UnThreaded | Threaded | Whole Thread (394) | Ignore Thread Prev Thread | Next Thread
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308845  
Subject: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 11:28 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 6
After a long talk with DW last night, I've realized that we have pretty different money personalities and that's been causing some conflict, has set back our debt repayment, and has contributed to our debt accumulation.

In general, I tend to be the one more concerned about saving and think that we should lead a modest lifestyle. She, on the other hand, thinks that I overdo it, that we live substantially worse than our friends, and that we should "enjoy life while we're young." Looking back, this was a big driver of our debt accumulation. She insisted that we needed to furnish our new house and that we do so at B&B Italia, etc, which resulted in nearly $100k of card debt.

Now, she thinks that our budget is too restrictive and that she needs to be able to spend more freely. Accordingly, she has proposed that we free up $2,000 per month for her to have as personal spending money to spend however she pleases. Frankly, I think that is absurd. It's a ton of money considering that all it is supposed to cover is her clothing, massages, manicures, going out with friends, etc. I've told her this and asked her to compromise, but she has been adament about it. I explained to her that this would set our debt repayment back by 3 months and require me to find another balance transfer or otherwise to incur reasonably high interest rates, but she seemed to think these were reasonable sacrifices.

I'm at my wits end. I hate arguing with DW, I want to make her happy, and I love her dearly, but I think this is nuts. I've told her that if she insists on this, I will be deeply unhappy, but she wants to have her cake and eat it too: she wants both (1) for me to agree to it and (2) for me to be happy about it. Agreeing to an allowance like this is hard enough, but I'm really considering it. To ask for me to be happy about it in addition seems unreasonable. I'm stuck. I don't know what to do and this is causing a ton of stress for me. Any suggestions?
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276818 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 11:41 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 38
I'm sorry. I'm really sorry, but I just don't know if I can comment at all.

On the one hand, giving the freely spending partner a "mad money" allowance that they don't have to account for is a good idea.

On the other, $2000 is more than I make gross from my full-time job (and I have a child.) The number does not register as mad money. It's a house payment or something.

With such radical differences in money attitudes, this is going to be an issue in your entire marraige. You need to figure out a way for you both to be comfortable. This may require counseling, because it won't get better, it will get worse.

Ishtar

Print the post Back To Top
Author: LaraAmber Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276819 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 11:49 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 8
Dave Ramsey would say that it sounds like you married a Princess. Did she have someone before you who catered to her? Doting parents?

There is a place for compromise, but a blank check isn't it. (Especially for $2,000!!!)

Ask her what it is she wants exactly. She needs to itemize out each item she's thinking of and the rough monthly cost. Then SHE (not you) can go down the list and put them in order of priority. Then she can present to you the ones she would like to be added to the budget, and you two can sit and discuss them.

For example she may decide what really matters is getting to have lunch with her friends once a week ($50) and maintaining her nails ($50 every other week). But she'd be willing to give up massages.

Point out to HRH that she already got to "enjoy her life" she got to decorate her house to a level most people can not even dream. Heck, a lot of people around here bring home $2,000 net a month, not $2,000 a month "play money". It's now time to pay the piper.

Lara Amber

Print the post Back To Top
Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276820 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 11:56 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 8
<<I'm at my wits end. I hate arguing with DW, I want to make her happy, and I love her dearly, but I think this is nuts. I've told her that if she insists on this, I will be deeply unhappy, but she wants to have her cake and eat it too: she wants both (1) for me to agree to it and (2) for me to be happy about it. Agreeing to an allowance like this is hard enough, but I'm really considering it. To ask for me to be happy about it in addition seems unreasonable. I'm stuck. I don't know what to do and this is causing a ton of stress for me. Any suggestions?
>>


This is grossly unreasonable, and unfair. She's really being financially abusive.


You've identified a major problem in your marriage --- now the question is what you are going to do about it. Ignoring it obviously isn't going to work.

This is an issue that should have been resolved before marriage. Many who didn't resolve it then resolve it with a divorce later. Some may be able to resolve it when they are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and a few more after the bankruptcy has taken place.

I can certainly understand not wanting to fight about it --- but that tends to lead to one of the bankruptcy options. Unfortunately, this tends to be rather deeply rooted behavior, and trying to change such behavior in other people tends to be hard to do.



Seattle Pioneer

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: lizmonster Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276822 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 12:10 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 6
I hate arguing with DW, I want to make her happy, and I love her dearly, but I think this is nuts.

Well, I'm on your side on this one; but that doesn't matter.

Do you think she understands the long-term consequences of being in debt? She seems to think that the money flow is never going to end. Does she anticipate your retirement someday? Her own? (I can't remember if she works outside the home or not.) Has she seen your family's financial information? Does she understand it?

Her perspective is ignorant, childish, or both. Ignorance can be fixed; childishness is a less logical thing (although certainly a natural one, especially if she feels these constraints are sudden and draconian). Even if she does understand, you can expect it to take some time for the meaning of reality to set in, especially if it means living differently than you have in the past.

Marriage is, among other things, a business partnership. You two need to make sure you have the same goals for the business; once that is done, working out the methodology becomes simpler. Counseling is a wonderful idea for an issue like this - it can give you both room to talk, but can help you come to a consensus as well.

Money management is a big, big deal in marriage. If you don't deal with this issue now, you'll have to deal with it later - and it will be worse.

-lizmonster

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276823 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 12:11 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 2
Dave Ramsey would say that it sounds like you married a Princess. Did she have someone before you who catered to her? Doting parents?

You know, that's the odd part. She was a super down to earth person when we met, got a bit more "fashion-y" once we graduated college, but it's gotten crazy since then. Chanel, Jimmy Choo, La Perla, and La Prairie have entered her vocabulary and our bills and it seems impossible to get them out. She even complained to me the other day that she sacrificed by purchasing a Lancome toner ($30) instead of a La Prairie toner ($85) and that this was proof that she is cutting back.

