – win!
#3 – Strategies
You can’t stop now. With your goals in mind, develop specific strategies. For example, you may each set aside a certain amount from each of your paychecks for debt reduction and that certain toy. You’re working together to get more than you could get working alone!
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Next time, we’ll talk about the energy crisis … only it has nothing to do with oil. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!
(Image by foobean01)