"It's partly due to how they were raised as
children. Maybe one spouse was raised by a parent who instilled
in them that for every dollar that you earn, you have to save 10
cents," says Nowka. "Maybe the other spouse was raised by the idea
that somebody else takes care of that for me and I don't have to
worry about those things."
As for goals, experts say homes, cars and other
expensive items should offer something for both parties in the marriage.
A man shouldn't have to give up his wants to please his wife, for
example, unless his wife is willing to compromise or offer something
equally important in return.
"Frequently the husband will forgo
the garage that he has dreamed of having or the workshop
that he has dreamed of having because she wants a particular
house in a particular location," Fellouris says.
"But when they're purchasing a home, it must be
a joint effort where they both have a vested interest
in the home.
"It cannot be a gift for one person."
Once they identify these goals and attitudes
toward money, couples will be better able to discuss big purchases,
experts say. They can then use that background information to come
up with a spending, savings and shopping strategy together that
both can stomach, says Judith Stern Peck, director of the Family
Money Matters Project at the Ackerman
Institute for the Family. The New York-based nonprofit organization
counsels couples with financial and personal problems.
"Let's say they want to buy a house and they
want to spend 'X' amount of dollars, but they want to live in a
particular neighborhood," she says. "So what would the strategy
be? Maybe the husband would start looking with a real estate broker
or the wife would start looking and they would begin to look at
"Then, one of them would start looking at the
financial steps and how to get the right mortgage" and so on, Peck
adds, "sharing the responsibility."