I have been listening to your podcasts for about a year now and find them very insightful. I was raised a Baptist and am now a confirmed Roman Catholic. I find that every week your subject matter always seems to address something that is going on at that moment.
I have had a lot of changes in my life recently, some by choice, others by necessity. At 38 I have realized that my wife and I need to start being good stewards of our money and to stop living beyond our means.
I now have a career that requires that I have good credit but is a decent paying job. My problem is that I am having trouble getting my wife onboard with the idea. I realize that we need to tighten our belts for the time being.
Do you have any advice on how to convince her of this?
Thank you for your time and God bless you.
Congratulations on the new job as well as on entering the world of economic adulthood. Living beyond your means isn’t a good idea at any time, but recognizing that in your late thirties rather than later hopefully gives you time to turn things around.
You don’t mention how long you’ve been married, but it sounds like you are unilaterally changing the rules of the marriage. If until now, you and your wife have been spending indiscriminately and somehow making do, it shouldn’t be a surprise that you can’t just come home and announce a new way of living. You may have had an epiphany but your wife hasn’t.
The language you used in your letter suggests that your marriage and your finances both need work. Note how you use the first person singular-I. “At 38 I have realized that my wife and I need to start being good stewards…” One spouse might decide that a conversation is necessary or that he/she wants to discuss something but on important issues, we would have preferred seeing you say, “My wife and I have realized…”
We very much want you to stick to your new resolution. We would strongly recommend that you sign up for one of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace courses along with your wife. However, you need to invest the time in building the partnership and then give her time to arrive at the same conclusion that you have. Independently decreeing a new regime just won’t cut it.
For the sake of your marriage, you may initially need to make the greater sacrifice, cutting out more of your pleasures rather than asking your wife to cut out hers. If she is the good woman we assume she is, then when she sees you taking finances seriously as well as when she processes the information from the class, we think she will get on board.
May your marriage and work be blessed and bear fruit,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin
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