I don’t want to shock you….but it needs to be said. Money is the number one cause of fights between couples.
Trying to find a way to have a peaceful talk about the never ending mount of bills, the endless spending, and the lack of fruitful tracking, can feel extremely difficult for couples because most of us were never really taught how to have MONEY CONVERSATIONS.
But why does talking about money have to feel so hard?
Honestly, it starts with the root cause, “we have spent our whole lives having an unhealthy relationship with our money.” We have been taught that it is improper etiquette to talk about it, that if we do we will probably cause most couples to argue, and reality check…. we are truly unable to dig deep into the “RIGHT” kind money conversations.
Let’s look at a “COUPLE” of scenarios that might be happening or have already happened to you.
Does this sound like you? You are getting ready for date night and your spouse comes in to ask what you bought for $200 at Target. You immediately get defensive and speak to respond instead of listening with curiosity to see why that might be a problem and land up in a money fight that lasts for horus.
Or how about this…
You are planning your wedding and trying to open up communication about what your fiance’s financial responsibilities will be. Only to find out your partner can’t afford to help you pay for your DREAM WEDDING? (You might even find out in that moment that was supposed to be so extremely special, that you will be marrying your partner’s HUGE DEBT.)
Scary stuff right?
Well, it doesn’t have to be. “Love puts no limits on what we choose to talk about, and that includes conversations about our money.” But it does require having the COURAGE to have the uncomfortable MONEY CONVO that will shed light on your own milestone moments and ensure that you understand how the people close to you view money and make their financial decisions.
Here are a few important questions to help you get that money conversation started:
How can we understand our money goals?
Have you ever thought about how closely connected living your biggest life and achieving your life milestone goals are to money?
If you aren’t dreaming, you’re probably not saving either. That is the truth. Think about it. How can you save for your future if you don’t have a dream? Your dream will profoundly impact the action or goals you set for you BIG LIFE TOGETHER. Things like the purchase of a new home, paying for a child’s college tuition or wedding, and of course how you spend your golden years.
Typically in couples you have your Dreamer & Your action taker. Your dreamers come up with the fantastic plan and your action taker will set forth motion to get the couple to their goal. If you never have a conversation, how can you possibly understand each other’s perspectives on the goals you want to set?
How will we combine finances as a COUPLE?
Here is another fact that just might shock you! Get ready for it. Not every couple combines their finances. It looks a little different for everybody. Some couples choose to be responsible for specific household expenditures. It still means budgeting together, but from separate accounts. Other couples combine and share all responsibilities.
Again, to avoid unnecessary resentment, anger or fighting, having the “RIGHT” money conversation is extremely important.
Do we understand each other’s money tendencies?
Our money behaviors are specific to our individual MONEY MINDSET. There’s no right or wrong way to think about money, but there is always a necessity to understand our tendencies when it comes to spending.
According to Dave Ramsey, there are 7 Money Tendences: saver/spender, nerd/free spirit, experiences/things, quality/quantity, safety/status, abundance/scarcity and planned giving/spontaneous giving. You can guess what your partner’s tendencies are, but it is better to have an actual conversation.
Understanding these tendencies helps couples know where their partner is coming from, how they will react to financial stressors, and keep everyone on the same page.
What are our biggest MONEY FEARS?
Fear!!! Fear is tricky. It will stand in the way of you and your spouse living your Dream Life.
Things that we were taught about money from the time we are small children can be helpful or harmful when making money choices.
Most couples struggle with these basic money fears:
- Lack of retirement security
- No emergency funds
- Ending up like our parents
- Not having a solid money plan
- Never having enough money
- Our Spouse Spending Too Much Money
- Health Issues
What we know about FEAR is that when we feel threatened we activate the feelings of fight or flight! This can be paralyzing for couples and lead to unhealthy communication about money and financial security. YIKES RIGHT?
You’ve started the conversation, NOW WHAT? Now it isimportant to know actually have the tools to effectively communicate and we’ve got the how to’s.
3 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have
There are 3 fundamental keys to practicing a healthy, open money conversation. If you are dedicated to being open to a new money mindest, a couples money mindset instead your own personal mindset, there are 3 Conversations you should be having with your spouse regularly.
1. Operating From A Place of Honesty
If you have big dreams and desires that you wish to fulfill in this lifetime, it is important to communicate them with your partner. This means bringing these items to the table with authentic vulnerability. Be honest about what you feel and about what plans you find a priority. This is what will take your relationship from the minors into the professional baby! With open money communication in place, you will strengthen your foundation as a couple for your lifetime together.
2. Listen, stay calm and money talk on.
Well nobody likes a yeller or loves to be yelled at. I mean, at least not anyone I am familiar with. Money conversations can get heated. But if you operate from a place of intense listening and can remain calm as your partner/spouse explains their money ideas, budget priorities, spending habits, etc. you will gain clarity and develop a sincerity for understanding their money tendencies.
No need to lash out or raise your voice. You will get your turn to ask question and express your ideas and potential concerns. Don’t listen only to answer. It will keep you in money circles and disable the ability to be open and vulnerable as you share.
4. Show grace.
Sharing the HARD MONEY TRUTHS is exhausting and creates a lot of self-doubt or even doubt in your relationship. Give yourself the room to explore the things you are doing well. Know exactly where you can do better and always avoid making excuses to stay in the exactly the same pattern.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to have the perfect first money convo. Just make sure you have one! For the first year, set a goal to have these money talks on a regular basis, monthly, quarterly, or even just twice a year. It helps you stay focused on the goals you set together and will make each conversation a little easier than the last.
Need an assist? A coach that will help you find the right strategy for your lifestyle? Let’s grab a virtual coffee and see if I can help you get this conversation started.