My fiancee and I are getting married in a few days. We have a newborn on the way and are struggling to save up any money to buy furniture for this baby. We both have jobs and will both be keeping them throughout the marriage. However, going into this marriage he doesn’t save any money. He also has terrible credit. I save every penny I can and have a pretty good credit score. I know that money is one of the most common arguments in any married couple, but how do I get him to see that we really need to start focusing on this upcoming addition to the family instead of our growing DVD collection? I’ve brought it up to him before and he agrees, yet he hasn’t put any money into our savings account, while I’ve contributed over $400.
How can I help my fiancee realize that we need to save money without seeming like I don’t want him to spend anything?
Congratulations on the upcoming wedding. I’m really glad you’ve contacted me to ask your question. It is something that I run into a lot.
When looking for a life partner I guess we tend to look for those things that compliment ourselves. We seem to look for those opposites in who we find exciting or attractive. In all of my years it seems that savers attract spenders. One answer is that spenders are often a bit more impulsive and spend money on the savers which is a new and different experience. That is wonderful when you are dating but when it comes time to shack up the finances, there can be problems.
The worst thing you could do right now is tell him he can’t spend money on things he wants. The better approach is to establish an open communication about money. If you can be intimate enough to make love to each other and in your case, have a baby together, your relationship should be intimate to talk about finances together.
I think the time has come for you to open a joint bank account and deposit both of your paychecks into it. You can manage the account and move money into savings to help achieve your financial goals. While you’ll probably assume most of the control over paying the bills and balancing the checkbook the two of you should sit down together every two weeks and review where your money is going so he can see it clearly. The last thing you want is for him to feel in the dark or that you are treating him like a child when it comes to where you combined money is going.
Together the two of you can determine how much can be spent on fun things like DVDs. Rather than tell him what he can spend his money on, basically you need to give him an allowance and let him determine how he is going to spend it. I’ll let you word that message in a loving way using your womanly charms to make him not feel like it is an allowance.
His poor spending and money management habits are the exact reason why he does not seem to have money and he has bad credit. You can nip this in the bud now.
If you sit down to have the conversation about putting all your money into one account that cares for the family and he has a problem with that, then you’ve got bigger issues. As a husband and a father he needs to understand that he now has a responsibility to earn, provide and financially care for his family. With the commitment of a wife and the care of a child comes the need to put away his childish wants for everything thing that has desired at an impulse.
The key to this approach is for you to encourage him to go out and blow his “allowance” in any way he wants. That is his money to spend without you looking over his shoulder. If you follow my advice then he won’t feel like he is being micromanaged to death by you, he’ll still have some discretionary financial freedom and you should be able to save for the both of you out of your combined money.