In the book The Millionaire Mind and The Millionaire Next Door, the authors point out that millionaires tend to marry people who support them financially. One of the easiest ways to wreck your financial plan is for there to be competition between a husband and wife, financially.
If you have ever heard a couple say things like, “well, you bought a new dvd player, so I can go buy a new dress” or “you spent $300 at the mall, so I decided to go buy a new television.” You know what I’m talking about. If the members of a marriage feel like they are in competition with each other for spending, they are off to a bad start. Here are some simple tips to avoid this type of competition.
- Regularly discuss financial goals — If you are both headed toward the same goal, financially, it is much easier to work together. This can be saving for a vacation, saving for retirement or getting ready to start a business on your own.
- Give each person a fun budget — Some couples find it is beneficial to give each person a budget for fun stuff each month. As long as each of them stay within their budget, neither feels like the other is getting an unfair use of their combined money.
- Try to give instead of take — The ideal situation is when both parties are doing their best to help meet the needs and desires of the other. This works much better than when both parties are doing their best to give as much as possible. Of course this needs to come from both sides to work. If one person (often the woman) is giving all the time and the other person (often the man) is taking all the time, it can breed a lot of resentment.
The biggest key here is to have open communication about finances with your spouse. A good way to start is to set some small financial goals that you can meet together. Even setting a small goal of trying to save up a $2,000 emergency fund can be a great exercise in working together financially.
Do you have any suggestions or tips that have helped you work well, financially, with your spouse? Please share in the comments.
Originally published March 5, 2008.