Author Topic: All's fair in love and finance  (Read 3914 times)

litebrown417

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All's fair in love and finance
« on: December 28, 2012, 06:43:54 pm »
Hi Mustachians!

I need some advice on pulling my BF to my side of finance.

A little background:

We are both 25 year old college grads with 2 and 4 years of work experience between us. We both graduated with degrees in profitable markets (IT and accounting).

He makes about 70k and I make 50k (he's IT).

We have been dating for a year and a half and marriage comes up a LOT but I'm afraid to jump into marriage when we don't see eye to eye financially.

I have been doing well on my path to FI (car will be paid off in 4 months, 10k in my 401k, 1500 emergency fund, no student loans, stick to a budget, have financial goals for the future).

He's not in too bad of shape (car paid off, save 300/month)

The dilemma:

He's ready to buy a house in the suburbs, get married, and have children within the next two years.

He's literally gonna buy a house in the next 4 months when his apartment lease is up (we do not live together but if we get engaged I will move in with him after my lease ends). He only has 4k for a down payment and was approved for 250k. He's not going to spend it all (about 150-190) but shrugs my advice off about waiting to make a bigger down payment. He wants a 3k sq ft house in the burbs with 4 bedrooms (it will be a 30+ min commute for me with no traffic and when I mention this he says "everyone commutes").

Did I mention he has 20k in student loans?

He thinks I am cheap and weird because I don't have a closet full of clothes or go/enjoy shopping every weekend.

I love him dearly and want to make things work. I need to know how to approach this subject without offending him.

PLEASE HELP (he also mentioned that we were going to get engaged in 2013, I want to straighten this out before I have to plan an overpriced wedding I don't want).

mushroom

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 08:21:01 pm »
Hm, from what you say he seems to be in quite a rush to get married, have kids, and buy a house even though he's only 25. It seems a little odd to already have a plan of kids within 2 years when you aren't even engaged yet. Have you talked to him about why he's in such a rush? Do you notice that he is big on plans and lists and things fitting into his vision in other areas too? Are there any characteristics related to this that worry you, such as inflexibility, stubbornness, closemindedness, being controlling, or having more traditional or conservative values than you in general? What happens when something doesn't go according to plan? What happens if you disagree about things in general - is he willing to compromise? How do you think he would react if the kid-within-two-years ended up having Down syndrome or autism? What does he say to you when you express your concerns? Does he respect and listen to what you have to say? In your post, I see a lot about how he feels but I don't see a lot of you - how would you feel about having kids in the next 2 years? What are your financial and life goals?

Have you mentioned the MMM blog? Is he interested in reading more about your point of view?

I need to know how to approach this subject without offending him.

PLEASE HELP (he also mentioned that we were going to get engaged in 2013, I want to straighten this out before I have to plan an overpriced wedding I don't want).

The end of your post really concerned me. How much of a say do you have in this relationship? Maybe it was just poorly worded, but don't you need to agree first before getting engaged? If you're not sure, can't you put off an engagement until after 2013? Don't you have any say in not having an overpriced wedding if you do get engaged? Why are you concerned about offending him with your viewpoint about financial matters - is he easily offended and does it make you afraid to express your own opinion?

Financially it obviously makes sense to save up for a larger down payment before buying a house, and commute time is really important to overall happiness, even ignoring the big financial impact it also has. But it also sounds like there are some differences here that might have more than just money at play. Tread carefully. And don't lost sight of the fact that focusing too much on just "making it work" because you love him can make it very easy to cover up hard truths. If you're talking about marriage, you should also be thinking about how well you really fit together long-term with your goals and values.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 08:40:32 pm by mushroom »

cbr shadow

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 08:35:20 pm »
You may feel like this is out of line, but I've had friends in your position that could have used advice early.  You're getting yourself on a really good financial track - just the fact that you're here and planning your future while you're young is a sign of that.  People change, but you can't change someone.  Make sure you're on the same page BEFORE you get engaged.  Make sure he's clear on what you want out of life as well. 

CeciliaW

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 08:44:07 pm »
What does he say to you when you express your concerns? Does he respect and listen to what you have to say? In your post, I see a lot about how he feels but I don't see a lot of you - how would you feel about having kids in the next 2 years? What are your financial and life goals?


The end of your post really concerned me. Why are you concerned about offending him with your viewpoint about financial matters - is he easily offended and does it make you afraid to express your own opinion?

