Big Numbers, Little Numbers

Friends we know recently asked us, “How do you manage your finances as a couple?”

My wife answered: “Big Numbers and Little Numbers.” That IS how we do it – she manages the household checkbook and monthly bills (little numbers). I manage investments and annual tracking (big numbers).

It’s not about importance – they both are important. It’s just what we are good at. She worked at a bank before our son was born back in the 1990s. I ran businesses that tracked against an annual P&L and balance sheet at MegaCorp. Our personalities match our vocations and that helps everything get done.

She asks for help with the weekly bill-paying on occasion and I keep her informed on our annual net worth tracking when I update it a few times a year. I also do most of the annual taxes / tax planning and we kind of split figuring out insurance (she once worked at an insurance MegaCorp, too).

We’ve each managed our roles quite autonomously for almost 30 years. We started doing everything together, but quickly evolved to “Big Numbers, Little Numbers”.

How do you manage your finances with your spouse?

Image Credit: Pixabay

8 thoughts on “Big Numbers, Little Numbers

  1. Like you guys, during much of our working careers we split the big and little numbers. However, once we both retired four years ago, I took back over the little numbers in addition to the big numbers because my wife didn’t really enjoy paying the bills. My wife isn’t really interested in numbers in general, but is naturally frugal. She somehow just knows what to spend and amazingly keeps us on a very stable spending plane. I now pay the bills monthly and manage the investments because I actually enjoy the numbers. (I probably subconsciously miss the business aspects of my career, so I think it fills a small gap for me in retirement…Sad, I know, but likely true!) We talk often about money, and fortunately we have a similar financial mindset for the big picture. It works for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our situation is also that “somehow [we] just know what to spend” and stay on a “very stable spending plane”. We don’t budget anymore, yet we don’t really spend more or less than we always have. Funny how it works like that!


  2. Paul Newman once said this about why his 50-year marriage to Joanne Woodward worked so well for both of them: “We’re very different and the fact that we’ve managed to take those differences and admire them so much in the other one, I think that’s what makes the binding work.”

    Liked by 1 person

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