Check Your Ego At The Door
I had a fan email me wanting some tips to help motivate her husband and to tell me how his ego is getting in the way of budgeting. Really, there is no budget yet, just an ego. She has read my blog for over a year and has read my budgeting series and wants to start a budget.
It’s not just a male concern when it comes to having an ego with money. There are many females out there that don’t feel they need to know where their money is going either. There is a prince and princess on every street corner, only problem is the title is their own and of no royal descent. For the sake of the fan who emailed me let’s just talk about a man’s ego and his budget today.
Bringing home the bacon
A man’s ego is a terrible thing to stay on budget with and if only one person in the relationship is trying to make the money work, it’s more likely not to or they are barely hanging on. Not always the case but resentment may build when there is a spender and a saver where one works harder for the other but with no prize just bills.
I’m not saying that if one spouse budgets and the other does not means that they will fail at money management. They may not reach their potential but it may still work but I could only imagine the emotions tied to that. I’m talking about one person who is budgeting or wants to budget and the other person doesn’t give a rats about it. Budgeting is not just for the rich, rather it’s a money-saving tool that everyone can use no matter their debt-income level.
As men we are somehow hard-wired when it comes to getting a job and making money. We still believe we will be and should be the bread winners when that’s simply not the case anymore. Men and women are equal even though the glass ceiling separates many from getting to the top. Some men take that success whether they have it or not to the bank in hopes others think they’ve hit the jackpot.
Some men won’t follow a budget, they don’t want to hear about a budget, they don’t think they need a budget because they make more money then their neighbours and friends do. In their head and in their hearts they know they can be doing so much better if they only made some small changes about the way they think about money and how it relates to their life.
It’s easier said than done because once you start playing the “I’ve got it all” role it’s hard to give it up. Catch me if you can… yes success can be a hard ladder to climb but can be a boost for men. You can run with riches but eventually it will catch you if you don’t have the cash to back up you posh lifestyle.
If self-esteem for men is low it’s even harder to break the cycle, especially if all their career/business goals haven’t flourished as they wanted them to. When those friends they surround themselves with splash, they will splash to. No one likes being left out of the group, even at the expense of their bank account.
Self-worth and money
Since I’m a guy this question seemed easy enough for me to answer, but was it really? The more I thought about it there were things I simply couldn’t grasp, only because I’ve never had the same thought pattern as her husband, (at least from the information I’ve been given).
In her question she says that if his friends have a new LED TV he wants one, or a new toy or goes on a trip, then they have to as well. It sounds to me like he lets money define him but it’s all part of the master plan to make others perceive that he’s got it all. Sad part it, he probably could if he just took a step back to evaluate their finances.
He goes out with his friends partying for a boys night and loves to golf, play hockey and go fishing. It seems he wants, wants, wants and doesn’t know when to stop. He creates an illusion of happiness to boost his ego by using money. Men don’t like to be thought of as poor or treated that way as it’s a hit to their ego. Instant gratification for anyone if needed on a consistent basis without saving can mount up significantly.
We certainly don’t want to hear about whether our job is suffice or our income is good enough. We just want to feel like we own the world, don’t we. At least for many of us that is the way we think. I guess I was somewhat level-headed but still struggled when I moved to Canada and my wife made more money than I did.
Clearly, this behaviour is having a toll on their relationship whether he knows it or not. Sometimes we are our worst enemy because men don’t always worry as much as women do. Don’t hate me for saying that but my wife worries about everything and so has every woman I’ve ever dated.
I take things as they come but I also know I need to plan for the future. When men get blind-sided in a relationship most times we know there may be something wrong and other times we are clueless. Time to break that cycle and the only way to do that is to be one with your spouse, after all you married them for better or for worse.
A letter to a husband
Hey, you probably have no idea who I am or care to find out, although I hope by the time you finish reading this you can come back and say hi. I’m not the great Gazoo, just another guy who is here to tell you what your wife wants you to hear. Sometimes us men are not the best of listeners at times but that could end up smacking us the face if we are not careful.
Together, you both make a very healthy income, congratulations. That is the power boost for this letter to you. Here comes the puck, save it if you can. You are currently in debt to the tune of $25,000, no not $250, that’s $25,000 big ones and your line of credit is maxed out. All that’s left is some credit cards that won’t be far behind the way you splash your cash. You knew that already though, right? Probably not and if you did it’s only because your wife told you since she takes care of all the money.
