No. of Recommendations: 7
My Fiancee and I are polar opposites when it comes to handling money. I'm the worrier, he's go with the flow. I only feel safe with an emergency fund and a budget, where as he is quite comfortable carrying debt.

Since we became engaged in 6/03, I've tried to discuss money matters with him, showing him my monthly budget numbers, and attempting to discuss how we will manage our money once we are married.

My fiancee refuses to believe I live paycheck to paycheck, even when presented with the detailed numbers. He thinks I am rich, because I earn more than him and have retirement savings.

It wouldn't be so bad, but he is worse at spending than I am and has no assets. His debt is more than twice his annual income, even though at 45 he lives at home and pays only $30/week board. What will happen when we move in together and he has to pay real world expenses like food, utilities, and rent?

18 months later, he is more in debt. Not that he hasn't been paying a lot of money towards the debt, but he isn't paying enough to get ahead. I've been extremely anxious about this, losing sleep, breaking into tears. I just panic because fiancee assumes I will pick up any slack he has in his budget, the way his parents do now.

I am failing to communicate with him. I've tried to give him the space to find his own way with his money. I hoped by showing him how I budget, he'd learn. He certainly is better than he was. But he can't fix the serious problems with living beyond his means by just cutting out DVD and book purchases. He has resisted making the hard choices necessary to make this balance. (Like cutting out the twice a week he goes out with his friends to movies and dinner, selling his Jeep Cherokee for a less expensive vehicle, eliminating cable, taking a part time job, reducing Christmas spending, not attending science fiction conventions, summer vacations, etc.)

What happens is I come off as "I'm right, you are wrong" and lecturing. He is math dsylexic, so his eyes cross when I try to show him a column of figures. I can't understand his "it's all up in my head" method of cash flow management and he can't understand my piece of paper with categories and numbers that add up inflow and outflow. We can't find a common language to discuss this.

The only thing that has worked so far is when I ask him a series of questions about money attitudes and then answer with my own. Some times this brings out stories about his past money experiences that give me a bit of insight. Still, it's not changing his spending so there is measurable decrease of his debt month to month.

He thinks I am just worrying about nothing, that the bills will get paid eventually and he is doing the best he can. He hates that I ruin our time together by discussing money.

How can I better communicate with him and change either my anxiety over money or his figure-out-as-you-go approach? How do other couples do it?
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