How do you communicate with your spouse about money?

Two adults one child’s recent post about getting her husband on board with a joint spending/retirement plan and the hiccups therein got me thinking.  How does one communicate about money with one’s spouse?  There seem to be so many different examples on the blogosphere, from couples who write personal finance blogs together and have money discussions and their joint views as a center to their relationship to couples who continually harbor resentment, keep score, hide, and fight about purchases.  (The latter are somewhat difficult to read!)

#1:  I think the way I communicate about money issues with my DH is probably not transferable to most people.  When we got married, I basically told him, this is the way it is going to be because this is what we can afford and whenever we got a negative shock (“Wait, you have 10K in student loans that you didn’t know about?”  “Wait, I have to pay capital gains taxes on stocks I didn’t know I owned that are now worthless because my father transferred them to me right before the company went bankrupt?”) I would freak out and cry a lot and he’d try to make me feel better.  As we got into better financial situations we would discuss our goals with what we could do with our relaxed spending.  So with him not worrying his pretty little head about money at first and then mainly only positive money interactions after, it hasn’t been an issue.  We’d figure out how to solve problems by talking them through (like DH getting miserable because he either wants to spend all his money or none of his money and both states of the world are bad– solved by an allowance that allows him to spend all his money without hurting our finances).

These days money isn’t that big a deal and we have a lot of systems in place that set precedents for most spending.  We still check with each other for big things and DH stays within his allowance for his fun money.

#2:  We talk about things…. like, “Hey, just so you know, I’m thinking of spending money on X.  Is that ok with you?”  Before that (when we had a lot less money) we had really separate finances.  We still do, to a large amount. 

He does joint taxes for us both.  We tell each other after we’ve made charitable contributions, usually.  But mostly we’re responsible with our own stuff and have these systems with our joint stuff.

So that’s how we communicate about money.  If applicable, how do you guys communicate with interested parties about money?

On Root Beer

DH has long been a connoisseur of fancy sodas.  Back in graduate school the dentist told him he had to cut out his soda habit (wrote “coke habit” but realized that might be misinterpreted, but it was mostly coca cola), so he picked up tea (and later coffee) for the caffeine and decided that if he was going to drink the occasional soda it would have to really count.

Paradise sells Bundaberg.  Imported from like Australia or something. DH recently gave me a taste of his, because he loves me and is willing to share (and knows I don’t want a whole bottle of my own).

Me:  This root beer tastes like your love for me.  Delicious.  Complex.

DH:  My love for you is complex and carbonated?

Me:  Effervescent!

When Bundaberg isn’t around, he favors Virgil’s which even our local supermarket started carrying in the fru-fru section.  Another good one available at specialty/wine shops all over the South is Abita, which I have been told comes from New Orleans.  (DH still prefers Virgil’s.)

Ah rootbeer.  Licorice and vanilla and sassafrass and wintergreen.

Do you like rootbeer?  What’s your favorite kind?

 

You are my center

You make me grounded.

I can have had the worst day at work, the worst luck, the ickiest tummy ache.  And you’ll hug me, and I’ll feel your warm arms around me.  And for a moment, everything will be ok.

You are my comfort.  You are my hero.

I never want to imagine life without you.  Everything will always be ok, no matter what, so long as I have you and the children.  So long as we have each other.

I love you so much.

15 years today!  And hopefully for decades to come.

MOAR CAT PIXXX

Here are my kittens on the way to their forever homes!  They are all over 2 lbs and fixed now.  Individual (-ish) portraits taken for the adoption coordinator:

Kitten #1 on the left:

girl - black with white paws

Kitten #2 in the front:

 girl - black

Kitten #3:

girl - white and blackand another shot of this same kitten because it is cute:

portraits 017

Kitten #4 who would not hold still: boy - black

And kitten #5:

boy - brown tabby

Happy new homes, kittens!

Two years after leaving academia: DH is flourishing

DH just got back from his second business week-long trip this month.  It was an important trip and really clarified some things for both of us.  I was considering turning this into my annual anniversary post, but I’ve already written one with a little bit more me-centered-ness.

Anyhow…

When he was trying to figure out what he wanted in a job, he realized he wanted to work in teams.  He wanted regular feedback.  He wanted to feel as if he was doing something productive and valuable that would really help people.  He wants to feel valued.  He wanted to do programming but not just programming.

With his new job that he’s been working at for well over a year, he works on teams.  He gets regular (weekly) feedback.  He’s producing something valuable that will be literally saving lives within the next two years, should all go well.  (Engineering ROCKS.)  He’s doing computer programming, but not just programming, and he’s managing a project and a programmer.  He’s written as many successful grants in the past year than he did during his entire time as a professor.  Telecommuting and a bigger salary also haven’t hurt.

DH is happier than he has ever been before.  And I’m so very proud of him.  He is truly amazing.  Talking to him on the phone after a particularly successful meeting I felt my uterus twinge and had to remind it that I have already reproduced (twice) with this amazing man.

