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Monday, December 9, 2013

The Importance of Doing It Together: Part 1

There's a "security gland," explains Dave Ramsey, that all women have. It's located behind their ears and when they don't feel financially secure that gland starts to spasm.

Obviously he's exaggerating, but his point is this: it's important to most women to feel financially secure, to feel like they are taken cared for, and, believe it or not, it doesn't always have to do with how much money they have. Guys, you can work 50, 60, 70 hours a week and still have a wife who doesn't feel financially secure.

For my wife, a large part of feeling that security was knowing that we were on the same page. She needed reassurance from me that I supported our financial goals, that I would follow our plan, and that she could trust me to properly manage our income. She needed to know that I was with her.

But budgeting shouldn't just be about making your wife feel better. And, trust me, it's not.

For me, I realized that I needed my wife's input. It was helpful for me to go over our budget with her because she caught my mistakes, helped me understand certain processes, and generally alleviated the stress I feel when working with numbers. (I still refuse to have anything to do with taxes. We either take them to H&R Block or she does them. I find the process too frustrating to bother with.)

I have a friend whose wife is like me in this area. She finds the budgeting process too stressful, and so he makes up the budget every month. He is faithful, however, to keep his wife routinely apprised of their financial circumstances.

Going over your budget with your spouse is such an essential part of a successful money management plan. There's basically two ways you can do it:
  1. You and your spouse go over the budget once a week, or once a month. Together, the two of you keep track of your expenses, making sure neither one of you is going over budget in any of your areas of allocated spending. If neither one of you excels with math or particularly enjoys budgeting, this is the best option.

  2. If you or your spouse is more suited to handling math and numbers, and is agreeable to handling the budget on his/her own, it's fine if the lion's share of the work load falls upon them. But the two of you must confer with each other on a regular basis as to where your budget stands. Moreover, you need to have conversations about where you want your money to go. It's ok if only one of you gets to be the numbers crunched, but you both have to be involved in budgeting.
If you're going to make your money work for you, you and your spouse need to work together. If you don't, there is a nearly endless list of possible miscommunications than can arise.

To be continued...

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