Sandra, 46, and Brad, 48, have checked off two important aspects of wealth-building: a large net worth and a clear idea of where their money goes each month. But Sandra still doesn’t feel like they’re doing well financially.

“On paper we’re not broke, but it feels like we are,” she recently told self-made millionaire Ramit Sethi on his “I Will Teach You to be Rich” podcast. Their last names were not used.

The couple has been married for 25 years, amassing a net worth of $1.3 million as of the time of the podcast’s recording. But they’re at odds with each other over how they each approach and handle money.

Brad has been the primary breadwinner throughout most of their marriage, but his income varies month to month. Sandra didn’t contribute much income-wise to the couple’s finances until a little over a year ago, she told Sethi.

Sandra’s main financial contribution is tracking the couple’s inflows and outflows and policing spending whenever money is tight, which happened often at the beginning of their marriage.

“[Budgeting] became easy when we were making a lot of money,” she said on the podcast. “When it’s not easy, it’s watching everything and being meticulous with where the money’s going and keeping track of it and being stressed about it.”

Sandra maintains a number of spreadsheets where she tracks dozens of goals and spending categories, but doing it on her own and having to tell Brad when they can’t spend any more in a given month makes her feel stressed out and guilty. Brad feels like he does all he can to achieve their goals, but will never meet the high standard she sets, he told Sethi.

As Sethi has pointed out to other couples, it isn’t always about the numbers.

“Most people genuinely believe that this process of tracking every last cent puts them in control of their money,” Sethi said. “People even describe this process as ‘managing money.’ But it’s not.”

Here’s why Brad and Sandra struggle to see eye to eye and how Sethi helped them understand what it really means to take control of their finances.

They have false money identities

They get hung up on small details

They struggle with communication

While Brad and Sandra may be too hung up on the numbers, Sethi said the bigger issue is that they don’t have the same goals for those numbers.

“The real issue is that they have so many layers of distrust and contempt that they can’t really communicate about this one thing,” he said.

Sandra stresses the budget and the frugality so much because she’s afraid they won’t be able to take care of themselves and their kids. Brad also wants to make sure his family is taken care of, but feels like there’s not a dollar amount that will actually make Sandra feel satisfied.

“I get very frustrated with that same conversation over and over again, whether we’ve got a lot of money in the bank or whether we’ve got very little money in the bank,” Brad said. “I feel like we’re playing a very opposite game.”

Sethi challenged them to ask each other what safety really means to the other person and how they can get there together. If it means a higher income, then they have to compromise and work together to bring in more money, not rely on one party to handle it on their own.

Communicating more clearly and specifically, plus collaborating to find solutions that work for both partners, can help them figure out a financial plan that fits their needs, allowing them to stop fighting over every dollar.

“I understand the fear, [but] being frantic is not going to get you what you want,” Sethi told Sandra. “It’s actually going to be more important for you to connect with Brad.”

Check out the full podcast episode here.

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