Many people believe that if they only made more money, they would be happier and they’d get along better at home. Without the financial stress they’d have nothing to argue about they believe. My own experience tells me this is a bunch of hooey.
I’ve been talking to people about money for over 25 years. People who do what I do for a living get to know other folks pretty well. I can tell you, based on my observations, you can be miserable with your partner no matter how much money you make. How’s that for encouragement? 🙂
I’m not saying that money doesn’t make a difference. Its clearly easier to have a good life when you have a little cash in your pocket. But having financial resources isn’t a guarantee of a happy life either. In my opinion, it isn’t the amount of money that is the problem. Expectations, communication and partnership are the keys.
Do you and your partner want the same things now and in the future? Do you share the same values with respect to spending, saving and investing? If not, it’s going to be very hard to find peace and quiet at home. You may not rank your priorities in the same order. But you should be able to understand and respect what each of you expect out of life.
I used to think that I was the financial expert at home. I was the professional. I studied finance and accounting and I made my living as a financial advisor. I was so sure that I had it down. I figured that my wife and family knew I was the pro and they should just listen and learn. I was so wrong.
Yes I had the training but I also had my own prejudices. My own personal experiences formed my opinion and they had their own experiences which were very different. Until I was willing to listen to them and take their priorities into account,I was doomed to encounter resistance. Once we started talking about our own concerns things improved big time. It had nothing to do with having more money. It had everything to do with just being more open to each other.
Partnership is all about compromise. Because I grew up poor and in financial fear, all I wanted was to save and invest. My wife grew up a bit more balanced. Yes she wanted to save for our future but she also wanted to enjoy life now. I’ll be honest; spending money that could be otherwise saved went against the essence of who I was. I found it difficult to do this at first but I understood that my wife had a right to enjoy life so we worked out a compromise.
We came up with a savings goal that we needed to hit each month. If we reached our goal, we could put other money aside to spend on travel. This way we both win and it’s worked out well so far.
How can you and your spouse get along better?
Talk and listen. Talk about your expectations and listen to each other. Get rid of the attitude that you know what’s best. No matter how much training you have or what your background is, you don’t know what’s best for your spouse in all respects. Then, compromise and work out a plan that helps you both achieve what is most important to each of you.
This might include making more money or spending less or investing differently or a combination of all these things. But if you argue about finances, more money is not going to solve the problem in and of itself.
Do you fight about money at home? What is the best approach to solve this in your opinion?