How to talk with your spouse about money
Washing the dishes, cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry, cleaning the oven…these are not tasks most people enjoy doing. Yet, many would rather tackle a mountain of dirty laundry than have a “money talk” with their spouse.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are 6 tips to have better money conversations with your spouse.
1) Tackle money as a team
In many, many marriages the financial duties fall to one person. A family CFO of sorts. While it can be helpful for someone gifted in organization and with some understanding of personal finances to lead the effort, too often the Family CFO does everything and the other spouse is not involved in money matters at all.
Here are the two most common situations that financial advisors see:
- One spouse (often the husband, but not always) makes all the money decisions (particularly the investing ones) and leaves the spouse out of the picture.
- One spouse (often the wife) declines to be a part of it.
God intends a wife and husband to work together as a marriage team and this teamwork includes money. Both spouses should make their best effort to understand their financial situation and be involved.
2) Prioritize good communication
Part of working well as a team is communicating well. Bad communication affects many aspects of marriage, including finances. When you come together to discuss your finances, make sure you are really listening to your spouse. This means you are listening to understand them and not just to come up with your next response. (We’ve all heard that before!)
When you’re speaking, be honest and do you best to be clear and say what you mean. If your spouse is trying to understand your point of view you will make it easier if you are honest and clear.
3) Understand that people view and experience money differently
You’ve probably heard of people being a “saver” or a “spender”. Our attitudes toward money are more complex than that. Many people’s attitudes and habits with money are established in childhood by how their own parents dealt with money. Did your family fight about money? Struggle financially? Maybe your family was wealthy and you got whatever you wanted?
As you team up with your spouse about money, understand that their attitudes may be unconsciously different than yours. Try to understand where your spouse in coming from and how they view money.
4) Talk about money more often
Many couples do not talk about money issues until a problem arises. Unfortunately, this conversation is taking place in a reactionary crisis mode! Make a habit of touching base about your finances each week or month. Not only will this help you develop better communication habits through practice but you may actual recognize potential money problems before they arise an be able to avoid them or handle them better.
5) Dream and set goals together
One of the most exciting things about good financial planning is the joy of dreaming together. What ministries could you support and have an eternal impact with better planning? What dreams do you each have for how you will spend your retirement?
What a joy to be able to dream big with your spouse about how you can use God resources to bless your family and others. You will love these conversations and you may even get to understand a side of your spouse you haven’t seen before.
Some goals and dreams may be different. Be willing to compromise to find some shared goals and dreams. Remember God designed your marriage to be at it’s best when you are working as a team and this includes discovering some shared goals and passions to pursue.
6) Seek wisdom
Working as a team can be hard. Sometimes we don’t know what course of action to take. Sometimes we feel it would be easier to faster to just do everything ourself. I promise you it is worth the effort and time to steward your money as a team. Fortunately, you are not alone on the journey.
James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
God cares deeply about your marriage. God cares about how you steward the money He’s given you. He promises to generously give wisdom when we seek it from Him. Through prayer and studying God’s Word you can find the wisdom to tackle your finances as a team.
Have a fantastic Valentine’s Day. Do something fun! Find joy in your husband or wife!
When it comes to money, take it on as a team. You may find you enjoy it more than cleaning the bathroom!
If you need help reaching your shared goals and dream, give us a call. It’s our 25th anniversary of helping couples pursue their goals and dreams through faith-based financial planning and investing.