My husband never goes out, and he only goes on vacation reluctantly – unless we stay in a cabin in the mountains, and even then he doesn’t understand why we should have to pay for our mortgage and rent somewhere else. He has never bought me a piece of jewelry in my life. However, before we got married, we both agreed that a diamond engagement ring was a waste of money.
He does all his shopping in large stores, buying in bulk and wearing clothes until they are worn out. He does not use social media. Every now and then we go out to eat for an early bird menu, on special occasions such as our anniversary. The most ironic thing about this whole thing? He’s an accountant! It’s unbelievable.
“‘He does all his shopping in big stores, buys in bulk and wears clothes until they’re worn out. He doesn’t use social media.’”
My husband works in IT and earns €90,000 per year. I am a teacher and earn €65,000 a year. We have a comfortable life. We have no children and our monthly mortgage payment is $1,600. We are about halfway through the term of our loan. We both have retirement accounts and we are on track to living a comfortable life after we finally retire.
We have a good relationship and we are in this for the long term. I go out with my girlfriends when I need excitement, and my husband stays home with our dog and watches golf and cooking shows. To relax he bakes cakes. But I wish we did more together, and if he made me feel special every now and then with a necklace or a bouquet of flowers, that would be nice too.
Is my husband the cheapest man in America? Or am I judging him harshly?
Long distance woman
Also see: ‘iPhones Are Depreciating Devices:’ What’s a Better Deal: Buying an iPhone 15 or Investing $800 in Apple Stock?
Dear long-haul flight,
There’s a big (free) silver lining to your story: When you hang up your chalk and your husband hangs up his mouse, you’ll have the comfort of knowing that you didn’t waste your retirement on over-salted restaurant food, and hotel rooms with a parking lot view . The more thrifty and irritating the behavior you described in your letter, the more I loved your husband. A man who doesn’t doom-scroll on his iPhone all day AAPL,
I admire his independent spirit and self-control. He is a man who does not need confirmation via Instagram, Facebook META,
or TikTok. And I also appreciate that he doesn’t have to be out and about and socializing at five-star restaurants to feel validated. No $190,000 Tesla TSLA,
Model S Plaid for him! There is much to admire about your husband, and your letter shows that.
The average American household spends about $3,600 per year on dining out – which equates to $300 per month. That’s more than the average annual vacation budget — which was $2,000 a year before the pandemic — and it could pay for a lot of things, like maybe a gold bracelet or the occasional cruise. Imagine your husband is on a cruise. Maybe he’ll love it! Maybe he hates it! He’d probably hate it. Or would he?
The lack of an engagement ring is a noticeable detail, but it was a mutual decision, and a smart one. Some people in the diamond industry suggest spending twice your monthly income on a ring. Diamond company DeBeers’ “A Diamond is Forever” marketing campaign, written by copywriter Frances Gerety in 1947, was a piece of marketing genius.
“Communicate your wishes. Suggest surprising each other with a monthly act of kindness. ”
Communicate your wishes. Suggest surprising each other with a monthly act of kindness. It’s the small acts of kindness that we remember: the person who approaches us at a party because he sees us standing alone; the kind word of a friend when we look tired and emotional; and yes, the partner who bakes a surprise cake, cooks dinner or buys flowers.
My final suggestion relates to something that runs through your letter: support – which goes both ways – and acceptance. Your husband seems more introverted, while you are somewhere on the other end of the spectrum. Being an introvert doesn’t always fit in the age of social media, where everyone has to be a star during their own lunchtime.
Some studies have shown that introverts who behaved like extroverts boosted their energy and mood and, although a certain level of performance is required in the workplace to make a good impression on colleagues and managers, can climb the corporate ladder climb and who can get a promotion and salary increase. it’s also best to let people be themselves.
Introverts get a bad rap in modern times. Extroverts may think they are rude, when in reality they are shy or just quiet. But it’s beautiful to spend time with someone you love – like you do with your husband – and not have to talk or do anything, but just occupy the same space and know that you want to be together. That’s a good test for your impending retirement.
You’ve bought yourself something more valuable than an engagement ring: a room with a view of your retirement, which I hope will give you peace of mind. More than a third of Americans say they lose sleep over their finances. A financial therapist or counselor may be able to help you, but you can also give each other regular encouragement about how you’re feeling and how you want your needs met.
In the meantime, enjoy your husband’s pies. I’m sure they are delicious.
Checking out the moneyed private Facebook group, where we seek answers to life’s thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Ask your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or give your opinion on the latest Moneyist columns.
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