Ask Your Money Coach

Posted on: June 4, 2013

Do you ever feel like you and your partner are just on different tracks when it comes to money? Read below in our new ‘Ask Your Money Coach’ column and find out how to manage different money styles.

Ask Your Money Coach!

 “My husband and I have very different ways of handling money. He loves to spend and I’m worried that we won’t have enough saved for the future. What should I do?”

husband wife

You are caught up in one of the classic marriage struggles. More than sex, more than raising kids, more than almost anything else, women and men argue about how to handle finances.

The first thing to realize is that you are definitely not alone. Take a look at the massive load of household debts Canadians have run up — along with low savings rates, bad spending habits, and poor preparations for retirement. Most of us developed these bad habits and unhealthy attitudes around money at an early age. It is not surprising then that we take those behaviors and misplaced values with us into married life creating anxiety and tension along the way. Our dreams are delayed and our life purpose is forgotten in the frenzy of our daily lives and money arguments.

The other reality is that opposites attract. Mother Nature has a curious way of putting together spendthrifts and savers, gamblers with fiscal conservatives, or, as in my case, a financial planner with an artist (yikes!). The generous high rolling boyfriend who once impressed us with fancy restaurants, great suits and fancy cars is seen in a much different light when debts pile up, or the mortgage or taxes are overdue, or the years pass without any serious thought to retirement.

happy mom and dad

So what can you do? The first step is communication. Remember that you’re in this together. You simply have to come up with a financial system and life plan that works for both of you.

  1. Set up a regularly scheduled time to discuss finances. This will allow you to avoid many daily arguments that allow tensions to build up and eventually explode.
  2. Come up with a mutual set of financial and personal goals – either on your own or with some professional guidance. Without a clear plan most couples will simply flounder. This is a great time to re-set your values and re-visit your goals. What kind of life do you both really want?
  3. Set a discretionary spending amount for each of you – preferably with a separate bank account for this purpose. The idea here is that you budget for all your household expenses, savings plans, travel, retirement funds etc. You then each have a monthly “allowance” that you can spend any way you choose. There might be disagreement while you work out the details, but once an agreement is in place there is often a mutual sigh of relief. He gets to “spend” and you get to feel safe that the agreed upon spending stays within the “lines”.

A potential household crisis can be averted, but only if you take action now. You might be surprised how much of an ally your husband can be when a clear path is agreed upon. Stay focused on the big picture. – Karin Mizgala

Karin Mizgala Money Coach Salt Spring Island BC


Karin Mizgala is Money Coaches Canada’s CEO and resident “money shrink”.
Send your questions to and we will do our best to respond in an upcoming column.

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Category(s): Ask Your Money Coach, Budgeting and Cash Flow, Relationship to money

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