Talking about money is seen as taboo in our culture, and often this awkwardness can carry into holy matrimony. Mixing love and money can easily get complicated. Opposites attract as they say and whilst that can be the magic on the relationship side of things, opposing values about financial matters can equal disaster.
We all know the facts; disagreements over financial matters rate highly when it comes to the many reasons a relationship can fail. Even without failure, money squabbles undoubtedly cause a significant amount of stress for even the happiest of couples.
With the little time you get as a busy parent to relax; talking money worries with your partner is often at the bottom of your to do list. But having healthy conversations about your finances is a non-negotiable for any couple striving for a healthy marriage.
Finding ways to communicate with one another on the topic can be a real challenge though; as we know, men and women naturally communicate differently and when it comes to money ? the story?s no different.
So next time you find yourself in conversations over love and money – here are 7??marriage friendly? and practical approaches to talking money without going to war on the subject!
1.Focus on the issues not each other
Remove each other from the equation and talk about the issue instead of arguing about who?s doing what wrong. For example, if bothers you that your partner spends too much, talk to them about how you are concerned you?re not saving enough money to meet your goals rather than pointing the figure at their spending habits.
Too often, couples get trapped in argument about what each other is doing (or not doing) when it comes to money; stonewalling the conversation with accusations which put you both on the defence.
By focusing instead on how this affects your goals, you?re still talking about the same problem but you?re drawing your partner into finding a solution to the problem with you, rather than arguing over how much they spend on lunches each week.
2. Ask for their opinion
Asking your partner for their opinion promotes discussion. It is a great way to approach your conversations about money from a neutral position and get the dialogue between the two of you going.
Let?s say it bothers you that your partner keep?s their income and expenses separate. If it?s something you?ve never discussed before, rather than arguing about their secrecy, try sitting down and asking them what they think is the best way to structure the household finances.
They are more likely to open up on the matter when you take a collaborative approach rather than go in all guns blazing. Use the opportunity to talk about the detrimental aspects for both of you with how things are currently run and why you think things need to change.
3. Bring in the experts
Another great way to talk about your financial concerns is to bolster your argument with the opinions of the experts. It?s not your opinion, it?s theirs.
Your partner may want to argue with your opinion on money matters, but they?re less likely to have an argument to rival the advice of Warren Buffet when it comes to investing wisely! Do your research on the topic and come prepared to the conversation with thoughts from the best in the business.
Remember though that there?s not necessarily a ?right? answer when it comes to nutting out the way forward. The real reason for citing what the experts have to say is to bring an outsiders perspective, who educated on the subject, in for consideration. This helps you to cycle out of arguing over each other?s perspectives and into contemplating someone else?s thoughts on the matter.
4. Set financial goals together
This doesn?t have to be as awful as it sounds. You don?t need a formal sit down at the kitchen table with sharpened pencils to get talking about your goals. Look at this conversation as just another opportunity to talk about your future together over coffee, a walk with the kids, or a quiet dinner at home. ?Goal setting is, quite simply, is starting with the end in mind.
The point here is to be able to work out what is important to each of you when it comes to your finances. You discover what each other?s priorities are in the context of your future together rather than getting bogged down in a discussion that feels more like an interrogation about each other?s 5 year plan.
You can keep it fun and light by starting the conversation with the ?what if?s? of if you won lotto. Then work your way down to the more specific pain points like saving for the kid?s education, holidays and dealing with current debts
5. Work your budget out together
Now I can understand how this wouldn?t rate highly on your list of date night activities, and nor should it. But finding some time to sit down together and work through the exercise of setting up your family budget is a great way to approach talking about money.
Most importantly it fosters a team mentality towards managing your finances. As you work on building the budget together, you naturally create the opportunity for discussion on the issues of what is and isn?t working within the household.
Then having spent the time working this spending plan out together, you reach a consensus on what your approach to handling your money will be and garner a commitment from each other to stick to it.
Now I?m a realist as well, so I?m well aware that those with even the best intentions will often steer off track to the ?agreed? budget. So if that is your current or previous experience with budgeting, then know you are not alone and that this is something you will need to revisit together in order to stay on track and adjust for changes in your circumstances.
[yellowbox][thrive_2step id=’491′]BONUS?DOWNLOAD[/thrive_2step]?– Get the exact budget spreadsheet that I use for our household[/yellowbox]
6. Divide and conquer
Remember that neither of you are a one man band and all the financial management of the household doesn?t have to be made by the same individual.
An easy way to talk to your partner about money is to discuss sharing some of the responsibilities of managing your finances. Perhaps one of you can be in charge of day to day bill payments & banking while the other focuses on your investments?
That way you have shared responsibilities when it comes to managing your money and talking points to start discussions about concerns or improvements you want to make to how things are handled. This is much less likely to be seen as a criticism then of the way the party managing the majority of affairs is handling things.
7. Bring props to the conversation
Carl Richards is a personal finance columnist for the New Yorker ? he wrote the book ?The One Page Financial Plan.? (An excellent read by the way!) He suggests before you sit down to discuss finances with your partner that you write the words ?No Blame, No Shame? across a truckers hat and each wear one during your conversations about money.
This not only serves as a reminder to avoid the blame game, but it?d be pretty hard to keep a straight face too ? and therefore very hard to end up in an argument! You could obviously write anything you want to ? something that means something to both of you is ideal. So grab your hats next time you attempt to look over your monthly expenses together!
Regardless of whether you?re spenders or savers, approaching your conversations with these tips in mind will help take the heat and awkwardness out of the discussion and have you talking love and money with ease.