Dear Dr. Norquist:
My fiancée and I differ in how we spend money, and I worry that this will be a problem when we get married. I’ve always saved and tried to spend my money judiciously, whereas she seems to spend more emotionally. I mean, she’ll see a pair of shoes she just has to have, so she’ll get it on the spot. She isn’t in debt, so she is not irresponsible that way, but she doesn’t plan and think things over as much as I do before she buys something. Do you think this difference in terms of spending will be a problem for us?
Dr. Norquist responds:
This situation probably reflects familial differences about spending and how finances should be handled. In readying yourself for marriage, it would be good to discuss this, and decide in a broader sense what you each believe about money and how it should be dealt with. When this is clear to each of you, decide how to acknowledge both of your needs/beliefs within your marriage and yet still be working together toward common goals. Consider how much autonomy you each need in spending, and what decisions about spending should be made jointly.
Money is a form of energy, a resource that can be used consciously to create positive, up lifting results or used unconsciously, with neutral, draining, or negative results. Money can be used to plant seeds that sprout new growth, or it can be scattered aimlessly in ways that do not produce growth. One can have plenty of money, but through fear of loss, or lack, can create a life lacking the emotional experiences of joy and abundance.
The opposite is also true. I’ve heard money described as “life energy spent.” Viewing your financial resources as the result of the spending of your own life energy (for example, through your hours at work) tends to lead to a desire to spend it more consciously. You and your finance could use this concept to bring your spending more in line with what you desire to create together and what your common goals are in life.
(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.) Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanyacounseling.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax at (201) 656-4700. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. 2017 Chaitanya Counseling Services