There is a place for compromise, but a blank check isn't it. (Especially for $2,000!!!)

I agree. I suggested $500 per month, but she scoffed at that. The idea of compromise seems like losing to her and she is convinced that she deserves to live a "good life" in her words. I just don't know how to get her to even consider compromising.

Ask her what it is she wants exactly. She needs to itemize out each item she's thinking of and the rough monthly cost. Then SHE (not you) can go down the list and put them in order of priority. Then she can present to you the ones she would like to be added to the budget, and you two can sit and discuss them.

I've tried asking this, but it's been counter-productive. She responds that it's supposed to be her "mad money" and that I should not be looking over her shoulder. When pressed, she identifies very expensive luxury items ($500 shoes, $200 makeup, $75 shampoo, etc) that she feels entitled to and that she believes you need in order to lead a "good life." I think that a big problem here is that one of her close friends works in fashion, lives with her parents, and has a boyfriend on a leash who pays for nearly everything else. As a result, this friend spends nearly everything she makes on discounted luxury items (she gets an industry discount). DW thinks she deserves to live like her friend and when I point out all the benefits we have - our own house, savings, a meaningful relationship vs numerous userous relationships, etc, she still reverts to thinking that a "good life" comes with these material luxury items and not with the love and family we have.

I've used the term "good life" here a number of times because that is the exact phrase DW uses when we argue about this. How do I help DW see that we have a good and truly blessed life? I've tried pointing out to her the many disadvantaged people in our large city, and when I do so, she acknowledges how blessed we are. Yet that same evening, we will end up in conflict over the same issue.

I also feel like she does not recognize the volatility and cyclicality of the industry in which we work. There are frequent blow-ups, layoffs, and bankruptcies in our field in tough times and these are undoubtedly tough times on wall street. I therefore think it is imperative that we manage our money conservatively, aggressively repay debt and then build an e-fund, and learn to be happy with a modest lifestlye. She seems to see our paycheck, our direct living expenses, and the large remainder and she then wonders why we don't enjoy the finer things in life more.

We've entered counseling on this but it seems to be of no help. I'm hoping people here have some ideas.

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276824 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 12:15 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 4
This sounds like a big issue for your marriage, honestly. I can only gather that your wife is not on board with reducing your debt. You need to have a serious talk about your long-term goals. Not just financial, but that too - goals in terms of what you want tangibly from life. Does she want kids? Does she want to be able to send them to private schools? Have a au pair? Travel? Does she want to be able to be a SAHM? Will you need to take care of elderly parents? Do you want to retire early? Do you want to have a second house for weekends? Then from your idea of SHARED goals, you develop the budget that will let you meet those.

If she can't do this exercise with you. Or If you can't align on goals. Or if she truly wants to be able to spend $ now without any thought of future goals, then I hate to say it, but you may have a serious marriage issue that may be intransigent.

I make a very good income. And I cannot in any circumstance imagine having $2K spending money every month unaccountable to no budget category. I'm single, so I wouldn't have to account to anyone else, but I'd have to account to myself and my own plan. I'd sooner say I could flap my wings and fly to the moon than allow myself to spend $2K/month untracked and without any limits.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276825 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 12:18 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
You've identified a major problem in your marriage --- now the question is what you are going to do about it. Ignoring it obviously isn't going to work.

I agree. We've entered counseling, but that does not seem to have made an effect. Frankly, I kind of feel like the couselor has taken her side in this. So, I thought I would ask for some advice here...

This is an issue that should have been resolved before marriage. Many who didn't resolve it then resolve it with a divorce later. Some may be able to resolve it when they are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and a few more after the bankruptcy has taken place.


You're right. This was not something I saw shen we were initially dating and then only a bit once we graduated. Unfortunately, since we married, it's gotten much worse.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276826 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 12:19 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 3
She even complained to me the other day that she sacrificed by purchasing a Lancome toner ($30) instead of a La Prairie toner ($85) and that this was proof that she is cutting back.


Witch hazel. Natural toner, works great, won't overdry the skin. Some toners even use it as an active ingredient. >$2/bottle.

Ishtar
just sayin'

Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276827 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 12:26 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
Do you think she understands the long-term consequences of being in debt? She seems to think that the money flow is never going to end. Does she anticipate your retirement someday? Her own? (I can't remember if she works outside the home or not.) Has she seen your family's financial information? Does she understand it?

Part of the problem here is that she looks at it as just being in debt for an additional 3-months whereas I look at it as creating an unnecessary spending habit when we could otherwise devote the money to much "better" uses such as debt repayment, savings, or charity.

She does anticipate our retirement in theory, but I don't think that she sees it as near-term. We're both right about 30, so I think she sees it as far away. I also think she sees some pretty substantial savings that we have, her maxing out a 401k, my deferred profit sharing plan, and our general adherance to saving our bonuses as savings enough. I, on the other hand, would prefer to eliminate my need for a steady paycheck ASAP and see the path to doing this as redirecting spending to saving. I'm not necessarily keen to retire anytime soon... just to have enough that I am never at the mercy of having a job I despise.

She does work outside the home - on Wall St as well - and sees this as one of the reasons she deserves a "good life."

She is well aware of our financial position - both our debt and our monthly cash flow. She simply believes that a "good life" is worth three additional months of debt and a lower savings rate thereafter.

Money management is a big, big deal in marriage. If you don't deal with this issue now, you'll have to deal with it later - and it will be worse.

I'm doing my best to deal with this but I am really at a loss on how to proceed. We're getting counseling but it does not seem to matter. Any suggestions on how to approach her or reason with her? Or do I just need to choose between allowing this and having my marriage or sacrificng my marriage to lead a life I see as resonable?

