Can A Spender Marry A Saver?


So, you’re looking for love on CatholicMatch…Congratulations! Great first step!

If you read my blog posts at least some of the time, you’ll know I like to help people not only recover from divorce but also prepare for marriage. Since you’re here to find love, to find the person you will spend the rest of your life with in happiness and bliss I want you to be as successful as possible in preparing to meet the person you would like to grow old with. And so, we must talk about money.

Well, there’s a bucket of cold water dumped on the whole “I wanna grow old with you” sentiment!

Growing old together is beautiful, but it does mean retirement, and that requires savings and investments. And anyone who has been married before understands full well the role money plays in creating tension between spouses. So why don’t we just talk about it?

Finances are as important to be on the same page about with your significant other as it is in getting to know and, ahem, love, the in-laws. We’ve all heard the warning to society that states 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce and that the majority of those end because of disagreements about managing money.

So as you progress in your relationship, get uncomfortable together and be completely open and honest about money. When you are completely honest about it, money is probably the most uncomfortable conversations you will have…yes, more than religion or politics!

If you, yourself, have bad habits with money like cannibalizing your financial future by overusing plastic and credit for the now satisfaction, then are you willing to change? And if you are that super shopper who says things like, “Look, Honey, I saved you $350 today at the mall with all the sales” and you are considering marrying the “Debt Is Dumb” Dave Ramsey Disciple, do the math and realize you will butt heads, no matter how much you love each other.

So, are you willing to turn in your Queen of Black Friday crown? Is Dave’s Disciple willing to give in and open an American Express account? These are important things to talk about before tying the knot, wouldn’t you say?

I have a friend who is a very well paid attorney. Makes some half a million a year and has for years. The problem is, he admitted recently that he had virtually no retirement savings and could not come up with $20K from savings if he needed it for an emergency.

“Why?” I naturally asked.

“My wife spends it as fast as I can bring it in,” was his straightforward answer. And, believe me, he was not smiling nor happy about it.

But this is not to say that the female is always the problem spender. I’ve known many wives who are desperately unhappy as the frugal partner in the marriage and can’t seem to convince her husband that she doesn’t care about keeping up with the Joneses. It goes both ways, hence the importance of sitting down, having the conversation, and developing effective habits together that will keep your financial foundation safe and growing.

So first, be really honest with yourself and then with your future spouse about finances, money goals, habits, fears and desires. After you are comfortable with discussing money and know you are both on the same page, then look into each other’s eyes, take a deep breath, and say, “I wanna grow old with you.”



  1. Jason-517169 October 26, 2012 Reply

    Great point Stephen.

  2. Stephen-725391 March 22, 2012 Reply

    Lisa, And what part of the pre-Marriage counseling by the Church involves this and does it DENY the sacrament to the unrepentant spendthrift or squeeze the squeal out of a penny? Is it not appropriate for the Church to be responsible in handing out the Sacrament from which there is NO out? Stephen

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