It’s a pretty common story to hear that one person in a household is the saver, and one is the spender.
Or, one person is trying really hard to get control of their family’s money, and the other person is out there just blindly buying crap because…“you can’t take it with ya”.
Talking about money with your partner or spouse can be wildly awkward. It can lead to fights, hurt feelings, and for that reason… it’s avoided like a root canal.
Trying to avoid potential conflict prevents many couples from achieving their financial potential.
Breaking through that discomfort is important, actually… it’s more than that… it’s necessary.
If you’re married, or in a partnership, achieving your financial potential will take teamwork.
Think about a crew team… you know those dudes in the row boats. You both need to be rowing in the same direction to win.
If one person is working toward financial success and the other is spending money like a banshee, you’re going to fail. You’re going to fight, and you’re going to feel like a big ol’ turd.
Who wants to feel like that? No one, right?
So, talking about money and getting your financial crew team into the winners circle should be priority numero uno!
Hey Honey, Let’s Talk Money
The financial goals of your family are important to you, right? Fucking right they are! So, you’re going to have to move past the discomfort and attack the topic.
It doesn’t have to lead to a fight, or hurt feelings. It can be a fun conversation about dreams and goals!
How you start the financial talk is going to dictate whether or not your ass is sleeping on the couch or not.
It’s easy for this conversation to go south. To avoid a potential fight, or hurt feelings… you gotta plan your attack.
Walking into a potential confrontation unprepared is a terrible idea.
What exactly do you want to discuss? Why do you want to discuss it? What benefit will this conversation bring to you, your partner, and your family?
Don’t walk into this blind. Don’t expect the conversation to just flow organically. You might only get one shot to paint a happy picture around money.
Write down your talking points, goals, and some facts about where you are today. When I say facts, I mean facts. Export your bank statements to excel, calculate your debt to the penny, and track the previous months spending.
Not only will this help you stay on track if the conversation gets hard, but it will show your spouse just how important this topic is to you.
Time is Money… Sorta
Once you have your talking points, find the perfect time to chat. Let your partner know that you want to talk about your family’s financial goals.
Not YOUR goals, YOUR FAMILY’S goals.
This isn’t about you, and that’s a point you’ll drive home.
Just like setting up a meeting at work, plan the appropriate time to talk. If you were going to talk to your boss about a potentially awkward topic, how would you do that?
Well, I know I’d pick the day she is the least stressed. I’m not going to go to her on a Monday afternoon, when her hair is all freaking crazy, she’s giving everyone the wonky eye and expect to have a positive, emotion free convo.
Plan to have this conversation during, or shortly after the most relaxing time you can imagine.
Maybe it’s after a nice little Saturday together. Or, after a date night. Whenever you feel your spouse is in a good mood, and open to a money conversation.
Let your partner know how important this topic is to you, and how important it is in your relationship. Finances are the leading cause of stress and turmoil in relationships.
Knowing this potential problem exists, it’s important to stay ahead of it, right? I think so, and I bet your partner would agree too.
This conversation and these goals are about improving your relationship, not about controlling your significant other.
If you’re looking to get out of debt, show your partner just how much debt you have. It might sting, but it provides a level set. This is where we are now, but it’s not where we need to stay.
Don’t point fingers or assign blame. Maybe it’s your partner’s fault you’re in debt, maybe it’s yours. So what?
Mistakes happen, people make mistakes. Forgive them, and forgive yourself.
Hell, I bought a tractor that cost over $20,000 once. My wife was there, but I was the one who wanted it. She just wanted me to be happy.
Talk about how much your debt costs per month, and what would life look like if that debt didn’t exist.
What could you do if you didn’t have those payments? Dream together! Life shouldn’t be about mindlessly going to work just to pay for shit.
Bring passion to the conversation, show your partner how important this is and get them fired up about it too!
Show them it’s possible. There are a million success stories out there. When I started to have money conversations with my wife, I would usually have a podcast ready to play.
I know she loves me and appreciates what I’m passionate about, but it’s nice to hear it from someone else… and it’s motivating to hear someone else talk about how they achieved exactly what we want to achieve together.
Avoiding conflict is the goal, and you can steer clear of some potential negative outcomes by avoiding specific words or phrases.
You can be a destructive word… Take the word “You” and throw it in a freaking lake. That shit is a disaster.
Nothing sparks a defensive reaction like telling someone “YOU” are doing this, or “YOU” did that. Blah, it actually irritates me just thinking about it.
“You did a good job with the budget this month, but you really shit the bed with your fun money”… The word “but” will negate ANY positive statement you had previously made.
It’s what we call a “dis-empowering word” in Corporate America…
Using the word “whatever” is pretty much telling your partner that you no longer give a shit about what they have to say. You aren’t interested in their views, and the conversation just got emotional. It’s a train wreck of a word.
This can be tricky… You probably have wants. You want to get out of debt, and you want to improve your relationship. Those are wonderful things.
Using “I want” in a negative way will force your partner into a defensive position. “I want you to stop buying X”.
Maybe you do in-fact want them to stop buying so much shit, but we can get to that later. Small steps in the right direction are the key. Remember… they might have to ease into the money pool, you don’t’ wanna push them into the deep end.
What If It Doesn’t Go Well
Ok… I’m not going to spend a lot of time here but, worst case scenario. Your partner gets pissed off and defensive.
Stop, drop and roll. Well, not really, but I bet if you did it would break the tension.
If the conversation starts to go to negative town, you gotta stop the money discussion.
Just like a social media debate, trying to prove a point in an emotional conversation tends to engrain someone deeper into their own beliefs.
The absolute last thing you want to do is fight. If you’re going to pursue debt-freedom together, these money talks are going to have to happen frequently, and they shouldn’t be dreaded or surrounded by negativity.
So, again… if the conversation gets shitty… Just stop. Don’t try to prove your point, JUST STOP.
Will the money conversation go well? I hope it does. I really do. It breaks my heart when I see people post on social media about how their partner isn’t on board.
I wish I could get these couples together to just talk. Money doesn’t have to be taboo. It doesn’t have to be about control, or deprivation. Money should be about freedom and joy.
You may find yourself crazy in debt, and your partner might think it’s hopeless. Show them it’s not!! You can get out. You can improve, and you can have a healthy financial life together.
Bring your passion for money (and your relationship) to the table, really lay it out there. If you’re serious about this… show it.
They say money can’t buy happiness. Although that’s true, it can cause a shit load of sadness and despair… Don’t let it ruin your marriage.
Forge ahead and conquer the taboo subject that is money.
YOU GOT THIS!