One of the most helpful things the two of you can do to strengthen your marriage and finances is sit down and be open with one another about your joint and individual finances. Unfortunately many couples allow their fears about how wrong it could go stop them from doing this.
This lack of communication can cause huge problems so if you haven’t already, make some time this week to discuss this with your husband or wife.
How do you get started? What should you discuss with the first talk? Here are ideas that I believe can help both of you be productive and reduce money arguments.
Be Upfront with Each Other with the Numbers
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to finances in a marriage. That means sharing all the relevant numbers and information with one another. Financial infidelity can be emotionally devastating to a marriage.
Though not the most pleasant of activities, both of you will need to review the debts you have on a regular basis. From college loans to car loans, credit cards and any other debt you have, it’s important that both of you know how much you owe.
This helps you create a realistic budget that will get you out of debt rather than having you two spin your financial wheels.
Create Goals Together
Okay so you know where you’re starting out from, but where are you two heading towards? When creating financial goals, start off with dreams. After all, money is simply a tool. You can use it to achieve your dreams or you can waste it. What do you two want?
You can start off by creating a list of goals you two wish to achieve in 1, 5, and 10 years. You two really need to think about what you value as individuals and as a couple.
- Do you want to eventually own a house in the country or do you want a condo in the city?
- Do you want to not lay roots and travel?
- Do you like to have some gadgets or do you want to save to go have unique experiences?
- Do either one of you want to start a business?
- Do you guys want kids down the road?
Asking these questions can allow you to build something together instead of making it up as you go. You also learn about each of your money personalities. Use this opportunity as a way to talk about the differences up front.
Play to Your Financial Strengths
There are many aspects to managing your money: spending, investing, debt reduction, savings, budgeting, and more. Mostly you and your spouse will excel in a couple of those areas.
As a couple, determine what those areas are, assign roles and responsibilities, and encourage your spouse in his or her respective duties. My husband is great at finding the best deals on electronics. He does the research and stays alert for when the price is lower than expected. After we discuss the monthly budget, I take care of the execution of it. We review everything on a monthly basis.
Thoughts on Talking About Money
When did the two of you first start talking about money? How did it go? Any advice for the rest of us?
Photo Credit: David Armsler