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276829 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 12:29 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 13
All right, first, I'd find a different counselor if you really feel like the counselor has chosen sides. That's not the counselor's job. The counselor is supposed to facilitate communication between you.

Second, you could take a totally different approach to money.

Yours, mine and ours.

You have your accounts. She has her accounts. You both have "our" accounts.

The shared account, both of you contribute to and is for paying mortgage, household maintenance, groceries, electric bill, etc. (Personally, I like that each contributes a percentage of income, like 30-40% or so)

Out of your individual accounts, you pay for your own credit cards, your own debt, your own clothes, your own fun money.

When you go out to dinner, one of you pays and treats the other one.

You set your own goals for retirement savings.

And I'd hand her the debt for redoing the house.

Then she'll have choices to make.

If you don't, she will sink your financial life, and you will resent it.

And just in case you think this won't work, there are families on the Fool that do this and in real life, I know a woman, now in her 60's, who didn't marry for the first time until she was 41 who does this with her hubby. Her hubby makes much more than she does and they've now been married over 20 years. So it can work.

Ishtar

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: LCKitten Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276830 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 12:32 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 4
We've entered counseling, but that does not seem to have made an effect. Frankly, I kind of feel like the couselor has taken her side in this.

I wouldn't just assume this. If he's dealing with one person who is reasonable (you) and one person who can't see the other point of view, he might be trying to keep her from closing her ears.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276831 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 12:36 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 5
I'm doing my best to deal with this but I am really at a loss on how to proceed. We're getting counseling but it does not seem to matter. Any suggestions on how to approach her or reason with her? Or do I just need to choose between allowing this and having my marriage or sacrificng my marriage to lead a life I see as resonable?

Does she have any big goals? As in, bigger than an expensive pair of shoes? Luxury travel, early retirement, a second home? The insistence on spending for temporary items rather than looking ahead and planning for the future is exactly the sort of thinking that has lead so many firms into bankruptcy.

Does she believe that you have the right to the same $2,000 a month? Or is she the only one who's entitled?

A month of volunteer work at a shelter for homeless women might make her rethink some of her "entitlements." It's one thing to agree in principle that other people have it a lot worse, it's another to physically face it.

Nancy

Print the post Back To Top
Author: LaraAmber Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276832 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 12:48 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 6
You know, that's the odd part. She was a super down to earth person when we met, got a bit more "fashion-y" once we graduated college, but it's gotten crazy since then. Chanel, Jimmy Choo, La Perla, and La Prairie have entered her vocabulary and our bills and it seems impossible to get them out. She even complained to me the other day that she sacrificed by purchasing a Lancome toner ($30) instead of a La Prairie toner ($85) and that this was proof that she is cutting back.

She's not just a princess, she's a dumb princess (I'm in a mood today, PMS reigns supreme). Send her to website www.cosmeticscop.com. It will show her that not only are the expensive products not better, but are frequently worse since they do things like use fancy containers that cause product to break down faster or use ingredients that are actually irritants. My entire skincare regime costs about $90 and lasts several months. There is nothing that a $75 bottle of shampoo can do that a $10 can't. Remind her that her hair is a pile of DEAD cells attached to a living scalp. It can't be healed, fixed, trained, etc.

I second the get a new counselor. Counselors shouldn't take sides. A good counselor would want you guys exploring your goals (where do you want to be in 10 years). Because to me it sounds like in 10 years she wants a closet full of clothes and a pile of credit card statements.

There is nothing wrong with wanting quality goods, and you guys can afford them. BUT there is a BIG difference between buying quality and buying a name brand. People who really know luxury goods are going to recognize a less well know quality brand over something stamped with Chanel. Not to mention wearing the big names makes her a target for a mugging.

She doesn't need to cut out luxury items, but she needs to remember the key word is LUXURY. If she wants to buy one pair of $500 shoes every six months, that a big difference then buying a pair every month/when the whim hits. That can be her birthday present, her reward after getting a promotion, etc.

Seriously I would consider dropping her @ss at a soup kitchen and refusing to let her come home for a week. (Told you, in a mood.)

Lara Amber

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276833 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 12:53 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 4

Seriously I would consider dropping her @ss at a soup kitchen and refusing to let her come home for a week. (Told you, in a mood.)


ROFLMAO!

Heck, I'd volunteer to trade places with her for a month. See if she could balance my budget!

Ishtar

Print the post Back To Top
Author: LCKitten Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276834 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 12:54 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 3
For Lara Amber:

http://icanhascheezburger.com/2008/08/03/funny-pictures-i-no...

Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276835 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:02 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
All right, first, I'd find a different counselor if you really feel like the counselor has chosen sides. That's not the counselor's job. The counselor is supposed to facilitate communication between you.

I suggested that last night but ultimately agreed to see the couselor one more time and then to make up my mind. Thankfully DW has been willing to switch if I insist.

Second, you could take a totally different approach to money.

Yours, mine and ours.

You have your accounts. She has her accounts. You both have "our" accounts.


Interesting that you suggest this. When I suggested it, DW told me that she would agree to this but would not contribute to the mortgage since it is in my name only (due to her being a student at the time the house was purchased). I thought this was grossly unfair and we can't agree on a fair way for this to work.

And I'd hand her the debt for redoing the house.

Then she'll have choices to make.


I told her that I thought she should take out a loan for $100,000 to repay me for paying for her tuition. I would have then used that to pay off the credit cards, effectively doing what you mentioned earlier. DW was completely unwilling to consider this.

If you don't, she will sink your financial life, and you will resent it.


In some ways I disagree with this because I see that she has proposed a spending level that - while I see it as absurd - would still allow for substantial savings. In other ways, I'm terrified that she will be unable to cut back if we encounter adversity or that her wants will simply escalate in line with our means, ultimately resulting in a disaster. I'm pretty torn up about this.

