By Aiyana Ma’at
I think it’s so interesting how easily we can get caught up in how we think things are “supposed to be” in our marriages. I can’t tell you how many times Ayize and I have talked this “money issue” over with couples.
We hear from so many men that say they want to handle the money….they should be handling the financial issues of the family, etc. but….it’s the wife that’s doing the handling. My husband often asks quite casually “So, you wanna handle the money, huh?” The guy is like “Yeah” Ayize then says something incredibly deep like…”Why?” And then there’s silence…….
Or there’s the wife whose sick and tired of handling all of the money and bills herself and she’s complaining and complaining and I ever so casually 🙂 say “So, you’re tired of handling the money huh?” The wife is like “Yes!” And then I say something amazingly deep like “You know you can stop right?” Lol!
Look, we do things and don’t do things in our marriages for all sorts of reasons. We’re naturally good at some things and suck at others in our marriages. Some of us spenders. Some of us are savers. Some of us are excellent dreamers and others of us live straight up in the “Let’s keep it 100% REAL” world.
My point? Don’t make shit harder than it has to be! If you’e good at something then you handle it. One person might be a ridiculously excellent budgeter. Another might be good at keeping up with bills and due dates and the such. Sit down and figure out what works for you and your marriage!
Check out Jan & Jerry’s story below and then decide to work smarter and not harder so that your money can work for you in your relationship!
(Adapted from GoodHousekeeping.com)
Letting the best money manager manage the money: Before Jan Dahlin Geiger and her husband, Jerry, of Atlanta got married 15 years ago — each for the second time — they were financial opposites. Jan Dahlin, 58, a financial planner, was debt averse. “I was saving 10 percent for retirement and my kids’ college fund and did not have a cent of debt, other than a $50,000 mortgage,” she says. By his own admission, Jerry, 66, a sales executive, earned a lot and spent a lot. With his shiny cars, a divorce that cost him six figures, and more than $10,000 in credit card and other debt, he was deep in the red. “It was an addiction,” he says. “I got into the habit of spending whatever I had. I had to borrow money, because I was spending in anticipation of making it.” Jan Dahlin sums it up: “He spent money like a wild man.”
And she was horrified. Through her work, Jan Dahlin had seen many people’s lives ruined by financial recklessness. “My first response was, ‘I can’t marry him,’” she says. “I told him if he wanted to marry me, we needed to make hard choices.”
Realizing he had to either change or remain single, Jerry sat down and discussed finances with Jan Dahlin. Then he agreed to a comprehensive money overhaul, including:
Paying down his debts: Some $110,000 in loans and credit card interest was erased in two years.
Not keeping up with the Joneses: The Geigers agreed to buy a $200,000 home rather than the half-million-dollar one Jerry craved.
Other trade-downs: Gone are the BMWs and Cadillacs. Now he tools around in a used Dodge minivan.
Monthly reviews: To track their financial progress.
Jerry concedes that changing his ways wasn’t easy: “It was like shock treatment. I remember how I struggled to come to terms with the less expensive house.” But when he retires at 67, “we’ll be able to take an awesome vacation every month if we want to,” says Jan Dahlin. “I can honestly say we have had few fights over money. And our net worth today is about 1,000 percent of what it was 15 years ago.”