How To Talk To Your Spouse About Money
I know, it’s a hard topic to talk about. It may not be that hard to really bring up for many couples, but man can it get ugly.
In our marriage, Ariel and I have had good conversations and bad ones when it comes to talking about finances. I (Tyler) will admit, I have let anger get the best of me when talking about finances. In the past I have had a few instances where I got upset over something so silly.
The last time we had a “financial fight” I sat back and really got to thinking, “There has to be something that shows me how to talk about money to my wife.”
To my surprise, there really wasn’t much that had everything in one place. Bummer! I found a lot of stuff out there on the internet that touches lightly on the subject, but I had to go a lot of different sources.
After thinking for a bit (a while), I finally decided, to share what I learned all in one blog post.
So that’s what I’m doing now. I want to show you how to talk about money with your wife, husband, etc. Without further or do, here’s how to talk to your spouse about money and finances.
Why is it important to learn how to talk to your spouse about money?
Learning how to communicate finances with your significant other is so important. Not learning will only lead to failure and hard conversations.
Before Ariel and I really learned how talk about finances with each other, many times I would get upset over the fact that we didn’t have very much money, or we would argue wondering where the next paycheck is going to come from.
When you learn how to communicate well over finances, you save yourself so much stress.
Before Ariel and I got married, she was debt free and I had almost $30,000 of student loans and credit card debt. Before getting married, I told her,
“I have a lot of debt, but I would hate for you to take that on yourself!”
She told me,
“I don’t care! We will tackle this together. It’s our debt.”
That’s how you talk to your spouse about finances. You simply talk and rationalize with each other without freaking out. It’s important because you want to actually accomplish things and not make things worse.
For example, I love investing in stocks. I talked with Ariel about investing in a particular stock. She said she was interested but never confirmed anything. I went ahead and invested the money thinking she was okay with it.
This led to her becoming upset with me (rightfully so) and also led to a not-so-great conversation.
This is another reason why it’s important to learn how to talk about finances. We would have had a much better conversation if I would just apologized instead of defending myself.
So, it is important, and you’ll learn how to do it below if you keep reading.
When the other is speaking/venting, listen!
Do you ever want to defend or explain yourself when someone is accusing you of something? I do all the time.
This is bad!
The reason is because if you want to know how to talk about finances together, when they are talking, just let them talk. I am really bad about cutting the other person off when they are talking and saying I did something wrong.
When you let them talk and vent, it usually allows their anger to subside, and allows you the opportunity to respond kindly and then explaining yourself.
When you sit and listen, the other person will feel heard, and will appreciate you overall for at-least listening.
If the other person is cutting you off, or not letting you speak, you may kindly call them out (kindly!). Talking about finances is rough sometimes, and when it makes you stressed, you might typically respond with anger or by yelling.
When this happens, try you best to take a breather, and listen.
According to a survey,
About two in five Americans say that their finances are the most stressful part of their lives.
About 44% say it’s the most challenging topic to discuss with others.
It doesn’t have to be this hard. Simply listening to each other will make it a lot easier to talk about finances with each other.
Admit your mistakes if you made any (you probably did)
If you know you did something wrong, don’t even try defending yourself. Just sit back listen and apologize.
When I invested that money in the stock market that I mentioned earlier, instead of admitting my wrong, I started saying that Ariel was just too stressed about money and that she didn’t need to be. Boy did I deserve a slap in the face.
What I should have done was first listen to her, and then get over my pride and admit that what I did was wrong for investing the money without properly communicating this to her.
Apologize for any mistakes!
When you find yourself in an argument over something you did wrong, simply apologize and learn from it. Move on from there, and the rest of your day will be much better.
A lot of people have pride issues. Before you start defending yourself or accusing the other person of wrongs they have done, try stepping back and think about which route will have the better outcome.
Admitting your fault and moving on will be the best route to take, I promise.
Celebrate any accomplishments or good financial decisions
If you or your spouse have accomplished a financial goal or successfully communicated finances well together, don’t forget to celebrate it!
Reward yourselves for any good financial decisions and show appreciation to each other for trying so hard.
This will instill positive feelings and help make talking to your spouse about finances a lot easier, and maybe even fun. If you both talk about how your financial wealth is and make it through without yelling at each other or snapping, always reward yourself.
