Tessie’s Two Cents
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A PARTNERSHIP IS MEANT TO BE A TEAM
My fiancé has a serious problem with spending. We “need to have a budget” but we also “have to have that amazing decorative art piece” that costs an arm and a leg… and it just gets tucked away where nobody sees it. I want our house to feel like a home, not a storage facility… and a bank account that still has savings in it after someone goes shopping. What can I do to help curb the spending? And am I wrong for wanting to keep money private and separate so I know it’s safe?
First, you need to sit and have an open and honest discussion with your fiancé about spending. You two need to talk very pointedly about what you expect of your finances and your belongings. Especially when two people seem to reside on opposite ends of the spectrum on theories about finances, they MUST have a clear understanding of expectations.
Changing someone else’s habits often isn’t easy, and really can be impossible. Even when you can demonstrate clearly that your partner is spending compulsively or irresponsibly, that may not resonate with them. It’s worth trying to have the conversation, but behaviors like that can often be rooted in deeper issues.
You also need to be prepared to accept that your fiancé may never quite see eye to eye with you about finances, but that you are absolutely not obligated to allow them to spend money with abandon. Whatever type of separation or sharing of bills and obligations you might choose, one of you shouldn’t have to make up for the other’s shortcomings, or overspending, as it were.
It’s not at all unreasonable to prefer to keep your accounts separate if a person has not demonstrated that they are responsible enough to have open access. I would even say it’s a smart financial move if your partner tends to be defensive when you try to discuss the topic.
Work to have open and honest communication with your partner, on all subjects, and don’t be afraid to be honest if something makes you uncomfortable. A partnership is meant to be a team. At the very least, each partner should be willing to hear the other out.
Best of luck!