I'm a miser, he's a spendthrift - how do we compromise and coexist?
April 11, 2013 6:53 AM Subscribe
So, I'm with this guy, and we hope to spend the rest of our lives together. I'm a Millennial saver* and he's a Gen X spender. He has a middle class income (around 40k), and I make half of that. When it comes to our arguments, it may also be of relevance that he's a human and I'm more of a Vulcan. How do we reconcile our opposing viewpoints about finances, trust, and gadgets?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (60 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
In the past, we've had conversations about finances that gave me the impression that we were to keep things separate, and that my opinions about his spending habits/levels are unwanted, which I'm fine with as long as I get to reap the benefits of non-involvement, take my shiny objects back to the hovel, and... perhaps convert him through the power of my example. But recently, he's been asking me to front him cash/credit so he can purchase electronics. I strongly dislike this for multiple reasons, and seeing as it's my money, I express my apprehension and/or displeasure. This usually offends him, and he responds by getting upset when I don't give him the go ahead or do not sign on as enthusiastically as he thinks I should to spending that I consider wasteful. He also tries to "punish" me for dissidence by asserting financial equity in all matters, which I actually agree with in principle, but find difficult in practice due to the aforementioned disparity in income and the fact that we haven't built a life together so much as he's allowed me to become a part of his, so costs are scaled to him. Confusing things further is the presence of a pending but not present windfall that he may use as a gauge when considering what he can afford, which may mean that he is transitioning to a lifestyle that I couldn't even conceive of being able to foot half of the bill for with amenities that cost more than I can afford to informally lend in the interim.
He seems to see my desire to lend him money as a matter of trust and inextricably linked to our relationship health in a way that I don't. He gives me expensive gifts on special occasions and has made unsolicited promises to me in the past regarding transfers of money from him to me without recompense (which he cited and rescinded in one of the money arguments), and he sees my willingness to do this in return as part of a relationship give and take. I was aware that as the saver I may serve as our "internal bank", but I thought it would be for important things like medical expenses and emergencies. He owes me money currently and I was stressed about it, because it is debt, and my sole responsibility on paper. I wanted to introduce the idea of a slow steady manageable payment plan. He rebuffed the very prospect of my input and composed his own aggressive payment plan. He has not stuck to this plan. He has lied to me about when he'll pay to postpone, as if I were a bill collector. This definitely doesn't foster trust. So what do I/we do about it?
Full Disclosure: He cannot get his own credit card because of delinquent student loans. He also gambles large sums of money away. That's the primary reason why I do not want to make a habit out of this, because he has borrowed money from me to gamble with in the past, which has been repaid. He hasn't done any gambling recently, but this has not been accompanied by a change of attitude towards it from "alternate source of income/informal 2nd job" to "occasional recreational pursuit." I also had an informal auto loan with him previously. He bought the car upfront and I paid him until he waived the rest.
*I was unemployed for three years post-graduation and am paranoid about the prospect of becoming unemployable again, and would ideally plan my fixed costs to incorporate long stretches of time with little income. I'm also as concerned with retirement and health coverage as a person twice my age