Author Topic: Talking to Fiance about Finances?  (Read 1438 times)


  • Bristles
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Talking to Fiance about Finances?
« on: December 30, 2017, 09:23:27 PM »
My fiance and I make $220k combined a year. I recently started maxing out my 401k and suggested she do the same. She keep hesitating, however, we have more than enough money a month (about $8k take home after taxes and my 401k contribution).

Not sure what to do here since we don't combine finances fully yet. We own a house together and each pay our own bills and contribute 50% to household expenses. Recently, I suggested we make a joint budget and could allocate based on income since I make a little bit more. That way it would be fair and she could max out her 401k. Also, we could better track our expenses together. I have my own spreadsheet and track my own expenses. When I bring this subject up we both just end up frustrated.

Any advice?


  • Bristles
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Re: Talking to Fiance about Finances?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2017, 02:27:29 AM »
It sounds like you guys have a firehouse that sprays money pointed at you. You guys are in a great position to reach financial independence quickly.

My wife isn’t as interested in the details of money as I am. I have found tracking our net worth monthly and talking about the increases we have had from month to month and where we were last year at the same time has made her more enthusiastic about saving. Since we have started tracking our net worth, she has started to max out her simple IRA. She is also is just dumping all of her Roth IRA money in at the beginning of the year for 2018 instead of letting it trickle in throughout the year like she did in the past. If your fiancé is down with spending 5 minutes a month to check her accounts with you, she may see the light. I track our individual and combined net worth. If she is competitive and sees your net worth rising faster, she might feel compelled to catch up with you :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 2017, 02:37:13 AM by mies »


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Re: Talking to Fiance about Finances?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2017, 04:41:21 AM »
I'm in the same situation (no joint finances but we do own property together and pay bills 50/50). We will have a prenup when we get married, so we won't ever combine our finances. I'm saving up for my retirement and what he does is his responsibility. I will at some point hopefully be able to quit my job and move to a more rural area, and he'll go there with me but will continue to work. I know he's not interested in FIRE or even retirement at all. He's in music and he loves what he does and he's not going to retire unless he medically has to.

I do think it's important to talk about these future plans: you want to FIRE. Is she interested in FIRE, or in being FI at all? Does she love her job so much she wants to continue working for a long time? Do you want to combine your finances after marriage? (find out how that works legally where you live) Do you want kids and if so, does one of you want to SAH? What if you're ready to retire and she's still working?

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Re: Talking to Fiance about Finances?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2017, 04:57:42 AM »
You might like to check out lifejoy's thread about getting your SO on board -

I wonder whether your fiancée's hesitation comes from a lack of knowledge about investing?  It's a scary thing to move from cash to stock market for the first time if you don't have a background in it.  If so, maybe she can start with amounts of money she wouldn't worry about losing and ramp it up over time?


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Re: Talking to Fiance about Finances?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2017, 07:13:53 PM »
couples tend to argue about the same 5 things: kids, sex, money, others (e.g. in-laws), and time.  Also, these arguments / disagreements tend to not go away for the life of the relationship. They wax and wane, but if you don't see money the same way, things can get better (and worse), but you'll almost never get aligned completely.  This goes for all 5 areas.  They're known was "perpetual problems" in relationships.  That's the bad news.

The good news is that you get to choose your set of perceptual problems.  I would advise pre-marital counseling (for everybody; not just your situation). Try to get somebody who works under the concepts of John Gottman, or if emotional processing / touchy-feely stuff is more you jam, find an EFT therapist.

My wife and I have come a long way on our money disagreements.  I am much more of a miser than she is (my wife having her identical twin sister get cancer at 35 sort of changed her views a bit; she has much more of a 'why save it when i may not get there anyway' attitude than I).  We are at a point where I manage the money, we both have input into the budget (YNAB) and then she follows the budget very well.  No, it's not perfect and we could be saving waaaaay more, but we've found a good compromise where we fully fund our IRA's, have some extra to put in 403b, and we've paid off about $33k in debt in the last 26 months (car, then HELOC).  We have acknowledged that it is an area of disagreement for us, so we put extra work into making sure each other is heard and understood on this topic.

Kids, money, sex, others, time; figure out where you are on those things before you get married!

« Last Edit: December 31, 2017, 07:43:41 PM by kiva822 »


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Re: Talking to Fiance about Finances?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2018, 11:04:30 AM »
You persuade by listening.  She is a smart woman, you guys objectively have plenty of money, so there is some emotional reason she can’t let go of that money.  What is it?  You need to hear and empathize and understand the “why” of it instead of insisting that ramping up the investments is logical — that just comes across as “this is so obviously the right thing that you must be a complete dumb-ass not to see it.” So basically, you think you are being helpful, she thinks you are calling her stupid — and you wonder why it ends up in a fight?

The only way to bridge the gap is for one of you to speak the other’s language.  And since you are the one who wants to change her, that means you.  Ask her what she is afraid of, and then listen — don’t fix, don’t jump in with “helpful” solutions, just listen, draw her out.  Then you connect on an emotional level and ask questions to help her work her way through — e.g., you hate to see her operating with so much fear, because that seems like a lot of stress, and you don’t like seeing her worried and scared, especially when things are going well, so how can you help her feel more comfortable and at ease and confident? 

And then over time you guys build the vision of your combined future that you’re working for, the things you want to do, places you want to go when you’re not tied to the job.  If you guys can get past the impasse, and if she can feel heard, she may be able to put her guard down enough to acknowledge that you have a point about how nice life could be once you are FI, and that the way to do that is to save more now.  It will probably take baby steps — maybe she starts with increasing her investments 1% a year, and when she doesn’t miss that, she pushes it up another 1%.  Treat that as a huge win and be really supportive when she does that — it doesn’t seem like much to you, but it’s huge to her, so treat it accordingly.