Thursday, February 12, 2009

10 Things I’ve learned about Love, Money and Myself

A very interesting post over at Well-Heeled about what we've learned from being in relationships and blogging about money.

10. Money IS important to me, and it had better be important to my partner. I tried to deny this for a while, after my ex complained that “all I cared about was money”, but the truth is, money=security and independence for me, and in order to feel secure in the relationship, I need to know that my partner is not going to go blow $3,000 on gifts for three family members while he’s unemployed (yep, this happened).

9. Money=security AND independence. I felt a very strong urge from a young age to be completely financially independent from my parents, because it gave me a lot more independence in all the other areas of my life. They can’t dictate my life if they aren’t supporting it. Likewise, I do not want to depend on a partner to support or even help me financially because our relationship would become uneven. The security comes from knowing that no matter what happens, I am able to take care of myself.

8. That said, it’s much easier to be flexible with the right partner. I have never had the level of financial transparency with a partner that I have with Peanut. We are on the same page when it comes to saving, investing, paying off student loans, and eventually what we’ll do with our millions. If, down the line, I were to be a stay at home parent for a little while, I would be ok with that because I know his attitude towards money would not make it seem like I’m a burden.

7. Lack of financial knowledge is endemic, but it’s not hard to go out there and learn. And I need to be with someone who takes that initiative.

6. I do not want a traditional wedding. Weddings are all tied up with money, particularly money from the bride’s parents, and money from my parents comes with strings attached. Therefore, I do not want a wedding which requires my parents’ financial contributions. Since it’s supposed to be MY day, I will pay for it.

5. I don’t want a pre nup. Peanut and I are in roughly the same situation financially (he has more debt but he also earns a lot more and will pay off his loans sooner, comparatively). A pre nup would, in my mind, be a way “out” and I have enough distrust of marriage lasting forever that I cannot afford to give myself that kind of out. Since neither of us have significant previous assets or children to protect, I don’t want to sign one.

4. I do not want to be a stay at home parent. This one’s not just about the money, although dropping to one income would make it harder to reach my longterm goals. Mostly, I’m ambivalent about the kids issue—I am not itching to have any right now, but I would consider it; also I don’t think my life would suffer if I don’t have kids ever. If I DO have kids, I’d like to stay home for a little while, maybe the first year, but after that I think I’m going to really need a part-time job at the very least, just for sanity’s sake. My best friend is at home with two babies under two, and I don’t know how she does it. I don’t think she knows how she does it either!

3. There is no “right” way to handle personal finances. One of Dave Ramsey’s pet sayings is “That’s why they call is PERSONAL finance” and this is so true. I don’t understand why some friends of mine have loads of credit card debt and aren’t freaking out, but it doesn’t make me “right” and them “wrong” much less make me a better person. As long as their finances don’t affect my life, it’s none of my business.

2. No one cares about my financial situation as much as I do. No bank, no lender, no job is going to care as much about my money as I will, so it is MY responsibility to stay on top of it.

1.Spreadsheets are fun! I guess that one’s self explanatory, but It might amuse you to know that the only D I ever got in my life was in an Excel class, and the test was open book.


  1. I agree with the staying home thing. I LOVE my child and swear I appreciate every moment we are together since I work. But I think he has learned so much more growing around children his own age and learning to mind others besides his parents.

  2. I used to think I wanted to be a stay at home mom. My husband has two teenagers from a previous marriage. After we got married I realized I didn't want to be a stay at home mom although I did think about wanting kids. We don't have any kids together (unless you count our dog and cat). I love my bonus kids but am looking forward to the day of freedom. I will be 41 when kids number one graduates ad 43 when kid number two graduates. That is still young and another factor that contributed to us not having kids - huge gap between the first two and a third.

    I had a wonderful wedding but in the end I wish I had spent the money my mom gave us to use (however we wanted with no strings) on a fun party and a GREAT honeymoon trip. As it stands we have still not had a honeymoon. We are saving for one.

  3. @paisley penguin, I don't think a huge age gap is necessarily a bad thing--I have a sister 17 years younger than me, which I maintain is an excellent form of birth control. She and I have a pretty neat relationship--more way cool aunt/niece than sisterly though.

    I've heard from several people that they'd rather have taken a grander honeymoon than had a fancy wedding. I should keep that in mind someday!


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