This. In Great Big Letters.

Your gut is telling you something.

Listen to it.

Cecilia

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 09:17:22 pm »
+1 with Cecelia. I am 47 and have been through a divorce after 20 years. I didn't listen to my gut the way I should have for 45 of those years and paid dearly. I am just now starting from scratch. I should have listened to my gut when I was younger. There are other lives in the balance now, my children, and they have suffered more than I, because I didn't have the guts to listen to my gut. After many thousands in therapy, I now listen to my gut.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 09:21:06 pm by LowER »

Jamesqf

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 09:41:09 pm »
Agree with the previous posts.  To me, the real screaming red flag here is the "have children within the next two years".  Is that what you want?  Are you absolutely, positively sure that's what you want?  Anything else you can back out out: if you hate the suburban house, you can sell it (even at a loss); if you find that marriage to this guy is a mistake, then you'll just wind up owing money to the divorce lawyers.  Kids you're going to be stuck with for at least the next couple of decades.

PS: Just my possibly biased opinion, but when I see couples where the guy wants kids more than the woman, it seems that he's got some unresolved issues that he's trying to deal with, and those often spell trouble later on.

happy

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2012, 03:11:23 am »
The problem is, that this is the internet and we do not know anything about either of you nor your relationship. Secondly you asked for advice about finances and we've more or less told you to dump him.

It may be the way you've written the post. On face value I have the same reservations as the others...he seems very dominant and you very submissive - no offence, might be just the way you wrote it. He is belittling your frugality. And he is a hurry to get you installed in a large house and have kids... once you have kids it is much more difficult to leave.

I would say if you are as on board with this marriage and having kids, as him, and you think you are both completely well suited in every other way, then talk to him , nay insist, on organising your finances separately, so that you can FI and he can keep working, if thats what you want. Jacob at ERE kept his finances separate and there's probably a few threads here on that...essentially agree on joint expenses that you both pay half of, and keep the rest separate.  I personally would find separating finances kind of weird, but it seems to work for some.  If you are going to get sucked into a huge house/mortgage that you don't want, well this needs to be negotiated. If he goes and gets that mortgage and huge house and then expects you to chip in half and you don't want such a big house... well thats a problem in my view. You can't make him become frugal....he may or may not change, so if you are going to couple, you need to start the marriage with an agreement that seems workable.  If he refuses to negotiate,  or compromise, or work out how you guys are going to manage this, then I think that's an answer for you. 

Edited: last sentence ambiguous
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 03:42:34 pm by happy »

Karl

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2012, 04:52:14 am »
Good-morning,

The college that I attended, as well as several churches with which I have had contact, have provided pre-marriage (in the case of the college, pre-engagement) counseling to couples.  The topics covered included negotiating financial goals and how the couples would work together to achieve them.  Given the current status of your relationship, might you have access to a similar service within your local community?

Some of the most common reasons for arguments within marital relationships are money, children (number and how to raise), and unstated role expectations.  All of these tie into strongly held personal values and beliefs.  I suggest taking some time to make your collective beliefs/values clear so that you and your BF know where you agree, where you disagree, and where you are willing to compromise.

I wish you good luck in your current relationship,

Karl

marty998

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2012, 05:02:52 am »
Can I take the contrary view?

99% of guys are happy to string their girl along till the bio clock explodes and then dump them and you've found one who wants a white picket fence lifestyle and you're worried?

I think you've a good one darling.

RE: engagement/the wedding. I had a friend who was engaged for 8 years. Having a ring on your finger does not necessarily mean a wedding (they did finally get married).

RE: the house - I don't see this as a major issue. Buying is always better than renting in my book. If you're not ready to commit then don't. If he is ready then let him (but make sure you like the place too). I service a mortgage twice the size at probably twice the interest rate so surely it should be a piece of cake for him. Having said that, if he thinks saving $300 a month is adequate he's got another thing coming. That should be closer to $2k a month.

In all honesty, I'd suggest that a chunk coming out of his pay each month in mortgage repayments will be a bigger reality check/eye opener than any nagging you will be able to inflict on him.

RE: Kids - start talking about late nights, nappy changes, vomit & shit everywhere, childcare fees etc. Better yet have him babysit a relative's sick child and see if he still wants kids straight away :)

Sorry if I sound like I'm taking the piss. But I think you should probably talk to him to get the answers you need rather than come to us. We (literally) have all the opinions in the world, but you and him have the 2 that count.

plantingourpennies

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2012, 07:55:41 am »
My wife and I got married at 25 (we're 30 now), our net income was similar to yours.

