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The Hubs Wins A Money “Discussion”

  November 5

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Marriage and Money
By: Allison Gray

I’ve written a bunch about marriage and money before, but I’ve never really discussed a specific incident where the hubs and I disagreed on how money should be handled.

It’s actually pretty rare for us to full out argue about money because we have our system really down pat.

I can maybe count one time in almost four years of marriage when we had a big money showdown fight, and that’s because he forgot to pay the water bill about two weeks into married life…

Lame argument, I know.

After all, there are way better things to fight about when you’re married, like whose turn it is to sweep the floor and do the dishes ( actually, “chores” are the #1 thing the hubs and I bicker about.)

Still, we don’t really argue too much about money in particular since we don’t really spend a lot, and we’re committed to the same goals. There are times when I don’t understand why he wants to purchase a particular item, but since he has his own discretionary amount to spend every month, I can’t really say much. Luckily he can’t say much about the $50 I spent on makeup the other day either due to the same principle. πŸ˜€

So, let’s not call this an argument. Let’s call it a discussion.

The Discussion

I wanted to pay off a big chunk of student loans.

My student loan balance is still completely stupid high. It’s around $33,800 now, but I just love seeing “33” in the front of the number and not “39” like it used to be. Gotta celebrate the small victories.

One of the things I really wanted to do by the end of the year was to have that balance below $30,000. Seriously, how amazing would it be to see a “2” in front of that loan amount?! (I even wrote about this goal on DC’s blog.)

So, I wanted to go ahead and put 4k towards the loans (2k in November and 2k in December), because I currently have the income to do so since my blog and freelance writing biz continue to bring in more money than my day job ever since July.

Hubs Said No

I’m actually glad I ran this by the hubs, because normally I would just go ahead and do it since I am in charge of day-to-day finances (and he’s in charge of long-term investing.) Yet, something told me to mention it to him because it was kind of a high number.

Almost immediately, he was all like, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Of course, his reason was – you guessed it – the twins. πŸ™‚ (For those of you who don’t know, we’re expecting two bundles of joy in April)

He explained that just because we currently have the income doesn’t mean we should spend it, even if it is for a good cause.

Also, come January, my contract with my day job will be over, and I will only have my business income. It means no more double income, which is a bummer, but it is also necessary because I can’t keep doing both at once. (It’s really hard.) So, even though I argued that my business income would still be steady next year (since it was very solid July-October,) the hubs felt it wasn’t enough to rely on,Β especially since we have no idea how the whole raising-two-brand-new-kids thing will go.

*Update: I replaced my day job income. I took this class, and it really helped me grow my blog income like crazy! You can read my experience with the class here.

We also will have to add on some more expenses next year. For one, we’re moving across the country in May. We want to start college savings funds for the twins. We want to get life insurance for me. The hubs already has it (for my readers abroad, check out AAMI Life Insurance.) Plus, there are all sorts of baby items, including essentials, to buy for the twins. Also, twins are more prone to health issues, so we don’t know if we will have to pay for extra healthcare.

My Side of It

My argument was that despite all of the uncertainty, we could still comfortably bring my student loans under 30k by the end of the year. We have an emergency fund in place (3k). I’ve saved the funds to completely max out my IRA, so that’s taken care of. I have put 7k in a savings account just for the twins with the goal of filling it to 10k by the time they come in April. I even have a vacation fund that’s fully funded and a moving fund halfway funded. We’ve even already purchased 90% of our Christmas gifts and will have no rent until May because we’re staying with family.

So, I felt really confident putting funds towards my studentΒ loans, but I understand the hubs’ point about the unknown. We’re both super nervous about being first-time parents to two kids, so if the hubs feels more comfortable having an even bigger cash reserve, I can’t blame him for that.

Basically, when he said no, I dropped the issue and that was that (gotta let ’em win sometimes, ladies!) I think it’s a wise choice in the end, and I know next year is going to bring a lot of changes and big moves. Between parenting and me being a full-time business owner, things might get a tad bit crazy…

What do you think? Was the hubs right to say hold off on the loan payments or do you think paying them off would have been okay given how much we’ve already saved up for next year?

