It’s not often when I receive an e-mail about personal finance that is quite different from the majority that I have received before. That was the case with this e-mail which came in from a reader about what she should do with her husband and money:
I have a problem. To most people it doesn’t seem like a problem. They think that we have nothing to worry about regarding money so I should not complain. I’m hoping that you can help me. What do you do when your husband refuses to spend money?
We have saved money all our lives and are retired. We have over $1.5 million in retirement accounts, our mortgage is completely paid off and we have no other debts, plus we have a substantial amount of money in regular savings account. We always made by on a little less than we wanted to in order to achieve this nest egg for our retirement years.
The problem that I have is that now that we are here, my husband refuses to spend any of the money that we have saved. When we go on trips, he always insists that we stay at the most inexpensive hotels like Motel 6. Last year for his birthday, I booked us a nice dinner cruise on the Bay which was lovely except for the fact that he complained that it must of been too expensive the entire evening.
I thought we had saved so that now that we both have free time we could spend the money on all the things that we dreamed of doing, but he seems to think that we need to continue saving money as best we can. How do you convince somebody who has saved all their lives that it’s okay to spend a little money on themselves now and then? Every time I suggest that we spend a little bit of our money on something exciting, he says that we need to save a little bit more before we can afford it which just isn’t true.
I’ve tried rationalizing with him and telling him this is exactly why we had saved the money all those years, but it doesn’t seem to be getting through his head. How do you convince somebody that it’s okay to spend money and have a little fun and extravagance from time to time?
If you are in a similar situation and had a partner that refused to spend the money that you had saved together over your lifetime, what steps would you take to solve the problem?