The Frugal Creditnista

The Money Talk – When Your Partner Makes An Unwise Financial Decision

As I sit here writing this, there are about 6 men doing a tear off on our roof.  A roof that did not need to be replaced right now.  A roof that had over a 3 year life expectancy per our inspector. A roof that is sucking up the funds we put aside to do other improvements to the home that would increase curb appeal and saleability.  A roof that makes my kitchen rehab, that I've been waiting on for THREE YEARS, to get pushed further into the future.  I would be lying if I told you that I am not upset.  As a matter of fact, I'm beyond upset, I am freakin' LIVID!!!!

Despite my feelings, it doesn't change the fact that the roof is being done and the money is gone; so now what?  Or to put it simply, there's nothing I can do about it now but to focus on how we can avoid this in the future — us not being on the same page on how our money should be utilized.

I'll be honest and say that it took me a while to get to the ‘now what' phase; earlier in our marriage I would be yelling and nagging the heck out of him and physically attempting to throw each and every last man off of my roof.  Maturity is a beautiful thing, LOL.

This doesn't happen often*, and completing the roof was on our ‘To Do' list.  The issue is that this was a major expense that was not on our NEEDS To Do list (which we created together).  There are some things on our list that NEED to get done and some things that we WANT to get done. The roof was a want that could potentially be a need later but it definitely wasn't in the top 3 of our NEEDS list.  Anyhoo, here's what I do when ish like this happens.  🙂

  1. I stay calm.  I mentioned in my original post that most men have huge egos and if you start flapping your lips out of anger, they'll tune out, get defensive, and instead of listening to why their decision sucked, they'll start creating reasons out of their behind as to why their course of action makes total sense – even when it doesn't.
  2. I express my displeasure.  I put this pretty nicely, but basically even though I'm calm, through my demeanor, my facial expressions, my body language, and my tone – which is not yelling, but definitely indicative of my feelings – I tell him what I feel AND WHY.  That last part is important.  If you just start yelling that will create an argument and you haven't even had a chance to let him know why you're upset.  Telling your husband why you're displeased with his unwise monetary decision (note I did not say bad, poor or stupid even though you may feel this way and may be right, ha ha!) it initiates the desire for him to make things right.  AND THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT!  Typically in a relationship women want security and men want support.  If you show him, in the right manner, that you're not in support of his recent decision it will eat him alive and he will want to do anything and everything possible to get his woman back on board with him.
    • NOTE:  Initially it took me a while to explain why I was upset in a matter that would be well received, so I had to take a step back during the ‘Stay Calm' step and write down the points that I wanted to bring out.  This helped in me not just shooting off my emotions (which men can't really relate to), but to list logical reasons why their actions upset me so much.  So… if you're the type that gets completely spazzed out and often leave a conversation saying to yourself:  “I didn't say anything I wanted to…”  or “I should'vesaid…”  then you may need to sit down and write your points out to stay on track.  When I was younger my mom would always tell me that I needed to learn how to ‘season my words with salt' (Col 4:6).  It took some time, but sista girl finally got it right :).
  3. We create a method of communication on how we can avoid this in the future.  In order for our family to meet any of our long-term financial goals we have got to be in sync.  Growth cannot exist where confusion lies.  It is mandatory for us to be on the same page regarding major purposes as well as the small ones that exceed our personal  spending allowances. Failure to do this will result in us remaining stagnant.  I don't know about you guys but I'm all about progression, especially when it comes to my money!
  4. We see if we can reverse the action.  Yep, we implement the Renege Stage.  If he or I can return an unwise or not agreed upon purchase, we see if it can be returned or canceled in order to be applied towards something that we both feel is a wise place to put our money.  In this case, we bought the roofing materials on a close out sale and couldn't return it.  Whomp Whomp (insert sad face).  Looks like I'm getting a new roof. Ugh!  (insert pissed face).
  5. Next, we regroup.  Basically, we put a solid plan of action together.  If the money utilized will create an immediate hardship in the future we go into ‘damage control mode'.  Which means me looking at him and saying “So you're working OT or driving Uber for the next 3 months, right?”  Just kidding (sorta) :).  At the end of the day we are still a team and will both contribute fully in buffering any hit to our budget.  In this case, it was money put aside for improvements so there was no deficit created, but we did write down what home project we would tackle next (umm can you say Kitchen?????) so that there is no confusion, excuses, or reasons for this to happen again.
  6. Lastly, I implement Gentle Reminders & Follow Ups.  Some men act as if they have short term memory loss and will start to ramble off other things they'd like to do that totally contradict what was originally agreed upon (in some men's defense, women are notorious for this as well).  This is the time that I would gently remind him of whatever it was that we agreed to in the Regroup step and for us to stay on track. I might also gently go back down memory lane to the events that led to the original disconnect in the first place –  “We discussed this previously when you…”

Now, after all of this why am I still upset that there are 6 men on my roof?  BECAUSE I'M HUMAN, DANGIT!  The moment they got here, I immediately got mad all over again.  I guess I have a lil' bit more maturing to do.

What's even worst is that he literally just walked up to me, called me outside to point out how great of a job they did and wanted to me comment in agreement.  I thought about being a butt, because the only thing I saw on that roof was my kitchen and patio; dang roof!  But, instead I said:  “Oh they did do a great job! (insert fake smile, rub on the back and eye roll once he was out of eye site).”  Why?  Because that's what wives do; support.  Plus, bringing it up again would have done more harm than good for the both of us.  So instead… I'm lamenting with you, ha ha!

Feel free to do the same anytime 🙂

~ Netiva

* If your spouse/significant other makes ongoing poor financial decisions, it's time to bring in a professional.  I recommend meeting with a marriage counselor first if positive communication is lacking.  Once you guys acquire key skills to discuss poor spending habits without ripping a new whole in each other's behind, it's time to bring in a financial counselor/advisor/planner.

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