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276836 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:03 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
I wouldn't just assume this. If he's dealing with one person who is reasonable (you) and one person who can't see the other point of view, he might be trying to keep her from closing her ears.

The counselor told me to sell the house so that we could lead a more reasonable lifestyle. DW portrayed herself as severly deprived of financial freedom and the couselor bought it hook, line and sinker. I'm giving it one more shot but I have real reservations.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: esbita Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276837 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:03 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
One thing I wonder- how much of the family income is brought in by you, vs. her? I know, in a marriage it should be all about "our" money. However, if something happened to you next month or ten years down the line, where would she be then income-wise?

Can be a good way to make the case to her for putting aside for a rainy day. Does she want to be able to KEEP that newly decorated house in the future if you hit a bump in the road?

Better to be assured of moderate luxuries into your old age than burn the candle at both ends when you're young, and be shopping at Walmart when you're old ;)

Her proposed "allowance" is what many people around here consider themselves lucky to have for takehome pay. I'd say as a compromise $1K is enough for plenty of luxuries and still leaves some room toward debt payment. When debt is paid off, promise her part of the "snowball" back toward her luxuries?

Print the post Back To Top
Author: SooozFool Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276838 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:07 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 3
<<Chanel, Jimmy Choo, La Perla, and La Prairie have entered her vocabulary and our bills and it seems impossible to get them out. She even complained to me the other day that she sacrificed by purchasing a Lancome toner ($30) instead of a La Prairie toner ($85) and that this was proof that she is cutting back.<<

Oh, man. Here I thought Carrie Bradshaw was fictional, or at least so very ~over~ in this economy. I remember the episode of "Sex and The City" where she couldn't buy her apartment when it went condo because all of her income from writing to date (she was by then in her late 30's) had gone into Jimmy Choo's. This being a t.v. show, Carrie was bailed out when a friend gave her a castoff diamond ring from a failed marriage to use as a downpayment. Happily ever after had Carrie bouncing from very wealthy boyfriend to very wealthy boyfriend, still keeping up the pretense of financial self-sufficiency.

Guess DW might've seen the show. :-(

Unfortunately, the idea that fashion + cosmetics = good life doesn't really give you an adult starting place for a budget discussion. I could see bumping up the discretionary spending given how much you two make, but $ 24K a year for such stuff sounds like a helluva springboard to bigger and badder things down the road (shudder).

Glad you're in counseling; hope the down-to-earth person you remember finds her way back to reality before too long.

Soooz

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276839 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:07 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
Does she have any big goals? As in, bigger than an expensive pair of shoes? Luxury travel, early retirement, a second home? The insistence on spending for temporary items rather than looking ahead and planning for the future is exactly the sort of thinking that has lead so many firms into bankruptcy.


Ultimately, I think she wants to retire, but not anytime soon. I also think that since we have already saved quite a bit, she does not see any urgency in delaying gratification in order to increase savings.

Does she believe that you have the right to the same $2,000 a month? Or is she the only one who's entitled?


Yes - she suggested this as well. I replied that it would be hard for me to spend $500/month... and even then I would be getting a personal trainer since that's the one luxury I would really like. While it would be nice, I value freedom from debt and an e-fund much more, so I've delayed that until those are in place.

A month of volunteer work at a shelter for homeless women might make her rethink some of her "entitlements." It's one thing to agree in principle that other people have it a lot worse, it's another to physically face it.


I like this idea and will look for resources in the NY area for us to volunteer together, perhaps through our church. Thank you.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: lizmonster Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276840 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:10 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 2
You have your accounts. She has her accounts. You both have "our" accounts.

This is what we do, although we divide things a little differently. We are each paid an allowance every month, and we both get the same amount, regardless of who is making more money. The allowance amount was worked out years ago, and increases occasionally when one of us gets a raise (if we both agree there are no better places for the money).

Allowance money is personal. We are not allowed to carp at the other about what allowance goes toward.

The trick is to hash out quite clearly what is a joint purchase, and what is an allowance purchase. The more detail you can get into, the better. If you don't want to totally segregate everything, you can have spending limits: for example, if you want to spend more than $50 per month on clothes, it comes out of your allowance.

This works beautifully for us, although admittedly we have pretty similar ideas about money to begin with. But if this would work with your wife, she could blow her whole allowance on pretty but painful shoes, and you wouldn't have to worry about having to redo the budget every month.

-lizmonster

Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276841 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:12 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 4
One thing I wonder- how much of the family income is brought in by you, vs. her? I know, in a marriage it should be all about "our" money. However, if something happened to you next month or ten years down the line, where would she be then income-wise?

My monthly post-tax earnings are about $20,000 and hers are about $6,000. I have lots of life insurance to allow her to completely repay the mortgage if I pass. I also have long-term disability and we have good levels of long-term savings. I think she views this as security for both a "rainy day" as well as for an emergency.

Her proposed "allowance" is what many people around here consider themselves lucky to have for takehome pay. I'd say as a compromise $1K is enough for plenty of luxuries and still leaves some room toward debt payment. When debt is paid off, promise her part of the "snowball" back toward her luxuries?


I agree that $1k/month is more than enough, but I would need to get her to agree as well. No luck on that front thus far. In terms of increasing this post debt repayment, I don't think that is a good idea. I see anything over about $500/month as excessive and over $1k/month as egregious. I don't want to give her the message that these values and habits are ok when we don't have debt but not ok when we do... I want her to come to a mutually acceptable compromise that will hold regardless of whether or not we have debt

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276842 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:15 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
Oh, man. Here I thought Carrie Bradshaw was fictional, or at least so very ~over~ in this economy. I remember the episode of "Sex and The City" where she couldn't buy her apartment when it went condo because all of her income from writing to date (she was by then in her late 30's) had gone into Jimmy Choo's. This being a t.v. show, Carrie was bailed out when a friend gave her a castoff diamond ring from a failed marriage to use as a downpayment. Happily ever after had Carrie bouncing from very wealthy boyfriend to very wealthy boyfriend, still keeping up the pretense of financial self-sufficiency.

