“Honey, we need to talk.”
This sentence is generally not one you ever want to hear in a relationship. Especially when it comes to money. Studies have shown that talking with your spouse about money is one of the most difficult parts of a marriage. And it’s also one of the leading causes of divorce according to the Family Relations Journal.
It’s time to start talking. We’re here to help.
Before you get started, set up a time in advance. Make it a date! Find a time that works for both of you where you can sit down and talk without any distractions like phones, TV, or even the kiddos.
Next, gather your confidence. Here’s a checklist of ideas to have prepared before your talk:
Write down all of the questions you have for your spouse about money.
It’s often hard to have the conversation because you don’t even know where to get started.Here are a couple of questions that might be on your mind, and also might be good places to start:
- Do you prefer to spend on experiences or things?
- What’s the next major purchase we’re going to make together? What constitutes a “major purchase”?
- What worries do you have about money?
- Where do we want to be in 5 years? 10 years?
Write down the topics you definitely want to cover.
And know where you can go to find out about topics you don’t quite understand. Whether it’s money management & debt, financial safeguards, your family’s giving & generosity, or even planning for retirement, brightpeak’s “Learn Simply” online resource section has tools to help you gain peace of mind about your financial picture.
Gather any financial documents you might want to discuss.
If you want to talk with your spouse about your family’s spending habits, for example, it might help to print off some bank statements to walk them through your areas of concern.
Dress for the occasion: put on your “patience pants” and your “open mind hat.”
Be sure that you listen to what your spouse has to say. Try not to be accusatory, but instead make suggestions you both can adopt. For example, instead of saying things like “We don’t have enough money for that!” try “What areas could we each cut back on so that we can afford that.”
We know that talking about money isn't easy, that's why we created "Prepare: Talking to your Spouse about Money." It's an e-book, and it's free. It will help determine each other's money values, your goals (both long- and short-term), picture your monthly budget and determine your financial safeguards (or, maybe, your lack thereof).
The Money Talk shouldn’t be avoided. It’s a chance to grow in relationship and love with your partner, and to explore each other’s dreams so that you can live the life you both imagine.
Tricia is a mom, a wife, and leads the Call Center at brightpeak. She has a background in economic development and is passionate about supporting local businesses. She loves to talk about money and the funny family traditions that arise out of our choices about how to use it. Tricia blogs about these experiences on brightpeakfinancial.com.