One of the first questions I ask to couples who engage in counseling for financial unity is “Did you discuss finances prior to marriage?” Surprisingly, many married couples never had an in-depth discussion about their finances prior to marriage. In many marriages, a conversation about finances never enters the equation until there is financial problem. In some marriages, the couples avoid the “scary” financial discussion until they are back on the honeymoon. Consequently, many marriages start with financial pitfalls lurking in the background.
In order for a couple to avoid these pitfalls, the best thing to do is to have money conversation before walking down the aisle. Now, if you reading this blog post and you are married. You can still have this conversation. It is never too late.
A financial discussion can be the beginning of a great financial legacy. However, many couples avoid it due to constant arguments, anxiety, floods with overwhelming emotions, feeling stuck. Quite frankly, I encounter many couples who just don’t even know where or how to start a financial conversation with attacking each other.
Since the money conversation is vital in marriage, here are 6 tips that you can use to have a successful money conversation with your spouse.
Make it about us, not you – I have heard this spill many times – this is my money and this is your money. The classic couples, who have separate accounts, spend their money separately; make financial decision without consulting or even considering each other. I challenge you to really take to heart that it is no longer just about you, IT IS ABOUT US. When you were single, you made financial decisions that benefited just you. Once you said I do, you accept another person in your life. Financial decisions are about us and benefit us. Consequently, merging your finances make the transition from two to becoming one. You create a financial bond. The best way to do create that bond is to think of us. Talk about how we will spend our money? What type of house we want to buy with our money? Start your money conversation about your dreams as couple. Talk about the dream for us.
Let go of the secrets – Separate financial life usually leads to secrets. And when a marriage has secrets especially financial secrets, it is just as bad as sexual infidelity. You might think the previous statement was took it too far. But, if you have credit cards your spouse do not know about, you have hide purchases from your spouse, you have manipulated your spouse to buy what you want with guilt or the “I work hard excuse” or you make financial decision in secrets. This is infidelity. In order to experience financial unity, you need to let go of the secrets. Yes, your spouse might be angry at first. But letting go of your financial secrets, give you freedom. And you can start fresh to build financial unity and eliminate any trust issues.
Know your financial styles as a couple – In marriage there is a spender and there a saver. During your money talk, really discuss your financial style. Are you spender or a saver? By talking it out to your spouse you can keep each other balance. Be each support system. When you are anxious about finances, your spouse can help you to relax. If you are the spender, you spouse can help you to slow down and see a different perspective. Talk to blend your financial style as one.
Photo Courtesy of BK under Flickr Creative Commons
Know your financial goals as a couple – To know where you are going and how you and your spouse going to get financial freedom is not in freeing, it is reassuring. You cannot succeed financial if you don’t have financial goals. Do you want to invest in stock? Do you want to make enough money to leave a great financial legacy? Talking about your financial goals help you to put actual plans to your dreams. After all, if you don’t talk about your financial goals, how can you help each other to realize your goals? It is no longer a one man or one woman show. Talk about your financial goals.
Worries do not increase your bank account – Living your life as a pauper or worrying about the bills over and over will not get you to financial unity. When you are talking to your spouse, express your worries in order for your spouse to know the reason behind your actions. Then, release the worries. Get support from each other. Talk about your financial dreams and how you plan to implement them.
Build a plan together – Having the financial conversation about your financial life together is just one step. If you don’t create a plan to address your financial life, you will continue to have financial discord. Consequently, it is crucial that both of you create a budget and agree on how each dollar will be spend. Budgeting is one of the steps that will stop you from spending more than you make.
If you are thinking about engagement, you are engaged or you have walked down the aisle, having the money talk is crucial for the life of your marriage. Don’t live separately financial life, because if you do, you will wonder where your money has gone. Don’t make the same mistake many couples make, they leave their finances up to chance and keep fighting about money issues. Take action by having a money talk with your spouse
Questions: What are your financial goals? Are you and your spouse in the same page concerning these goals?
Take Action – Sadly, money issues is the # 1 cause of marital discord in America. You don’t have to be a statistic. Schedule a time this coming week to have the money conversation with your spouse. Pick one of the 6 tips and just start.
Thank you for reading