How to Talk to Your Spouse About Money
Talking to your spouse about money can be difficult, but there are positive ways to get through it.
Maybe you’ve become a victim of financial infidelity. Perhaps you are concerned about your partner’s financial habits, not your own. Either way, bringing up finances with your spouse or partner can be a little intimidating. Don’t let money get in the way of your relationship. By taking the following steps, you can work together to overcome your financial burdens and create positive conversation around money.
1. Stay Positive
Talking about money with your spouse can be stressful and it’s easy to get heated and frustrated with one another. It is important for both parties to maintain a positive and open-minded attitude and refrain from judgment or criticism. Avoid starting the discussion with panic, anger, or accusations. Instead, you may want to consider talking about goals and dreams, and how you can take steps to achieve them. Then, segue into what your concerns are about money and how they may be dealt with.
2. Create a Level Playing Field
Again, you want to try and refrain from the discussion becoming judgmental or accusatory. If you’re the one initiating the conversation about money, then your spouse may feel like you intend to scold them for their own financial habits and decisions. By admitting some of your own mistakes and challenges when it comes to money, you’ll reinforce that you are working with them, not against them.
3. Create a Plan Together
Take time to determine what your financial status looks like. Gather documentation from bank accounts, credit cards, mortgage, car loans, investments – anything you have so you can get a better sense of the big picture. Create a set of short-term and long-term goals to work towards. This will help you think of your spending and money in terms of goals, rather than just an abstract concept, and can help you stay motivated throughout the process. It may be wise to contact a financial advisor who can help you and your spouse put together a plan to get on track. If you find that you are in deep debt and unable to make payments on time, consider talking to a debt resolution attorney about what options are available to you to help ease the burden of your debt.
4. Keep the Conversation Going
The key to your continued financial well-being is regular communication. Don’t have money be something you are afraid to talk about. Agree to have a monthly meeting. It doesn’t need to be long or arduous, just a quick check up on your spending, and perhaps acknowledge a goal you have achieved or share something you are still struggling with. If you have children, consider including them in these meetings so they learn how to healthily talk about money, too. Invite them to share their goals and ask questions.
It is so common for the extent of money-talk in a relationship or marriage to be solely along the lines “Did you pay the cable bill yet?” or “Why did you spend that much on a new outfit?” So, it’s easy to see why it can feel like a burden to talk about money. That is why it is so important to be able to talkpositively about money, too. Being able to have real financial heart-to-hearts with your spouse will show whether you are on the same page as one another and help you work towards goals and lessen the chance of financial (and marital) disaster.
Have you had to talk to your spouse about debt or financial concern? Share your tips or experiences below!