We were roughly on the same page regarding money before we got married, and it has become a great source of strength in our relationship.

The problem with not being in sync regarding money is that money is a proxy for value and power.

What you seem to be saying is that you and your BF have different value systems, and he is using his money to impose his value system in you.

Maybe it would help if he had some frugal male models to consider? MMM is good for this, feel free to give him my e-mail as well.

Good luck.

Best,
Mr. Pop
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caligulala

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2012, 08:01:07 am »
Love isn't everything. Of course it's an important factor when decided whom to marry, but if you want a happy marriage, wanting the same things in life is much more critical to long term contentment. I think some big discussions are in order. Before you approach your boyfriend, it's a good idea to have thought through exactly what kind of life you envision for yourself. Write it down. Maybe ask him to do the same and email them to each other ahead of time. If you find that you don't want the same things, don't be afraid to walk away.

gooki

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2012, 10:50:43 am »
Buying a house may well be his way of saving. And in a down market buying as big a house as one can afford isn't a bad financial move.

One option is to suggest a 15 year mortgage instead of a 30 year so he's putting more into principal than interest. Or both contribute and go for a 5 year mortgage and be badass.

The point I'm getting at is he doesn't seem like a saver, so although the share market would likely return a better rate he's unlikely to put any money there, so you may as well pay that mortgage down.

There also seems to be an impatience of youth factor occurring. But the reality is there's often never a perfect time for anything.

The way forward I would recommend is you make you ideal financial and life plan. Bring it to the table with him and talk it through. Ultimately there should be compromises on both sides.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 10:54:08 am by gooki »

KGZotU

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2012, 11:49:26 am »
Love isn't everything. Of course it's an important factor when decided whom to marry, but if you want a happy marriage, wanting the same things in life is much more critical to long term contentment. I think some big discussions are in order. Before you approach your boyfriend, it's a good idea to have thought through exactly what kind of life you envision for yourself. Write it down. Maybe ask him to do the same and email them to each other ahead of time. If you find that you don't want the same things, don't be afraid to walk away.
Talking together about your life plans and goals is an excellent idea. Many people don't really have a goal in life, they act out a set of events that they believe are precursors to life satisfaction: good job, wife, house, kids. Your boyfriend has picked you for the part of wife; he's picked your part in his story. Meanwhile, you have a different story in mind. Either:
  • You have to change your idea of a good life.
  • He has to change his idea of a good life.
  • You both have to find a way to enact your own "good life" stories simultaneously.
If you don't do any of (1), (2), or (3) then the marriage will fail, or someone (probably you) will die after 60 years of chronic dissatisfaction with life.

While the best thing in life might be to find someone who has the same goals as you, it's enough to have someone with whom you can provide mutual support for your own, independent goals. Identify your goals in life and seek counseling on how to make those goals work together.

I would say if you are as on board with this marriage and having kids, as him, and you think you are both completely well suited in every other way, then talk to him , nay insist, on organising your finances separately, so that you can FI and he can keep working, if thats what you want...
Independent finances are a great way to achieve (3). If your boyfriend bought a place you were happy living in, location and all, then you could contribute half the payment for half the equity, or pay rent equal to your half of whatever it would cost to live with him in a suitable apartment.

The way forward I would recommend is you make you ideal financial and life plan. Bring it to the table with him and talk it through. Ultimately there should be compromises on both sides.
For myself, I've decided to seek consensus and not compromise. I guess it's a philosophical or connotative difference, but I've made consensus a personal watchword. I don't sacrifice, and I don't regret...in theory, lol.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2012, 02:03:07 pm »
I'd plan to have a talk with him.  How would he like to see your lives unfold?  How would you like to see them unfold?  Do your visions match?  If not, can you work it out?

The language you used seems to indicate that he has gotten everything figured out. This could mean that he is domineering, or it could mean that you've been nodding and going along with everything.  He needs to listen, you need to advocate for your views, and see if you can come to an agreement.

Vew this as a test of your ability to be married happily.  :)   If things go badly, reconsider or get some premarital counseling on communication.  It's not like you need to communicate perfectly NOW, but you do want to be strong partners before committing.