Guess DW might've seen the show. :-(


It's her favorite. Every night on the CW it gets recorded by the DVR.

Unfortunately, the idea that fashion + cosmetics = good life doesn't really give you an adult starting place for a budget discussion. I could see bumping up the discretionary spending given how much you two make, but $ 24K a year for such stuff sounds like a helluva springboard to bigger and badder things down the road (shudder).


I agree... how do I get her to agree that this is not a reasonable starting place?

Print the post Back To Top
Author: lizmonster Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276843 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:15 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 6
Interesting that you suggest this. When I suggested it, DW told me that she would agree to this but would not contribute to the mortgage since it is in my name only (due to her being a student at the time the house was purchased). I thought this was grossly unfair and we can't agree on a fair way for this to work.

I'm sure your wife has some fine qualities, but any lingering sympathy I've had for her has vanished at this.

She's acting just like my four-year-old does when I won't buy her a stuffed animal.

You could mention that she ought to pay, since she'd get half the value in a divorce anyway; but that might be construed as a threat.

-lizmonster

P.S. Yes, I know this is not helpful. But your wife is seriously screwed up about financial issues. I'd suggest sending her off for counseling on her own, but you're probably better off knowing what she's thinking.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276844 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:16 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
This works beautifully for us, although admittedly we have pretty similar ideas about money to begin with. But if this would work with your wife, she could blow her whole allowance on pretty but painful shoes, and you wouldn't have to worry about having to redo the budget every month.


I've got no problem with the concept of an allowance... just the right amounts. I think $500/month is reasonable and $1k/month gilded... she thinks $2k/month is skimpy. How do I narrow the gap?

Print the post Back To Top
Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276845 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:18 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 4
When I suggested it, DW told me that she would agree to this but would not contribute to the mortgage since it is in my name only (due to her being a student at the time the house was purchased).
Wow! This sends up HUGE warning flags for me.

She lives there. What's she going to do - move to the curb? If she were living on her own - anywhere at all - she would need to devote some $ to shelter. Even the poorest person in the worst slum in Rio still has to do this.

The only reasons I can see not to contribute any $ to housing expenses is if a) she is anticipating a divorce at some point in the future, and doesn't want to muddy the waters with his/hers/ours divisions. b) she makes too little $ to do that.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276847 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:21 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 3
<<Oh, man. Here I thought Carrie Bradshaw was fictional, or at least so very ~over~ in this economy. I remember the episode of "Sex and The City" where she couldn't buy her apartment when it went condo because all of her income from writing to date (she was by then in her late 30's) had gone into Jimmy Choo's. This being a t.v. show, Carrie was bailed out when a friend gave her a castoff diamond ring from a failed marriage to use as a downpayment. >>


Heh, heh! I always wondered why she didn't just get a SELOC,* using her shoe collection as collateral.



* Shoe Equity Line of Credit

(I'm assuming these are available in NYC?)


Seattle Pioneer

Print the post Back To Top
Author: lizmonster Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276848 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:21 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 14
I don't want to give her the message that these values and habits are ok when we don't have debt but not ok when we do... I want her to come to a mutually acceptable compromise that will hold regardless of whether or not we have debt

One more comment, and then I will shut up.

It seems to me you are using the word "compromise" to mean "she will realize I am right, and embrace my values."

That is unlikely to happen. Values go pretty deep, and you will likely have to give in on some things that make you uncomfortable.

We've all been asking what SHE needs vs. wants - what do YOU need vs. want? How much do you need to save to feel comfortable? Pick a number, not "everything that's left over" - because the latter isn't going to fly with your wife.

Everything over that number has to be negotiable, and that means it may not end up where you want it to end up.

If you want this to work out, you will likely end up seeing her fritter away more money than you are comfortable with, and she is likely to see you saving "too much." That you will have to learn to live with.

But if you remain convinced that she must see it your way - and be happy about it - then you are half the problem here. You are both going to have to shift out of your comfort zones to make this work.

-lizmonster

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276849 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:25 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 3
The counselor told me to sell the house so that we could lead a more reasonable lifestyle.

Sell the house? Where are you going to live? A penthouse apartment at $20,000 a month?

Her spending money meets my monthly net. And my rent's going up.

I know she says $2000.00 a month. But if she gets her way, in a year or two it'll be at $3,000 a month, then $4,000, and so on up. She will always be able to find a friend with more buying power.

I certainly don't expect everyone to live at my salary level. If they did, the entire national economy would grind to a halt. But an insistence on spending, spending spending for name brands, when it's bringing dissension into the marriage is ringing little alarm bells.

The new counselor sounds like a good idea. But let me ask you something, and you don't have to answer on the board. This is definitely something you need to ponder and mull over.

Can you see a point where you draw a line in the sand and say, "it's me or the money?" A lot of people keep going along, retreating one inch at a time until they find themselves in a place they never anticipated. This is how abuse starts. Little things nibble away, and the partner being abused goes along for the sake of the marriage and because they love the other person. And the abuse keeps growing until it gets to the point where an outsider would say, "how can she possibly love someone who beats her up? Doesn't she have any pride?"

As SP pointed out, there are many forms of marital abuse.

Nancy

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276850 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:28 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
It seems to me you are using the word "compromise" to mean "she will realize I am right, and embrace my values."

I can see your point here. I had initially thought that a very token allowance while we were repaying debt (maybe $100-200/month) so that we could get drinks with a friend, an occaisional manicure, etc would be the right level. She thought $2,000 would be more appropriate since that is what is required to live her desired lifestyle. I do believe that $500 or ever $1,000 per month is a compromise. Do you disagree?

