Money Causing Clashes
Q: My husband spends a lot of money, and I'm constantly trying to save and contribute to our savings, stocks and IRAs. I come from a large family with little possibility of inheriting anything substantial from my parents. He comes from a small family and is banking on a large inheritance later in life. I keep trying to explain to him that this isn't a guarantee and he agrees but then continues to spend on vacations, concert tickets, clothing, etc. that we don't need. How do we budget for these things while still contributing to a healthy savings account? I'm not sure what the best plan of action is here. -Katie, 46
Dr. Anna: Money is one of the most difficult topics in relationships because it's often not just about money, is it? It's about shared values, planning for the future, and often many other weighty emotions. You two need to have an honest conversation about your values and what is important to you as individuals and to you as life partners together. He may be valuing creating memorable experiences. You may be valuing a sense of security in the future.
Stop bickering about budgeting and start talking about what is important to your hearts. Then find a way—together—to deal with money that meets both of your values. You both will need to compromise. He may need to stick to a clothing budget in order to take four vacations a year but still meet your need for security. You may need to relax a bit and enjoy his plans for creating fun family experiences with you. Recognize what your hearts are saying and work to meet those needs.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.