More marriages and relationships break up because of money than anything other issue. Whether it’s how to spend the money you have, how to get out of debt, how to pay for children’s expenses, or something else, we can all agree that talking about money with your spouse or significant other is an emotional experience.
Talking about money is emotional. Period.
Part of a healthy relationship is being able to talk about a lot of personal topics. While I can’t speak for most of them, I can tell you that the money talk is among the most important. When done right, it strengthens your intimacy – if you can talk honestly and humbly about your money, you can just about discuss everything!
Here are my tips for talking to your spouse about money:
There is no blame game. Regardless of how you or your spouse got to where you are today, it doesn’t matter. Having the money conversation isn’t about focusing on the past, blaming, or judging. It’s about focusing on your financial future as individuals and as a couple. Focus on the future goal and vision you both share, not the past.
There are no secrets. As hard as it is, you and your spouse need to understand the good, the bad, and the ugly of each other’s finances. Pull credit reports, look at bank statements, track income and expenses, and create an estate and financial plan that suits your lifestyle. Not sharing even the smallest of indiscretions can quickly turn into a slippery slope which is why it’s easier to commit to sharing everything.
Share expenses. No one person should be solely responsible for expenses. While you may not have a joint checking account, spouses still need to be sharing expenses and most importantly, communicating about the financial state of affairs (whether good or bad). Find what works for your unique situation. I believe the “best practice” approach is to combine all income and expenses into one checking account but it’s also the most challenging at first and it’s certainly not the ONLY way. You might choose a joint checking account where both spouses deposit money and pay for joint expenses while taking care of their individual expenses on their own, for example.
Keep communicating. One budgeting meeting is a great start but the conversation must continue. Situations change making it important to be on the same page as your spouse. Change will not happen overnight and there will likely be some “growing pains” as you try new strategies. What’s working? What’s not working? What are you liking? What does your spouse like? Keep asking and then keep tweaking.
You’ve opened the door to the possibilities, now you can work toward your goals!
Interested in learning more about talking to your spouse about money? Schedule a Power Planning for Couples today! During the Power Planning session, not only do we ensure there’s a common understanding of your current financial situation, we also design a plan for how and when to talk about money. You walk away with a specific action plan for getting your money organized and achieving your goals while staying on the same page! Schedule today!