You might have guessed that I’m the Chief Financial Officer in my house. Well, you are sort of right. I find all this financial stuff fascinating and I enjoy it, so I tend to do most of the nitty-gritty: paying bills, organizing budgets, etc. However, I always try to include my husband in decision making, and there are four good reasons why:
- Nothing will kill a budget faster than having two partners who don’t agree. This seems pretty obvious: it doesn’t matter how successful, resourceful and frugal one partner is if the other partner is spending a little too freely.
- I’m not always right. I don’t even always have an answer. Surely you have heard the phrase, “Two heads are better than one.” I’m not sure if it was originally talking about money, but I sure think it is true. I regularly ask my husband questions about how we want to handle our money. (Should we put more in your TSP, or build a bigger emergency fund?) He often has good insights that I hadn’t considered. Plus, it is much nicer to share the responsibility for big decisions.
- Talking about money is good for your relationship. This might seem wrong to you, especially if you are in a relationship where money is usually the cause of fights. However, actual conversations about your goals, dreams and plans can build up your relationship. A good marriage needs to develop a team mentality, and working on your financial future as a team is a key part. Also, you can learn a lot about your spouse when you talk about money. I love hearing where my husband hopes to be in ten years, and I also love that I can organize our finances to help his dreams be possible.
- You don’t want one partner to be in the dark if you have an emergency. I think this is one area where I don’t do very well…there are probably whole bank accounts of which my husband is only vaguely aware. I do try to keep detailed records in a semi-organized fashion, and I try to keep him up-to-date, but I also hate to bug him with all the little stuff. Plus, if you are the military person and you are also the money person, you are going to find long trainings and deployments more difficult as you either a)try to stay on top of your finances when you’re far away and really busy, or b) dump it all on your spouse without any background or experience.
There are probably even more reasons that I haven’t considered. Please add them in the comments if you have any additions. Regardless, I hope you can see that financial planning within a relationship should be a two person job.