Merging Finances? Skip the Money Talk, Go on a Date Instead!
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Are you two stressed over money? Do your talks more often than not end up in fights? Learn how money dates can be effective and fun way you get on the same page and talk about money!
The Money Talk vs Money Dates
One of the most popular questions I get is, when should we talk about money?
Having THE money talk is not only intimidating but unproductive. Find out a better, less stressful option in today's episode.
In this episode, we'll get into:
- why talking about money matters
- how you two can make money talks less stressful
- how money dates can help you build up your marriage and money
Let's get started!
Resources to Make Managing Money Together Easier
Want to stay on top of your money without stressing over the small stuff? Here are some key resources and tools to check out!
- Best Budget and Money Apps: Personal Capital, Tiller, Mint, Honeyfi, and Zeta
- Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money
We’re going to discuss the ins and outs building your credit in our private Facebook group over at Thriving Families. It’s free and fun – please join us!
Why Talking About Money Matters
Talking about money can have a meaning impact on your marriage. But it can be a scary step, especially if one or both of you has debt.
I know this firsthand.
After we were engaged, we decided we were going to share our numbers.
It didn't go as well as we thought.
My fiance was living on a cash-based budget and had one semester's worth of student loans that he was going to pay off when the grace period was over.
I had the trifecta of debt – credit card, car loan, and student loans.
It was obvious we weren't on the same page with money.
As rip off the band aid experience that was, the money talk had us face our differences up front. No hiding, just fairly clear idea of what we needed to work on.
However, in the years since from what we learned personally and hearing from other couples who've done some amazing things with their money, I would do things differently.
Instead of having THE money talk, I'd go on a date – specifically money dates.
It has been a powerful and – I'm serious about this – fun way to connect.
How Money Dates Work
First off, let's start with what money dates are not – poring over spreadsheets, playing the blame game, or stressing over mistakes one or both of you have made.
No, nope, and stop doing that.
These dates are about making sure your money is going towards what's important to the two of you through these regular check ins that allow you to take just a bit of time to see what's working and what's not.
One big reason they can work is that they're low key and fun. Go out, see a movie, catch a concert, have a picnic at a park, whatever you want to do, but set aside a bit of time to discuss finances and you really don't need much.
For us, it might be 10, maybe 20 minutes of the day. Why? Because we have a system that works for us.
I get into the details on how to do this in the book, Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money, but I want to give you a few key parts to a successful money day.
We like to start things with the wins we had. It can be personal winds, financial wins, or professional. Starting out with something positive puts us on the same side, has us energized about working together.
We then go over and review the goals we picked out. Now, what goals are these?
I think that couples should focus on not just the financial goals, but also the big picture. Try to put a why behind your goal.
Let me give you an example. Some people say their goal is to pay off debt.
Not a bad thing to shoot for, but I don't think that should be your goal.
I think you two should work on what's your life going to be like after the debts paid off?
When you nail that down, then paying off the debt being a milestone and it becomes easier to stick with it.
Be Willing to Adjust Your Money and Goals
Just be aware that sometimes you're going to have to adjust your own goals and adjust the deadlines.
Don't be afraid of that.
Sometimes we beat ourselves up because we set this hard and fast date to accomplish something. But guess what? Life happens.
It think 2020 is the poster year for this.
Progress, though, is progress.
So once we have an idea of where we're going, we briefly go over the numbers.
Now the good news is there are so many wonderful tools and apps that make it a breeze to review those numbers.
A few of my favorites right now are personal capital, Tiller Mint. You need a budget and a new one, proactive budget.
Each of them has its own pros and cons.
So if you two want to dig in a little more, please check out my reviews. I want you to find something that works with your personality and with your goals.
Afterward, we plan for the next month. I think a lot of budgets fail because it's the same almost for every month.
You think the bills are the same, but most times something is off and different. So we like to review and preview ahead of time to see what's coming up and adjust accordingly.
And then we celebrate.
It's a date. Once we take care of the numbers and we're on the same page. It's time to relax and wrap things up.
Now, this isn't a complicated process, but it's really helpful because we have that framework.
In the book. I get into the questions that you can use to open up about finances.
Little more details about the tools and more, because I know it could be a little awkward when you're just getting started. However, you like to arrange your money dates, make sure it's a regular thing.
What I've seen with couples is sometimes one person is really good with the numbers and they run with it and the other person sort of has an idea of what's going on. But doesn't know exactly what's happening month to month, and that's not a good thing, even if one of you loves working with spreadsheets or loves checking all the accounts.
Both of you should be on the same page and in the loop. It'll help you get more comfortable not only with the finances but with your big goals together.
You should be working as a team on them. And that's a huge win.
Jumpstart Your Marriage & Your Money
Stressed over money? Get the guide to building your wealth together!
Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money is designed to get you two on an effective and easy system to dump your debt, save for your dreams, and become financially independent in four weeks!
Inside, you’ll learn how to:
- Stop fighting about money. See how you two can get on the same page with your goals and have fun with money dates.
- Automate your budget & system. Stay on top of your money without stressing over every penny.
- Earn and save more money. We’ll go through ways you can slash your expenses and start building some extra income to reach your dreams faster!
I will go through step by step with you and if you have questions, I'll find the tools, resources, and answers to help you out.
Purchase it and email me a copy or screenshot of the receipt and I'll register you for the course. It's my way of saying thank you.
Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Smashwords | Kobo
Like the music in this episode? Our theme song is by Gentle Regime. Additional music by Lee Rosevere and Logan from Music for Makers in this episode.
This episode was originally released in June 2017. It has been updated July 2020.
Thank you for sharing. From my personal experience, most often one is a spender, and the other is a saver. Which are two polar opposites. I’m the saver in my relationship. My wife is the spender. We’ve been married for 7 years and we never fight about money. Not any more that is. We’ve moderated quite a bit where both of us have come closer to the middle. She respects and understands our need as a family to save, and I respect her personality and desire to spend so we find middle ground. I don’t nag her on the small stuff. That certainly has helped too.
Thanks Tim for sharing yoru take! Compromise has been key for us. We have similiar interests, but differ on a few things (I love to travel, he’s loves local).
find solutions we both love is a challenge, but I think well worth it!
My husband and I started talking about a joint account once we got serious about a proposal. It could be a sensitive topic, but if a couple plans to get married, they should broach the subject as soon as possible.
Yeah, it can be a bit awkward at first to open up on the numbers, but getting that out can help identify areas to talk about.
Glad you guys took care of it sooner rather than later!
Love this money date idea so much! I actually just wrote a post about the different ways to combine finances after “I do”. Like, do you fully combine all accounts? Each contribute all but your private stash to the joint account? Each contribute just a portion to the joint account? That sort of thing.
Of course step one is to have The Talk. I advocated for ripping the Band-Aid off and forcing the conversation, but your money date is a much better idea! I may have some editing to do…
Michelle, I love your site name!
I agree that talking about money as soon as you can for couples. IT can help you two define what’s important for you. Having done the money talk, I feel like dates are more encouraging and help us to take bite sized chunks with our finances and goals.