April 15, 2013, 5:00 am

The Discussion I Should I Have Had a Long Time Ago

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Assets and Net Worth,Personal Finance
email this postEmail This Post Print This PostPrint This Post Post a CommentPost a Comment

 

 

Some say money is the root of all evil, I say money is the root of all dispute

 

I’ll tell you upfront, I love money. Nah! That is not completely true, I don’t love money, I love what it brings: freedom, entertainment, comfort, security and good wine! My biggest financial goal is to be able to spend whenever I want. This is what I call financial freedom; living your life without having to worry about what’s left in your bank account.

 

I don’t expect to live an extraordinary lifestyle with a lot of expenses. But I don’t want to restrain my budget to the basics for living either. This is a balance that is quite hard to reach and I’ve been battling to find it lately. For the past 18 months or so, I’m on a crusade against debt. I’ve updated my net worth statement last week showing the first sign of real progress in almost two years. I’m proud of what I accomplished recently yet not proud of the time it took me to realize my problem.

 

It’s Been a While that I have Known

 

I’ve been aware that I was living over my budget for almost the past four years. This is exactly when my wife quit her job to stay home. At that time, I was working a project of mine called The $1,500 project. The goal was to generate an additional $1,500 in net revenue stream so my wife could quit her job and we could live a better life. I did find the money but additional expenses came into play as well. I didn’t budget that part properly.

 

I haven’t accumulated too much debt over the past four years for a guy who lives beyond his means. The reason is quite simple; I also generated some sizable bonuses since I work in the financial industry. My average bonus over the past four years is $37,750. Even after taxes and RRSP contributions, I still have about $12K in my pocket each year to tackle my budget. That’s another $1,000 per month. With this money, I was able to pay back a part of my debts. My total debts are showing $312K and the highest I was in the past four years was when I bought my RX-8. In June 2010, I had $334K in debts. So in the past three years, I’ve paid down 22K in debts while I increased my assets from $480K to $565K.

 

When I look at my situation over the past three years, I can’t say that I’ve headed in the wrong direction. My net worth has jumped by 100K in 36 months, that’s pretty good! But the problem remains the same: I have to count on my bonus to bring my debt level down. I’ve been working on this problem for a while and found it very hard to find a solution until I had a discussion with my wife at the beginning of the year.

 

The Discussion I Should Have Had a Long Time Ago

 

After we came back from Disney, I realized that I had to speak with my wife about a touchy topic; money. Since I work in the financial industry and my wife has little interest in finance, I manage all the financial aspects. I don’t update her very much about our situation since she is very insecure about money. Since I’m a big leverage fan and used our line of credit several times in the past to fund projects (trading on the market, start my online company, etc), I thought we were better off this way.

 

The problem is that she didn’t know that I was actively battling against our debts and that I was looking for a way where I can pay down my debts on a monthly basis within our budget instead of waiting for my year-end bonus. She is definitely not the type of woman who spends without counting. She is very careful with the household expenses. Still, managing a household of five can lead to more expenses when you don’t keep a close record of them.

 

It wasn’t easy to tell her that we had to take a closer look at our budget and cut down on our own expenses. We used to go out to the restaurant once in a while and treat ourselves; this time is over for now. It sucks to tell your wife that you are not going to go to the restaurant or the spa next weekend, nor in the following weeks months.

 

Since I’m the only income earner of the family, I feel a pressure to bring in enough dough for everybody. We can’t complain as we are living a great life. But I live the pressure of maintaining the same level of lifestyle alone. Having this discussion with her felt like I haven’t been able to complete my part of the deal. I wasn’t making enough money so we could spend as we want. In the end, it was admitting a failure on my part.

 

I also tend to enjoy life and rarely think twice before spending. This is why it was so rough to explain my wife that I changed and wanted to slowdown with our expenses. However, my wife didn’t take it badly at all. At first, she was worried about our financial situation. But I explained to her that it wasn’t that bad but we needed to take control of our budget today and not wait for bad luck to happen!

 

I now feel better about this whole story since we are now a team facing our debts, I’m not alone anymore and this makes a big difference for me! We are now working together to find alternatives and ways to save money and the results are showing already. I should have definitely not taken that long to speak with my wife about money management!

