I was sitting with married clients last week where one spouse bought a property without first fully discussing it with the other spouse. As I was processing this information, I thought about a conversation that I had with my older son Ethan, who is now a freshman at University of Miami School of Architecture (Go Canes!)
Ethan called the night before at 11:30 P.M. asking for my credit card number to buy something else for his dorm room. He knows that if he spoke to my wife, Gina, she would have asked him a few more questions and would ask to ‘see’ the item online before agreeing to provide the credit card. As I was providing my credit card number, I thought about how my relationship with my wife is improved because of our $500.00 rule.
The rule: Before either of us spend $500.00 or more, we call each other and ‘inform’ the other that we are spending money. It is not asking permission, but it is creating a safety net to avoid excessive spending.
The history behind the rule: When we were both in college (a long time ago) we had some credit card debt. It was painful to pay back and we both swore to not get in debt again.
The true reason behind the rule: One of us can be strong for the other. There are always ‘reasons’ to spend money. If you want to live within your means, one of the partners can be the voice of reason. Also good communication will make almost any relationship improve.
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