What would you do if your spouse refused to address a major financial concern you had and it was threatening your relationship? Would you scream out, “Save our marriage!” or “I want a divorce!”? Besides the fact that might love your spouse, if you consider the average cost of divorce, you’ll probably go the first route instead and try to salvage the relationship.
This is not a rhetorical question – I really need your input on this one. The other day, I bumped into an old acquaintance, Anna. I hadn’t seen her in over 30 years.
We started talking and before long, she told me that she had major problems with her husband, Mike, about money. They were both professionals and had great income, but she was the “Imelda Marcos” of the family and he was the “Scrooge.” In reality, they weren’t facing bankruptcy and foreclosure, but Mike acted as though they were.
They both grew up in poor families but came away from that experience with very different attitudes. Anna was finally able to enjoy life – and she wasn’t going to let anything stop her from doing so. When she saw a pair of shoes she wanted, she bought them. If she wanted to take a friend to lunch, she did it. Budget? What’s that?
Mike, on the other hand, was deathly afraid of being broke. He was a miser. Anna sounded really unhappy. I heard the story and offered to help. I told her that I couldn’t promise any result but that she and her husband Mike could come in and talk for 30 minutes – no charge. I didn’t expect miracles…but I hoped I could help them see some common ground on which to build.
Anna seemed pretty excited about the prospect of actually working towards some solution but when she told Mike about my offer he emphatically said, “No.” He didn’t trust financial advisers.
Several years ago they met with a financial adviser who also provided a “free consultation” and ended up trying to sell them a $3 million whole life policy (a very expensive product they have no use for). Mike didn’t want a repeat performance.
I wasn’t going to sell them anything…but he didn’t know that. Anna asked me for advice, and I’m asking you because I drew a complete blank.
What should Anna do?
While you’re pondering that, let’s move over to…
The Pilgrim Pick of the Pack!
JD Roth wins hands-down with his post on the Paradox of Choice and Perfection. I was going to write something similar next week on this issue, and even though he’s stolen my thunder, he did a beautiful job of it. JD explores the cost of perfection and the beauty of sacrifice and compromise. Congratulations JD…well done!
Now for the other Pilgrim picks…
Green Panda explains how much life insurance you need and why insurance isn’t an investment.
What’s the real purpose of news? The Discomfort Zone has some very interesting comments on this.
The Simple Dollar discussed the importance of being (and finding) a mentor.
Zen Family Habits talks about making your home a natural learning environment.
I also participated in the Carnival of Personal Finance. Please head on over there to review all the great posts.