Do you know how to talk to your partner about money? Couples report that having “money” talks are some of the most stressful conversations they have to have with their spouse. Why is it so hard sometimes? We avoid the conversation, feel shame and guilt and anger and frustration when we talk, and then don’t want to talk about it again. The problem is, the money conversations have to happen.
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Heather’s here from FamilyVolley.com and she is sharing How to Talk to Your Partner About Money. She shares 6 Tips for Talking About Finances with your spouse.
- Schedule the conversation.
When money conversations happen unexpectedly, we are caught off guard. We can feel broadsided, or make our spouse feel broadsided and then are uncomfortable from the start. To avoid this, yet still acknowledge that the conversations have to happen, schedule them. We are more likely to follow through with things we schedule.
A good suggestion for scheduling is to have the conversations on a day when you or your spouse don’t have to work. The end of a work day can mean everyone is really tired. Look for time on a Saturday or Sunday. Also, schedule when no one is going to be tired or hungry and when children are asleep or gone so you don’t have the frustration of interruptions and child management. Try to schedule a money talk once a month so you are consistently on the same page and things don’t get too far away from your goals.
- Talk about goals not bills.
Be sure that the conversation is focused on the goals that the two of you are trying to achieve, opposed to pointing out all the mistakes your spouse has made or the bills that are pending. If the topic of the conversation is ” how do we reach the following goals”, no one will feel attacked and the conversation will run much more smoothly. And, focusing on the bills can lead you to talk about the lack of money, instead of “how can we make what we do have, work.”
- Have the character to say “sorry”.
No one is perfect and we have all spent money on things that aren’t necessary or forgot to take care of something. All of us. If mistakes have been made, apologize. Like Justin Beiber says “is it too late now to say sorry”? The answer is NO. Apologize, and then work to do better.
- Hold hands.
Holding hands makes it much harder to yell at each other, loose your temper, or say unkind things as you talk about finances. It also shows your spouse that regardless of overspending, or lack of understanding, or differences, you still love one another and that is more important than any bank statement. The simple act of touching as you talk does amazing things. Try it for other conversations also.
- Don’t judge and don’t freak out.
When your spouse admits a mistake, or apologizes, be patient and accepting. You have made a mistake at some point too. Don’t freak out on them either. It takes character to successfully have these types of conversations.
Character is the ability to do what is right regardless of emotion or circumstance. Have character and control your emotions and don’t judge or lose it. Your spouse will respond to your character and have a better chance of returning the favor during the discussion too.
- When you’re done, do something fun.
Plan to do something fun after your money discussion. It will mentally give you something to look forward to help you celebrate the new understandings and goals you have just worked through.
Don’t let this necessary conversation ruin your relationship. Have character and patience, and focus more on the common goals and less on pointing out each other’s mistakes.