I once went shopping with my older cousin when I was about 16 years old. After we finished shopping we headed back to her house. I started to gather my shopping bags and head to the door, and I was surprised to see my cousin gather her shopping, but instead of heading to the door she walked to the back of the car and stuck the bags in the trunk. When I asked her why she did that, she told me that her husband would get upset if he found out she went shopping so she would hide the bags into her trunk and sneak them in when her husband wasn’t home. ”This is what married life is like,” I thought. In that instant, I decided that I would never let anyone tell me what I could do with my money.
After Mr. Gondola and I became engaged we settled down to talk about how we were going to do our finances as a married couple. Mr. G’s family is Japanese and his father, like many people his age, hands his paycheck over to his wife (who doesn’t work) and she controls all of the finances. I come from a family where the incomes are combined. I wanted something different from both of these styles, and I suggested that Mr. G and I keep our finances separate and split everything down the middle. Mr. G said he was fine with that and that had been our plan—until we went to premarital counseling.
During our talk with our counselor the subject of finances came up and our counselor brought up a very good point: “What will you do when you stop working to have kids?” The thought had never crossed my mind and I was a bit dumbfounded. I, unfortunately, work for a company that does not provide maternity leave. Our only source of income will be Mr. G’s paycheck, which means splitting things down the middle during that time will be impossible.
During our talk and even now, it is still difficult to wrap my head around the fact that I will have to depend on someone for money, and that I will have to discuss any big purchase as it will no longer be my money, but our money. Mr. G is fine with sharing his paycheck down the middle as he has grown up in a house that does that. In addition, like his parents, I will budget and handle the finances as I am better with money and actually like to make budgets.
There is one thing that I am afraid of. All my life, I have been afraid of my husband being the one who is critical of the purchases I make with our money, but I also realized that I could be just as critical as well. I am going to have to learn to let go of my 50/50 mindset and learn to open myself to the “what’s mine is yours” mindset.
My smile may be sweet, but I am kind of a control freak!
Anyone else out there worried about sharing finances? How do you open yourself up to sharing everything?