Hippo Manchester
December 15, 2005

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Pinings: Pretty Tight
by Sherry Hughes

Dear Sherry,

I have a good job and make pretty good money. I like to go shopping with friends or by myself on the weekends. I spend within my limits and have very little debt. My fiancé  has a different attitude about money. I wouldn’t call him a penny-pincher — but he’s pretty tight. He gave me a beautiful diamond ring, but I know he researched the best deal for months before buying it. We aren’t fighting about the wedding because my family is paying for everything. But we are fighting about how to spend our money … how he spends his versus how I spend mine.

He thinks we should be saving for a house. I don’t really care if we have a house right away. We live in a great apartment that is affordable with plenty of room. He believes we are “throwing our money away” by not buying. I’ll buy a house with him, but I don’t feel as if I have to adopt his views about money.

I see this as a difference in philosophy, he thinks it’s about wrong and right. He judges what I spend money on. I figure if I can afford it, what does he care?

- Tina

Dear Tina,

I’m with you. I think this is absolutely about philosophy.

I am a big believer in separate money. I’ve had relationships with people who are penny- pinchers and others who are spendthrifts. Neither of those things bother me. What does bother me is when someone feels that I need to adapt to their way of thinking. If you can pay your bills and meet your obligations for housing and all that goes along with it, what’s to argue about?

If you want to buy a house, start a fund that you both contribute to for a downpayment (perhaps using some of the money you will ultimately get as wedding gifts) and go from there. Renting isn’t throwing your money away: you are paying for a place to live. Owning a home is a smarter use of your money, but it’s not for everyone.

The two of you should schedule some visits with a financial planner before you marry. Discuss your differences about how to spend and how to save and see if you can meet somewhere in the middle — or at the very least, agree to disagree.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers. Contact her via e-mail at sah103@hotmail.com.