Before we got married, we experienced the world’s shortest premarital counseling session. “Marriage is hard work,” the man sighed. “Keep talking. That’s my advice. Keep talking.” He was right. Money is either the best or the worst area of communication in a marriage. You need to learn how to talk about money. Here are some ideas to help:
Carve out time to talk
Schedule it. Set a time, then sit down and talk about your financial status, upcoming expenses, your spending plan, and your savings goals. This doesn’t sound very romantic, but a meeting like this can improve a marriage. It’s a chance to look at the facts, discuss your feelings, and make a plan – together.
Make it routine
A regular monthly financial review of 30 minutes sure beats a 2-hour slog through months of bills and statements. Brief meetings keep you from going brain-dead from too many details. Regular financial talks keep you unified, reducing conflict and stress.
Money woes have wrenched many couples apart, sometimes even taking them to the brink of divorce. The most destructive issue for some couples is a lack of honesty. When one partner is discovered covering up debt or hiding income, trust is damaged and the marriage partnership suffers. As partners, fully disclose every dollar earned, spent, borrowed, or saved. Make decisions together. Each should have a little cash to spend on whatever they want, but decisions about bigger purchases should be made jointly.
Talking about money can get tedious. Don’t forget to dream! You might want freedom from debt, the ability to give generously, or a comfortable retirement. Talk about it! Goals can spark creativity and motivate partnership – our choice to live our lives together and share everything.
Marriage is hard work, and dealing with money may be the most challenging work of all. To succeed, couples should make the commitment to review finances regularly, share responsibility, be honest with each other and stay positive. And above all, keep talking!