Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Does Your Better Half Make You a Better Saver?

Here's an interesting question, inspired by this comment on the last post:

I will say that being (very committed) with my boyfriend has definitely helped me act on my financial goals- I had the goals before, but he has helped me with the willpower to follow through on them. Being in a relationship where you both have the same ideals can make it much easier to act on them, especially if you make that commitment together.
Does your significant other make it easier or harder to reach your financial goals?

Even in a relationship where both people share the same financial values, sometimes the answer might be no. I kind of feel that way about my current relationship: we're both people who value frugality and actively save for retirement but we seem to make each other a bit lazy when it comes to cooking in instead of eating out, which can be a big money drain. It's also dangerous to go shopping with someone who tells you you look sexy in clothes you might otherwise never try on, let alone buy!

How about you, readers? How has being in a relationship affected your financial progress? Does it change things if there is an income disparity between the members of the couple? Let's hear your stories, suggestions, etc...

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend for sure makes me spend more. We are on different wavelengths on money and have very different incomes (me low, he HIGH). It's kind of a problem sometimes, but we really try to talk it out. I just hate feeling like I'm the one dragging us down ...

Mel said...

I think I make about 25% more than my SO but we are moving in together by the end of the summer. So we will see how it works out.

mydailydollars said...

Yes, I do think a SO can really support financial choices. I used to spend more, but now that I'm in serious debt-reduction mode, he very supportive and finds that he's spending less!

Esme said...

My current bf and I have very similar views on money. I find being able to talk about my investment goals and how I save money with him a lot easier compared to previous relationships.

He knows what my goals are and helps me stay on track when I'm tempted to spend. He also keeps me pretty grounded and not go over board with being frugal.

frugal zeitgeist said...

I have never dated a guy who makes it easier for me to save money, including my ex-husband. The delta between me and my current bf is the smallest I've ever experienced, though, and it makes a huge difference. I think the general similarity in our values about money continually helps strengthen our relationship.

Clever Dude said...

Without a doubt, my wife has made me a better saver and spender. We wouldn't have a 5-figure emergency fund or have paid off 70% of our debt in the last 3 years (about $70,000) without her influence!

lucian's mommy said...

It's the exact opposite with me and my fiance. He wants to spend, spend, spend and I have to keep us on course. I grew up in a family with four children so I already have the stingy gene. He was an only child. And that difference gets us into arguments sometimes. Thanks for the post!

Sicilian said...

How you spend money is a deal breaker for me. I was married to someone for 21 years who refused to stay on a budget. He said if you had to have a budget you weren't making enough money.
Interesting now that we are 5 years post divorce, that his finances are still a wreck. He owes me money, and even though he has always made more money than I have, I have a house, rental property, and a new husband who thinks I hang the moon.
Ciao

Anonymous said...

I can certainly understand how a significant other can help keep you on track; however, I've yet to experience that. My current bf tells me he's proud of me when I save, but I always feel funny talking to him about money, because he and I are in different stations:

I'm in my first year as a "working gal," and am still struggling in many ways - just finished paying off cc debt, started paying student loans, and I have a downright pitiful e-fund. He makes more than me (dunno how much), is a huge saver, owns his home, and has no debt besides a mortgage.

Also, we want different things. He wants to remodel his house and buy a sports car - I want to travel and retire early.

But then again, we're not together with the impression that we'll stay together forever, so having similar life goals isn't a part of our relationship picture.

mOOm said...

No difference. My wife put me in charge of the money :) and she is generally pretty frugal.

Anonymous said...

Off-topic:

I just noticed that according to the information in your side-bar, you want to save $410K-$373K = $37K in the next 8 months, which is $55K annualized. IIRC, your income is around $100K, of which I assume $50K must go to taxes, retirement deductions etc. Even counting a bonus of $10K, where do you plan to get money to eat etc from?

mOOm said...

Umm, investment gains?

the Rew Crew said...

My spouse and I are far better off financially because we are together. We had similar values before we married, and after five years of marriage our commitment to those values has grown even stronger.

Money compatibility is huge. It's a deal breaker in my book.

In my marriage all money is communal, with the exception of birthday gifts, or something of the sort. We treat all money as family income and have complete transparency with it. It doesn't work for everybody, but it's totally normal for us.

skittle said...

My husband makes about twice what I do (gotta love Wall St), and I find that gives us a huge amount of financial freedom.

We pretty much save my gross annually, so being married and living together has really helped us on the savings front.

delilah said...

I'm about to move in with the FH and I have to say that I'm nervous. We both have the propensity to be spenders and givers and the debt to back that up.
I'm working hard to get rid of my debt and sometimes I doubt his resolve to get rid of his debt. It's making me extremely nervous for our future, but it is an ongoing conversation, he knows how I feel and what our life is going to be like when we get married. Everything will be in the open.

I do remember the day I found out he had more debt than I do...part of me was relieved that we were in the same boat and the other part was scared to death.

I'm looking forward to working together as a team to get over the debt and start our lives together.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have been married for about a year and were together for 5 years before that. We fell into a habit of keeping separate bank accounts, credit cards, etc., and have continued on that course since our wedding.

I finally weaseled his credit card balance out of him about two months ago, right after I got my $8,000 cc debt paid off. He reluctantly told me that he had $8,000 on his card, too! He hadn't told me before because he "didn't want to worry me". Yeah. So that's something we are now dedicating $1,300 per month to pay off, difficult since we jointly make just over $50,000 per year. But we can do it!

In our relationship, I am TOTALLY the one who has to whip the finances into shape. Because I decided it was important, I have a 401k and he has PERA, we have $5,000 in a high-interest CD, and I have money automatically going into a savings account each month. We are on track to be debt-free in 6 months. I'm proud of us, but we still have a ways to go...

Archana said...

I absolutely believe your better half can make you a better saver. Luckily for us, my hubby and I share common goals about money - but our spending patterns and saving patterns are way too different. He spends and tracks, I save and forget. But he comes up with the most amazing strategies at the oddest of times. His latest saved more than our money!!!

He just came up with the idea a couple months back that we should start livign out of one paycheck. His and mine are different by about 800 dollars, so big difference there, but he said I should just start leaving my debit card at home and pretend the money just doesn't exist.

Wouldn't you know it - I got rolled off a project just weeks after!!!!! Thankfully, before my project ran out, I rolled onto another project in the same company, so there won't be any break in inome, but at least thanks to my hubby's foresight, we wouldn't have been stressing over our living expenses - the only thing impacted would have been our savings.

He always says "we're a team" - but he makes a good manager. I can execute, but I can get complacent from time to time. I save, but he can really up the ante.

So yes - differences in patetrsn apart, if you both share at least a similar goal, it can go a long way!!!

Julie said...

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