UNITED STATES—For many Americans we work damn hard for every single penny we earn. So imagine if you had someone controlling every single penny that you made to benefit their own personal wellbeing. I already know what many of you are expecting: this is a column about marriage. No, this is a column about money management, spending without a cause and addressing an old age question as to who handles money better: men or women?
I’ll just put it out there, men are better with money than women. Some can argue with me on this assertion and I’m all for it. I’d like to hear the other side of the argument, but from my experience in relationships, observing married couples and just listening to conversations with people, a vast majority of men control the finances in the household. Rather this has anything to do with various generations, I’m not so certain. I would harken to the ideology that so many individuals from the baby boomers generation tend to take on beliefs their parents passed on to them.
Yes, I’ll be the first to admit it and I say it: we don’t live in the 1950s anymore. The days of the wife staying at home and caring for the children are long gone. While it may be common to some degree in suburbia, the vast majority of Americans are constantly on the move and always working. I don’t want my wife sitting at home just taking care of the kids; I don’t think it’s as fulfilling as some would like to think it is. We were all put on this Earth to do something, and I don’t believe raising kids solely is anyone’s job, however, it could be.
Listening to my father talk about how each week he would come home and place his ENTIRE CHECK on the table for his wife to spend, explains why he has the financial stress he has now. I mean in close to 15 years you did not ONCE check the bills, ask what was being spent on what, where and when? You can’t be that ignorant or oblivious to money. Don’t even usher that stupid phrase “Happy wife, happy life.” Well what about, “happy hubby, life can be lovely.” I know I just came up with that phrase so don’t take jabs. My point is marriage and money are all about compromise.
Things can’t always be about one person getting his or her way every time. If that was the case, one is always happy, while the other is living in misery. I hate the idea of someone thinking they can tell me or educate me on how to spend my hard-earned money. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, when you come work my job for a week, better yet a month, you are free to tell me as much as you like what I should do, how I should do it and when I should do it (in relation to my financial standing), but until then zip it.
That the problem; we live in a world where everyone wants to dictate what everyone else does, especially in the world of finances. Let’s be honest, if I’m paying all the bills in the house, why is it virtually impossible for you to spend $25-$40 on dog food. I mean you’re getting close to $3k a month, and you pay none of the expenses in the home, is $40 really going to break the bank for you or are you just being plain selfish? I’m going to go with the latter.
I think men are more aware that it’s okay to plan for the future to be aware of the unexpected surprises, and sometimes women don’t always think that way, at least that is my perspective from a vast majority of women I have encountered, had conversations with or dealt with in my life. I recently had this conversation and I must say I’m in total agreement. When you become married, you should have a joint bank account, but the husband should have a separate account for himself, as should the wife. Why? If either party decides to take their money and purchase a gift for themselves there is no discussion about the finances spent because it’s their money, it didn’t come from the joint account.
Some can make the argument it’s not a good sign in a relationship when both spouses have separate accounts. This has nothing to do with trust, it’s about independence. And at the same time, no marriage is perfect, rifts occur, people fall in and out of love and then what. Would you like to be stuck with absolutely nothing, while your spouse has every single penny of yours without any repercussions?
Money is something we appreciate more as we age, I don’t think a person truly respects the value of a dollar until they have someone else spending every single penny or dollar they earn. At that point it becomes a reality: maybe I should pump the breaks on what I’m buying or be a bit more considerate of what someone has done for me that I have taken for granted.