There are certain things I do for my husband to keep him happy. Ahem. Things related to money.
My healthy ability to compromise — no, tolerate — his financial decisions, helps keep the peace between us. And it works! Well, most of the time.
Here are six money moves I make to stay happily married.
Entertain Each Other’s Dreams
I entertain his desire to purchase a boat even though I did the math and the true cost of owning a boat is much, much higher than the vessel’s initial sticker price.
In the first year alone, start up costs add up to about 50 percent of the boat’s purchase price. Every subsequent year of boat ownership is about 25 percent of the boat’s purchase price.
So while owning a boat gives me a sinking feeling, I am quiet while he talks about going sailing at a moment’s notice.
I don’t believe in vetoing his dreams, even if I consider them absurd. So instead I listen, then I point out how cheap it is for us to rent boats from the local sailing club.
I tolerate the $25 he forks over monthly for credit card surveillance even though putting a freeze on our credit is way cheaper and more effective in combating identity theft.
Surveillance may catch suspicious behavior before it gets out of hand, but a credit freeze prevents anyone from opening a line of credit in your name and has a flat fee (once when you freeze your credit, once when you thaw it).
But I put up with the credit surveillance because it gives him peace of mind and at $300 a year, it is a relatively minor financial loss.
We have equal access to each others’ checking accounts and credit cards. We each came to the relationship with established financial accounts that we wanted to hold onto.
So instead of closing our main accounts – and losing some credit history – we earmarked one bank and one credit card for our primary household expenses, and turned the second one into a business account for my website, BargainBabe.com.
We both have log ins, account privileges, and credit cards giving us full access to each other’s accounts. This system works well for us because neither of us had a lot of credit cards.
Invest in Life Insurance
I bought life insurance for myself (well, I plan to very soon) because my husband wants the emotional security of knowing he will be taken care of if I keel over.
My grandmother lived to 92, I tell him. But it’s no use. He likes the idea that if I die, there will be a small chunk of money waiting for him so he doesn’t have to work for a few months.
And as he wisely points out, a term policy will only cost us a few bucks a month. We have not agreed, however, just how big of a policy to take out.
Plan for the Future
I tolerate his financial advisor, even though he charges us more than my financial advisor. I should note that I consider fees of above 1 percent too rich for my blood.
I prefer low-cost investments and don’t buy his advisor’s argument that the higher fees get him access to better performing funds.
If that were true, no one would settle for low-cost financial advisors.
I’m not happy with the higher fees he pays, but I also believe that dividing our life savings and retirement accounts across two advisors gives us an even more diverse portfolio — and a sense of security that makes up for the higher fees.
Discuss Major Purchases
We discuss major purchases, which we define as anything over $200, with each other first.
Smaller purchases often make it into regular conversation, as in, who is going to order the next batch of dish soap?
Deciding how we are going to spend our money makes us feel secure that are spending our money on the right things, and getting a good price.
Which financial moves to you make to keep your spouse or partner happy?
Julia Scott founded the blog BargainBabe.com, which helps people save money everyday.