It’s hard enough to budget as a single person. But when you add a spouse into the equation, money can quickly become a source of tension.
Even if both partners are working and can afford to live comfortably, issues like savings, college funds, and healthcare may need to be arranged. Don’t put these conversations off because you don’t want to speak up about money or cause an argument.
Make an agreement with your spouse to follow these rules on discussing finances:
- Say “our,” not “my.”
Even if only one spouse is working, your finances belong to your entire family. This one little adjustment will help both spouses feel comfortable expressing their feelings and goals about your (as in both of your) financial future.
- Understand each other’s financial history.
Many decisions about money come from the way we were raised. Someone who went through hard times as a child may be more inclined to save or budget. Or maybe it’s just the opposite.
Understanding where your partner is coming from will prevent you from getting frustrated or annoyed if their financial plan doesn’t match up with yours.
- Plan ahead.
Come to the table prepared. Know where you want to go with your money, what you want to eventually purchase, how much you want to save, and if you have any future investment plans.
But be prepared to have an open discussion and compromise; there should be give and take. The idea of writing the information down is not to “get your way” but to have it on hand. This way, you will not have to backtrack later if you forgot to mention something during the stress of talking about money.
- Make it a date… with something fun after.
It’s important to plan a time where you can sit and focus on your financial goals. But a “money date” isn’t an exciting date at all! So make that just your starting point and plan a fun date, meal, or outing afterward.
This gives you a good excuse to head out for some couple time, while still encouraging you to actually sit down and talk about money.
- Don’t be afraid to bring in an adviser.
For couples who are investing, facing a major change, or managing a larger estate, it may be useful to bring in a third party. There are two possible routes to go.
First, consider a financial adviser to help you sort through financial issues and discuss the best options for your family from a professional point of view. This is particularly helpful if you and your spouse are at a standstill for what to do with a certain amount of money or have mutually decided on long-term financial goals but are not sure how to reach them.
Second, consider seeking a New York marriage coach if you frequently fight while discussing finances. Money is a surprisingly emotional subject. While your marriage coach can’t provide financial advice, her guidance can help you have a more productive conversation.
Rooting for you!