That is unlikely to happen. Values go pretty deep, and you will likely have to give in on some things that make you uncomfortable.


Believe me - $500 or $1,000 per month makes me uncomfortable.

We've all been asking what SHE needs vs. wants - what do YOU need vs. want? How much do you need to save to feel comfortable? Pick a number, not "everything that's left over" - because the latter isn't going to fly with your wife.


I think this is the wrong approach when you are blessed with a very high income. I think the correct approach is to pick what is reasonable to spend and then to save teh remainder. If we were to take your approach and say that we should save $8,000 per month and split the remainder as allowance, we would each get a $3,000 per month allowance. While $8,000 per month is a great savings rate (nearly $100k per year), $3,000 per month in "mad money" is a crazy level of personal spending.

If you want this to work out, you will likely end up seeing her fritter away more money than you are comfortable with, and she is likely to see you saving "too much." That you will have to learn to live with.

I agree. That is why I am not pushing for the $100 or $200 level. The gap between my compromise position ($500) and hers ($2000) seems enormous adn I'm looking for ideas on how to narrow this.

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276851 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:31 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Sell the house? Where are you going to live?

We would easily repay the card debt and have a lot left for savings, so the counselor has grasped this as the "solution" when the real problem is not the debt level or the gross cash flow but the allocation of the cash flow. Until the counselor realizes this and that our allocation has been unreasonable, my view is that the counselor is taking DW's side.

I know she says $2000.00 a month. But if she gets her way, in a year or two it'll be at $3,000 a month, then $4,000, and so on up. She will always be able to find a friend with more buying power.


This is my big fear.

Can you see a point where you draw a line in the sand and say, "it's me or the money?" A lot of people keep going along, retreating one inch at a time until they find themselves in a place they never anticipated. This is how abuse starts. Little things nibble away, and the partner being abused goes along for the sake of the marriage and because they love the other person. And the abuse keeps growing until it gets to the point where an outsider would say, "how can she possibly love someone who beats her up? Doesn't she have any pride?"


The line in the sand has occurred to me. Maybe I'm too scared of the outcome. Maybe I'm then turning into the inflexible one...

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: LaraAmber Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276852 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:31 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 36
Interesting that you suggest this. When I suggested it, DW told me that she would agree to this but would not contribute to the mortgage since it is in my name only (due to her being a student at the time the house was purchased). I thought this was grossly unfair and we can't agree on a fair way for this to work.

The correct reply:

Honey, you are right. The mortgage is in my name only, so you shouldn't be paying towards it. I also shouldn't be paying for your shoes, your clothes, or anything else. So now I'm going to charge you 50% rent and utilities and you can pay all your own bills. I'm taking your name off every card I have, every asset I own, and I'm not going to pay one dime for anything that's "yours" (car, etc.) Or Option 2: We PUT YOUR NAME on the deed and mortgage. Gee, that's an easy call and some forms.

At this point NYCSanity, your wife sounds a lot like my friend's wife (though on a much, much smaller scale). They are now getting a divorce after she ruined his credit, got his co-sign on all her student loans, and basically sucked him dry, complaining all the way that he was holding her back.

Lara Amber

Print the post Back To Top
Author: reallyalldone Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276853 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:36 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
how do I get her to agree that this is not a reasonable starting place?

I think you need to take a few steps back and set financial goals as a couple. The big ones - kids, retirement, college if kids, vacations, homes, retirement(not a typo).

One time one of my kids(at around 13ish) had a discussion with me about retirement. We came to the conclusion that retirement meant you had enough money to choose what you wanted to do. If you loved what you do, you could keep working or transition to working in a different fashion. If you didn't like it, you could stop.

For most financial things, if you don't plan for it, it won't happen.

I'd recommend going back out to the big picture for the moment and then work back down to the micro level.

rad

Print the post Back To Top
Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276854 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:36 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
I know she says $2000.00 a month. But if she gets her way, in a year or two it'll be at $3,000 a month, then $4,000, and so on up. She will always be able to find a friend with more buying power.
I think this is what everyone was afraid of when you first posted. Remember back to when you first posted? Everyone here was all Casssandra-ish with warnings about the lure of the Wall St. lifestyle. And you were insistent that you guys were the exception to the rule, and lived modestly.

Not so say you can't, of course. Just that it's very very hard to do. And once the momentum starts moving in the direction of spending what your peers do, it's a trend that's very hard to stop or reverse.

best of luck - we are all pulling for you!

Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276855 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:37 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
The correct reply:

Honey, you are right. The mortgage is in my name only, so you shouldn't be paying towards it. I also shouldn't be paying for your shoes, your clothes, or anything else. So now I'm going to charge you 50% rent and utilities and you can pay all your own bills.


As yo may recall, my monthly budget for mortgage + condo fees + insurance + HELOC is about $9,000. I suggested she pay me $3,000 of rent (the price of a studio in manhattan) and she outright refused and used that as a point against me in counceling to show how I am not "generous" with her.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276856 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:38 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
I think this is what everyone was afraid of when you first posted. Remember back to when you first posted? Everyone here was all Casssandra-ish with warnings about the lure of the Wall St. lifestyle. And you were insistent that you guys were the exception to the rule, and lived modestly.


My lifestyle is not Wall St. Her lifestyle has morphed beyond recognition in the last 9 years that we've been together.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276857 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:41 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 2
I think you need to take a few steps back and set financial goals as a couple. The big ones - kids, retirement, college if kids, vacations, homes, retirement(not a typo).


I'll repeat what I wrote earlier:

I think this is the wrong approach when you are blessed with a very high income. I think the correct approach is to pick what is reasonable to spend and then to save teh remainder. If we were to take your approach and say that we should save $8,000 per month and split the remainder as allowance, we would each get a $3,000 per month allowance. While $8,000 per month is a great savings rate (nearly $100k per year), $3,000 per month in "mad money" is a crazy level of personal spending.

