Is talking about finances with your spouse unromantic?
Is NOT talking about finances with your spouse irresponsible?
Although you might say that money is not everything (and I agree with you), that is only a half-truth.
The truth is everything is money. In order to achieve excellence in different areas of your lives like health, relationship, and family, your spouse and you need to be financially secure.
So, when is the best time for talking to your partner about money?
The earlier you start talking about finances with your spouse, the better. It’s recommended that you should have a serious conversation with your partner at least once before marriage.
But if you are already married, it is never too late to start talking about finances with your spouse now.
The reason why I strongly advise couples to start talking about finances with your spouse early in their relationship is that things change drastically once you get married.
When you are single, you make your own money. And you are the sole decision-maker on how to spend, save, or invest.
But it is a completely different story after marriage.
When you are married, it could be two people making money and spending it together. Or it might be just one person making money and two or three or even four people spending the money.
There are bound to be a lot of money decisions to be made by you and your spouse.
For example, if your kids are going to start school, who is going to pay the school fees?
If you fall sick and are not fully covered by medical insurance, are you going to foot the medical bill by yourself, or is it going to be shared by both?
If you want to buy a car, are you going to pay for it yourself, or is it going to be a shared expense? What about other car-related expenses?
These are all real money issues that you might have to deal with.
In real life, many couples seldom talk about money, especially before marriage, because they are too in love to see themselves arguing over money in the future.
But, reality paints a different picture for them.
A survey by Money Magazine shows that money is married couple fight more about money than any other subject.
And the best way to avoid all the potential conflicts is to sit down with your spouse and have an honest, open, and constructive money talk before tying the knot.
Here are some questions that you might want to talk about:
- What are your beliefs about money? What is your spouse’s?
- Do you and your spouse have any outstanding debt or liability?
- How much do you and your spouse make?
- What are your net worth and your spouse’s net worth?
- How much do you and your spouse plan to save every month or year?
- What is considered essential spending, and what is wasteful spending? How do you and your spouse decide on big-ticket purchases?
- What about discretionary spending?
- How do you and your spouse set up a family budget? Who is going to track and enforce the budget?
- What insurance should you and your spouse get?
- Are you and your spouse going to manage your own money separately or together? If together, how much do you and your spouse invest every month/year and what to invest in? Who is going to monitor the investments?
- What are the long term financial goals as a family?
- Are you going to have children? If yes, how many and when?
And the list does not stop there.
It’s good if you start to see the importance of money talk between spouses. It’s even better if you are already planning to have one with your spouse.
So, what are the best tips for talking with your partner about finances without ruining your relationship?
Have a common goal & communicate regularly
The first thing you must address when learning how to talk about money with your spouse is to discuss and agree to a common long term financial goal. When you share a common goal, you can make financial decisions together more easily without heated arguments.
Both should be fully aware of the financial health of the family – its assets and liabilities. Always make a point to go over family finances together on a regular basis and decide if there is any adjustment needed.
Treat each other fairly & respectfully.
When it comes to money, you need to talk more about how to achieve your common financial goal together as a family and less about your spouse’s past money mistakes.
Blaming and complaining never leads to a solution, but almost inevitably to a more strained relationship. So, it’s vital that you should communicate in a respectful way and treat each other fairly.
Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes.
If you are making more money or you are in a much better financial position than your spouse, the most important thing you should do is to let your spouse feel that you are committed to the family.
This is because your spouse might feel financially insecure. By putting yourself in your spouse’s shoes, you will be more understanding of your spouse’s concerns.
Learn to deal with each other’s difference
You need to listen to your spouse and get your spouse’s opinion on how to budget and what is considered essential and wasteful.
Bear in mind that you and your spouse grow up with a different set of beliefs about money. It’s only right to recognize the difference and deal with it appropriately.
Manage family’s finances together
As a family, both spouses should be involved in managing the family’s finances and making joint financial decisions.
While one spouse might be the main person taking care of all the joint accounts, decisions should always be made together. This way, you and your spouse are always on the same page.
It’s okay to be financially independent of each other.
When it comes to money, there are many different arrangements you and your spouse can make. What suits other couples might not be perfect for you.
As long as you both have a mutual understanding, it is okay to allow each other to have separate bank accounts and manage your own money.
This gives both a sense of financial independence and lets each other feel respected.