Monday, February 7, 2011

How money affected my relationship.

Shelle Edit: So we have a new Contributor for the Mars team!!! Let him know what you think and then go visit his blog where he talks about music and happenings with him and his three girls!!! But watch out... he might challenge you to a dance off! :)

Did your parents ever teach you about money? Maybe they showed you how to fill out a check book, but what about saving or planning? Mine didn’t. They never talked about money. Maybe that was ok, in the sense that I never worried about their financial situation, but it had a big impact on my marriage.

My ex didn’t learn early on either. She had a much leaner childhood, as far as money was concerned, and with that poor real-life education and without structured education about money, that also had a big impact on our marriage.

We married in 2000. We’re separated at the moment, but expect a divorce to be finalized sometime this year. That gave us 10 years to learn things the hard way. A lot happened in those 10 years, including 2 home purchases and 3 kids. At one point I was making pretty good money; for a young family anyway. We made a bad decision with that money and got into a very ‘house poor’ situation. We sold that house 3 years ago and it’s still a problem. So much a problem that I’m planning on filing for bankruptcy.

I believe money is a catalyst. You’ve probably heard the bible verse 1 Timothy 6:10 misquoted a time or two; “Money is the root of all evil.” The correct quote is “The love of money is the root of all evil.

Being a catalyst, something else has to be involved to create a reaction. I called this post “Money affected my relationship because...”, because in and of itself, money was not the problem. The problem was unrealistic expectation, along with misunderstanding and poor communication.

They all tie in together, but from the beginning we never discussed our expectations and thoughts about money. Well, to be honest, we didn’t discuss much about anything. (Hence the “ex.”) Starting a relationship with at least some understanding of how your partner thinks about money is very important. How each of you think about money may be very different. In her case, I believe fear played a big part in how she thought about money. Money was the difference between happiness and anger; between hungry or not. I had no idea she thought that way. As for me, money was never a big issue. That became a problem because I was lazy and had some unrealistic expectations. I figured no matter what happened, we would be fine.

Because of what we learned the hard way, I’ve made a personal vow to make sure my kids understand how money works and how to properly handle it. My dad never taught me. I don’t think because he couldn’t or didn’t want to, but I think he assumed school took care of it. If it did, I must have missed that class. But then again, where would I be now if I hadn’t learned the hard way?

I’m not entirely sure how I would handle it in the future, if I married again. Friends of ours have some of the same issues my ex and I had, like conflicting money management styles, but they make it work somehow. A lot of it is extreme patience and an understanding that there is more than one way to do it. I have a cousin who is a stay at home mom and gets an allowance from her husband. She likes it because she doesn’t have to do any of the bookkeeping. Some people keep their finances totally separate. Each has an income, separate checking accounts, and split the financial responsibilities.

I still believe that my girls and I will be fine, no matter what happens, but now understand how important proper communication about money is. It’s important for maintaining a strong relationship through understanding and realistic expectations, as well as reducing the potential for bad money decisions sabotaging a relationship.

How has money affected your relationships? How do you and your partner handle money? If you don’t like how it’s handled now, how would you rather do it and what are you going to do to change it? Who wants to join me in reviving the barter system?



Vodka Logic said...

wow that's a tough one. My husband and I have different money styles.. we handle our money seperately. We split the bills, not conciously but it just worked out that way. We certainly have had arguements about money but I don't see it breaking us up.

I was never taught about money but seeing how my parents handled it did help. We weren't poor but we certainly weren't rich. I hope my children get a sense of money from us.. and thanks to you, I will make sure.

Welcome to the Garden of Egan said...

It is different for every couple on how to manage their money, but manage it they must.
Or it will manage them.

I've read that money is the #2 reason for divorce.
It is sad.

My parents never talked about money with us either.
They fought and stressed about it a lot.

My hubs and I have separate accounts. My check goes into mine and he takes out X number of dollars to help with the expenses and leaves me the rest.
If I work overtime....bonus!

I am not sure you ever stop learning about budgeting and having to rework your system.

Good post.

Anonymous said...

Money is a pain in the ass...I must love ass pain because I really work to get money...

I made the mistake of buying all the big crap that a "Dr" is suppose to have. It assumed that I would be making "Dr" money really soon...why not.

