Saving and Spending

I have a plaque in my desk drawer that reads, “Wyson Family Counseling $350 an hour.” I ordered it over ten years ago after an experience interviewing a couple who had come to me for a review of their investments. As we discussed their investing experience some deep emotions quickly boiled to the surface. He began accusing her of being a spendthrift who made it difficult for him to save any money. She responded that he was a selfish penny pincher who would never let her spend a dime on anything. 

Money can be an emotional topic in a marriage so I already had some experience dealing with these types of situations. This time all my efforts had no effect and before long, the wife stormed out and said she would happily return later without her husband. Lest my readers think coming to my office is hard on a marriage, I am proud to say the wife eventually returned and they are happily married and still my clients. 

Since then, if any level of tension creeps into a client meeting, I pull out my trusty plaque. I don’t know if the arguing stops because they find the plaque humorous or they just don’t want to pay the fee, but either way I am pleased to report my family counseling service has been a great success. 

When it comes to money, I think there are basically two types of people. There are spenders and there are savers. Savers have lots of money but don’t know how to enjoy it. Spenders enjoy money, and as a result, usually don’t have much of it. The saver says, “If it weren’t for me we wouldn’t have any money. “ The spender replies, “What good does it do us? You never let us spend any of it anyway.” 

I find the most financially healthy marriages have one of each. The key is for each to respect the value the other brings. The saver can see to it that the family is responsible in their finances and always sets something aside for a rainy day. The spender helps the spouse to recognize that you can’t take it with you and so why not enjoy it just a little bit. 

Just as wise investors seek to find balance in their portfolios, they should also seek balance in the way they use those funds to enjoy their life. Your investment assets won’t do you any good if all you do is count them. If you are a saver, don’t lose sight of the fact that the number at the bottom of your statement has no value until you use it. If you are a spender, be thankful for a saver spouse who has made it possible for you to have something to spend.