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Q&A with Manisha Thakor, Co-Author of Get Financially Naked, Part 4

Welcome to Part 4 of the Q&A with Manisha Thakor, co-author with Sharon Kedar of the new book GET FINANCIALLY NAKED: how to talk money with your honey.

**Due to the length and detail of these answers, I’ll be breaking the Q&A into 5 parts, with 1 winner revealed at the end of each Q&A. Look for the subsequent parts to come in a few days. See here for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. See here for my review of Get Financially Naked.

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Kelly b – How do you deal with a partner who is just too cheap when it is not a necessity in your life? My husband and I have lived with very little money but have finally gotten to be comfortable but he won’t let go of his ultra cheapness and it is major turn off! It is a difficult subject to broach so I would also like to know how to broach it.

Manisha - Yeeesh, this question hits home because I’m the ‘cheap one’ in our marriage :).  So as someone with a ridiculously strong frugal gene I can tell you that what helps me spend, and what I’m guessing will help your hubby spend, is have a clear financial roadmap.

What I need to know to indulge is that we’re not living beyond our means.  I’d recommend you sit down and review how much income you have coming in, what you are currently spending, and then identify… together… the areas where you have wiggle room to step up up the spending level.   Doing this as part of your annual household financial review process will keep it from feeling like you are attacking him. Your goal with the conversation is to help your household maximize it’s happiness.

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Elisabeth – My boyfriend complains that he spends too much buying dinner when we go out, but I buy and prepare all the groceries we eat in the home. Is there a better to argue that I’m chipping in a fair share than handing him my credit card statement every time he starts complaining? What would you do?

Manisha – This is a perfect example of where getting financially naked can be of perfect help.  I literally think you should keep ALL your grocery receipts and at the end of each week (or month, as you prefer) sit down with your boyfriend and show him exactly how much you’ve spent.  Ask him to do the same with receipts from dinner out, and compare.  The numbers won’t lie.  My experience is that individuals, male or female, who don’t do a lot of grocery shopping tend to be shell-shocked when they see how that all adds up.

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Kyle – What is the biggest mistake that couples make when attempting to combine finances?

Manisha – Hmmm, from what I’ve seen I’d say it’s consolidating pre-relationship debt of the other person (especially student loans) without fully understanding the long-term consequences.

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Vee – My question is at what point in the relationship is the best time to merge finances? (Obviously not right away, but I mean, after becoming engaged, before marrying, or not until after marriage sometime.)

Manisha - That’s not so far off from asking what’s the best time in a relationship to “merge bodies” to put it in PG language :).  My personal preference is not to merge money until after you are married and committed to each other for the long haul.  That said, life happens.  You may find the perfect house or perfect piece of land that you want to buy together before getting married.  In that scenario, I say tread carefully and take the time to make it legal – talk to a lawyer and literally draw up an agreement as to how you want to handle things if you split up.  It’s the financial version of hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

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Mollie - I am really good at knowing what I spend, and handling my finances accordingly. I am a big believer in JOINT accounts when you get married, but is there an easy, non-tedious way for the couple to keep track of their spending together? I would default to being the “primary” PF person in the marriage, because of my interest (and his lack thereof), which would work… but we also need a system where we’re both involved and communicating.

Manisha - My suggestion would be for you to be the primary bill payer (so you’ll know all the repetitive ongoing payments) and then have a basket in the kitchen that your partner can drop receipts in for any thing he/she spends money on.  That way your partner just has to collect receipts – and you will take those and account for them in your record keeping system of choice.  At the end of each month, if your partner will sit through it, you can review the totals.  If that’s too much personal finance for you honey, you can have a semi-annual or annual family summit where you review the budget.

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The 4th Winner of the Giveaway is Eric! Congratulations. Please email me your name and mailing address to receive your prize.

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