The fact is that we could accomplish all of these goals and more at the above savings level, but it still doesn't mean that we're spending at a prudent level. I don't think that the problem is that we would not be saving enough to accomplish our goals... rather that we would be grossly mismanaging what we have. For me to be comfortable, we need to find a middle ground on the spending side and let the savings side be an output rather than the other way around. Any suggestions on how to get there?

Print the post Back To Top
Author: lizmonster Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276858 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:42 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 11
I think the correct approach is to pick what is reasonable to spend and then to save teh remainder.

But she doesn't.

She is your wife, not your child; you don't get to decide for her.

$3,000 per month in "mad money" is a crazy level of personal spending.

Once again, this is your opinion. I happen to share this opinion; but I'm not the person you are living with.

Look, you have to start with the assumption that her opinions are as valid as yours. You say that you could save an amount that makes you comfortable and still have $6K/month left over; I can understand why she feels that having $2K/month, no questions asked, isn't so unreasonable. Does the money belong to both of you, or is it just yours? Once necessities and short- and long-term savings are taken care of, why shouldn't she have a say in what happens with the rest?

The gap between my compromise position ($500) and hers ($2000) seems enormous adn I'm looking for ideas on how to narrow this.

Try $1000, and see what she comes back with. If you can shift, maybe she will feel more comfortable shifting as well.

-lizmonster

Print the post Back To Top
Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276859 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:45 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
My lifestyle is not Wall St. Her lifestyle has morphed beyond recognition in the last 9 years that we've been together.
I definitely meant the collective "you," not the individual "you."

Your wife's trajectory is pretty typical for the Wall Street world. But what matters is how you two relate and work out your issues together, not how either or both of you relate to your colleagues.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: LaraAmber Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276860 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:48 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 8
The more you disclose, the worst she sounds.


Point out to her that "not being generous" would be if you insisted on everything being itemized and split 50/50 even though her salary is quite a bit less then yours. (Make her watch The Joy Luck Club, you'll see the husband I'm talking about.)

She is talking about taking 1/3 of her take home pay and blowing it on luxury goods. She basically wants to be a kept woman. If she wants to blow $2,000 a month on junk, she should have married an oil sheik.

I think you need a real counselor. One that deals with middle class income clients. Because when she starts talking like this, she will get a fast reality check.

Just once I'd like a counselor to say "I deal with women whose husbands beat them, have affairs, and are paranoid jealous and this is what makes your husband a monster???" then promptly hits her with a Nerf bat.

Lara Amber

Print the post Back To Top
Author: reallyalldone Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276861 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:48 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 20
I think this is the wrong approach when you are blessed with a very high income.

Then I'll stop making suggestions. We have a high income and I retired at 49. If you are slated for early retirement in the style that you want to live in retirement and have all the other financial goals covered(including philanthropy), then the issue you have with your wife is not financial, it's control. If that's the case, I do understand where she's coming from.

rad

Print the post Back To Top
Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276862 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:51 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 2

In some ways I disagree with this because I see that she has proposed a spending level that - while I see it as absurd - would still allow for substantial savings. In other ways, I'm terrified that she will be unable to cut back if we encounter adversity or that her wants will simply escalate in line with our means, ultimately resulting in a disaster. I'm pretty torn up about this.


I've been on the Fool over 8 years.

When others have come here with similar issues, the increase in spending as means increased was what has often happened.

You can ask Patzer how well trying to reign in the spouse's spending worked for him.

Ishtar

Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276863 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:51 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Look, you have to start with the assumption that her opinions are as valid as yours. You say that you could save an amount that makes you comfortable and still have $6K/month left over; I can understand why she feels that having $2K/month, no questions asked, isn't so unreasonable. Does the money belong to both of you, or is it just yours? Once necessities and short- and long-term savings are taken care of, why shouldn't she have a say in what happens with the rest?


Yes - it does belong to both of us - we just have incredibly different approaches to how it should be allocated.

Try $1000, and see what she comes back with. If you can shift, maybe she will feel more comfortable shifting as well.

I offered it as a compromise and it was immediately rejected as insufficient. She thinks she has already compromised at $2,000. How do I get her to the negotiating table?

Print the post Back To Top
Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276864 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:52 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 8
*** I think you need to take a few steps back and set financial goals as a couple. The big ones - kids, retirement, college if kids, vacations, homes, retirement(not a typo). ***


I'll repeat what I wrote earlier:

I think this is the wrong approach when you are blessed with a very high income

Oh gosh, no. This kind of planning is basic, and NEVER wrong. It works at all income levels. One cannot meet any goal unless one plans. Regardless of income level. It's always a good idea to plan long term goals, even if one can easily fund them. If for no other reason than it gives you reassurance that you are on track. If for no other reason than it makes you focus on those goals more. If for no other reason than it will raise the question of what you and DW want from life.

I also have a high income. Even though I am single, I evaluate my goals every year. Both personal goals (where do I want to travel, what classes do I want to take, what work do I want to be doing), and financial goals (how's my net worth coming along, am I on track to retire early and if so at what year, do I want to spend more $ on a special project, and if so what...etc). This is totally basic for me, and I think has been critical to my success.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276865 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:54 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Your wife's trajectory is pretty typical for the Wall Street world. But what matters is how you two relate and work out your issues together, not how either or both of you relate to your colleagues.


That's what we're trying to work out here but the gap seems insurmountable. I'd love some suggestions.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: determinedmom Big red star, 1000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276866 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:55 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 10
Let me say, first, that when I was 30 I was your wife. The only difference was that I wasn't married so didn't have those issues.

