Roger has his heart set on taking his children to Disney.
When he was young, his family went to Disney every couple of years, and he remembers really enjoying the vacations.
He is the budgeter in the family, and he’s scrimping and saving for the trip dollar by dollar. He’s frustrated, however, because his wife, Sheila, keeps spending money that could be saved for Disney.
Just last week she bought the kids new outfits that Roger feels they didn’t need. She spent $110, and Roger is angry because that money could have gone to the Disney fund.
While Roger and Sheila are generally happily married, this issue is causing strife in their marriage.
How To Handle Your Finances When You Lack Shared Goals
While some may look at Roger and Sheila’s current difficulties as a financial issue, or even worse, a deeply seated relationship issue, there may be a simpler explanation.
They simply don’t share the same financial goals.
With clear communication and compromise, they can resolve this issue.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, there are several steps you can take.
Decide If The Goal Is A Priority To Both People
Before you do anything, communicate clearly and see if a goal is a goal for both parties.
In the above example, Sheila just does not care about a trip to Disney. She thinks it’s ridiculous to pay thousands of dollars for a trip to Disney. If she’s going to go on a vacation, there are many, many other places she’d like to go rather than a packed, hot amusement park.
If The Goal Isn’t A Priority For Both People
If the goal isn’t a priority for both people, you can decide on a separate plan of action to resolve the conflict.
Save For The Goal Yourself
You could save for the goal yourself, without your spouse. This would definitely take longer, but it will likely reduce arguments.
In the end, this is what Roger decided to do since Disney is so important to him. Roger will continue to save all of the extra money he has to go toward the Disney trip, and Sheila will use her spend money in a way that she sees fit. Roger’s disappointed that it will take longer, but he understands Sheila’s point of view.
Another idea is to alternate goals.
In this example, Sheila would get on board with saving and going to Disney. After the Disney vacation, Roger would agree that the family will go on the ski trip Sheila has wanted to take the kids on.
If you and your spouse can compromise and agree, you’ll reach your financial goals much faster than if you saved separately.
Allow Room For Independent Goals
Just because you’re sharing finances doesn’t mean you have to always share goals.
For instance, my husband loves to go to the mountains because he was raised in a mountainous area. I’m scared of heights, so I find going up and down mountains terrifying.
Still, I recognize that my husband works hard for our family and rarely spends money on himself. Therefore, we do occasionally make trips to the mountains that he enjoys. I’m just along for the ride.
While there are many other things I would like to do with our money, I recognize his individual interests.
Compromise and Communication Are Key
Compromising on goals and money can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be, especially if you have open lines of communication.
Some couples get around this problem by jointly paying for bills and having separate accounts to do with what they wish individually. However, you don’t have to go that route. It is possible to have joint finances and negotiate large savings goals.
How do you and your spouse handle disagreements in savings goals?