posted: May. 6, 2013 @ 12:42a
I'm looking for historical experiences of members and maybe what they've seen in people around them too.
Specifically, I'm looking for experiences on the financial aspect with a spouse:
1. Should both people already be aligned prior to marriage on their approach to finances/saving/etc.? Did this turn into a bigger issue later on for those who did not address it before marriage?
2. Has anyone successfully helped a spouse improve their situation, or is that normally a lost cause? (Teaching them to save, etc.)
My specific situation: I've been seeing a girl who is very different from me - decisions are really based on emotion rather than fact.
Her: 30 years old and earns 40k, has 25k of debt on a new car, no retirement, no real savings, etc. and essentially lives paycheck to paycheck. She didn't have health insurance until I made it a priority, and I'm not sure she truly grasps the benefit of it. (She raised her deductible to 7500 from 5000 the other day to "save money" when in reality she doesn't even have savings to cover the $5,000 level)
Me: 25 and make > 65k, no debt, and have a net worth of ~100k with 50k liquid including retirement, savings accounts, brokerage accounts, HSA, etc. I live with a roommate, maximize CC deals, etc.
My approach is that if I know I want to have a family, I know major expenditures will likely include a home ($50k down payment), college expenses for the kids ($100k each in today's dollars), etc. It's much easier for me to save money now than later in life, and it provides me a lot of flexibility later in life. She has 5 years on me of time and I don't think she's ever been around people like me before, so it hasn't ever (and still isn't) been a priority to have finances in order or even plan for the future. (She's often been in a sales environment and I'm 99% confident her coworkers haven't ever even opened a retirement account - the impression I have is that they all live in the present searching for short term excitement)
I've spoken to some coworkers and it seems like the spouses who did have a habit of saving a bit were taught to do so from an early age.
I'm debating if it's worth pursuing with her given the big difference in our situation. I know that I would never marry her unless we had the finances figured out and an already established track record on her part. Any changes on this aspect need to happen far in advance - I'm certain of that. The challenge is knowing if I should put in 2-3 years and take it 1 step at a time to help her. This might mean getting her to open a 401k and start by putting $50/month in it, then getting her to ramp it up after a year or so of creating a habit. The real issue is that I don't think she feels a desire to figure this out at all, and so any effort on my part is not benefiting her life today, and future problems are not visible today. ("Why would I need to save for retirement? I like my work and plan to keep working")
Update: Since the posting of this, we've left each other. There is more information here: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1271482/m17739409/#m1773...
I have responded individually to a number of people in this thread, however didn't get to everyone, but don't hesitate to PM me if you wanted to discuss something specifically.