How to Handle Unmet Money Expectations (Part 1)

How to Handle Unmet Money Expectations (Part 1) April 2, 2024

This is a two-part series on how to view money as a source of connection instead of conflict. In Part 1, we’ll look at how to honor each other’s values and communicate with curiosity.

 Amanda, a young twenty-something woman I was talking to, was a saver. With her aim set on setting aside money to furnish her first apartment, manage her new car payment, and pay off student loans, let’s just say there wasn’t any room in her financial expectations for a … virtual reality set.

An expensive one.

The exact one her boyfriend of two and a half years had just purchased. Her boyfriend that she was thinking seriously about marrying someday. Her boyfriend who hadn’t ever mentioned that this major purchase was even an interest, and instead seemed to want the VR set just because he had enough money for it – not because it fit a prudent financial plan for how to handle money. Including, oh, perhaps, saving for an engagement ring?

Suddenly, they were at odds and unhappy because of unmet money expectations.

While researching Thriving in Love & Money, Jeff and I saw this common dynamic at the root of many financial arguments. And mismatched expectations can trap even those who have been married for decades. (At least that’s what Jeff and I have heard. Because this never ever happens to us.)

The good news is that all of us can get on the same page while deepening our connection.

Let’s use this young couple as a case study and outline five really practical actions that will keep unmet money expectations from sabotaging our relationship at any stage of life. (We’ll cover two this week and three next week.)


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