Relationship Q & A – Who should manage our finances?

Her Question:

After dating for two and a half years, he finally popped the question and we are engaged!

But I have a question… Who should manage our finances?

Before we started dating I bought a house and he lives in an apartment.  We are planning to move into my house and split the bills but he says that he should be in charge of managing our money because he is the man of the house.  I think I agree but since we have been dating, I have noticed that he spends a lot of his money and doesn’t always pay his bills on time.  I’m a saver because my parents always told me to be prepared for a rainy day but he thinks that we should travel more and enjoy our money while we have it.  That makes me a little uncomfortable but I don’t want to create a problem in the relationship about money.  I’m  scared that he won’t pay the bills on time and I don’t want to mess up my credit.

I really don’t know what to do.  I have tried to talk to him about this but he tells me not to worry because he will take care of me.  He has a good job and we make about the same amount of money but he spends his money on stuff for his car, tvs, video games and going out.  I don’t see the point in all of that and try to save or spend on upgrades to my house.  My family is so excited about us finally getting married and I’m ready to get married but I don’t want this issue to come between us.  What should I do?

My Answer:

First of all, congratulations on your engagement!

I understand your concern and can sense your mixed emotions about the situation.  I think you should start by taking out the emotions associated with how bad you want to be married, how excited your family is about the pending matrimony and your fear of losing him.  Take some time to clearly think about your feelings about this money situation.  From what I am hearing you say, he is a spender and you are a saver.  You are concerned that if he manages the family finances, they will not be managed in a way that makes you comfortable.  That is a valid concern.

If you read my blog consistently, you know that I believe that communication is the key to any successful relationship.  You need to be able to sit down and clearly communicate this to him.  Don’t beat around the bush about it.  You can start by talking about your financial goals.

How much do you want to have in cash reserves?

What types of trips do you take?  How much will they cost us?

What major purchases do you see in our future?  How will we pay for them?

How much do we need to save for the wedding?

What are our plans for retirement?  What will we do? How much do we need to save?  

There are some people who spend a lot because they don’t have any goals for their money so it is disposable to them.  It is possible that once you identify some goals for your money that he may see the need to start being more conservative and commit to saving.

There are also some people who don’t see the need to plan for their financial future and believe that it will be magically taken care of one day.  Let’s hope that your fiance doesn’t fall into this category because it may be more difficult to get him to compromise on a savings plan.

Once you have had this conversation with him, the ideal outcome will be that he agrees to start saving a specific amount of money each month with enough discretionary for him to buy some of the stuff that he wants and enough for you to continue making upgrades to the house.  However, if he doesn’t you should consider…

  • seeing a financial adviser and allowing a neutral third-party to evaluate your financial positions and provide recommendations that will help each of you achieve your financial goals
  • consider opening a household account that he can manage where each of you contribute an amount that covers the household bills while you each also maintain separate personal accounts

Money matters are very tricky.  This is something that the two of you should discuss and resolve BEFORE you get married.  Don’t fool yourself into believing that he will change and do things differently after you get married.  If you all can not talk about this issue and reach a compromise, you should ask yourself how that will manifest when other uncomfortable conversations arise.

Do you have a relationship question that you want LaKesha to answer?  Ask below… your name will be kept confidential.

Get more relationship advice from LaKesha in “Is She The ONE? Click the image to order your autographed copy today…

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