Home > Money, Sex, and Children

Money, Sex, and Children

July 5th, 2008 at 10:41 pm

I read somewhere that couples most frequently argue about money, sex, and children. Well, I know from personal experience, and I’m sure some will agree, that money definitely can be a point of contention in a relationship. I have a confession… I am married to a man who is very relaxed about how he manages his finances, although he has tremendously improved in the 15 years we’ve been together. DH earns a good living, is always responsible for paying his debts, but fairly passive about saving and investing. Sometimes I think that if it were not for the fact that we have always kept our finances separate, we might have landed in divorce court by now.

When we married, my attorney recommended a pre-nup because I had more assets and needed to protect my sole and separate property for my daughters. Thus, I established my “Sole and Separate Property Trust” and DH and I established our “Community Property Trust.” These trusts articulate the disposition of assets that were mine before marriage and those we have accrued during our marriage. DH and I found we had to make compromises if we were to live (and love) in harmony… this is what works for us.

In the framework articulated in the Millionaire Mind, I am Balance Sheet Affluent (2.13) and DH is not (1.01). Thanks, scfr, for the formula: Age x .112 x Total Annual Realized Income = Expected Net Worth. If you are 2 times your expected net worth, you are "Balance Sheet Affluent." Throughout my life, my philosophy and values about money shaped and influenced my financial position today and the same is true for DH. We are an example of how seemingly financially incompatible couples CAN live in harmony if they understand how they are different and can communicate respectfully and openly about what must happen for the relationship to work.

One example of a “minor” difference between us: DH frequently indulges in buying books, LOTS of books. Granted, he is a professor, so some of the books he uses or refers to in his classes. However, he is an avid reader who will buy books to read for pleasure instead of checking them out from the library. He likes to collects books… as only a true bibliophile will do. When we downsized, DH donated boxes and boxes and boxes of books to a local library because we simply had no room for them in our small townhouse. He spends hundreds on books every year.

An example of a bigger difference: DH has no idea how much he earns, does not track his spending, and NEVER ever balances his checkbook. When he receives a CC bill, DH pays it immediately, even though his money could earn interest for a while longer. When he makes an ATM withdrawal, he checks the balance to get an idea of how much is in his account. DH hasn’t the faintest idea of his net worth. (BTW, I know DH’s net worth and will review it with him whenever he asks and sometimes even if he doesn’t). I, on the other hand, know exactly how much I make, how much I can tax shelter, and my net worth. I use Quicken and the Internet as tools to carefully track expenditures, deposits, investments, and savings.

It helps that each of us makes a good salary, so we are able to contribute equally to our household. (Actually since I make 28% more than DH, I do pay a greater proportionate share of taxes). Each month I give DH an accounting of his 50% share of the joint household expenses. I pay all the joint household bills and set aside funds in “reserve accounts” for expenses that arise periodically (e.g., property taxes, insurance, etc.). We each pay our own gas, personal care, work lunches, professional expenses, gifts to friends or family, donations, etc. DH is very happy to delegate the majority of the financial responsibilities to me.

While I think I positively influence DH many aspects of frugal living, it is still a “work in progress.” Now, he saves regularly through an auto savings plan and contributes the maximum to his retirement account. Perhaps the area where we have the major difference: the values our adult children have learned about money. My two daughters and DH’s son and daughter are diametric opposites in the financial department, but that’s a topic for a future post.

7 Responses to “Money, Sex, and Children”

  1. njdebbie Says:

    I must confessed that I have always been critical of married couples with separate pockets. As time has passed I've come to realized that for some people this is the best financial fit and I am no longer judgemental of people with separate finances. I think that it all stemmed from hearing my sister-in-law asking her husband and the father of her three children to lend her $20.00. It just sounded so tacky to have to ask your husband to lend you money.

  2. baselle Says:

    I hope that your DH is not an economics professor! Big Grin

  3. Analise Says:

    Well, our money is not completely separate...we are "blended." Although we have some separate assets and accounts, we also have joint checking and savings accounts to which we both contribute, and we jointly own real estate. Having money of my own does give me the freedom to not have to negotiate, explain, or ask permission for everything I buy or do as is the case with some women I know. I guess there is no "right way" to do the financial part of a is about finding a way that works for you as a couple.

  4. Analise Says:

    LOL... It would be scary if he were an economics professor... he is a professor of Education and works with graduates training to become teachers. He loves what he does and money is just not something he thinks about the way I do. He is, however, a wonderful and kind man, and he likes the fact that I am obsessed enough about finances for the two of us. :-)

  5. scfr Says:

    A big congratulations on being "Balance Sheet Affluent" ... That qualifies you as a role model in my book! And it seems that your husband is actually doing quite well, being at "Expected Net Worth" even tho he's really not in to finances. So many people don't even have that much.

    I think your system sounds perfect. My DH and I own all of our assets jointly, but when we married (the first for both of us) between us we had a few thousand dollars, some household items, and 2 cats. Smile

    If for some reason (God forbid) either of us were to marry a 2nd time, it would be an entirely different story and a prenup would be almost mandatory.

    P.S. - Isn't it nice to be on a forum where people actually care about things like the formula for "BA"?

  6. MariRDH Says:

    I loved "The Millionaire Next Door" but have not read "The Millionaire Mind". Unfortunately, the formula just does not work for young people just starting out.

    For instance, I was in the workforce for 8 years making very little before going back to school 3 years ago, and have been back in the workforce for 9 months making double what I had before. I just calculated my "affluence" (more like lack thereof) and I am supposed to have a net worth of $114,250...if I count my Roth which has been steadily declining and all my savings and checking accounts and do not even deduct my debts I have less than 1/4 of that...and if you deduct the student loans and other debts I am in the negative!!! *LOL* <-- I gotta laugh or I would seriously cry. *sigh*
    Of course, I have to use these things as motivation to keep moving forward so that someday (G-d willing before I reach retirement) I will be able to post that I am Balance Sheet Affluent!!! Smile

  7. Ima saver Says:

    Hi, I am balance sheet affluent also!!

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