The Risks of Living with a Financial Enemy

by Kevin on January 13, 2010

In my last post I asked if your spouse was a financial teammate or a financial enemy. Today I’m going to show you three massive risks of living with a financial enemy.

The Risk: Marriage Finance Meltdown

To be financially successful as a couple you have to be on the same page. Period. No other way to do it.

Otherwise you end up working in opposite directions (he spends, she saves) and severely limit your progress toward financial goals.

You end up treading water, but never getting anywhere.

If your spouse is your financial enemy, here’s what can happen.

1. Your Life Will Be Miserable

No one is happy.

He thinks… All she ever wants to do is spend my hard earned savings. The savings that I spent hours budgeting for.

She thinks… All he wants to do is sit at home like a hermit. We never get to have any fun.

Both individuals end up miserable if you are going in opposite directions. It would almost be better if you both agreed on your financial direction and ended up being wrong. (For example, if you both felt free to rack up debt and buy all kinds of stuff.) At least then everyone is happy.

Dumb, but happy. Much better than dumb and unhappy!

Also note in this situation that both people likely have the couple’s best interest at heart. One wants financial security. One wants to enjoy life more. They are both striving to make the relationship and situation better. But they’re still working in opposite directions.

2. Your Finances Will Be Ruined

If your spouse is a financial enemy you will never see success in this critical area of life. There is simply no way to succeed long term with someone constantly going against your efforts.

She saves $100 this month. He blows $150 at the race track.

He gets all the bills paid on time for the first time in months. She overdrafts the account and they get nailed with $70 in overdraft fees.

You’re taking one step forward and two steps backwards. It simply can’t work.

You might even see short term success where the spender is somehow forced to comply with the new financial direction for a few months. They don’t spend a dime, but the pressure is building up. Then out of the blue they go overboard and go on a shopping spree taking all that work and apparent success with it.

3. Your Financial Efforts Will Be Torn Down

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” – Abraham Lincoln

That pretty much wraps it up. Good job, Abe.

Your financial house is destined to collapse in on itself if both individuals in the marriage are not on the same page.

The person that wants to get the finances under control will end up exhausting a lot of energy for little gain. They will become discouraged and perhaps resentful. They’re thinking, All I do is try to work toward getting us out of this mess. And all he does is mess it up.

As you might imagine the last thing you want creeping into your marriage is resentment. Suddenly walls are built up and communication stops. You’re headed down a path you never imagined when you gleefully said “I do!”

There Is Another Way

Fear not for your marriage or your finances: there is another way.

You don’t have to be miserable. You don’t have to be broke.

You don’t have to be enemies…

Stay tuned. In my next post I will show you some of the amazing benefits you can reap if you work together as a married team.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan January 13, 2010 at 10:10 am

Great job, as usual!

Even if you’re on the same page, though, you can still have some conflicts. DH and I are both savers, but we have different ideas regarding our long-term goals (ex: paying off the mortgage, saving for retirement, etc.). But I will say that it’s probably much easier for Josh and I to come to a compromise compared a couple where one saves while the other spends.

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Kevin January 21, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Another great point and one I hadn’t considered. But at least you can agree to put the money into a savings account until you decide what to do with it (rather than it being spent against your plan/will.)

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Christina January 14, 2010 at 2:47 am

I have to agree with Megan but of course this might work as well….maybe with others it will depending on the page they are in…but so far with ours, I take care of saving money for the family while my partner takes care of the expenditure.

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