Even though your spouse is the closest person in the world to you, it can still be hard to discuss money with him/her. Maybe it’s that level of intimacy that makes talking about finances seem difficult. But the reality of life is that money is a challenge — and sometimes an obstacle — making it a crucial subject of conversation. When couples do not learn how to talk to each other about money, major marital strife may lie ahead. Avoid this mistake by following these tips for breaking the financial ice with your spouse.
Be patient and open.
Don’t begin the conversation about money as if you have all the answers and are scolding your partner. Even if you are sure you’re right, make your husband or wife feel like you are both in this together. Learn your partner’s thoughts and feelings about finance, then you can move forward as a team.
Decide which financial issues are most important.
- If you and your spouse are in debt, that’s probably the place to start. Each of you should get a credit score, this will allow you to create a baseline for each person’s debt.
- If you are making enough combined income to start saving for emergencies or buy a house and haven’t been doing it, that’s another potential team goal on which to work.
- It’s also never too soon to begin thinking about how you and your significant other are preparing for retirement , whether you’re in your 20s or 60s.
Act like a spouse, not an accountant.
Remember that this is the person you love and want to spend your life with, not a competitor or villain. Be affectionate both in tone and touch when you say anything that might make him/her uncomfortable, such as mentioning that he/she might need to cut back in certain areas of spending. Make sure to point out your own spending faults as well. List the ways you can change your own financial habits, and you probably won’t even need to mention what your partner will need to do; they’ll follow your lead and look at how they can adjust their own spending while following your responsible example, especially if you are on the same financial page.
Don’t stop talking until you come to an agreement.
Make mutual decisions about how your family should break down your budge into housing, automobiles, bills, entertainment, food and savings. Don’t accept something that you’re going to regret later — don’t let things gnaw at you until you become passive-aggressive or angry. Keep communicating and compromising until you are both happy and at peace with your decisions.
After the big talk.
It’s necessary to take a break from talking about money once you’ve had a successful sit-down. Remind yourselves of what your marriage is all about by going out to dinner, seeing a concert or cuddling up for a movie in bed. Make a commitment to continue to have frequent, open talks about your finances — it’s the best way to head off major problems and plan for your prosperous future, together.