My husband and I agree on most financial issues. However, we have one major disagreement. He thinks we should be putting ALL of our expendable income away for college and retirement. His parents didn’t give him any money toward college, and all of our parents are now struggling in their retirement years, so he feels very strongly that there is nothing more important than planning for the future, at the exclusion of the present. I deeply appreciate his foresight, but I think we should have a budget set aside for us to enjoy ourselves now. I think it’s just as important for the kids’ education for them to be exposed to the arts, travel, and other new experiences, as it is to attempt to cover their entire college tuition (which I think is impossible anyway).
If our meritocracy continues on its current path, your children will need arts, travel and much more — sports, chess, helicopter-flying — just to get into college. And if your husband paying his way through school made him so determined to save, then wasn’t it a good lesson, worth imparting to your kids? These are some arguments you might try with him, but I wouldn’t expect huge results. Money issues run deep, and you really need a trained professional to dig down to them, which isn’t worth the expense when the matter can be easily resolved by stashing a couple of twenties in the back of your wallet after every visit to the ATM. You can do that or you can have sex when you’re not in the mood; I happen to think the skimming method is less regressive. But definitely life is too short to fight losing battles. Even with the retirement-age approaching 90 — what will you enjoy when you’re 90 that’s worth scrimping for? You’ll both be sitting around in your gold-plated rockers wishing you had more exciting memories. Then you’ll come clean to him about where the kids’ fencing lessons and your consistent hair color all those years really came from. Guess what, honey, it wasn’t Groupon! You’ll liven things up and he’ll be grateful.
Sincerely, Where Did You Think Shoes Came From?