Friday, September 28, 2007

Financial Team

One year ago, Mr. Gaia was not my partner in the family finances. He abdicated that responsibility to me prior to our marriage.

I spent the first 11 years of our marriage feeling like the finance cop. Always feeling like I couldn't spend anything, because I knew he was and I felt like I needed to balance him. His constant phrase was "it's only $10/$20 per month".

Finally one day he stumbled upon a blog I had at another site where I was chronicling our financial life. I didn't write anything I hadn't said to him (multiple times), but seeing it written out like that was too much for him. We had a huge blow up fight and then he started getting involved, really involved.

Now I should say, in his defense, he has always been the best shopper I know. He finds the best deals. It was just that he couldn't pass up a good deal, so we often bought things we didn't need or particularly want because they were 90% off. Some of this stuff, I should say, was perfect for gifts for family and friends. It's just that a lot of it became clutter and a reminder to me of where all our money was going.

NOT that I was innocent, you understand. I encouraged him in some of his shopping and I would no sooner give up my high speed internet than I would give up breathing. Same with cable.

All that said, starting just about a year ago, Mr. Gaia came on as my full financial partner, and then some. He turned his skills at finding great deals to finding great bank accounts, great credit card rewards, good investment opportunities, a good refinance rate (at very little cost).

I am now much more relaxed about finances. I no longer check the bank balance every day. In fact, I logged on earlier today and almost couldn't remember my log on. Now, I'm in danger of fully abdicating my financial responsibilities to Mr. Gaia. Sigh.

This came clear to me tonight. We use rewards credit cards (always paying the balance in full each month). This enables us to earn interest on the money we spend for a few days/weeks longer and we get some cash back. It's never much, but it does add up over time. We realized that my credit card available credit isn't as high as it could be without hurting my credit score (and needed to be a bit higher so I'd have a lower utilization ratio), so we (he, remember I abdicated my responsibilities, sigh) decided I needed to apply for some more cards.

He directed me to We went through the list of cards they recommend, compared them with bonuses we could get through our current companies and picked 3 cards. Plus one with my credit union.

We're what credit card companies refer to as "deadbeats". We use their cards, pay off the balances and collect our rewards. How are they supposed to make money off of us (you know, besides what they charge the retailers)?

So my goal for October is to take back my partnership interest in our finances.

1 comment:

Tanya Brown said...

Finances can be one of the most stressful, divisive things for couples to deal with. And, as you observed, those ten and twenty dollar per month commitments and bargains that really aren't do add up. (Speaking as someone who filled my house up with crap, simply because it was cheap and my life was empty at the time.)

It's nice to hear about a couple which has gotten a grip on things and has worked out a partnership. So many people never do.