Ah, the Financial Implications of a Dreamer Marrying an Uber-Realist...

The other day after a financial discussion with the better half, I couldn't help but think (for the hundredth time), how very different we were when it comes to approaching financial decisions. I am a dreamer. A hopeless, optimistic dreamer who sometimes loses sight of reality completely. The better half on the other hand is a very conservative realist. He is so much "in touch with" reality that, the world's best pliers probably cannot pry him away to fantasy world.

Personal finance is such a personal thing. Every person has a very different level of risk tolerance and a very different approach to finances. Here is a hypothetical, highly dramatized and exaggerated story to illustrate how very different the better half and I are.

If I were in the middle of a desert, and was shown half a glass of water, after a few moments of initial anxiety, I would start dreaming of how great it would be if I could somehow find a way to fill the rest of the glass with water. Heck, while I was at it, if I could only manage to find some lemons and sugar, I could have a whole glass of lemonade. Oh, and if I could just make the whole process repeatable, I could put up a lemonade stand. And I could get so rich selling lemonade to all the thirsty people in the desert!

On the other hand, if the better half were on a river boat and shown a half glass of water, as he sipped it, he would think, hmmm... it's really hot, and the glass is already half empty. The water is going to evaporate soon and we won't have anything to drink. I read some place that the river water has too much contamination and the water may be undrinkable. How much money do I have to buy bottled water? Will my family die of thirst? Maybe I should cut this vacation short and get back to work so I can make more money and have enough to buy bottled water for my family.

We both have a very common end goal - to be comfortably well off, shield our kids from having to live with financial worries and be able to retire without being dependent on anyone for our upkeep. If we can leave something behind for the next generation, all the more better. But the way we approach it is so different.

While these completely opposite attitudes sometimes cause some friction, the fact that both of us are marching towards the same goal helps keep things in perspective. And we tend to balance out each others' over the top attitudes. If it weren't for me the better half would probably be living in a tiny apartment, with all his money stashed under the bed, and be working 23 hours a day. If it weren't for him, I would have probably been one of the statistic that lost the house because I was upside down on the mortgage and didn't have a steady job since I was too busy chasing an Internet dream.

So together we march. To two separate tunes. In the same direction, but on different sides of the road. Someday, one of my eccentric grandiose plans will make us a boat load of money. Until them, I am content to let him guide us using his sensible "get rich slowly" mantra.

Photograph by renatela [via Flickr Creative Commons]

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1 Comment:

Early Retirement Extreme said...

On a possibly related note. When a couple has such widely different views on money, it may help to write down a budget simply to observe where the money is going because what one person presumes is a wise choice may not be the same as what the other presumes.