Do you struggle to talk about money with your partner without getting into an argument? I want to give you a few very simple steps to avoid disagreements without avoiding your finances.
These are very simple ways you can stop the negative pattern and make communication about money more pleasant.
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WHY WE AVOID TALKING ABOUT MONEY
Either our partner has overspent and they hate to be confronted, you have overspent and don’t like to feel the guilt of it OR its nobody’s fault and you simply hate being reminded how bad it all is. Whether the financial pinch is of your doing or completely out of your control, not being able to talk about your money situation because of arguments can be very stressful.
When we don’t admit problems or refuse to work on resolving them, it causes many couples a world of heartache.
Whether it’s being reminded of how bad things have got or that you argue and bicker about poor decisions that have been made. Nobody ever enjoys conversations that make them feel beaten down and depressed, it’s natural to want to avoid them. Continuing this way will never help your situation, the issues will continue.
TALK TO CREATE A PLAN
If you are in partnership with someone for life, then decisions that impact your financial future should be made in partnership as well. Your spouse or partner isn’t going to go buy a new car while you can barely pay a phone bill. Well, I hope not anyway! You do life together, you’re a team, and you’re heading in the same direction with the same goals.
You’ve got to communicate how you’re going to make these things happen.
If you dread the topic because you think it won’t end well, then I invite you to try these few steps and you will be well on your way to productive and helpful conversations about finances.
STEP #1. WHEN
Set up a time to talk. When your getting started trying to communicate well about your money, weekly check-ins will be best to keep you accountable to each other.
Find a time that works for both of you in advance and a time when you are both ready to think. It’s also best to be a time when you can eliminate most distractions like phone calls or children. When you find a time that works, make it the same time each week until you get into a habit of it.
Try not to make your time together according to when you’re paid, if you get paid monthly, talking once a month isn’t going to cut it when your learning this new skill. A lot of spending can happen between times and cause you never to feel caught up.
Do your best to make it a positive time together.
Make time as soon as the kids are in bed grab a coffee or tea or a glass of wine?
Pro Tip: No $ talk after 9 pm
It is WAY too late at night to start a discussion about something as controversial as finances. You might be fresh and feel fine but your partner possibly isn’t. We have made the rule of ‘No $ talk after 9 pm’. This gives us both permission to call a time-out and say no to any discussion about money.
If you often go to bed annoyed about finance or angry at your partner for some reason, you might want to consider this option. It is so much better to wait and have a proper conversation in the light of day when you’re more rested.
STEP #2. WHERE
Where will you have your conversation?
STEP #3. WHO
STEP #4. HOW
You need all your details in order to make decisions and calculations. One of you, (and it doesn’t matter who), should bring all the financial information you have, income, expenses and bank account details. Then you can both get to work for this set amount of time in working out your finances.
It really helps to know your OWN strengths and weaknesses.
Be honest about your weaknesses and strengths and work with them. One of you might think best long-term have great strategy ideas and the other is good at the detail and enjoys planning things out.
The reverse is also true with your weaknesses. If you’re a spender then you will have to plan ways around that. Similar if you are a saver and hate spending, own it. Your differences and they will be there, don’t have to pull you apart, because honestly, you probably complement one another. Just practice a bit of patience as you work things through.
Search for solutions moving forward, don’t go over the problems AGAIN!
You must remember that you are trying to find solutions to the financial problems you have. If you are still trying to decide whose fault it is that you’re in this position, then you won’t get anywhere. Your questions must be centred around fixing problems;
- Where are your finances at right now? Have an idea of what your income will be?
- What is coming up in the way of expenses? Have a list of all your outgoing expenses.
- How can you make it work?
- Do you need to adjust spending, remove expenses or increase your income?
- What are you learning about your spending habits and what will help?
You cannot spend this time together blaming or making comments to each other for previous mistakes. You have to start working together and leaning on each other’s strengths rather than the things they have done wrong.
MONEY TALK CAN BE EASY WHEN YOU KNOW HOW
This strategy is about creating a space where you know that both of you are ready to listen, ready to be honest and focused and will help find solutions to work things out together.