Choosing to facilitate open and honest communication around money is the most important financial decision couples can make for a successful future.
They develop a structure that allows for continual open dialogue and find ways to tend to both of their needs and wants going forward.
Money can be awkward and uncomfortable to open up about, but getting everything out in the open will pay off in big ways.
When you’re sharing your finances, it’s important to decide together what you want to do with those resources. Successful couples come up with goals as a team and check in frequently to make sure they’re on the same page.
Financial goals set the course for the rest of your life goals — Should we blow our money on a trip to Italy or save up to buy a home? — so it’s imperative that couples operate from the same starting point.
Check in with each other to talk through things such as how much you’re spending, how your bills are paid, or where you want to put any extra income for the month.
It is best that this is done at a specific time each week so it becomes a natural part of your routine.
Understanding how your partner developed their philosophy toward money is crucial in finding common ground and developing compromises that work for both of you.
Was money tight when they were growing up? Had they been deceived about money in the past? Has handling money been an issue for them in the past?
Once you both open up about your histories, you can better understand what is behind the money habits and be more empathetic about those.
As much as you need an open mind to grapple with your partner’s views on money, you need to fully understand your own bias as well. Taking the time to think through why you hold certain beliefs when it comes to money and where those ideas stem from will help you identify exactly where you differ from your partner. This will help you prepare to have a dialog with your spouse.
No couple will agree on every single decision. Everyone has different priorities, and part of operating within a partnership is to respect your partner’s choices. That includes keeping an open mind if your spouse’s spending habits differ from your own.
For some couples, this means adding personal discretionary funds to the monthly budget that each spouse can use for whatever they want, no questions asked.
Couples don’t have to tackle their money issues alone.
A financial planner can help them make sense of all the numbers, while a therapist can help them address any deeper issues simultaneously brought up.