62 responses to “The Hubs Wins A Money “Discussion”

  1. If I had money, I’d pay you to manage it. I am so frivolous and Daniel isn’t much better! At least he has the knowledge and experience to improve our situation in the future. Our double, unemployed medical student living on loan money life can be a bummer, but I have faith that things will turn around for us. When that time comes.. I may be coming to you for advice! Hope you’re doing well at home. Miss seeing you. xoxo

    1. You two will be great in the future, not to worry! Your double debt will soon be double six figure incomes which you can use to knock out the debt and save a ton of money. Of course, I’m always happy to answer questions. Budgeting is one of my favorite topics to talk about!

  2. Much respect to you Catherine for running this by your husband first. It’s a honorable trait everyone should pray for in their partner. It’s all about transparency and teamwork in marriage.

    I think both of you have a good point, but since I’m a man myself, I can really connect with your husband on this one. I remembered going crazy conservative in lifestyle and buying a shotgun when we were expecting our first baby. (LOL, now that I think about it) Anyhow, something about having your own kid does things to men.

    1. Aw thanks Peter. It’s funny you say that because the first thing he also thought of was home security and all of these epic baby monitors haha. He def. jumped to safety as his first thought. My hero. πŸ™‚

  3. The piece of mind I’d get with the liquidity of cash savings outweighs the interest I would’ve saved by paying off that chunk of student loans early, so I agree with your husband on this one. Also, TWINS! Congrats again.

  4. While normally I’d say through everything you can at paying off your debt.. normally most folks aren’t about to be first-time parents to twins, either! I think it’s a smart decision to hold off just a little longer on putting a large chunk of change toward your loan. You’re about to experience two very big changes – a growing family and a different job situation – so it seems smart to wait a bit and adjust to your new life as parents and as a self-employed mom. When everything goes smoothly (and I have no doubt it will!), then you can continue to attack your debt as you were doing before!

  5. Luckily I don’t have a student loan, but for me your hubs is right. Having a twins is a big challenge, I think after giving birth to your future lovely twins then you can smash down your student loan.

  6. I agree with your husband. Better wait a bit and see how things go. Even if work is going well at the moment, you might get to a point where you want to slow down a bit before the kids arrival, and therefore have less income. Keep the money for now and make a huge payment on your student loan in May!

  7. While the mental benefits of changing the first digits of your loan would be awesome, I’m with the Hubs on this one. Until those little monsters make their way into this world I’d be hoarding capital as much as possible. When they ask “do you want an epidural?”, you don’t want to have to ask how much it costs if you’ve got twins barreling their way into the world. And heaven forbid if there are any complications.

    1. I was actually thinking when writing the post, “Wow I just want to do this solely because I want to see that number,” which isn’t the most logical excuse. And girl, epidural all the way….. That’ll be one of my rewards for carrying both of them all this time haha!!

  8. I’m completely with your thinking Cat. You just want to see the darn debt number move. But your husband makes a good point. You have so many exciting, huge, memorable changes on the horizon and wanting to be prepared is probably very smart.

    1. I know. I keep thinking if I put it off now, what will be the next excuse? But the twins are a legitimate one and so I’ll hang on to the money for sure!

  9. I agree with Hubs too… though I can really see why you’d want to keep your goal of lowering your student loans (because if you’re not keeping your goals, then you’ll never see them diminish as fast as you would hope, right?), I still think that the difference between the number on the student loan letters saying $33, 800, vs. $29,000 will make little difference in your day to day life right now, whereas, if you find yourself really needing that $4000 in April, May, or beyond, you may feel squeezed by those bills and somewhat desperate, without much to show for it. Its not like: “Well, we bought a car and needed that, so at least we spent money on one thing we needed.” My thought in reading the post was simply: “Why not put $3000 into your twins fund now so the goal of $10K is met, and if you want to put $1000 toward your loans or $1000 toward your moving fund, then you’ll be closer to goals in funds where you may really need the cash later, than simply making your loans go down. Knowing you, Cat, I’m sure you’ll get those loans down by the time the twins come, but maybe filling up “other expense savings boxes” is more important right now than paying down loans. Just a thought. I love your blog posts btw! And I’m amazed by your management of money. Seriously, I think I need a mini course from Catherine the Great! πŸ™‚

    1. All excellent points. It would be nice to have the savings buckets filled all the way to the top. Maybe that would be a good goal by the end of the year. Hmmm…. got me thinking Kate! Thanks for reading!