 

 

Similar Posts:

You Want More? Sign-up! ->
TFB VIP Newsletter


If you liked this articles, you might want to sign for my FULL RSS FEEDS. If you prefer to receive the posts in your email, subscribe CLICK HERE


Comments

I had the same situation happen to me with my girlfriend. She is also very insecure when it comes to money and I am very much on top of our financial situation. I helped her realize what we could and could not afford after some time and now she is very conscious about what we spend as a couple. We are both happier and our relationship is much healthier as a result of that conversation!

Way to go! What you’ll probably find is now that she knows and she gets on board, she’ll be the source of many ideas on saving.

Board games over popcorn might have a resurgence in the TFB household, who knows? :)

by: The Financial Blogger | April 15th, 2013 (10:46 am)

Hey David,

it was hard to open this topic, but I’m glad I’ve done it! I’ve seen a huge difference with our finance since then!

@William,

I acutally love board games (my 7 and 5 yr old already play Monopoly for adults ;-) hahahaha!). She is pretty good at saving money! I should have told her before that!

did the right thing buddy, though could tell that it hurt to have that conversation. Reigning things in today is gonna get you to exactly the point you want to be later in life. Now the wife is up to date, it could only bode well for the future.

Battling debt on your own is almost impossible when you are supporting other people and they are unaware of the situation. Telling your wife was probably the best thing you could have done. Not only does talking about problems or situations with somebody else ease your mind about things, but the other person can help with their ideas and solutions. Not to mention, when it comes to money, if you aren’t aware of your needs, it is easy to continue spending with out thinking. You mentioned your wife is very self conscious about money but I’m sure there were still expenses she was paying that she could only take a second look at after she knew the financial situation of you and your family.

Good job with the discussion. I thought you were doing so well because of your business income. It’s great that you sat down and are taking control of your expenses.
Maybe you can share your month expenses? Why is it so high? You are making a lot of money and it seems like it should cover the expense.
Good luck getting the debt down.

I feel like open communication about finances is key to keep a relationship going. Even in the dating stages, you need to discuss who is paying for this and that and be honest if you can’t afford to go out every weekend.

That is a hard topic to open up and I had to do that for my wife. I had been handling our bills and we were breaking even every month. Once I talked with her, she jumped on board and started helping figure it out. We are much better off now than when we first got married.

by: The Financial Blogger | April 15th, 2013 (12:41 pm)

Hey Joe,

Taxes are taking a big part of my income. The other problem I’ve outlined in this post is the fact that I get an important part of my income (30%+) with my year-end bonus. Right now, I’m trying to keep my expenses within my monthly budget and not having to count on my bonus to pay for my stuff.

I used to always count on this lump sum to balance my budget and this is why I’m working harder on my budget. Most of my budget is going for the kids… there are not much I can cut on that part! hahaha!

In every couple, there should be someone who knows how to pull up the other when it comes to handling the finances. That;s why it’s very important to sit and talk about your plans and how will you two figure everything out. Compromise if you have to.

I’ve heard a number of times that finances are a subject among couples that most often leads to fights and even divorce. This is sometimes because the money manager holds out too long and doesn’t want to talk to their spouse, but you obviously made the right decision. Its much better to keep the conversation open so you’re both on the same page and understand that it will take working together to get debt down.

Such a hard topic! I am in a very similar situation as you (Financial industry, wife works but not the breadwinner, I handle most of our finances, etc.) and I always feel an internal gut punch when I ask to slow down or at least try to spend efficiently. There is always that initial, what’s wrong, response – so it is an uphill battle trying to explain it isn’t for our family today I am asking you to slow down, but the family in 5 or 10 years.

by: The Financial Blogger | April 18th, 2013 (12:21 pm)

@Evan,

I think you are the one who described best the feeling I had when I started my discussion with my wife.

I now face the opposite situation: she is cutting on expenses when I want to spend! lol! It’s a good thing so we are both carefull now!

[...] Financial Blogger@theFinancialBlogger discussed how he erred on not having important conversations with loved ones in the past and how he is much more open and honest with his finances at this point. Check out the post here. [...]

[...] so long ago, I discussed on this blog how I should have a clear discussion about our personal finances with my wife. I was hesitant to start this discussion as I didn’t want to turn it into an argument. Well a [...]