SIS

Ps: I don't think you are "too young" for this.

Peter

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2012, 03:31:04 pm »
Ditch this guy and come hook up with me. He can take my spendthrift girlfriend with the car loan and 25k student debt, and they can work until they're 65 together! It's win-win haha

smalllife

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2012, 03:57:37 pm »
99% of guys are happy to string their girl along till the bio clock explodes and then dump them and you've found one who wants a white picket fence lifestyle and you're worried?

I think you've a good one darling.

This is assuming she wants kids, which has not yet been established.  Not all women want them.  In fact, a larger minority than you would think run screaming from any man that insists on burdening them with one or more.  "A good one" who is pressuring her into a dependent situation and would cripple her (financially and physically - per having kids) is not "a good one" in my book.


Quote
RE: the house - I don't see this as a major issue. Buying is always better than renting in my book. 
Did you miss the part about 3000 sq feet house in the suburbs, with a 30 minute commute? (I agree that generally buying is better, but not with those additional pieces) If that's not a ball and chain I don't know what is. 

travelbug

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2012, 06:11:39 pm »

Talking together about your life plans and goals is an excellent idea. Many people don't really have a goal in life, they act out a set of events that they believe are precursors to life satisfaction: good job, wife, house, kids. Your boyfriend has picked you for the part of wife; he's picked your part in his story. Meanwhile, you have a different story in mind. Either:
  • You have to change your idea of a good life.
  • He has to change his idea of a good life.
  • You both have to find a way to enact your own "good life" stories simultaneously.
If you don't do any of (1), (2), or (3) then the marriage will fail, or someone (probably you) will die after 60 years of chronic dissatisfaction with life.


That is awesome advice!

I agree that you need to have your opinion known now and see where it takes you.
Love is wonderful but in a marriage sometimes it gets tough and gritty and that is when the same ethics, goals and morals kick in. That's what will make the marriage survive when it's not all roses and bliss.

Good luck OP.

litebrown417

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2012, 06:42:09 pm »
Hey All,

I just want to thank everyone for the responses!

A little bit more background:

We do agree on everything (I do want my first child before 30, marriage, and I do want a house eventually) except how to spend money. I did appear very submissive in my post and I like to describe it as go with the flow. He does value my opinion but trying to tell someone how to spend their money can be offensive when taken the wrong way.

We actually talked about staying in the city, and he's open to looking at town homes and condos now :-)

The advice I'm most likely to take:

Have an open discussion about our future and explain to him my goals and how I plan to achieve them.

But honestly I think we will end up with separate finances (ERE style) which is perfectly fine and will keep us both happy.

Worst case I would get a more fuel efficient car or change jobs. Making it work with him is more important to me than where I work.

kiwichick

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2012, 07:09:53 pm »
If you intend to keep your finances separate (which sounds like a good idea in this case), you'll also need to discuss what happens when you have children. You will likely be out of the workforce for some time - at least a few months. Will he pay the bills during that time, seeing as you likely won't have an income (unsure of US maternity leave provisions) or will you be expected to continue contributing your half of the bills etc?

James

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2012, 07:10:27 pm »
Sounds to me like you two need to start really talking some of these issues out.  I would try and schedule some conversations about where you want to live, start taking some drives through various neighborhoods and discuss the pros and cons of each, both in town and in the suburbs.  Talk about some of the details of kids, who will take care of them, what expectations are, etc.  You don't want either one of you to simply give in and go along with the other without having those discussion first, and BEFORE any big decisions get made like buying houses or getting married.  If he really wants to live in town great, but make sure it's not just going along to get along.  Like you said, have that open discussion on goals and plans.



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kudy

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2012, 07:25:07 pm »
I've never been good at having that type of conversation, no matter how much it makes sense - good luck!

marty998

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2012, 04:58:13 am »
99% of guys are happy to string their girl along till the bio clock explodes and then dump them and you've found one who wants a white picket fence lifestyle and you're worried?

I think you've a good one darling.

This is assuming she wants kids, which has not yet been established.  Not all women want them.  In fact, a larger minority than you would think run screaming from any man that insists on burdening them with one or more.  "A good one" who is pressuring her into a dependent situation and would cripple her (financially and physically - per having kids) is not "a good one" in my book.


