For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc? - Page 2 - Talk About Marriage
Financial Problems in Marriage When financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.

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post #16 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 02:10 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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I'm trying to get us simpler. Drives me crazy how much time my wife spends entering every single receipt into software...buys 5 things, returns 4 because the 5th one was from the cheaper store. All those returns are more entries into the software.
You enter EVERY receipt into software?!? Really? Are you already retired with nothing better to do?

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When I talk to other 60-somethings about how they keep spending in check, not a single one says they have a budget, nor do any of them use any kind of software. Not one.
Because it's bizarre. Can't you just glance at your bank statement every month and get a general idea if your overspending?

Obsessing over nickels and dimes is no way to live life..... Just my two cents. Pun intended.


“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” - Maya Angelou
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post #17 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 02:20 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

We simply put away everything we earn into our 401(k), stock option and Roth IRA except the bare minimum for survival (insurance, utility, etc). House is completely paid off. We have a credit card that never carries a balance. We don't need to budget because we simply don't have any money to spend. If unexpected money comes in, it all goes into retirement. Unexpected expenses are paid only if we both agree it's worth it. Nothing frivolous gets purchased because it's too much trouble convincing our spouses why it's absolutely needed.

Clark Howard says a car loses half of it's value in the first 5 years. Pay cash for a five year old car and drive it to the ground.
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post #18 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 02:22 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

You know how much your monthly/yearly income is. You know how much your fixed expenses are (this can include saving). The rest is discretionary and can be allotted however you see fit. Your wife gets a sense of security out of jotting down every nickel & dime. You don't. You can set it up to where you both go over the accounts every three/four/six months and see if the fixed expenses are increasing and how the discretionary spending is doing.

You don't have to play her game of managing the spending. And, you don't have to make her problems your own. You don't want to yet it seems as though you are looking for magic words to use on her. Just don't.
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post #19 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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Instead save 10% (or more) of each pay check, then pay your bills for the month, then any money left over is ok to just spend without fussing over.
That's part of why it makes no sense to me that she obsesses so much. Oh, and wants me to then pore over the software, figure out how to run outrageously detailed reports, etc.

Neither of us are spenders. We are savers. Drive old but reliable cars (until 2015), eat at home, subscribe to as little as possible (electricity, internet and cell phone is it). Never have we saved 10% of a paycheck, it's always been far more. Any time we were eligible for 401k or IRA, we contributed the max, starting in '94.

My analysis, and that of several financial advisors, is that we could have stopped working 10 years ago.

I read "The Millionaire Next Door" once and chuckled, because we're automatically more frugal than the lifestyles depicted in that book.

There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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post #20 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 02:32 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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That's part of why it makes no sense to me that she obsesses so much. Oh, and wants me to then pore over the software, figure out how to run outrageously detailed reports, etc.

Neither of us are spenders. We are savers. Drive old but reliable cars (until 2015), eat at home, subscribe to as little as possible (electricity, internet and cell phone is it). Never have we saved 10% of a paycheck, it's always been far more. Any time we were eligible for 401k or IRA, we contributed the max, starting in '94.

My analysis, and that of several financial advisors, is that we could have stopped working 10 years ago.

I read "The Millionaire Next Door" once and chuckled, because we're automatically more frugal than the lifestyles depicted in that book.
I don't think that the book is suggesting any life-style/spending level but instead a way of handling money that makes it an easy task.

Does your wife fuss over a lot of things? She sounds OCD almost about money.
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post #21 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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You know how much your monthly/yearly income is. You know how much your fixed expenses are (this can include saving). The rest is discretionary and can be allotted however you see fit. Your wife gets a sense of security out of jotting down every nickel & dime. You don't. You can set it up to where you both go over the accounts every three/four/six months and see if the fixed expenses are increasing and how the discretionary spending is doing.

You don't have to play her game of managing the spending. And, you don't have to make her problems your own. You don't want to yet it seems as though you are looking for magic words to use on her. Just don't.
OK, help me understand this in a tangible way.

She comes to me and says "Our spending is too high, run a report for me" and I say "no" and she's pissed for a week. This is OK? I know how to say "no" gently, by the way, and she acknowledges that indeed, she has the anxiety and I was not given the power by our creator to affect her anxiety...but she still is pissed that I don't seem to exhibit the same anxiety.

Are you saying, just let her remain pissed? 'been doing that for enough years already. Yes, I'm looking for magic words to let her know, gently, that it's not my problem, yet I still "get" the concept that she has emotions about it. Haven't found them yet.

