Wednesday, August 30, 2006

7 Tips for Saving Mixed Marriages

What happens when a super-saver marries a super-spender? When it comes to money, love does not always conquer all. But there are ways of bridging the checkbook gap.

That's the word from Diane McCurdy, a financial planner and author of How Much Is Enough? Balancing Today's Needs with Tomorrow's Retirement Goals.

Here is the text that I received:

The Spender/Saver Marriage:

# 1 Outline Differences

· "Sit down with your partner for a heart-to-heart talk and budget planning meeting. Lay all the cards on the table: I'm a saver; here's why and here's what that means . . . You're a spender; here's why and here's what that means . . . Let's talk about how we can compromise so that both of us are getting our needs met.

"It's amazing how few couples think to have this calm, rational discussion," notes McCurdy. "But not having it sets the stage for festering resentment, which blows up into arguments."

# 2 Establish a Safety Zone for the Saver

· The saver needs to know that he or she is saving enough off the top to ensure financial security.

"Compromise is a must. The saver needs to realize that maybe she doesn't need a million dollars in the bank in the next five years. Maybe it's enough to know the mortgage is being paid every month and that there's not more going out than coming in," says McCurdy.

# 3 Saver: Review Value of Attraction

· The saver also needs to remember why he/she was attracted to the spender in the first place. . "Acknowledge that your partner brings qualities to your life that you need--after all, there's a reason you didn't marry a carbon copy of yourself," says McCurdy.

# 4 Spender: Write Reality Check

· Likewise, the spender needs to recognize that security is numero uno for the saver to stay grounded--and that this very groundedness is part of what attracted him/her to the saver in the first place.

"Spenders tend to be instinctively drawn to people who are solid, dependable, and trustworthy," remarks McCurdy. "To expect your saver partner to be okay with maxing out all the credit cards is like expecting her to suddenly become a different person. It's not fair to her and frankly, you don't really want that either."

# 5 Create a Fun Zone for the Spender

· The spender needs to know that he/she can still spend and enjoy life without sabotaging family security.

"Don't try to impose a Spartan existence on your spender--it squelches all the joy from his life. Assure the spender that there is a happy medium between his freewheeling old style of spending and never, ever again buying anything fun," says McCurdy.

# 6 Create Wish List

· It's imperative for the spender to create a wish list, while recognizing that everything on the list can't be acquired at the same time.

"Spenders, make your list and rank what is the most important item for you," McCurdy urges. "Which do you want more, the big screen plasma TV, the fishing boat, or the trip to Jamaica? Once you decide, it gives you something to budget for and anticipate."

# 7 Lose Control

· Finally, know that if the spender is willing to relinquish control to the saver, there's a bonus: The saver will make it happen faster than the spender.

"Letting the saver manage the mutually agreed-upon budget may feel to the spender like 'losing,'" says McCurdy. "But it really isn't. Spenders, look at it this way: If your saver is in charge of money outflow, she probably won't dribble the plasma TV fund away on new CDs and $5 lattes. You'll eventually get your plasma TV, and she'll get the peace of mind of knowing you can both retire someday.

"Here's the bottom line," says McCurdy. "Money really is just a tool. We are the ones who give it so much emotional power. We would all be better off if we realized there is always more money to be earned and cultivated to fit our needs. We shouldn't allow the dramas we create around financial matters to ruin our marriages. Love does mean so much more than money."

# # #
How Much Is Enough? Balancing Today's Needs with Tomorrow's Retirement Goals (Wiley, 2005, ISBN: 0-471-73871-9, $14.95)"--

For more information: How much is enough


James & Miel said...

Hey Frugal Dutchess,

Great post! There generally isn't a lot of good info on blancing personal finance and money in committed relationships!

Good stuff, I look forward to reading more.



Frugal Duchess: Sharon Harvey Rosenberg said...

Hey Guys:

Thanks for the kind note.
Your piece on that stock pick was insightful. Great research and what an adorable photo!