Quote
RE: the house - I don't see this as a major issue. Buying is always better than renting in my book. 
Did you miss the part about 3000 sq feet house in the suburbs, with a 30 minute commute? (I agree that generally buying is better, but not with those additional pieces) If that's not a ball and chain I don't know what is.

I see your point of view. But we are both making a lot of assumptions about who these people are personality wise (let alone the financial situation).

Best of luck to the OP

jnik

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2012, 08:57:26 am »
Sounds like he has a script for life and you're filling a role. First instinct is DTMFA. Sounds like you're finding the second option yourself, which is to sit down and have a real conversation about where each of you wants to go individually with your lives and how that fits with where you want to go together. Incompatibility in that regard is perfectly fine reason to go your separate ways, even if there's nothing "wrong" per se.

destron

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2012, 01:23:58 pm »
He's not in too bad of shape (car paid off, save 300/month)

The dilemma:

He's ready to buy a house in the suburbs, get married, and have children within the next two years.

He's literally gonna buy a house in the next 4 months when his apartment lease is up (we do not live together but if we get engaged I will move in with him after my lease ends). He only has 4k for a down payment and was approved for 250k. He's not going to spend it all (about 150-190) but shrugs my advice off about waiting to make a bigger down payment. He wants a 3k sq ft house in the burbs with 4 bedrooms (it will be a 30+ min commute for me with no traffic and when I mention this he says "everyone commutes").

It sounds like he is not terrible with money, just not mustachian. There is hope. Have you tried to get him to read MMM?

As for moving to the burbs, DO NOT DO IT. You will regret it. He wants to buy a house in the burbs, but you do not. Why not tell him that moving so far away and having a long commute (minimum 1 hour per day) is not something you are willing to do. If he moves out there, tell him he can come see you in the city in your nice apartment close to work. Relationships are about compromise, but it is not all about you compromising to his desires.
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kit

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2012, 07:05:10 pm »
Maybe there is a compromise still to be had here. Housing prices aren't going to recover within a year. If he's in a big hurry to buy a house only because his lease is up, maybe he could be convinced to try a 6-12 month lease on an apartment in the burbs and see how it works out, as well as padding a down payment. It gives him the opportunity to try it out and save some money for the inevitable first year house disasters.

Also, the commute is a nasty one. If you plan on working after having kids (which it sounds like you do) you should stand firm on this one because it's going to make it difficult.

shadowmoss

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2013, 08:08:30 am »
I married a guy like that.  I just didn't realize it at the time.  We were best friends while we dated.  After the wedding, he stopped talking with me, moved on to the next goal on his list, and never talked money with me.  I was young.  I was to play the role of dependent wife and keep house/home/kids (his from previous marraige) running smoothly without bothering him too much.  Oh, and pay my way.  On vacation one time when we had been married almost 2 years, and that he planned around his hobby, I was sternly admonished because I wasn't paying my part of breakfast.  I looked at him and said "We're married!".  I had grown up on a household where everything was 'ours' and put him on all my accounts immediately.  He never did put me on his.  After 2 years we divorced.  He again became a good friend.  He found a woman who also had kids who wanted his steady paycheck and the fact that he didn't get drunk every night like her first husband.  We are all still friends.  Just my $.02.
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Forcus

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Re: All's fair in love and finance
« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2013, 10:21:26 am »
While there are a couple red flags I think some of the comments may be a bit harsh. It's kind of like when my wife blames me for not somehow knowing what she is hungry for. "If you don't tell me, I'm not going to make you what you might want." It sounds like by your own admission you are maybe a bit too agreeable and not vocal enough and you two really need to hammer this out. For his part it doesn't sound like it's a money issue, it's a "becoming a grown up" issue. He clearly wants to be a big boy and that's awesome but his perceptions haven't caught up with reality yet (that is, just because someone you know has a big house, new cars, 2.5 kids, means that you should be able to get the same thing). It sounds like you need to be the ying to his yang and settle on something that isn't quite ideal for both sides, but workable. Based on your second post, that's happening.

Some perspective, I am 31 and every year in my 20's has had a lot of change from the last. This financial frugality is an outgrowth of my desire to make a lot of money now and retire early. I would never have dreamed of that a couple years ago, of getting off the corporate job treadmill, I just knew at the company I work for you work 35 years and retire in luxury. You guys haven't worked long enough to get burnt out (and maybe you won't), but the McMansion in the suburbs is a good way to guarantee that you'll be chained to that treadmill.