The Ban Mian never tasted so bland before. We had snapped at each other in public. All the times we got amused by couples quarreling in public- we have now officially joined the Couples Quarreling In Public Club. We tried to act normal but any observant kaypohs would have noticed our forced actions.
Avoiding eye contact.
Walking together but apart, at an awkward distance.
Few minutes ago, we had talked about saving for the future. It quickly let to us criticizing each others’ spending habits. The Gf said I was spending too much on drinks. I defended by saying I was networking (partly true). I counter-accused her of buying me expensive gifts and bringing me to eat expensive steak on my birthday(which I could not bear to eat, and ended up ordering a $35 burger) – either ways, I still ended up being the bad guy. Any guy who criticizes his spouse for buying them expensive gifts is totally asking for it. But I was never known for my tact…so…
We faced the problem of overspending head-on. I was probably a bigger culprit. When I drove the Gf home the ride had never felt more uncomfortable.
There are many kinds of quarrels between couples. Not all are bad. In this case, it turned out to be a damn good thing. That painful quarrel forced us to search deep within ourselves and analyse our mistakes, our problems, the hard truths we can’t bear to face. When a relationship is sick, it must eat bitter medicine or it may never heal.
A few weeks passed and we never mentioned that half-concluded argument.
Then the Gf brought up the topic of financial planning for the future again over dinner; this time referring to home renovation costs, marriage costs and honeymoon costs. All the tastiness of the burger disappeared and turned bland the moment I put it into my mouth. The meat patty hardened and tasted like a rubber chew toy. There was no escaping this, but it was really for our own good.
“Each of us put in $500 a month into a joint savings account. We should have enough after 4 years,” the Gf proposed
Joint savings account?! $500 a month?! I was just starting another business! The start-up capital is pretty costly! What about all the stocks that I was planning to buy? Put more money in a bank and get paltry returns on interest rates for 4 years? You gotta be kidding me!
Joint Savings sounds like the most boring, most conservative thing I have ever done.
After my ego raged for a few minutes, I remembered a good, old investing adage:
” Never invest what you cannot afford to lose.”
And I definitely cannot lose a house renovation, a marriage, a honeymoon, a once-in-a-lifetime relationship. I debated internally if I could outperform the market within these 4 years, but the risks seem too large to bear. What if the market crashes just when I need the cash to fork out on these big expenses? You will never know when a market crash of substantial magnitude could happen. As for my new business, I would just have to monitor the costs closely and not blow it all on marketing and advertising – the two biggest cash burners.
3 days later, we were at a bank, opening a joint account.
1 month later we deposited our first $500.
To fulfill big goals, little steps need to be taken.
What about you? How did you and your spouse have the ‘money talk’?