Asked on 03 Jan 2020
I am the sole breadwinner while my wife is currently studying and taking care of the kids. Our relationship is great as long as we don't talk about money as it will result in an argument or fight.
She spends too much and has 0 interest in our finances. I work in finance which does not make it easier as it is my daily work to talk about budgets and expenses. She feels that I am the problem while I feel vice versa.
Any idea how to tackle this and how I can change it?
Communicate. And do a numbers breakdown for her, and show her which aspects of the expenses could be minimised for a better future for the kids and you guys.
Also, another thing is about mutual respect and support. Instead of pointing fingers at one another, sit down and talk it through.
I saw an episode of "Till debt do us part", and the wife did an empty board and made her husband fill in the blanks for the bills. I think its a good idea if you attempt something similar.
You could have the empty sheet start with
last last month (eg Nov) bank account closing balance
let her fill in the expenses for December
let her fill in the incoming cashflows be it your salary / interest / dividends
let her total up and get the ending balance
let her calculate the change in cash
If your change in cash is negative (ie less cash than before), this exercise would be helpful in visualizing how far your cash would last
If your change in cash is positive, ie there is savings, it would be more difficult to visualize how bad the situation would be, but if you want to make a point, you could raise an example of what if you got retrenched or into an accident tomorrow, and then she can think about how far that bank balance can go.
Not too sure if it helps, but I think letting them do it one round, hands on, helps them see the picture in more clarity...
I think 2020 will be a mild recession year slightly worse than 2019, not unbearable, but if you were to lose your job, it could be harder to find one that pays as well as your last job, so maybe you can use this to support the exercise.
I did two budgets this year, one assuming normal pay with minimal increment, and one assuming 20% pay cut. Trust me, attempting the budget with 20% pay cut was horrifying, but I feel better knowing what to do if I did get a pay cut...
Ask her if she wish for her children to become "sand-wiched" generation when they grew up due to fiscially irresponsible habits of their parents.
Ask her if she whether want to support her children's endevours without the need to compromise on financial realites
Ask her by the time her husband reached 55 years old, would she like to know that work for him would be an option, not a necessity
Firstly, both of you need to find time to sit down for an open discussion without any distraction. To do so, put in effort to understand the situation from the other party's perspective.
While the first step is often not as easy, it is crucial in making sure that both of you are open to understanding the financial situation from each other's perspective. Otherwise, the result will always be an inevitable argument.
Next, we need to have a complete understanding on your cashflow. Through this process, we will understand your earning ability and spending habit. Here is a guide to help you: https://www.blog.pzl.sg/understanding-your-personal-cash-flow/
After this step, create another cashflow analysis on the household level, e.g. utility, grocery. Once this step is completed, brainstorm and write down goals that both of you want for the future, e.g. annual holiday trips, early retirement, children's education.
With common goals in sight, discuss on the best way to manage the finances in order to reach the goals. Then create a budget that is capable of helping you all to plan for the future. The best way to do this is via automation and this is how I do mine: https://www.blog.pzl.sg/how-to-create-a-monthly-budget/
Now that we have a household cashflow statement and a budget, we will just need to follow through what both of you have agreed from the discussion and use it to help both of you achieve the same goals. At the end of the day, a common goal helps to bring a couple together.
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