If your spouse or partner gets angry whenever you bring up money, there’s probably a problem. If they won’t share passwords with you, you have a bigger problem. Financial therapists have found that many people have a methodology about why they do what they do with money based upon their childhood. Maybe you lived in a house where you were never able to take a trip or a vacation, or your parents were always telling you your family would go broke. People want to avoid that when they get older.
Later in life, your spouse may not understand that you’re not planning for retirement, you just want to take vacations or get a boat, etc. That isn’t just a knee jerk reaction of wanting to spend money – it may be baked into how you were raised or life events that happened along the way, good or bad. Some people grow up in a stingy household, and they’re stingy when they get older. Some people grow up in a frugal household, and when they get older, they don’t want to live like mom and dad.
Have a conversation with your spouse to explain the why behind your spending habits. Talk about what drives you or motivates you in how you think about money. Some people buy material things for how it makes them feel, others never buy because they like the security of having money in the bank.
We don’t often think about why we operate the way that we do, money-wise – the reason behind it. It’s a good conversation to have. Don’t be afraid to seek professional therapy to investigate the root cause of your spending habits before talking to your spouse.
The first step to healing and protecting your family and the financials is having a realistic conversation about what money means to you. A lot of us operate in this world without any awareness about how our childhoods shaped our views and feelings of shame and guilt around money and what it means to us.
Someone who is spending without letting their spouse know probably doesn’t realize how hurt the other party’s going to feel and the distrust that’s going to form when even small expenses they’ve been lying about come to the surface. You can be more transparent and make your spouse feel more comfortable by going to them and planning your monthly budget together.
Atlanta Divorce Law Group