My partner and I are cool with a lot of things, but in certain arenas we just don’t line up. Couple that with the fact that the career path for both of us isn’t identical — and for one of us, it’s a work-for-life kinda thing.
How do you reconcile it when one person in a relationship feels that debt is a sad reality of this modern life, and accepts debt as “just something that happens,” and the other person is more in line with the “DEBT IS AN EMERGENCY” kinda deal?
I’m just curious how people reconcile different attitudes toward saving money — how you negotiate it in your own relationships? How you navigate the compromises about what you want in life in tune with financial ability and personal differences and hopefully come out with a happy home? -Shi
This is tricky. As my partner and I were deciding to get married, we had a lot of in depth conversations about what we wanted and, of course, money was part of that. I’m actually the less frugal one of the two of us, and it took (and takes) a lot of discussion at times.
Here are the things we’ve discussed or learned over the years that might help…
Things will change
In fact, a lot has changed since our first talk about money. While I was the more frugal one in the begining, in fact, we’ve now both trended toward more frugality. So you might have to renegotiate your money talks now and then as your priorities change as your lifestyles and jobs change.
Try to understand each other
This is one of the big things for us — when there’s a difference of opinion, we both try to really understand the other person’s point of view. And, usually, if it’s really important to one person, we figure out how to make something work.
Getting a house was actually the biggest disagreement we’ve had. He was sold on doing it; I wasn’t. We talked for a long time, and eventually decided that we’d try it, and if we both didn’t like it we could sell. Fortunately now we both are liking it, but getting to this place wasn’t seamless.
Compromise and acceptance
On the smaller day-to-day stuff, we just let the other person satisfy their wants. (For me it’s coffee and concerts; for him it’s books and puzzles.) Then we assume it comes out even in the end. (It doesn’t; I spend more.)
For bigger issues, like vacation spending, we compromise. For example, we took a big international trip last year, but we made sure to go to pretty budget-friendly locales.
By implementing some of these rules and talking points, we’re both happy enough with our financial situation that we don’t feel a need to police each other. But every relationship is different so…
What are the ways YOU handle money and debt in a relationship?