  10. Totally agree with your husband! Lots of uncertainty with a new baby and you are going to have two. Better to bank a reserve… you can always pay a big chunk off a year from now. Big message – you need to minimize the new baby trappings. 2 safe sleep cribs, no crib full of $200 worth of comforters, bumper pads, etc. Show new parents how you can have 2 babies at a reasonable “overhead” cost.. So glad tho that you are planning on their education

    1. Oh yeah, you know me. We’re not buying excessive baby junk for sure, esp things that are safety hazards. We are on the mission, not to worry. πŸ˜‰

  11. You are in a partnership, so I think he has the right to have at least a say in what you put on the loans, just as you have the right to have a say in what goes on financially. Twins are a huge financial responsibility (so is just one baby!) so holding off on the payoff is probably the right choice to make.

  12. I agree with Stefanie, $3k does seem a touch light with two bundles of joy! As much as I hate debt, I’d also probably want to have a bit higher of a savings cushion. Nice seeing a couple willing to chat healthily about finance! Even if they argue from time-to-time.

    1. I’m glad to hear you say that too. I was thinking of the twins 10k fund as a cushion as well but we’ll prob need to use that to buy things for them! I’ll pad the E. fund for sure. Thanks for the insight!

  13. Sometimes,common sense outweighs common cents! Glad y’all erred on the side of preparing for many variables with twins! And btw…is mt Christmas present in the 90%???? LOL. We still need a Drago’s date for oysters!!

  14. Given the uncertainty and changes coming in your future, I’d tend to agree with the husband on this one!

  15. You know I’m all for paying off the debt as soon as possible. But in this case, especially since you know the income will suffer, it’s wiser to keep up with the payments and save as much as you can. No insurance is bulletproof (especially in the US) and you need to be well prepared. 3K in EF for a twin pregnancy/delivery is nothing, you need to make sure you’re covered for any possibility. We’re crazily saving ourselves now, even if it’s a single baby pregnancy and we have most of the stuff lined up already. Even so, the more money you save, the better it will be. If all goes as expected, you can pay a huge chunk of the loans after the babies are born, you’re just having to wait for few months, but at least you’ll be more secure πŸ˜‰

  16. I’m going to have to side with your husband on this one. I think paying off loans quickly is a good idea, but it’s also good to have a big emergency fund, especially if you are doing freelance work.

  17. My girls aren’t twins, but when they are home from college I get nothing done. It does get harder to pay attention to a freelance business and you will have two infants….so…it is a good call. That will be a nice buffer for a slow month or two after the twins are born.

    Congratulations, by the way. It’s a very exciting time and I’m sure you will both be wonderful parents, so don’t stress and just enjoy every minute of it!

  18. Just my 2Β’, earmark the funds in a separate savings account. Should no unexpected events happen in the next 12 months, apply to the principal of the student loan. Always, plan for the worst and pray for the best.

  19. Sounds like you would have been ok with paying down those loans, you seem to be on top of things. However I do see your husband’s perspective with all the uncertainty coming your way! You might be glad you have that extra buffer.

  20. Mine has said the same thing. i current have – gasp $49,000 due to incurring interest. We are going to start paying just the interest but not more. Why? because R gets a lump sum from his military separation within 3 years and we have already ear;marked a portion to the full student loan pay off. Still hard to see the number. I can’t bear it anymore so the interest will be paid.But we have agreed that first we will pay off the revolving credit line and the credit cards and then make a new game plan. Gosh on paper it seems so much easier and then – Life happens. Keep up the good work.

