Ask The Money Coach

Can a Saver and a Spender Live in Financial Harmony?

Q: I am a saver but my husband is a spender. He has gotten better over the years but his financial history still follows us.

Every time I talk about finances or lack of money, he gets upset thinking it is a personal jab to his ego when it is not the case.

I try to save money by putting (it) into savings but if he is going to spend all of the savings with the ATM card, how am I really able to save?

How can I help him understand that money is not personal (we need it to live) while helping him learn to work with me as a team to save?

A: Your dilemma is familiar to most married couples.

Money is the #1 factor leading to divorce.  So, tread lightly when discussing money – ego surely is involved.  It is pretty hard to focus on saving money when you don’t have a tangible goal.  You are saving because it is “who you are” – your husband may need a reason to save.

Find a way to talk about your financial goals without sounding like you already have goals in  mind.  Let your husband daydream and brainstorm some of his goals.  If you aren’t already doing it set up some accounts for specific financial goals.

One joint checking account that you both direct deposit the same percentage of your paycheck each month.

So if you have decided that your bills require $2400.00 each month make sure that you both contribute enough to cover the bills – based on the percentage you both contribute.

Set up a second account for a joint savings account.  Again you decide how much you want to save – and you each deposit an equal percentage of your paycheck to reach that goal.  Finally, let him spend money!

Each of you should have an account that is yours and only yours.  You can do anything you want with the money.  How nice to buy a gift for your spouse and not worry that later they will see the statement and know how much you spent!

You can save every penny if that is what works for you and he can spend every penny.  The bills are already covered by the joint checking account.  Your savings goals are being met by the joint savings account – and both of your spending/saving needs are being met by your own personal accounts.

Sounds easy !  Give it a shot!

Special thanks to Marlene Ware, a certified credit counselor at The National Foundation for Debt Management for contributing this answer to AskTheMoneyCoach.com.

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