Dear Alice – Finance Woes0
My name is Greg and I live locally with my partner and our blended family. I’m in finance and my partner is a Nurse. We have very different attitudes to money, which has never been a problem until now. My partner has received a sizeable inheritance from her grandmother and she has been wasting it on going out and buying toys for the kids. I want her to invest the money but she just blows me off when I talk to her about it. I’m like the grumpy old man, outcast from the family. Sometimes I feel like we’re on two different planets. I don’t know how to make her see my side. Cheers.
Thank you for writing in! Seems like the old “opposites attract” principle worked for you two. Visualise your relationship as a complete circle, the Ying and Yang, both parties contributions are required to make a whole. In order to remain functioning at a consistent level, both parties need to stay in their lane. It sounds like you are the logical one, focused on building wealth for the future, and your partner is the emotional one, choosing to embrace life and enjoy what you’ve got today. Neither of those perspectives are inherently flawed and both are equally valuable, which is why it has never been a problem before. Unfortunately it is not fair to expect someone to change their ways when it does not suit you. I’m sure that your partners laissez-faire attitude was a part of the initial attraction; if your partner suddenly became logical, would that attraction remain? In a society that seems to undervalue compassion, I would challenge you to be the fan to ignite your partners flame, instead of being the wet blanket that brings her down. Frankly speaking, it is her money and your right to dictate how it is spent is going to be questionable. In all honesty though, I believe you could both win in this situation. Consider a budget of say, 70/30 or 50/50, use some to invest and some to spend now. Once you work out your ideal budget, consider a pitch that will entice your partners emotions. Explain in detail how you plan to use the money in the future, for example: Imagine being able to buy that darling house we love or, let’s retire early and travel the French countryside. Make the dreams tangible and realistic, use your partners emotional language to communicate the reasons why you believe investing is the right choice. Highlight the win-win opportunity. Fan the flames and be grateful that they want to make life enjoyable today, at the same time explain that you want the ride to last as long as possible. By using common language to communicate your vision, you will demystify the abstract and have more opportunities to get on the same page. You need to consider how the listener is going to receive your message. Perhaps your partner’s mind shuts down when you talk about interest rates and term deposits but lights up when you mention planning a holiday to Europe. Maybe they don’t need to know how you’re going to make it happen, that’s your lane and that’s why they chose you. Just be careful about using words that can be belittling like “wasting money”; because it sounds like both your children are benefiting from the short term gains, and let’s face it, everyone needs to have some fun here and there. In regard to feeling like an outsider, perhaps it would be beneficial to spend more time with other blokes in the community; try attending your local chapter of Men’s Shed, find out more at www.mensshed.org. Lastly, if you ever want to have a confidential chat, or want to find other professionals to support you, give Mensline a call on 1300789978. Good luck planning your future, just don’t forget to enjoy it along the way.