My wife took the "Dr's Wife" syndrome to a new level. I was threatened with divorce if I did not buy the BIG house, the NEW car, the NICE furniture...Kids on the best teams...paying for tournaments...because...he...I'm a "Dr."...I knew it was a bad idea a the time, but nobody would listen to me...I ended up working 6 days a week 12 hours a day with maxed credit cards...I was miserable.

Then the economy took a big hit.

House: lost
Car: nope....just the beaters
Bills: Behind...
Business: Barely making it
2nd Job: Laid off...
Divorce: Almost
Breakdown: Yep
Friends: Many have abandoned me, or I them out of embarrassment.

Dave Ramsey saved me. Or is in the process of saving me....and I barely have a marriage any more..

I am making my kids take the Financial Peace University classes...

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Our is a forever ongoing process... but Dave Ramsey has helped and we are trying to always work to be better and smarter.

It isn't a make it or break it with us, but we have been good to not make a very financial stressful situation without both of us consenting so both of us take the blame when it doesn't work or we both take the success when it does work!

3GKnight said...

Thanks to all for reading!

Vodka - Glad to hear you have a system that works for you.

Garden - You're right, budgeting is a never ending process.

Kenny - That's tough dude. Sucks to learn the hard way, huh?

Shelle - Thanks for letting me contribute!

UP said...

Hmmm. My least favorite topic. Money may make the world go 'round, but it causes more arguments than anything else.

I rarely ask where "her" money goes, I know what happens to "our" money.


ChopperPapa said...

Money is all about communication. I am a financial mentor at my local church (a part of the D. Ramsey program some posters have mentioned here). Having one person handle all of the bills while the other assumes or sticks their head in the sand is a recipe for disaster.

I counseled a couple where he took care of all the finances, 3 years later she found out they were $30k in debt and he had embezzled $40k from his company. It must be a joint effort.

Snooty Primadona said...

Boy, did you ever hit the nail on the head! My parents never taught me about finances either & I'm pretty sure my mother never balanced a checkbook in her life.

Before the hubby & I tied the knot we went through counseling at our church & they started with finances, for which I will be eternally grateful. Over the 34 yrs of marriage, we've both taken our turn at managing the money but it was a great source of arguments in the early years. These days, I often work at hubby's office so I can keep up with what's going on. Approaching our 60's, we both need to know what's what... just in case.

Anyway, we've seen many marriages end over money & the divorces were always about money.

We taught both children how to manage money before they reached middle school, which worked great. We gave them each a clothing allowance that they had to manage & after a while, it took.

I also got them the Rich Dad - Poor Dad board game & audio book, which is a great tool...

April said...

My dad never taught me how to manage money either. He wasn't a saver and he lived paycheck-to-paycheck. (not that there's anything wrong with that.) I was fortunate to be financially responsible when I was a young adult, thanks to the good head on my shoulders. Financially, things were great for me. I had a small savings, my credit was great, and I had a little amount of debt. Then I got married.

My ex and I got a joint account and I was the manager of the money. The problem came to be when he just started spending money like there was no tomorrow. I didn't know he had a drug problem. That problem caused us to lose our house, he lost his job, and it ruined our marriage.

My credit is still bad because of that.

My fiance on the other hand was raised to be very responsible with money. He has savings, a 401k, stocks, bonds, etc. He is helping me to get my credit back in shape.

We talk about money often and how we're going to handle it when we're married. We're going to keep our accounts separate. He pays for his personal bills and I pay for mine. I'll give him money each month for the household bills, as I do now since we live together, and we take turns with the other things like groceries and household products. What we're doing now really works for us. I trust him completely to make sure the mortgage, electricity, water, etc. are paid.

I will say, though, that we have both helped each other out financially. Not exactly by paying things, but more so with spending habits. Because my credit has been so bad, and because I'm a mom, I do not really waste money. He on the other hand, was a single man, making good money. Anytime he wanted something, he'd buy it. Most things I would consider wasteful. Since being with me, he doesn't buy things because he wants them. He buys what he needs. Don't get me wrong, he still will buy a few things he wants, but nothing crazy expensive or ridiculous.

3GKnight said...

Hi Up! - Is that one for reviving the barter system?

CP - Hey buddy! You're right on the money about that.

Snooty - Good for you! I'm still trying to get my kids better at counting money, much less managing it. Someday though...

Hi April! - Dang, that sucks. Glad you're getting back on your feet.