Personal Finance Talk with pia

His and Her’s: Money Attitude

I think how a person treats money can be very interesting. The attitude towards money can vary greatly between one person to the next; from spending it as fast as it comes in or spending beyond their means to squirelling every cent away and scooping leftover sauce back into the jar and only using one lightbulb for the entire house. Often, money attitudes stem from the family background, ie: financial literacy from young or lack thereof.

Today I want to share my money attitude and how it came about and my partner’s money attitude and how that came about as well. You’d like to hope that in a relationship, both of us had the same attitude towards money, but I think that’s pretty uncommon. And if that’s you and your partner? Hurrah!!! I wish I did.

I come from a lower middle class family who had pulled themselves up from poverty. My parents married in the midst of objections so had no family support from both sides. When they married, they had not a cent to their names and mum likes to remind me of the time she had to save up for a few months just to buy their dining table which was their first major furniture purchase. And it was important, because that table was a part of her side hustle: tutoring. They worked hard, made hard choices and we grew up poor but not wanting. Of course there was that time I wanted jeans and we couldn’t afford jeans, but we never went hungry.

My dad was the finance person of the household. He was extremely smart but never taught me any financial knowledge. I knew he dabbled in the stock market but money was a taboo subject so we never discussed it. The closest I ever got to being taught about money was being told to ‘save’.

“Don’t spend everything, make sure you save. Put money into long term deposits.”

– my mum

Mum would talk about saving on one hand, but on the other hand be quite honest with the fact that she knew nothing about finances and juggling money, or even the share market. She left all that up to my father. And that was my financial education: save or leave it to your husband. Oh wait, there was one more piece of advice: always have a nest egg hidden from your husband.

Luckily, actions speak louder than words. I watched my parents hustle like crazy and if there’s one thing I did pick up, it would be the constant need for hustling. For that, I am thankful. As hard as they hustled, we hustled right next to them. We were involved with the family business from Day 1 and there was no hiding the amount of work that actually went into giving us a better life.

My husband comes from a much more well-to-do family background. His parents also hustled hard, but unlike my family who involved the entire family in their hustle, their philosophy was more along the lines of “a child’s job is to study”. So my husband grew up not knowing the value of money, never needing to hustle, and certainly did not want for anything financially. He did however, watched his parents penny-pinch and he often felt strongly that they penny-pinched for no good reason. His biggest pet peeve is when his parents penny-pinch and are rude to salespeople in order to haggle prices down.

Similarly, they never spoke about money to him. They did cater to his every whim and made sure that his needs were always well taken care of. Money came easily as it would appeared in his bank accounts as he needed them, and sometimes even when he didn’t ask for it. He

As a result of our upbringing, you can imagine that our attitude towards money is quite different.

For me, I never ever want to be in a situation where I feel insecure about money. I am always hustling, always wanting more, always fearing that we will run out. But this doesn’t necessarily mean I saved any of the money I hustled up. Partly because I didn’t know how, partly because I was now free to make my own decisions, so I made some extremely poor ones such as spending it all on hobbies to be with the ‘in’ crowd. Still, money is important. That much I know.

My partner, blessed his heart, ended up with a “don’t know, don’t care, it doesn’t exist” attitude towards money. He hated talking about money, said that money was always the reason why things got ugly, and basically adopted a “if I don’t acknowledge it, the problem doesn’t exist” attitude towards money. A lot of his negativity about money stemmed from his disapproval of how his parents interacted with He could definitely save, but he also saw no issues with not working while he was still on his parents’ dime, preferring instead to spend his time gaming away instead of hustling. He knew he wanted to never worry about money, but he didn’t care about the how. He just wanted it to happen, preferably with minimal effort from him.

“I don’t want to talk about money. All you do is worry about money!”

– my husband

Did we talk about money before we got married? No. I thought we did, but looking back now, we really didn’t. We didn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg!

And boy, were we in for a ride. As we went through life, it became more and more apparent that our money attitudes were incompatible and many fights ensued.

What about you? How did your money attitude come about? Did your parents and how they dealt with money affect you and yours? How about your partner’s?

1 thought on “His and Her’s: Money Attitude”

  1. You guys are lucky to have survived marriage. Not talking about money first and not sharing similar financial values is a big cause of divorce. My wife grew up on a poor working farm where she was hauling hay and driving tractors at elementary school age. They had very little but they never borrowed money and always took care of their kids. They even sent all of them to college. I grew up in a middle class frugal family where both parents worked and my parents became millionaires even though they never earned a lot, they just didn’t spend much. My dad taught me a lot about investing and showed me how to buy everything with cash and nothing on credit except the house, which he showed me how to pay off early. My wife and I dated for a couple of years and it was clear we had the same values on family, faith and finances from the start. So today, on our 41st anniversary, we continue our 41 year streak of never having had a single money fight.

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