You've come a long way together - from meeting for the first time, your first date, getting married, experiencing the ups and downs of life, and maybe even your first (or fifteenth!) wedding anniversary.
Many chapters of your relationship have involved life challenges, but there's one hurdle that can trip up even the strongest bonds: money talks.
Rather than approaching finances as an issue to fight over, view it as an opportunity to fight for each other. We're here to guide you through navigating these difficult but essential conversations together. So, let’s get into our 13 tips for how spouses can mutually discuss money matters, address concerns, and align on financial decisions.
The key is not to fight against each other but rather fight for understanding and compromise. With open communication, honesty, and commitment to your shared financial future, you can tackle any money talk.
The top tips for talking about money include:
Discussing finances is like having a regular fitness routine. You wouldn't expect to get in shape by hitting the gym once a year, and talking about money is no different.
Getting comfortable with talking about money (and not fighting about it) requires consistent effort.
By dedicating time each week or month to talking about your finances, you're making sure that it’s a conversation that becomes more comfortable each time.
So, pencil in a weekly money chat with your partner. It could be as casual as a coffee date or as formal as a sit-down session. The aim is NOT to make it a chore but to incorporate it into your regular routine.
After all, consistency is key in all that you do!
Need more tips on how to do this? Here's what the financial gurus have to say:
*Start small and short! Don’t start your talk with what’s wrong and causing issues between you both. Your first talk can even just be 5-10 minutes long. If you sense yourselves reverting to old ways, pause and come back to the talk the next day or week.
With each talk, you’ll get further into the “meat and potatoes” of your money conversation, so to speak.
First, take a step back and examine your “money roots” to gain a deeper understanding of each other and how you grew up around money. Childhood experiences play a huge role in how you handle money as an adult.
Your partner's history can offer useful insights into their spending and saving habits. In a way, it’s why you both do what you do when it comes to money.
Questions to Ask Each Other:
Note: Remember, this isn't a “blame game.” It's about understanding each other's journey with money.
We all have different personalities and approaches when it comes to our finances.
Did you know most of us fit into one of five money personality categories?
Understanding where you and your partner fit can be a game-changer.
Here are five distinct "money personality" categories:
Which money personality resonates with you? There's no right or wrong answer!
First, give yourself time for self-reflection once you determine your money personality and money history.
Ask yourself questions like:
Understanding how you personally relate to money can offer valuable insights into those little habits and decisions you make daily.
Then, take time to share these insights with your spouse. When you share openly and vulnerably, it creates more understanding, respect, and open dialogues about money.
Now that you know your money personality, money history, and have taken time to share with your partner, take time to come together and plan out your relationship “money philosophy”.
Rather than trying to change each other, aim to celebrate and leverage these unique strengths.
The goal is not to convert your spouse into being like you in your approach to money. It’s about finding common ground.
Work together to figure out your strengths when it comes to money and how you can use those to complement each other in your marriage.
The magic lies in blending your distinct financial approaches into a cohesive money philosophy, providing harmony and shared joy in your financial journey. It's important to set and achieve mutual financial goals. This shift will reinforce the idea of fighting for a common cause rather than against each other.
Simple as ABC, right? When discussing finances try using this “formula” to communicate when something bothers you about how your spouse approached a situation:
A → B → C → = Success
A: Mention specific situations
B: Talk about actions that occurred
C: Share feelings without blame
*Pro Tip: When talking about money, some couples find it helpful to hold hands during the conversation. By physically connecting, this can be a powerful reminder that you're in this together, even if it’s a tense topic to talk about. Holding hands can help defuse tension and allow the conversation to flow with more connection.
It's important to continuously learn about each other's financial perspectives and evolve together.
Let’s face it: discussing money makes most people feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.
As you sit down for money discussions, set aside any defensiveness. Try to approach each conversation with the aim of deepening your connection rather than 'winning' an argument.
When you go in with the goal of listening and understanding, you leave yourself open to more productive, loving discussions.
Respect is an important part of marriage. Remember that you’re a team and in this in the long haul together!
Remember: In every money conversation, respect for each other is of the greatest importance.
Criticizing your partner during a disagreement often leads to defensiveness and prevents open communication. Instead of blaming your partner or pointing out their flaws, focus on the issue at hand. Stick to talking about your own feelings and perspectives rather than making generalizations about your partner's character or intentions.
Avoid using absolute language like "you always" or "you never" when describing your partner's behavior.
Talk to your spouse with the kindness and understanding you'd wish for yourself.
Let's face it: You can’t read each other’s minds.
So, when it comes to understanding your partner's perspectives, don’t just ass-u-me. Assuming your partner's perspectives or motivations often leads to misunderstandings. Instead, adopt a curious mindset by asking open-ended questions. "How do you feel about this budget?" or "What concerns you about our savings?"
Give your partner space to share without interruption. Listen to understand, not to respond. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Asking, not assuming, strengthens joint understanding.
In every relationship, there's one truth that stands tall: We're all human, and humans make mistakes.
Harsh words get spoken, and money gets misspent. What matters most is taking responsibility. Don't justify or downplay mistakes. Own up to them fully, then commit to learning from them.
A sincere apology followed by changed behavior improves trust and respect.
Of all our human flaws, refusing to acknowledge our errors erodes relationships the most. Take responsibility, then move forward with humility.
If financial talks repeatedly falter, consider involving a third party.
It’s not a weakness to need help. In fact, it takes courage and strength. Think of it as adding skills to better weather financial stresses together.
When every dollar is accounted for, financial worries can put even the strongest relationships on edge. Insufficient income paired with mounting expenses is stressful.
One partner's excessive spending can cause the other to feel like they must control the finances, causing resentment in the relationship.
Without financial literacy, budgets and plans may falter. Confusion over handling savings, investments, and expenses can overwhelm and cause disputes between you two.
Debt casts a shadow, impacting emotions and finances. Shame over debt can cause arguments rather than motivation.
Past money issues can undermine faith in a spouse’s judgment and transparency. Restoring trust requires proving reliability over time.
When incomes are unequal, negative emotions can emerge - shame, resentment, and anger. Fights arise over who earns more, especially if roles are reversed.
When you talk openly and regularly about finances, this strengthens your marriage.
Having financial fights and discussions, even when challenging, are opportunities to grow closer and strengthen the marital bond through mutual understanding, teamwork, and fighting for each other.
Understand your money histories and personalities. Communicate with respect, and avoid criticism and assumptions. Take responsibility for mistakes. Seek professional guidance if needed, as finances impact relationships profoundly. With understanding and teamwork, money talks can draw couples closer rather than drive them apart.
Remember, it's not just about dollars and cents. It's about dreams, aspirations, and continuing to build a life together.
Cheers to love and financial harmony!
Navigating joint finances is complex, but you don't have to figure it out alone. The financial experts at M Wealth Group created an invaluable guide to financial unity in relationships. Buy the book now and connect with M Wealth Group for personalized guidance.
We offer specialized services to help guide couples and families towards financial unity and success. Our offerings include customized assistance with goals like retirement planning, life insurance coverage, estate planning, and more. We can also help you learn how to "Be Your Own Bank" empowering you to take control of your finances and build wealth together.
Let's harmonize love and money in your life! Reach out to Martin & Chelsea Matthews and start strengthening your financial house today.