Lucy, you got some [financial] ‘splainin’ to do!

By Stew

wedding rings

I have been doing a lot of thinking about family finance and especially the financial relationship between a husband and wife. I do not have all of the answers to solve every problem in this area, but I thought I would share just a few thoughts:

Family finance is about priorities. Both the husband and the wife should contribute to these priorities. It is our money, regardless of who may have directly earned it. My paycheck might be bigger, but Mrs. Stew does a whole lot of things that allow me to do the job for which I am paid.

I am not a fan of “his and hers” money or “his and hers” purchases. All money belongs to the family and all purchases need to be according to the priorities set by that family.

Different areas of financial responsibilities are certainly appropriate. When we were first married, my wife took care of almost all areas of our finances – food, clothing, utility bills and the rest. That did not work out for various reason. Now I take care of monitoring our bank accounts and paying regular bills. Mrs. Stew does a good job caring for the grocery and clothing budget items.

I am more likely to make a major purchase without consulting my wife. Not a good idea. Mrs. Stew is far more likely to consult me if the positions are reversed.

It is sometimes difficult for me to grasp the financial priorities favored by my wife. I think that we could spend more for things that she thinks are important.

A little walking around or “funny” money for each spouse is a good idea.

Open and honest is best.

When one spouse spends money in a way that does not reflect the priorities of the family, it allows the other spouse to rationalize expenditures that do not fit the plan. This can be the catalyst for friction. “Well, you spent money on ________ , so I can spend money on ________ and there is nothing you can do about it!”

Expensive hobbies can present a huge financial problem in a marriage. Hunting, cars, gambling, golf, etc. can place unneeded financial strain on a marriage. A good rule of thumb might be that each spouse is allowed to spend the same amount of money on a hobby. For instance, I gave up golf when I got married. I would love to play again someday, but not until I can afford to bring my wife along!

If both spouses are doing their best to support the financial priorities of the household, then money can never drive those spouses apart.

Hopefully there is a nugget or two here that you can use . . .

Article by Stew

Photo by makelessnoise


9 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Lucy, you got some [financial] ‘splainin’ to do!”

  1. Mike Says:

    I agree with you in regards to family and money. We should put everything in the same basket and discuss how to use our money together.

    I know it’s hard to have joint bank account and fully trust your spouse. However, you become financially stronger when you financially team-up!

    It can also become very difficult to divide expenses if there is a big income different between each spouse. I used to make twice my wife’s income so she wouldn’t be able to “follow” my lifestyle if we were splitting bills.

    The key is communication…

  2. Ian Smith Says:

    My wife and I get an “allowance” each week that is intended for personal spending, but everything else is mutual. Communication definitely is key.

  3. Ashley Says:

    As a single person it’s always interesting to hear how couples choose to divvy up their finances. I’ve seen it work a variety of different ways including having all the money pooled together, all the money separate, and having separate funds with a joint account that each party puts an equal amount into.

    I think a lot of making money work as a couple also depends on personality traits. Some are more free with it, and some are territorial and quick to become bitter if they feel they are paying for a larger share of things. It’s a situation that needs to be discussed before a marriage even begins.

  4. kenyantykoon Says:

    i like this mentality that you have vis-a-vis money and marriage. I have seem more than my fair share on divorces and strained marriages and one of the major causes has been finances.

  5. Senan Says:

    I fear you’re being too idealistic. Most of the points above are of course good and if they could be put into practice what a merry bunch we’d be. My opinion is that we each have our own specialities. My other half’s is definitely not monetary! She earns (through a part time job). She uses that to pay for living week to week. But anything significant is researched and purchased by me, particularly when it comes to investing for the future (as opposed to current ‘living’ spending).

  6. Gina Says:

    We put 85% of our income towards “the house”; the other 15% is that person’s fun money. Big exp are researched and discussed.

    Communication is key but it doesn’t always have to be verbal.

  7. Billy Says:

    This is awesome advice. Even if one spouse is attempting to invest for the better financial future of the family – (which I was doing), you still both have to be in some form of agreement or it can bring great hardships to the relationship. Even with honorable intentions you can’t be too bull headed.

  8. Dormye Says:

    Great words of wisdom here. I believe it should all be joint income…and do agree maybe a separate “fun” money fund for each spouse. Communication will be the key issue anytime $ is discussed.

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