I feel a little bit guilty that he wasted all those years teaching undergraduates who didn’t realize the value they were squandering by not paying attention to their studies.  Truly we should have been less risk-averse and maybe he should have left academia earlier.  But things have worked out.  Being able to live together has definitely been a bonus and it isn’t clear that he would have been able to find such a great job 10 years ago.  Spouses of some of my colleagues haven’t been so lucky and either house-husband or live apart.  It’s hard to say what the counterfactual would have been.

Academia is still working well for me, but leaving academia is working extremely well for DH.  We are truly blessed.

Fond grandparent memories

My MIL threw a party for DC2 when they visited this summer.  She rented a pony.  A PONY.   DC2 still talks about it– ze got to ride the horsie and feed it carrots and its mouth tickled hir hand.

My mother says she can’t compete with that and will stick to sending books (which are much appreciated!).  I can’t compete with that either.

But what are grandparents for, except spoiling kids?

I have fond memories of my grandmas (both grandfathers died long before I was born).  My one grandma had birds and would give me a banana every time I visited, which was often when we lived in the same state.   She eventually died of a stroke caused by a broken hip she got fighting off a purse snatcher in her mid-80s.  She was a tiny little woman who looks a lot like my sister.

My other grandma was considerably younger and thus more active.  In between stints with the Peace Corps, she made great chocolate chip walnut cookies and lived in fun places with barn cats or pools and lakes for swimming. (Until she moved to a boring little town in the midwest.  We still visited.)  She was the spoiling grandma– every time I went to her house there would be a new toy or dress for me.  When I was little and she lived in the same state she’d hide the new toy in a cupboard for me to look.  She gave me a much-desired Lemon Meringue Pie doll.  Once we went to the candy store (Fannie Mae!) and she let me buy one of every candy that they had (except the expensive pecan rolls).  My parents were upset with me for letting her do that, but what could be more magical than buying one of every candy in a store?  She didn’t seem to mind– she reminded my parents that she saw grandparent’s main job to spoil the grandkids, something my mother has repeated to me.

We lost her a few years ago after a decade-long struggle with Alzheimers, something my husband is dealing with with his remaining grandmother now.

But our memories remain.

What memories do you have of your grandparents?

Romance novel tropes that we love and that we hate

Hate:  Anything where something was misheard and if the characters just @#$ing talked to each other that big misunderstanding would be cleared up and the book would have ended in chapter 3.

Love:  When the main character tries to play matchmaker disastrously and ends up falling for the person she’s supposed to be matchmaking.  (And everything turns out great for the other half of the pair as well.)  Bonus points for same-sex couples getting together.

Hate:  September/May romances with super young heroines unless they’re done really well and don’t seem like pedophilia.

Love:  When characters are forced into a relationship (not a forced sexual or romantic relationship because that’s awful, but like they both have guardianship of the same dog or house or something) and through working together they come to love each other.

Hate:  When one or both of the main characters is too dumb to live.

Love:  When the hero asks if it’s ok to kiss the heroine (and she says yes!)

Hate:  Anything non-consensual.  When the hero refuses to take no for an answer.

Love:  Feisty older ladies like aunties who scheme in a good way.  Also young managing misses too, like BFFs or sisters.  So long as it all turns out for the best.

Hate:  When the main characters don’t come clean to each other soon enough.  He or she is actually rich.  Or he’s really his brother.  They get some leeway here if the reason they don’t come clean is because they’re in love and the other protagonist hates wealthy people, or if the future of England will be compromised if ze drops hir disguise,  but never if they just think it’s amusing to let the other person think she’s falling in love with the gardener even though she’s a lady and it’s a regency romance (for example).  And if the latter does happen, then at that point, the hero needs to LOSE the girl until he makes it up to her by losing some of his dignity as well so he’s learned his lesson about not being a jerk.  Heroes are redeemable, but they shouldn’t be allowed to end the book as jackasses.

Love:  Coincidences that turn out not to be actually coincidences, but part of an intricate plot to get everything to work out.  (Real coincidences in moderation, but be light on the deus ex machina.)

Hate:  when she takes off her glasses she’s actually beautiful, not mousy, like she was with them on.  Glasses make a woman automatically ugly.

Love:  Strong well-developed supporting characters who have personalities and aren’t just 2-d stereotypes.  (Whether or not they fall in love with someone by the end of the book!)

Hate:  All the characters are disagreeable.

Love:  When two old battleaxes fall for each other while trying to help the youngsters.  (or rekindle their romance from their younger days)

Hate:  Heroine bemoans that she’s too busty for fashionable beauty.  Really, your boobs are too big, and that’s your problem?

Love:  Women have genuine friendships and value them highly.

Hate:  You can tell who will end up in bed together by who hates each other the most at the start.

Love:  When there are multiple ways for everything to come out just right in the end– the characters don’t just wait on deus ex machina fate to intervene.

What are your favorite and least favorite romance tropes?

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