All couples have disagreements about finances—what to save, how to spend. Research indicates that it's more common for spouses to fight about money than about sex or in-laws. Daryl and Angela Dickhudt, of Bloomfield Township, Michigan, believe the statistics. In ten years of married life, finances have proved to be their biggest relationship hurdle. And, believe it or not, their troubles began after they became financially comfortable.
Poor, but Happy
Neither Daryl nor Angela was working when they married soon after graduating from Kalamazoo College. "We had this happy-go-lucky attitude," Angela says. "Our parents were more scared than we were."
Daryl got the first job he applied for—as a computer programmer. Angela, who had planned on entering the corporate world, ended up overseeing maintenance of executive vehicles at the Saturn headquarters while pursuing her MBA—in finance. The Dickhudts lived on a shoestring, like most newlyweds, and were perfectly happy.
"Back then our goal was to have a house," says Daryl. "Meeting that goal together was great."
"We also promised each other when we got married that we'd spend our five-year anniversary in Greece," Angela says. "And we did that. But after that we didn't have any specific goals for our money."
The big disagreements over finances came later, after Daryl's first promotion, which came with a significant salary increase. So how did two knowledgeable, happily married people end up struggling over money?1