Discretionary: Tried that road once. She puts up a huge argument about what is discretionary and what is not. For instance, $10k on alternative vet care for a healthy dog is "not" discretionary, per her, nor is spending as much on vitamins and supplements as she does actual food. My spending to build a business? Discretionary. So, I think that's not a likely path.

There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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post #22 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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You enter EVERY receipt into software?!? Really? Are you already retired with nothing better to do?
No, she does. She wishes I would too, but I politely decline.

I am building a business from home...so, neither retired nor have nothing better to do.

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Because it's bizarre. Can't you just glance at your bank statement every month and get a general idea if your overspending?
LOL! That would send her into never-never land. She wants advance warning of overspending. If there's an "overspend", she goes ballistic. She literally checks the sofware every day - and of course, she also has receipts to enter every day. Grocery shoping includes many stores, as she seeks the one that sells this product for 20 cents less than anybody else.

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Obsessing over nickels and dimes is no way to live life..... Just my two cents. Pun intended.
My thoughts exactly. A frequent and annoying poster on the CL frugal forum refers to frugal people "counting their pennies every night, sitting in the floor, with nothing but a bare 10 watt light bulb hanging from the ceiling on two frayed wires". Not the way I want to live.

There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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post #23 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 02:42 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

I'd let her remain pissed. She can get happy in the same pants she got mad in. She doesn't have the right to expect you to experience/mirror her negative emotions - it might make her feel better but it is at your expense.

How you determine discretionary income is on you. Set up some discussions and establish guidelines. It seems the two of you are on totally different pages when it comes to matters you consider important. Or, you can split the discretionary 50/50 and be done with it. If she wants to spend all of hers on vet bills and vitamins, that's her right.
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post #24 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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@DustyDog My H & I don't use any sort of software or spreadsheet for budgeting. I think you're smart to do that though. But it seems to be taking on a life of it's own and creating more anxiety. And, I'm sure that wasn't the intent of it.
I'm the one who started using software, but that was before we met. I had just ended a 3 year round of unemployment, and the new job paid 40% less than the one I had before. Happily, I had savings to live on, so no debt occurred. I had also split from my ex, was now a renter instead of homeowner, moved to get the job...lots of financial changes.

A "budget" is a declaration of pre-determined amounts that you will spend on various categories over a specified period of time. For consumers, a year is the best period of time, since none of our bills are payable in larger blocks...property taxes are annual, for instance, and that's the longest one.

But, in a new lifestyle, it's hard to know what budget to set. So, a common thing to do is track every single thing you spend on, and after a few months you have a general idea. And..this was in the early 90s...bank statements online were still in the future. Some vendors would accept only cash, some only cash or checks, some only checks or cards, etc. You had no choice but to use all three forms of payment. Tracking it took software. I could have done it in a spreadsheet, but actual financial software made a lot of it easier and at the time, Quicken was $9.95 and came on one convenient 3.5 inch floppy disk (those were the days!).

Took me only a few months to figure a budget and then set it. For "bills", I figured a year's worth, and placed that amount in a savings account tied to checking. I checked on things maybe quarterly and refilled the savings account when it was below the annual amount. I had been laid off for three years, so my highest priority now was to be capable of another 3 year layoff without financial distress. I was single, doing lots of stuff to socialize, and of course, buying regular groceries. I took the 3 month avg, added 20%, and called that my "minimum" in my checking account. If it dropped below, I'd cut back somewhere for a while. This worked out while maximizing 401k and IRA accounts.

I ignored the software for a while.

Then in '99 I moved and got married, got out the software to once again track the new spending...and the wife got hooked on it. So, phooey on me....


I kept using Quicken after that, but only to track my business expenses for tax purposes.

There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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post #25 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 02:54 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

You're problem @DustyDog is very simple. You're a doormat. Stand up to your wife and tell her "NO".

Keep separate finances and split the bills as they come in. Let her freak out about her half. It will no longer be your issue.


“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” - Maya Angelou
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post #26 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 09:34 AM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

What I have learned after divorce was to filter everything through a credit card with cash back points. And I mean EVERYTHING! If I could filter my mortgage payment through that I would lol.