  21. Congratulations on the twins!
    Let me say upfront that this story has a happy ending. My son is now grown, happy, healthy and supporting himself! But he was born (way back in 1990) with congenital heart disease. I HAD saved up an emergency fund over about $2,000 (a lot back then) by working until I went into labor. Literally-my first few hours of labor were at my job! I was also 17 (I know-NOT a good age to start)….but at least I was a saver, even back then.
    I knew I would take time off work after the birth and then start college on time in the Fall. I had free rent also and some free day-care from my grandmother. The other daycare was already in place an a facility near my college. I was on my grandfather’s health insurance and policy’s at that time covered close to 100% if you stayed in network. A baby shower at work had given me a mother-lode of both essentials and fun stuff for the baby.
    But this was a LONG time ago and ultrasounds were not common. I was never even offered one, so I was shocked when my son was born with congenital heart disease. He ended up spending his first 6 weeks in the hospital recovering from heart surgery. I “lived” at the hospital with him (in a chair.) For his first year, he needed monitoring while he slept and could not go to daycare due to that and the risk of picking up infections that could travel to his heart. I still started school while my grandmother watched my son but working while he was in daycare was out. Enter student loans to pay most living expenses for a very long time.
    Through the years, my child had two more heart surgeries and was found to be somewhat developmentally delayed due to loss of oxygen at birth. My plan had been to go to Law school after college. I got there eventually but, though I graduated college with a B.A., I was unable to complete Law School. My son’s needs were simply too great as he entered his school years. He needed A LOT of extra help and attention. Then my grandfather became ill. Then I became ill! This resulted in a massive amount of student loans which I have no hope of ever repaying because what I am able to earn with a B.A. in Sociology doesn’t even begin to put a dent in the interest (we are talking loans in excess of you and your hubbies loans combined.) I am on the income contingent repayment plan just to keep my credit from being annihilated.
    They can now do tests for congenital heart issues (and many other potential problems) long before the birth and can even do heart surgery while the baby is still in the womb so-again-I know this is a worst case scenario and I want to reassure you that if your babies had had this problem it would have already been discovered.
    But I have been a Mom over two decades (and now have 4 step-children too) and I just want to say that you almost cannot have ENOUGH money saved when it comes to Baby (or babies!) My step-daughter, who is 22 and (thankfully!) has a very supportive partner and a decent job, is now having a baby in April and I am encouraging her and her boyfriend to save, save, save and then save some more! No matter what plans you have for work after baby life has a way of sometimes de-railing those too. Contingency plans and a healthy savings account can save the day if things don’t go exactly as planned.
    Best of luck and many warm wishes your way. I will send my step-daughter your blog. I know she will enjoy and benefit from all your wonderful tips:)

    1. Hi Mary! Thanks so much for your comment. Sorry you had to type it twice! The first one came through while I was sleeping so I didn’t have a chance to approve it yet! πŸ™‚ Thanks very much for sharing your story. You’ve illustrated why it’s so important for us to save more. I’m glad your son is safe and healthy, and I wish you all the best in the future!

  22. I can absolutely understand your desire to see your student loans starting with a 2 instead of a 3 but I would place my husband’s peace of mind as a greater need, as you did.:) (and agree – sometimes we just have let them win a few arguments!) Because you do have so many big, exciting changes coming next year, having a little extra wiggle room is not a bad thing. And once the dust settles, you will either be so grateful to have the extra 4K or you can immediately direct it to your student loans. Win-win in my book! And by the way – I LOVE that picture of your family!

  23. I totally get where you’re both coming from. Maybe make a comprimise and keep the 4k in an acct and don’t touch it until June when you’re moved and settled then pay it down if you can. By june babies will be here and you’ll be moved so most unforseen expenses will be over.

  24. Interesting question. I’d probably side with hanging onto the money as well unless the interest rate on the loans was extremely high, in which case I’d try to consolidate into a lower interest rate loan, if possible. Congrats on the twins btw – so exciting!!!

  25. If you were telling me that that money would have paid off the loan, I would have totally agreed. But from one person with twins to another with twins on-the-way: You’re in for a world of financial fun….so your husband was totally right.

    He’s gotta be fired up you wrote “he’s right” in a blog post. If my wife ever said that out loud with people around, I’d feint.

  26. It’s hard for me to answer from experience, since I haven’t lived with debt, but I’m similar in that I want to have a large cash cushion “just in case”. I would much rather pay a little more in interest for the comfort of knowing that I could handle some rock times, especially if I was about to introduce so much newness to my life as you guys are. I know passing that $30k barrier would be nice, but in the long-term the difference in cost won’t be too much. The security of having that cash would be worth it to me.

  27. Having kids is expensive, however, I’m a firm believer in that the are only as expensive as you make them. I agree to wait to pay for loans until after you’ve had the babies. The actual ‘having’ of the babies is a huge expensive (at least here in the U.S. in a regular ol’ hospital). There are so many expenses that came with our hospital stay that I didn’t expect and thankfully both our babies were healthy. I’d say that after those sweet babies get here to pay the loans if you still have the reserve. And congrats again on becoming parents! It’s the best promotion you’ll ever receive!! πŸ™‚

  28. Love this post Cat. You know I’m a huge fan of having “money peace” in a relationship. Both people can’t always have their own way when it comes to relationships and money so sometimes we have to compromise. The way that I deal when I compromise for my BF is to not hold onto the grudge, after all I did let him win the money discussion πŸ™‚

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