Money To Live

March 30, 2010

More on the joint money discussions

Filed under: Uncategorized — by moneytolive @ 1:23 am

Anita asked,

What’s hard about the joint money discussions? Is there a sticking point or is it just “awkward” (and why :) )?

Probably our reasons are in line with what a lot of people face:

  • The joint money discussions are new for both of us. Though I have talked about my finances with lots of people, and I have talked with many people about their finances, the conversations were never this relevant/personal to both parties.
  • I am taking on debt by entering into this marriage: a mortgage. Neither of us have car loans, student loans, or credit card debt. I have never had debt, and, on my own, I would not take on this much.

Because I am not comfortable with taking on debt, my partner and I have a three-pronged plan that makes me feel better:

  • We have a plan for establishing a large emergency fund, or cash reserves, to cover mortgage payments for an extended period of time if my partner loses his job or seeks lower-paying employment. We cannot meet all of our monthly expenses on my (current) income alone. Of course, hopefully my income will increase over the next year, and then I probably could cover our minimum monthly expenses.
  • We have a plan to pay the house off early. While there are too many unknowns to put a deadline on this, it is important to both of us, and we will revisit the early-payoff discussion regularly.
  • We will avoid taking on any new debt. We both own our cars outright and are making preemptive monthly car payments to ourselves. When we need a new vehicle, we should be able to buy one outright.

I would love to hear what my readers have to say about joint money discussions.

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March 24, 2010

The reason for few posts

Filed under: Uncategorized — by moneytolive @ 7:27 pm

Last fall, I posted sporadically because I got a new boyfriend. In January, I was determined to get back on a regular posting scheduled, and I did … until the new boyfriend proposed. I fully plan to resume regular postings … at some point.

My preliminary thoughts on finances in a relationship: It can be difficult to talk about money.

My partner and I are on the same page in terms of financial goals (both short-term and long-term) and philosophy of money (debt is bad, saving is good). Our day-to-day spending habits are also pretty similar. That is why it amazes me that it is still difficult for us to sit down and have the big money discussions (we do it, it’s just not as much fun as I expected). I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be if we were not on the same page in so many important areas.

Along with the new fiancé, I have a new dog. There are so many financial decisions with a pet – should we get pet health insurance (no), which dog food should we buy, should we pay for an occasional  dog walker? The food question is easy – the humane society gives out *unlimited* $10 off coupons for a particular brand that he seems to like well enough, which brings the price down to about $3 for 7 pounds of dog food. The vet agreed this was a fine choice for dog food.

While this blog will not devolve into a blog about dogs and weddings (I have one of those, email me if you would like the url), I will share some fiscally relevant stories.

Winston, our new dog, came from the Humane Society. We were the first people to meet him once he was put up for adoption. I think the staff showed him to us first because they may have put down the dog that we wanted to adopt (the dog bit someone — sad, but it happens in shelters). Winston is *very* well-trained. When we brought him home, he could already sit, lay down, and stay. He was so well-trained, he would not eat until his release word was said — too bad his previous owners did not give the shelter the release word. I found a way around the release word issue — Winston has no problem eating if he works for his food by doing a few tricks first.

Our dog adoption fee came with an 8-week Dog Manners class, which we attend every weekend. The trainer was surprised by how well-trained Winston is. She does not use him for demos because he already knows all of the introductory training techniques. This was a well-trained and well cared for dog. Why was he put up for adoption?

His previous owners said “allergies,” but the shelter and our vet said not to believe what is written on surrender paperwork. It is stressful to surrender a pet to a shelter, and people will write something to assuage their guilt.  I suspect the previous owners had significant resources (either time or money) in order to train this dog.

A few days ago, I got more evidence for my theory. On a whim, we bought Winston some very expensive teeth-cleaning treats — Greenies, which cost more than $1 per treat. When I opened the bag to give one to Winston, he flipped out. He was excited before he even tasted it. These are the only treats that he will eat while in his crate (he spits out everything else). His response suggested that he may have eaten these many times before.

Winston seems to be adjusting well to his new home, even if it is not as fancy as wherever he lived before.

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