Inner Scorecard vs Outer Scorecard: My Just Right Inner Scorecard Husband

The Inner vs Outer Scorecard: My Just Right Inner Scorecard Husband
In honour of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I thought I would share a bit about my just right inner scorecard husband.

I first learned about this term from my husband, and delved more deeply into it after reading The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder.

Warren Buffett learned about the inner scorecard from his father.  To keep to an inner scorecard, you don’t care what others think of you.  To keep to an outer scorecard, you care more about what others think of you.  You want to Keep Up with the Joneses because you want to make sure the Joneses respect you and don’t want them to look down on you.

Warren Buffett learned to not care about what others think and instead beat to the tune of his own goals, this is one of the reasons why I love Warren Buffett.  He finds investing challenging, fun, and is competing against himself, and isn’t interested in earning the money so he can use it.  He doesn’t feel the need to buy a huge mansion even though he is a billionaire.  He didn’t feel the need to upgrade to the fanciest barber in town or tip an astronomical amount (e.g. worrying that the barber will think he’s cheap because he is wealthy and yet he tips the same amount), even though he is a billionaire.  He didn’t feel the need to have his kids go to private school.

You can read more about the inner scorecard on The Farnam Street Blog.

From the The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of LIfe by Alice Schroeder:

The big question about how people behave is whether they’ve got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard. I always pose it this way. I say: ‘Lookit. Would you rather be the world’s greatest lover, but have everyone think you’re the world’s worst lover? Or would you rather be the world’s worst lover but have everyone think you’re the world’s greatest lover?’ Now, that’s an interesting question.”

I’ve had my share of figuring out where I stand and dating men who are both outer scorecard and inner scorecard.  Here’s my own experience with the inner and outer scorecard.

Ex Boyfriend #1

The ex whom dated for 7+ years, and bought a house with, I would say he was a mixture between the outer scorecard and the inner scorecard.  He had some aspirations that were more inner scorecard, like having a 6 figure salary when he turned 30, and at other times, he had some actions and comments that made me uncomfortable but I didn’t know why at the time.  He bought (actually, financed) a BMW convertible that he could not afford to pay for in cash, and used our Home Equity Line of Credit to fund it.  He made the payments but I did feel uncomfortable given that we were already $500,000+ in mortgage debt already.  At the time, I think the BMW convertible cost almost close to his annual salary.

Some outer scorecard examples were him wanting to share photos and locations of what we were eating, or places we were visiting, on Facebook and looking forward to the ‘likes’ that would be clicked by his friends or acquaintances on Facebook.  I remember him approving people on Facebook that he didn’t even know or thought he knew.  He didn’t understand why I deleted Facebook from time to time.

After he got his car, he would make comments like, “I’m going to drive around downtown with the top down and all the ladies are going to check me out!” (yes, this comment was made while we were in a relationship, I should have had the foresight to see that it wasn’t going to work out with comments like this!  Lol)

Meanwhile, I continued to drive my 7+ year old car and didn’t see the need to buy a luxury car like he did.

Related: Things do Happen for a Reason: Happiness After Heartbreak

Ex Boyfriend #2

After a tumultuous break up, I met ex-boyfriend #2.  He was even younger than ex boyfriend #1 and perhaps more immature.  He was a foodie and liked to dine at fancy restaurants that were $50-100 a meal.  Which was totally fine with me except that about 4 months into the relationship (should have talked about this earlier of course, in hindsight) he told me that he was in non-mortgage debt.  It wasn’t student loan debt, but HELOC debt (there’s that HELOC again, Canadians’ best friend– there are over 3 million active HELOCs with an average balance of $70,000 in Canada) because of his lifestyle.  He had an antique BMW (yes, what’s what the BMWs??) that cost him at least $400 in gas a month, $150 for car insurance, and cost another $1000 from time to time for maintenance.  He also really valued what others thought of him, but I guess more importantly, he liked cars.  He would dine in nice restaurants even though he couldn’t afford it.  He would take me out to fancy restaurants even though he couldn’t afford it (and then I would reciprocate at fancy establishments as well).  Needless to say, this relationship didn’t work out because his actions spoke louder than words, even though he said he valued frugality and being financially stable.  He tried for a few months to pay off the debt but continued to add to it instead.

I like to get an update by creeping on Instagram once in a while, and he upgraded to a very sleek looking Porsche.

Related: How to Not Waste Time and Money When Finding a Compatible Life Partner

“The big question about how people behave is whether they’ve got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard.”
— Warren Buffett

My Inner Scorecard Husband

When I met my husband, I had the misconception that he would keep to an outer scorecard.  I thought he would be a player and I was hesitant to date him.  He was older, and still single, and never married (I thought that he was the type to not settle down or be a commitment-phobe).  He was handsome (still is!) and girls all around were fawning over him, lol.  I remember the first time I sat in his car, and he said his sunroof was broken and he hasn’t bothered to fix it.  His left turn signal was also busted and would signal in a fast pattern, probably inducing seizures for people driving behind him.  He also drove a 10+ year old car like me, although it was a luxury car, a Mercedes c230 Kompressor (my dream car in university, when my own outer scorecard-ism was off the charts high).

