The following is a staff writer post from MikeS. He is a married father of 2. So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house. He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal.
I recently read a Wall Street Journal article that completely surprised me. I guess it shouldn’t have, knowing how most Americans think these days about money, but it still did. The article discusses how the writer and her husband have different views when it comes to money. They recently experienced some financial bumps that have caused them to fall into debt. She seems to think that they are doing just fine; while her husband feels that their emergency fund was inadequate. You can probably guess which person I would agree with.
It’s a Balance
It is something that we all have to deal with. How do you save enough for future unseen events or lifestyles while still enjoying life today? I know it’s something that my wife and I have struggled with over the years. I am of the saving mindset and my wife of the enjoying life mindset. However, my wife has seen the benefits that come from my mindset, while not completely abandoning hers. Now that we have built up our savings and no longer have any credit card debt, we are able to absorb the minor financial shocks that appear from time to time. That’s now comforting to my wife, she sees the benefit.
What About Another Hiccup?
The author of the article does not seem fazed by having over $10,000 in credit card debt because of their recent bad luck. If I was in their shoes, I would be worried if something else were to go wrong. According to the article, they are a single income family. What happens if she loses her job? That security she seems to feel like they have now will evaporate pretty quickly. I’m not going to pretend my finances are in perfect order. My emergency fund should be more robust, but it’s at about 3 months’ worth of expenses right now. I would like to get it to 6 months. For my wife and I, this has not happened overnight. It has taken time, a few years. However, we have been better prepared to handle some of the hiccups that we couldn’t handle before. We recently had to cover some expensive car repairs. The savings we have dedicated for anything car related took a hit, but we didn’t end up in debt because of it.
The author writes about how her husband is concerned about the precarious nature of their finances, but that does not seem to bother her. They don’t fight about money, which is good. However, she seems too ambivalent about the stress she is causing him. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. It just strikes me as incredibly selfish of her. I understand her point of view of not having money growing up and wanting to enjoy life. However, I would think that you would also want to make your spouse happy. In my marriage, I will generally think of my wife before myself. It’s one of the reasons why we have different fun money (allowances) amounts. At the time we gave ourselves an allowance, she wanted more things than I. I tend to be very basic in my needs, so I suggested that her allowance be higher than mine. I knew this would make my wife happy. It was an easy decision. So, if I knew that certain behaviors or practices were causing stress for my wife, you can be sure that I would attempt to alleviate it.
I don’t think that you have to have the same views on money when you are married, but I think that you need to be in agreement on your goals. If a husband and wife have differing financial goals or even the importance of the goals, I think in the long run it will prove to be a problem. In my mind, it highlights a lack of communication and that is a killer for a marriage.