By: Revanche

Preface, Part II

July 5, 2006

So, in my last post I asked how marrieds/to-be-marrieds deal with familial financial issues and felt that, in my mind, it’s a big enough question to merit its own post.

How DO you handle these matters? Certainly a great big dose of discussion, yes, but … do you have concrete rules or guidelines by which you abide? Do you take each situation as they come and talk it out? Please keep in mind that there are some very obvious steps such as determining our budget and the stretchiness of the budget waistband that won’t be taken until there are rings on fingers and such because there will be no shacking up (though Make Love, Not Debt did suggest a very helpful book to read if the shacking up is for you).

Boyfriend, hereafter shall be known as BF, comes from a well-off family that can and has afforded such things as paying for a vastly elegant wedding or contributing a huge chunk o’ down payment on a home. I certainly can’t and won’t ask for that sort of financial support from my parents nor would I from his.

Obviously, we’re quite at the other end of the spectrum and Dad despises asking for help and especially won’t accept help if he thinks that I would have to hide it (postmarriage) from BF. Which I wouldn’t plan on doing anyway, but it’s still rather an uncomfortable thing to bring up. In any case, BF is aware of my concerns, that I need for them to be “ok” before I leave the home.

And I’m equally committed to saving for my future with him as I am for my parents’ future so until we actually set a wedding date, our financials can remain, basically, our own business and responsibility. (This is also, more or less, a way to keep me from thinking: “You spent what on what?? Do you know that I have bought nothing for myself in X number of days, weeks, months, etc. just to meet Goals 1-6?”)

5 Responses to “Preface, Part II”

  1. Kira says:

    I think that the most important thing is to not hide your head in the sand about finances, and to discuss the financial issues that will crop up during marriage. My boyfriend and I have talked about our family’s finances and we both sort of have the outlook that they are big kids, who got themselves into whatever messes they have, and that we need to secure our own future first. Not that we would not give them money if they needed it for necessities, but that since they are all able adults with marketable skills, they are responsible for themselves just like we are responsible for ourselves. I really sympathize with you for wanting to help out your parents with the car and the house and all that but I would definitely make sure that that is EXTRA money that you do not need for your own future.. because it is unlikely that your kids will be helping YOU out with your problems when you get to be their age.

  2. mOOm says:

    Hi Ms MiniDucky – loved the name and why I ended up on your blog. Would be helpful to get more background on this financial situation with your parents. Obviously you should help your parents if they are short of money to meet basic needs. But no-one needs to buy a house or in fact retire. It would make more sense to get financially established yourself first and then later when you have the surplus money you can help them even more. This sounds a lot like a lot of recent immigrant families but usually the children are more established before contributing to such things for their poorer parents.

  3. Welcome, and thank you Moom! Hm, perhaps I will post a more in-depth snapshot of the situation with my parents. My quickie explanation for the current expectations (or rather, “ambitions by myself, for myself” because my parents don’t know I’m planning any of this) is that I know that when one gets married one is responsible for two sets of parents. I was raised very traditionally and my “training,” has always been to expect that once I marry my parents will no longer come first, my spouse’s must. BoyDucky’s parents are traditional enough that although they may say the same to him (“when you get married, you’re going to have to spend time with HER family too”) the best way to play fairly is for him to defer to my family while I defer to his. I know that sounds weird, but I guess a better way of summing it up is: what I do for my family, I have to do for his, and the same goes for him. And continuing this line of thought will make this comment waaay too long so it’s going to be continued in a post 😉

  4. Katie C. says:

    I’m reading through your archives again from the beginning. (Don’t ask. Your writing has a very calming effect, so it’s good for me right now.) I just wanted to say that your last parenthetical expression there is exactly the reason that we don’t combine finances, even as marrieds. Some people have opined on GRB that the fact that some people can’t get totally on the same page financially means they shouldn’t marry. But I disagree with this. I think, like any other issue on which two people may disagree, you have to make compromises and find a way to work around the issue. We do this through separate finances because I, ever the control freak, would question David’s restaurant spending. (“Do you know I haven’t gone out to eat in TWO MONTHS because I’m saving for a down payment? How much have you saved? HUH?”) Or his little purchases here and there. I’m actually looking forward to our first joint savings goal. It’ll be interesting to see how our different money personalities juxtapose and how we deal with it. 🙂

    • Revanche says:

      I think it’s not uncommon for different money philosophies to marry and have to find a way to compromise and I’ve heard quite a few interesting anecdotes over the years of how people with long-lived healthy marriages have made this work (either with joint or separate finances).

      It’s funny to do this quick look back with you, though, as obviously things evolved over the years. (wow. I can’t believe I’ve been writing this thing for 6+ years.)

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