When I first went to his apartment, it was small, just like mine.  I noticed the dirty carpet from 10+ years of not cleaning them professionally (or maybe at all??).  I noticed that he had makeshift screens added to his windows that didn’t fit properly (or at all) to keep the insects out.  He told me he got them from his mom’s house and she didn’t need them.  I remember smiling from ear to ear and almost laughing out loud because my conception and idea of him living large and living a high flying lifestyle was completely off.  You really can’t judge a book by its cover.

My husband doesn’t care what others think of him and he is very driven by his inner scorecard.  He rarely buys clothes and lives a very simple life- I would say I have been influenced by him to live even more simply than I already did. Our third date was at McDonald’s (there were no coupons used that day too, what a splurge!).  He’s happy if he spends the day reading, working out, and staying home.

I’m very pleased I found my inner scorecard husband because we have similar values and a similar focus on authenticity, simplicity, and understand that it is time rather than things that are most important in life.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying having an outer scorecard is bad, I’m just saying it’s not who I am and what I value, which is why I felt uncomfortable previously but couldn’t pinpoint why.

Have you heard of the terms inner and outer scorecard? 

Do you think that as we age, we lean closer towards an inner scorecard, or do you think it is something that is more inherent in someone’s personality?

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15 thoughts on “Inner Scorecard vs Outer Scorecard: My Just Right Inner Scorecard Husband”

  1. Very interesting. I have never heard of this before. I’m mostly inner score card. And yes, I think as we age we care less about the perception of others. As a comparison, my brother is much more outer score. Let’s see. He went into sales and I went into accounting/finance. He drives a Lexus. I drive a Camry with a 150k miles. He loves to entertain people at his fancy house so they can all ooh and aah over it. I don’t like to have guests over. It makes me uncomfortable. I could go on and on. Maybe this helps me understand him better.

    • @Tom- So interesting! I think maybe inner and outer scorecard probably is associated or correlated with introversion and extroversion too.

  2. Wow, you lucked out big time. (Your husband did too.)
    I’m an inner scorecard guy. I don’t care what other people think at all.
    It’s probably due to the childhood environment. We were immigrants and I didn’t really fit in well at school.
    Later on, my parent had a small restaurant. I spent most of my high school years working there and didn’t socialize that much with other kids my age. That’s probably why I don’t care much about peer pressure.
    Have a great Valentine’s Day.

    • @Joe- Hah I know I totally did! Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day! We did nothing haha 🙂 Your parents raised you very financially sound!

  3. I have never heard the scorecard term before but it sounds like a great way to describe someone who either really cares what others think or doesn’t really give a shi..crap what anyone else thinks(it’s a family blog right?! Gotta eliminate the cussing, haha!)
    I’ve evolved from being a outer scorecard guy in my 20s and a bit in my early 30s to being more inner because I have figured that at the end of the day you have to make yourself happy. You don’t need the approval of your friends to make yourself satisfied because your just trying to win someone else over and not you. And plus being a inner scorecard person gets you more respect from your peers because they see the uniqueness you have.

    • @Kris- Good point about being an inner scorecard garnering more respect from peers- I think not only the uniqueness but that (like you said) one doesn’t give a crap what others think.

  4. Alright, I was with your husband until the ill fitting screens thing. After living in South Carolina for a time I’m pretty opposed to insects living inside my house and biting me lol. I’ve always been an inner scorecard kinda gal, but the way you mention posting online for people to see makes me wonder about blogging… 😉

    • @Angela- Haha 🙂 I know, it’s a bit ironic right? Maybe it’s a bit different with blogging because the people that are your blogging friends don’t usually know you in person or know you from before? That being said it’s a fine line with social media and all.

  5. I’ve never heard of the scorecard analogy but we are *very much* inner scorecard people. We dress for our own comfort and utility, we decorate to our own aesthetics if at all (I’m the non decorator, I LIKE blank white walls), we make choices based on our own values.

    We only care about what people think of us in the sense of showing care for the people we love. We show our love for them in tangible ways like sending gifts, checking in on them, and so on, but that has nothing to do with worrying about what they think about us and everything to do with wanting them to know we love them. That can certainly cost money and time but again those are choices we’re making based on our values.

    • @Revanche- Sounds like you have it all figured out :). I have the opposite problem and tend to be outerscorecard-ish- sometimes I give gifts in return because I worry about what they might think of me (like I don’t want to look cheap).

  6. Firstly, how have I not yet run across a Canadian mom personal finance blog!? I’m a Canadian mom trying to have my own personal finance blog so this is pretty cool. I’m going to read all posts after this. Secondly, Hubs is mostly inner scorecard. He is not interested in brand name clothing, he is willing to drive old cars to avoid a car payment. But for some reason he is outer scorecard about the state of the front lawn. Our neighbours are like lawn gurus so he is trying to “keep up” in this area. I’m like “let it be clover!” It’s green after all. I’m growing to be more and more inner scorecard as I age and try to shoot for financial independence. It’s a nice way of reminding ourselves of what’s important.

    • @T on FIRE- Haha, Yeahhh Canadian moms PF blogs! Actually there are a few mom PF bloggers Canadians out there. Like Money After Graduation and Mixed Up Money, and The Financial Graduate to name a few. Haha, oh the green lawn! There’s something about an immaculate weed free pristine green lawn that is very satisfying, so I can totally relate (I don’t have a lawn right now but I like looking at them).


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