But, yes, I totally wanted to have my spending money and wanted it now and didn't value the freedom that can come from saving enough money to know that you can retire whenever you want.

It is hard to explain that mindset to someone who doesn't have it. I did feel then that I had all the time in the world. As an aside, have you ever considered whether your wife might have ADHD? Some experts (such as Russell Barkley) believe that the core deficit in ADHD is an ability to rely "see" time. The normal person can prioritize based upon long term goals and sees the marching of time. The ADHD person may find this difficult. If that might apply, you might consider a counselor with experience with ADHD.

Anyway, yes, I could even now totally spend $2000 on spending money. I wouldn't find it hard at all. I don't value spending money on expensive clothes but if I did I could easily spend it just on a very few items of clothes. I was in a department store just recently and saw a purse I really liked...and it was $800. I didn't buy it but, yeah, I could see doing that.

I do think a personal allowance for which one is not accountable for the spending is the way to go (personally I think that marriage really does mean that otherwise finances are combined unless there are issues related to children from before the marriage). I know that I have spent my personal spending money on things that my DH thinks is absurd (and vice versa) and it has really helped our relationship not to argue about those things.

The issue is how much should the allowance be. I *do* think that there is a point where saving just to saving isn't necessarily "better" or more virtuous than spending. The last thing I frankly have any interest in doing in scrimping and saving throughout my life and depriving myself and my family of things we would enjoy...all to die someday and leave a pile of cash to someone else.

Of course, now being more mature than I was at age 30, I also realize that I don't want to spend like crazy now and end up in old age in penury.

So, I do think there is a balance. If it was me, I would figure out how much money I wanted to end up with at whenever I wanted to be able to retire ...age 65 or 55 or whatever. Then figure out what kind of savings I would have to have to have an excellent change of getting there. I would then figure out how much money I have to have to meet my current obligations (including paying off debt) and to save for a rainy day. Once you do that and set that aside then, frankly, I'm OK with spending every other penny on whatever is fun. If that is $2000 a month, then OK. If it is $500 a month or $50 a month, then that is OK also. Heck if it is $5000 a month I'm fine with that.

I think the issue you have with your wife is not that $2000 a month is intrinsically bad (maybe that is the issue, in which I don't agree with you)...it is that you can't see meeting the goals of financial security with her spending $2000 a month.

This is where you really have to discuss with her and figure out if you can agree to common goals acceptable to each of you. Once I got religion on this, I wanted to cut all kinds of expenses and my DH thought I went to far. He wants to enjoy life, etc. One thing I did was go over retirement planning...we are closer to retirement than you are. I could clearly show him that spending $X now means he has to work Y number of years more. And he didn't like that and was more willing to modify spending. In some areas we did compromise. I could still be more radical than him on some areas of spending but I did compromise.

Whether you and your wife can bridge the gap, I don't know. It may be that your goals are just too different. That does happen. But the important this is to figure out if you can get in the same chapter if not entirely on the same page.

Oh...on the selling the house issue. Here is how I feel about it. We have an income a little below yours. We have a house that on paper we easily afford. We could have qualified for a house costs twice as much as the house we bought. Yet, I often resent the house because it carries with it so much extraneous cost. It isn't just the house. It is the electricity (high because of square footage), expensive insurance (due to location and size), the cost to landscape and for yard work (due to acreage), and so on. This is such a high overall cost that this (coupled with our children's needs) makes it really impossible to make any huge changes to our budget.

Now, in our case, given our children it seems on balance the house is worth it for the next few years. But, frankly, I can't wait to get rid of it simply because I would rather spend my money on other things. I like buying a high end gaming computer for example. I will want another one. I don't want to go into debt for it. I don't want to stop retirement savings for it. But sell the house for it and move somewhere cheaper? Absolutely (if not for the child issues which predominate right now).

I'm not saying you have to sell your house. You may prioritize it more. But, yeah, I don't think it is an outrageous thought to consider as part of your overall financial plan.

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276867 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:57 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 2
Point out to her that "not being generous" would be if you insisted on everything being itemized and split 50/50 even though her salary is quite a bit less then yours. (Make her watch The Joy Luck Club, you'll see the husband I'm talking about.)

She is talking about taking 1/3 of her take home pay and blowing it on luxury goods. She basically wants to be a kept woman. If she wants to blow $2,000 a month on junk, she should have married an oil sheik.


I hate to say it, but she has told me many times that she can do better than me and that other men would be much more generous with her. I love her dearly and don't want to lose her by calling her bluff. I know in my heart that I am a caring and thougtful husband. Just because I don't see merit in buying her a $9,000 Hermes handbag doesn't mean that I don't love and cherish her. How do I get her to see this?

Print the post Back To Top
Author: ziggy29 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276868 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:57 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
>> That's what we're trying to work out here but the gap seems insurmountable. I'd love some suggestions. <<

I think I've seen a lot of reasonable suggestions, but it seems like you keep coming back by saying there is no way she'd ever accept any of it.

Which -- if true -- might lead only one other unfortunate option. Hopefully not, but you have had a lot of suggestions and you can apparently reject them all as out of hand because she won't play along.

This thread may be faster to 100 posts than any I can recall in quite some time.

#29

Print the post Back To Top
Author: nycinsanity One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 276869 of 308845
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 1:58 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Then I'll stop making suggestions. We have a high income and I retired at 49. If you are slated for early retirement in the style that you want to live in retirement and have all the other financial goals covered(including philanthropy), then the issue you have with your wife is not financial, it's control. If that's the case, I do understand where she's coming from.


I agree that there are some control issues here - we both want to control how our joint assets are allocated. I want to find a middle ground, but it appears she does not.

As regards early retirement, that's not a goal of mine. I love what I do. I just want to have enough that I will have the freedom to walk away from a bad situation if I really feel that I need to.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: ziggy29 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools