When financial opposites attract

financial opposites

It’s coming up to the anniversary of my buying a house (huzzah!)

Unfortunately, the circumstances around that were, shall we say, less than ideal.

I bought it alone. It was not how I’d imagined it happening.

(Longtime readers know some of the back story here. If you’re a bit of a voyeur, click here to sign up for my new monthly newsletter – the first edition goes out this weekend. It’ll be all exclusive content: opening up more details about my financial journey (beyond what’s here on the blog), the ups and downs, plus my picks of the very best curated reads on money from around the web.)

So, the past year has been a journey.

We’ve revisited goals and aspirations and worked towards creating a new system for the day to day.

We have in the past totally pooled money, and dipped in and out of having some separation of money over time. Right now is possibly the most separate our finances have ever been, and it’s working out better.

That means from my end: handing over some things, learning to trust. Starting small.

That means from his end: taking ownership of those things, and pride in doing so.

The problem with us combining money so young and so early on, and me (being the savvy and more control freak type, taking charge of handling it all) was he didn’t really understand – the way that I did – what it takes to run the finances. The time and energy that goes into managing money. How much life actually costs. As I grew my income and thus our overall household income over the years, it was even easier to disengage and coast, and in the end get a free ride for some of it. Result: I wound up making way too many financial sacrifices.

This way he has skin in the game – responsibility for certain things (whether it’s saving for a new fence or cash flowing pet related stuff) getting hands-on with them and owning those numbers.

Even letting go of little things has been terrifying for me. I’m glad it’s proven to have been the right move, though. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the results.

6 thoughts on “When financial opposites attract

  • Reply Ms. Montana February 22, 2017 at 08:50

    I feel like it’s a constant learning process. Every time we get one thing nailed down, something else needs attending to. I think it’s awesome to hear that you continue to figure out, tinker, and make things better.

  • Reply Jaymee @ Smart Woman February 22, 2017 at 13:13

    NZ I think I can relate with you on this because this is a similar situation that my partner and I find ourselves in.

    Early on, I took charge of managing our money because I enjoyed it and he just let me. We got to a point where all he became responsible for was charging for his spending on our joint credit card. And it’s a system that worked before we moved in together because we both lived with our parents and had tons of disposable income to spend. Now that we’re living in my house together, I’m starting to see that this system isn’t working because I feel like he’s not as invested in our finances. He doesn’t see that our housing responsibilities eats up more of our incomes and that if we want to reach our more important financial goals, we have to make room elsewhere. The breaking point came when he went out on a weekend with his buddies and charged up the expenses on our credit card. Now I’m working on making some separations in our finances so he is responsible for more than just swiping his plastic. We’ll see how it works out over the next few months.

    I’m glad I read this because I was having doubts with separating our finances – the control freak in me is in panic mode! I might not have gone through with it… But I will be now.

    • Reply eemusings February 22, 2017 at 14:49

      The control freak in me hears you loud and clear! Even initially, relying on him to take care of relatively small things (that didn’t actually affect ME) was really hard to let go of and it was tough to resist the urge to nag and follow up. (Obviously, be deliberate about what you choose to delegate if you have doubts… baby steps.) In hindsight, I think one way to think about it is – if I can’t trust him to handle his own money, how can I trust him to handle joint money? Last night we had a great conversation about how he’s been handling saving money this past year, how it made him realise that life has a price tag and he needs to earn more to facilitate that (whether that’s sports gear, house projects etc) and the pride that comes with being able to really contribute to the household. I hope it goes well for you both, that it increases his engagement and understanding of the big picture, and leads to you both really being invested in reaching those goals.

  • Reply Leigh February 22, 2017 at 17:54

    I find it really fascinating that you guys separated your money after so many years together and the value that is bringing you. I’m glad it’s helping and I can really picture how it would as sometimes I wonder if my husband and I combined money if that would disincentivize me from pursuing a career path, which could in turn cause depression from being “bored”.

    We’ve chosen to not combine our money to begin with. I have to say it’s really nice to have the sense of independence and to not feel like my husband is supporting me while I don’t have an income right now. Having to navigate that on top of being laid off last year would have been a double whammy for my independent spirit. My mom is really controlling with money and I couldn’t imagine relying on my husband’s income (even though things wouldn’t be tight with just his) – it would bring back too many memories of when I relied on my parents for money. I don’t know if we might combine more some day, but I doubt we would ever combine everything. It is really nice having a joint account for joint expenses finally though!

  • Reply Frugal Desperado February 23, 2017 at 14:52

    I’m in a weird place with this. My SO is lackadaisical with his moolah and where it flows to, but doesn’t want me as the more organized one to take the reins. He’s of the “make more” and not “save more” camp when it comes to life/achieving goals/paying debt, so isn’t thrilled when I come around to remind him the letter in the mail means he forgot to pay a bill … again. He’s more concerned with bringing in his much-higher-than-mine income. Whereas I’m super organized, make a lot less, but have a pretty bad history with spending myself… which I’m sure isn’t lending me any cred when it comes to me asking to organize our household finances.

    So as it stands, we’re a spendthrift who makes good cash with zero organization, and a recovering spendthrift that makes so-so that’s super organized, living under the same roof, sharing most expenses (but no keeping tabs, except on rent) who are likely going to live in couples finance purgatory forever.

  • Reply Desi Hisab February 24, 2017 at 00:22

    Thank God, we are not financially opposite. Though I am not a pennypincher but my husband is frugal in every sense, but at times he completely gets lost when it comes to tracking investment. So, I am thinking about how to make him manage money effortlessly. do keep blogging.

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