She was hoping that I could help shine some light on what might be holding you back from budgeting and to find out why budgeting is ‘not cool’ to you. First off, ‘not cool’ is being in debt dude, sorry to say. Frankly, if my mates tell me they can’t afford to do something, I never judge them. I understand and that’s because I know about money management and I care about my wife and our future.
(He thinks that they make a comfy income and they do because they net close to $100,000 a year. Sometimes I think when people hit the 6 digit mark for salary that they have the gold ticket to spend like a hog and live like a prince.)
Too bad earning money and the ways we spend it don’t work that way. You can buy some damn nice toys, party like a rock star but sooner or later everything is going to come to a screeching halt. Then what? That’s right you’re going to complain about it to your wife. You might even start arguing with her and blame her for not making enough money or spending too much or not watching the bills. Hey buddy, it’s a two-way street and you know what, your wife wants you to get off your arse and help her out.
When you check your ego at the door it’s easier to see the bigger picture. There comes a time no matter how much money you earn when you need to grow up and do the responsible thing, take care of your finances. Now, I’m not saying that everyone should grab a pen and paper and start budgeting.
Not every couple is meant to budget but if you want to learn to work as a team you need to do it together. You remember the saying, “A happy wife means a happy life”, don’t you? Well I believe that goes both ways too but it takes work from both of you. Money is only one part of a relationship but it certainly can push a couple in many directions.
You don’t need to stop drinking beer (I don’t) nor do you have to give up golfing, hockey with street hockey sticks from Hockey Monkey, going to concerts, fishing and hunting trips but what you do need to do is save the money to go. You must stop spending like you have that continuous flow of money-juice coming in, because clearly it has caught up to you.
Your wife tells me that you are not putting as much money away as you should be into your retirement savings and that she is maxing out her Tax Free Savings Account but you are not. You are also not taking advantage of your employers retirement savings plan where they match your contributions. Clearly you like throwing money out the window, but that’s no surprise since your wife wants my help in hopes you realize this.
Together you have one child who is under a year old and your wife is currently on maternity leave. You are losing part of her income for a year but you haven’t changed your spending habits to reflect that. She is going through many changes as are you as a new parent but she needs you there to support her. There is nothing wrong with leaning how to do laundry, heck I do it and we don’t even have kids.
Do you care about the future of your family? You should, but you should also live for today and that takes money-management skills that you won’t learn overnight. As an adult and one who is married you owe that to your relationship. Both of you do.
I have a friend who I wrote about last year and called him Mr. Money Bags. He spends money like water and is always broke. There is nothing cool about having to ask people to lend you money. There is nothing cool about intentionally putting yourself under water to the brink of bankruptcy. My point is, the cool people are the one’s who wake up in the morning with little to no money worries because they ARE doing something about it. No one says you have to be debt-free to be stress-free, you just need a plan.
It also doesn’t mean you must have x amount of dollars in your bank account; it just means you have control. When you have control and a plan everything seems easier. You will know how much money you need to save to go golfing, how many times you can golf per month and the best part is you know where all your money is going.
It’s up to you buddy, but your wife is done what no wife wants to do and that is to ask for help as she’s at the end of her rope. So check your ego mate and talk to your wife. She loves you, she is in love with you and she doesn’t want to see things spiral out of control. Love and money are a tough gamble in life but you have it all, don’t blow it.
Best of luck,
He may never read this blog post or she may just show him to see what he has to say in hopes he may have a change of heart. It’s disheartening all the emails I get from women about their spouses not wanting to budget or take some initiative into money matters causing relationship problems.
Either way I hope I have given her the strength to talk to him, motivate him and really share with him her feelings. Relationships take work and for those who think putting the ring on your spouses finger, saying I DO, buying a house and having kids is the end of the road, you are sadly mistaken.
Take charge of the situation
How to deal with a spouse/partner who doesn’t want to deal with money?
- Let him/her know your feelings about the spending and debt
- Let him/her know you want to be realistic about your finances
- Let him/her know you want to start a budget and work together
- Let him/her know how much debt you have, if any
- Let him/her know that you want to work together
- Let him/her know that you can budget in the fun stuff
- Let him/her know that keeping up with the Joneses isn’t worth it
- Let him/her know how much you love them
What else would you tell her husband about his spending habits and thoughts about budgeting and saving money?
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