Reason being it 2 fold, one everything is in One spot which I can access online anytime. No input of any data just need to look once a week

Second the cash back is great. This year I moved and paid off bills, a truck, new flooring, moving expenses. I how have 600$Cash back rewards that I will use for my Ireland trip in two months. It is essentially just free money I wouldn't have otherwise had if I paid cash. Now why do the banks do this? Because most people don't pay off thier CC each month and I do to avoid any fees. Most people carry a balance which in the end benefits the bank. If you can be disciplined and pay off your CC each month this is a great way to go for some free money
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post #27 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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We simply put away everything we earn into our 401(k), stock option and Roth IRA except the bare minimum for survival (insurance, utility, etc). House is completely paid off. We have a credit card that never carries a balance. We don't need to budget because we simply don't have any money to spend. If unexpected money comes in, it all goes into retirement. Unexpected expenses are paid only if we both agree it's worth it. Nothing frivolous gets purchased because it's too much trouble convincing our spouses why it's absolutely needed.

Clark Howard says a car loses half of it's value in the first 5 years. Pay cash for a five year old car and drive it to the ground.
I think you are wise and reasonable.

Since about '95, I have paid into the 401k and IRA at the max legal limit. Always bought 10 year old cars with 150k+ miles on them and got another 150k out of them without a single repair that cost more than tires. Never subscribed to cable TV, wouldn't consider paying for grass trimming or house cleaning, did my own normal auto maint (buff & wax, oil change, tuneups). Bought a significant portion of my clothing at Goodwill. Cash to spare went into another investment account, and most years it was as much as went into the 401k.

After doing this all these years, I'm ready to stop. There's enough. I do not belong to the crowd that says "If a bunch of money is good, then a whole bunch is good". If you don't have a set target, then you won't know when to stop working toward it!

I stopped working a regular day job about a year ago and wife has been inconsolable since, and has obsessed more and more about money. There's enough.

**sigh**

There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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post #28 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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What I have learned after divorce was to filter everything through a credit card with cash back points. And I mean EVERYTHING! If I could filter my mortgage payment through that I would lol.

Reason being it 2 fold, one everything is in One spot which I can access online anytime. No input of any data just need to look once a week

Second the cash back is great. This year I moved and paid off bills, a truck, new flooring, moving expenses. I how have 600$Cash back rewards that I will use for my Ireland trip in two months. It is essentially just free money I wouldn't have otherwise had if I paid cash. Now why do the banks do this? Because most people don't pay off thier CC each month and I do to avoid any fees. Most people carry a balance which in the end benefits the bank. If you can be disciplined and pay off your CC each month this is a great way to go for some free money
Actually, banks do this because of the overwhelming statistic that shows that if people use cards instead of cash, they spend, on average 2X as much. I've taken a few marketing classes and this example is brought up in all of them.

There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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post #29 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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You're problem @DustyDog is very simple. You're a doormat. Stand up to your wife and tell her "NO".

Keep separate finances and split the bills as they come in. Let her freak out about her half. It will no longer be your issue.
One of the things I strive for is to NOT look like a control freak. The income came from me, the bulk of the net worth is in my name....not by choice, but you cannot put two names on IRAs and 401ks....by definition, they are individual.

She works a day job that stresses her a lot. No practical income...the company's owner waves the banner high for his employees to plan for retirement. One way is that the company matches 1:1 all 401k contributions, and they do not put a cap on what the employee can contribute, up to the legal limit. At our ages, that's $18,000 contribution plus $6,000 "catch up", for $24k from her...and a matching $24k from the company. So, her total 401k contributions are $48k, not bad for a job that only pays $30k. And, her net income, after the 401k deduction and health insurance is but $4k, meaning our Federal tax bracket is zero percent.

So, we're pulling from one of my 401ks for the rest of what we need.

I don't want to touch money...I just do what I need to do to accomplish the business goals. I love the idea that she just tells me how much I need to draw from that 401k into our long-term savings for the next few months and done. But the request is always preceded by a lengthy emotional...something. There may be a sequence of ideas, they may be connected, but I don't see it, so to me, I'm just trying to not say "how are those ideas connected" because that just drags the conversation out further.

When one person sources all the money, a good deal of care has to be taken by that person, to avoid the impression that he "owns" the other person.

There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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post #30 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 10:22 AM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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After doing this all these years, I'm ready to stop. There's enough. I do not belong to the crowd that says "If a bunch of money is good, then a whole bunch is good". If you don't have a set target, then you won't know when to stop working toward it!

I stopped working a regular day job about a year ago and wife has been inconsolable since, and has obsessed more and more about money. There's enough.

**sigh**
It's seems like you are the only one trying to compromise. That's not going to work. She needs to show tolerance of your view of money and to be willing to meet you in the middle.

Would you consider marriage counseling to address this issue?!?

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” - Maya Angelou
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