Does just the topic of finances with your significant other cause great stress in your lives? In this blog, we will identify possible causes and how to turn “Honey, can we talk finances” from a negative to a positive.
What discussion topics are avoided in your household – politics, sex, in-laws… money?? I hear ya. Do your money talks turn into the “Blame Game” or worse yet, don’t happen at all? Why is one of the most important things that impact our entire lives constantly being avoided?
We hear how money has been the leading cause of divorce/breakups for years but we still don’t talk about our finances as often as we should. My co-workers laughed when I told them I wanted to name my blog “Just shut up and do it yourself” but sometimes that is exactly how we feel. Am I right?
What’s the underlying issue?
- Communication – Can you have an honest discussion about your financial situation without shaming, blaming or walking away? Struggling to manage one’s finances is common — but talking honestly and openly about it is not. Do you only talk about finances when a disaster strikes?
- Fear – Are you financial literacy savvy? What is your level of understanding? Nobody wants to look stupid or admit they don’t know. Let’s face it, if your parents didn’t teach you and you didn’t learn it in school, how can you be expected to make informed decisions.
- Upbringing – My parents never talked in front of us kids or taught us about finances. We had food, clothing, a roof over our heads – we never questioned how it got there. It just magically appeared. No worries. Depending on how the subject was approached or avoided in your household may impact your spending and saving habits.
- Financial habits – Are you and your significant other financially compatible? Are you savers, spenders, or a combination? Two spenders without a plan – a harmonious relationship tend not to be had – unless you are a multi-millionaire at birth. On the other hand, two savers might miss out on experiencing life.
- Goals – Are you in it together? Do you have the same goals – homeowner, kids, early retirement? Do you share all the responsibilities and decisions or do you divide and conquer?
How can we fix this?
- Communicate. Communicate. Communicate!
- Commit to a time with no interruptions to discuss life goals – short and long term. What do you truly want out of life? What is your current situation? What is in the past is in the past; deal with the here and now. Keep calm at all costs. Experts suggest you do so on your 3rd date as this conversation is just as important as the marriage and children talk.
- Plan. Plan. Plan!
- Schedule a monthly review of your short term finances:
- Are all the bills paid and needs met – food, shelter, clothing?
- Do you have any upcoming expenses – car repairs, insurance, taxes, dentist, renos?
- Make a budget: don’t make it too restricted or you won’t stick to it. Factor in some fun and “nice to have’s” and an emergency fund for life’s uh oh’s.
- Schedule a yearly review to look at the bigger picture, long term goals – buying a house, having kids/having more kids, investments, retirement. Definitely review sooner if you experience a life-changing situation.
- Schedule a financial health checkup with a professional financial advisor at your financial institution. They will be able to ensure you are on track to meeting your goals and can also be useful mediators if need be.
- Educate. Educate. Educate!
- Knowledge is money. We don’t deal with things when we don’t know anything about them or we make bad decisions. Pick a financial product and research it, attend workshops, watch YouTube, read more of our blogs or visit our website. There is lots of great info and tools at your fingertips.
- Teach. Teach. Teach!
- Talk to your children about finances, don’t exclude them. You don’t have to divulge everything but your decisions do impact them. Teach them the basics and help arm the next generation with the tools they need to be financially successful. Who knows you might be in their care in the future. Make sure it is a nice place.
At the end of the day, talking to your spouse or significant other about your finances is important early on and continually throughout your relationship. Don’t forget!!
Haven’t had a #moneytalk in a while! What are you waiting for? Schedule your talk now!!
What advice do you have to make the #moneytalk easier? Share with us by commenting below. We would love to hear them.
Young at heart; fun loving grandma of five. I’m a small town girl who moved to the big city. Gave up the home building gypsy life of moving 22 times to grow some roots back in a small town. We built our house by the lake with a golf course nearby to pound out my frustrations. Working on a retirement plan so I can entertain family and friends on my deck full time.