Usually, but not always, when a couple is having money problems, one of the two people in the relationship comes to the realization that things are not working financially, and something needs to change before the other one does. It doesn’t have to be major money problems, but it could be. It could be large amounts of debt, or it could be that you want to just start saving more for retirement, so you want to cut back on some of your budget categories or unaccounted-for spending.
Whether it is debt, overspending, or not saving enough, it is very easy for one person to accuse the other (whether directly or by thinking the other person is to blame) and for the discussion to quickly disintegrate into a full blown argument. It is mentioned all of the time, but it is true. Money is one of the major causes of divorce.
While my wife and I are not always on the same page, we do have discussions about money these days instead of arguments. We have common goals for our money, and can discuss them without things getting heated. Here are some tips for discussing money related issues with your spouse or partner.
Have a discussion, not an argument- It is very easy to start off with an accusatory tone when talking about problems with money. However, it is very likely that your partner will become defensive, and not really listen to the underlying message, but instead try to defend him or herself. Don’t accuse or argue, just discuss the issues in a calm manner.
Tell them what your goals are, and why you have them- Just saving money or not spending so much is a good idea, but what are your ultimate goals? Saving for a dream home, early retirement, or next year’s vacation is a concrete goal, and it’s likely that your spouse is probably interested in those types of goals as well.
Ask them what their goals are-Don’t focus only on yourself and your goals. What are your husband or wife’s goals? Are your goals more important than theirs? Are the similar? Try to compromise when possible.
Plan your future together- Marriage is a partnership-one person can’t dominate the relationship, whether it is money or the TV remote. (I know, I’ve tried to be in charge of the remote-it does not work!) Talking about your dreams for the future together can help you plan your future together.
Discuss solutions together- Don’t just tell them what you think the solution is, ask for their input. By solving problems together, you get your husband, wife, or partner involved in the changes, and they won’t fell like you are dominating the issues.
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- Don’t Wait on Someone Else or Some Future Event to Fix Your Finances
- How Not To Solve Your Personal Debt Problems….
- Funny but True: SNL- Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford