The New York Times had an article this weekend called The Key to Wedded Bliss? Money Matters*. It was kind of hit and miss for me, but I did like one particular quote:
“A lot of the debates people have about money are code for how we want to live our lives.”
Money itself isn’t important. Money is simply a tool to achieve what you want. As long as you and your partner want the same things, then in general I think the rest falls into place. You just have to realize that money spent in one place takes away from another desire. However, if you don’t agree on what you want, you could be billionaires and unhappy.
My wife and I remind each other all the time about our primary goals:
- Work less.
- Be able to spend time with children.
- Travel and experience the world.
With this in mind, neither of us bug each other very much about most material things. I don’t ask for a BMW. She doesn’t ask for stuff from Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. If our wallets start to wander, then we keep each other in check.
(The rest of the article talks about little things like having a weekly financial meeting, rotating the financial responsibilities, hiring a mediator, and other minor things that I feel aren’t nearly as important. We don’t do any of those things.)
This article caught my eye because my wife and I are currently very close to booking a week-long trip to Spain, pending vacation time approval. It was weird because many of our coworkers’ reactions were “Jeez, big spender, where did you get the money for that?”. I wanted to say something along the lines of “Remember the 18 times last month you called me cheap? Yeah, that’s where the money came from!“.
More appropriate might be “How much did your [new car] cost again? Mine depreciates less than $1,000 per year. Subtract the difference, and that’s an extra $1,000+ for me every year, which is an international trip.” They make fun of our old car.
What’s the point of all this? Having aligned goals is awesome. Oh, and I love my wife.