We started two weeks ago discussing money in different kinds of relationships – Business in particular. We left off touching on how money can affect us in our marriage relationship. We all know that when the bucks are flowing, there is much less of a chance of bunking heads about it. Keep in mind though, that (financially) whether it be easy times or hard times, how we get along with each other, always depends upon how loose one partner is, versus how tight (or let’s say, ‘watchful’) the other one is.
In the ‘Good Times’, one may want to roll out the ‘Good Times’, party rug, while the other may be thinking, ‘Good Times’ do not necessarily last forever, so let’s be conservative in our spending.
In hard financial times, there is no doubt, the pressure starts coming on. Unless we are totally slammed and have absolutely no maneuvering room with the money, there is some wiggle room, as to how to spend the little excess we may have.
Whether the times are good or bad, the last thing we want to do is argue about our spending. All that arguing does is dig us deeper and deeper into our position. Then, before we know it, we are no longer trying to arrive at a good working solution. Instead, our egos start popping up. When the ego comes into the argument, it now becomes about ‘Winning the point!’ We’re in big trouble if we let it get to that point. Not only are we in trouble in terms of solving how we handle the money, but more importantly, our marriage and relationship with each other. We can become angry, hurtful and resentful towards each other.
Think about this – Everything was fine between the two of. You enjoy (hopefully) each other’s company, similar interests, likes and dislikes, same thoughts about your future, children or not and on and on. Now this thing called ‘Money’ has suddenly become an issue. .
The first thing is to realize what the most important thing is – and that is your relationship and your care about each other. Keep this important thing, as the important thing.
Next – the two of you sit down, with a pad, pencil, the check book, and credit card
statements. Over a three month period, list every item you spend on. Do not forget to list the daily cash amounts – ex: coffee, newspaper, whatever is your daily routine. Make a mark next to each item of what is a necessity and what is a luxury. Depending upon whether it’s good times, easy times or hard times, have a code for what can be eliminated, expanded or kept as is. You will have differences here. So next to those items, you can mark them TBTA (to be talked about). The idea is to arrive at some very basic concrete expenses that don’t have much wiggle room and agree upon. Keep in mind though, that everything is opened to change. Examples: We can move (bigger/smaller housing). The car(s) we drive (less expensive/more expensive).
It’s good to start off with agreements. It’s a settling feeling of coming together.
Now you have some basic costs of living you agree upon. Next, think about how much money you would like to sock away. If there isn’t any, well it’s time to go back and re-visit those ‘basic concrete costs.
The idea is to be backing into an amount you have, that you can play with.
Once again, a good piece of advice my dad gave me:
“Spend a dollar less than you earn and you’ll always be rich, but if you always spend a dollar more than your earn, no matter how much you earn, you will always be poor.”
There is much to talk about on this subject, and we will, being the importance it plays in all our lives.
Harris Glasser – Author, Lecturer, Business & Personal Consultant
www.HarrisHelps.org “ It’s My Money & I Want It!”
(more next week)