Money is a such an integral part of our lives. According to Dave Ramsey, “Money is the number one issue married couples fight about, and it’s consistently a leading cause of divorce. This is why working through your money issues in a healthy way is actually more valuable than the money itself.” As you can see, it is incredibly important to be able to have an open, honest, and constructive dialogue about finances with your partner. In order to help prevent both financial and marital issues, you need to learn how to communicate with your spouse about money.
How-to Communicate with Your Spouse About Money: Honest Conversations
Lay it Out
First, in order to better communicate with your spouse about money, you will need to discuss the role of money in your relationship. You will need to know how each of your views money, and whether you prioritize spending or saving. Have an honest conversation about each of your philosophies about using credit cards and how much debt you are both willing to live with. Be open about any debt you are currently carrying, as keeping that a secret could end up hurting you.
Also determine how much money you realistically need to live comfortably, and go over any expected expenses or financial gains in the near future. It’s good to know both your own answers, but also where your partner stands on thee questions. If you do disagree on any points, it is important to know the reasonings behind the discrepancies.
Create Goals and Discuss Financial Responsibility
You will also want to start to discuss short and long-term financial goals. What changes can you make to set yourself up for financial success in the coming months or years? What steps can you take to prepare for the long-term future? These are all important things to lay out when you begin to communicate with your spouse about money.
It is also good to decide who who will be in charge of finances and how big decisions will be made. For example, how will you make decisions about major purchases? Or, who will be in charge of paying the bills? Another pain point in marriages is how you manage your money individually and and as a couple. Decide if you will allow individual freedom for purchases. Also, will you have joint banking accounts, or separate ones? You may also decide on a mix of both joint and individual.
It helps to have these conversations before you end up running into a problem. It is best if you are able to communicate with your spouse about money from the very beginning. However, if you have not yet had those conversations, it is never too late to start.
Keep in mind that you need to continuously revisit these financial conversations. Just because you discussed them at the start of your relationship doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have them again. If you’ve been with your partner for a long time, consider taking a fresh look at your finances. Do you have any large expenses coming up? What about setting yourself up for retirement one day? Address financial issues often and with respect and understanding. This will help you both make wise decisions about your finances as a couple.