It’s okay to feel stressed, but it’s how you handle it that matters most. By celebrating, it helps you to want to try harder.
Create goals and have a clear direction
Don’t just save money blindly, or not pay attention to your finances. Having a clear direction of where the two of you want to be within a specified time frame will help you to handle your finances better.
Set a savings goal. Try to have a certain amount by a certain date. Decide where you and your spouse want to be in so many years financially. Need a new car? Make a goal of saving each month for a down payment.
Have loan payments and bills due every month? Make a goal to pay it off. This makes it easier to talk about finances because you know what to talk about and you both know what needs to be done to get there.
If you have no goals or direction, you may never talk about finances together and this could lead to a big argument down the road. Make goals, set a direction, and talk regularly about it.
Don’t make big financial decisions without the other
Remember what I told you about me investing money into the stock market without Ariel’s direct approval? I try to forget, but I can’t.
Making big financial decisions should never be done without the other being involved in some way. I’m not talking about buying a gift card or eating out.
No! I’m referring to house payments, buying a car, investing money, spending really anything over $100.
When a big decision come up and you need to spend money on it, make sure your spouse knows about it. Maybe they don’t really care if you actually do it, as long as they know about it in the first place.
The time I invested money in the stock market without completely verifying with Ariel if it was okay, if I had simply made sure that she was on the same page first it would have saved a lot of stress.
The next time anything comes up, even if it is a small purchase, always communicate that with your spouse as a way to show you respect them.
It is BOTH of your money anyway, right?
If there is a salary difference, be fair
I see this a lot. It’s very common to see two couples who make different income amounts. One may not work at all, and the other works full-time, or both work full time and one simply makes more than the other.
When this happens (It probably will), never assume that if you’re the one who makes more money that you should have more say in what happens with it.
You both are equal partners on this financial journey together. You should always be fair when it comes to the sharing of your money.
There have been different times that Ariel and I both made different incomes. I have to admit it, at a few points I felt like I had to ask for her permission to spend money I was making when she was in school, and I would get angry about it.
Instead, I should have been fair and say,
"This is our money, not mine or yours."
Instead of thinking that one or the other has to ask for permission, simply communicate a financial decision you are interested in and make sure you’re both on the same page. It would become “our” decision at that point, the way it should be.
Never hold an income difference over the other person. If that person doesn’t make as much as you, respect that and still treat them as equal. Regardless, it should be viewed as both of y’all’s money.
Have a joint banking account
This is totally between you and your spouse, but having a joint account helps to effectively share your money with each other.
Our opinion is that finances should never be kept separate. You should never hide anything from your spouse, so why is it really necessary to have separate accounts? This can create a temptation to spend money without your spouse knowing.
This could be dangerous if you really, really think about it.
Having joint accounts keeps it as “we” and creates unity.
Most of the time when spouses want separate accounts, it’s because they have secrets they want to hide. It can also lead to secrets. Healthy marriages are always in unity. If you want separate accounts, it doesn’t always mean an unhealthy marriage, but problems can more easily arise.
Be open about any debt
I said at the beginning how I communicated my debt to Ariel. How would she feel if she didn’t know about my debt until after we got married or right before.
Is that really fair to her? No!
Always be open and honest about debt. If you have a lot of debt that you need to tackle, share that with your spouse and get help. Make a plan to pay it off and take more control over your money.
Odds are you probably have some debt in your marriage. According to surveys,
The average American family has about $6,200 in credit card debt.
You should always be honest with your finances. This is why we encourage having joint accounts. We never want there to be any room for secrets or lying.
If there is a financial decision you need to make, but aren’t sure how your spouse will handle it, have a conversation about it before going off and doing it on your own.
A survey concluded that,
41% of people in marriage have committed a financial deception.
18% admitted to lying about finances from their partner.
Lying always makes things worse. Don’t put yourself in those situations!
I hope you found this article really helpful, and that you’re encouraged to have better conversations with your spouse about finances.
It should never be a hard thing to talk about, but we make it hard when we allow our emotions to get the better of us. Sometimes we put ourselves in those hard conversations because of mistakes we make, but it should never keep you both from handling it like the mature adults you are.
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