A Richer Understanding: Head and Heart

Brian Tramuel helms this series. He lives with his wife Michelle, their children Geneva and Brian, and their Cocker Spaniel Maestro in Charlotte, NC. They, along with his two older children from a previous marriage, Davina and Aaron, provide a constant source of inspiration. Aaron lives, works and plays in Charlotte and Davina lives, works and plays in Roanoke, VA.

December 19th, 2015 was the eight month mark of marriage for my wife and me. Although we have been together for many years, marriage has helped to improve my perspective on four letter words beginning with L and ending in E.

RS A Richer Understanding

Of love; I’m recording my observations with the thought of writing an essay on our first year of marriage.

Of life; I’m reconciling 2015 and eyeing the future.

Grand Opening, Grand Closing

We opened the year with excitement for resetting our lives and now we prepare to close it out with holiday celebrations and reflection. Looking back on the goals we set; spiritual, financial, physical and mental, one journal entry stands out “saving money is about emotion and contentment.” It was a teaching moment during a financial literacy program I attended; it resonated with me because of our variance in style and thoughts about saving.

Saving Money is About Emotion and Contentment

Of Emotion; I understand my own mind-set about money, it is equally important to understand my wife’s.  By default our conflicts on simple everyday spending led to more meaningful discussion about long-term goals. We are working through those differences, and hopefully on the right path to a harmonious and financially secure future.

Of Contentment; One of my comments to Michelle when she starts to go on about desiring more money is that she (we) should make more or desire less. It is usually followed by a beautiful smile and a few not so pretty words. I counter by painting a pretty picture, a visual image of our goal(s). Again, I understand my contentment level, it is equally important to understand my wife so that we can help each other rein in what could become a never-ending affinity to expand.

Wants vs. Needs

The textbook definition of saving money is simply spending less than you earn. This means being content with what you have. I ask myself before most purchases if it is a want or a need. Is it going to enhance my life or is it another shiny thing that costs too much.

I’ve learned valuable tips reading the posts and comments alike here on RS, most are straightforward, however they may be easier said than done for some. I’ve found the most helpful tip has been to know how much you’re spending. We absolutely underestimated how much money we were spending and it was reinforced during pre-marital counseling when we were asked to present a spending plan. We were wasting a lot of money on wants and trying to figure out where our money was going.

As it relates to saving money there can be a conflict between our head and our heart. For some, emotions tell us one thing and our mind tells us something else. The result is like swinging; back and forth, back and forth… that light headedness can make you emotional to the point of irrationality at one moment and logical the next.

Learning how to blend the head and the heart has been added to the better thinking goals for next year.

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!


Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. Great article and suggestions! I like the part about contentment, it definitely goes a long way when you realize you need to be content before you can seriously start to save money, invest, travel, etc.

    • No doubt that once you reach a state of happiness and satisfaction you can more easily manage your money. And of course, when you reach the point of effectively managing your money you improve your contentment. It is a self-feeding loop of sorts. Thanks for stopping by, Willie and adding to the conversation.

  2. The financial conflicts of marriage are always difficult. It’s nice to see that you all are trying to get on the same page and close the gap that can cause so many problems.

  3. Very true. For most that push is a conscious decision. We need food to live but we don’t need ice cream and cake everyday.

  4. Wants versus needs is something that I think people need to be more aware of. Many “wants” get pushed into the “needs” bucket, especially here in the United States. It’s important to evaluate what truly is and isn’t a want.

    • Confusing the two, or being aware but choosing to ignore the difference, is a sure fire way to find yourself trapped under a mountain of debt.

  5. Good Message and saving is a good personal finance trait we all need to master. Being on the same page with a spouse does help the situation, and it really goes to show that if you both value saving it will be done very easy.

    • Personality plays a big part; spenders vs. savers … I’m happy we are able to communicate openly.

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