Family finances can be a tricky subject. I see it all the time.
Maybe you're the spouse who is "in charge" of the finances and you need to share bad news. Maybe you're trying to get your spouse to stop spending money you don't have, but they're not buying it (ba dum pshhh!).
Maybe you're trying to get out of debt and they don't agree with your choices.
Whatever your reason, you're trying to talk to your husband or wife about money. You're trying to get on the same page.
Here's how you can get on the same financial page:
1. Approach each conversation with the right attitude
You're gearing up for a battle. With that attitude, nobody wins.
Instead, you need to approach each money conversation with a team-centric attitude. Your marriage should be the BEST team you've ever been on. Great teammates are patient, persistent, curious, understanding, kind, and fun.
Be the teammate you want to have. Be patient and kind. Ask questions. Seek to understand. That brings me to the next point.
2. Pick a simple, specific, single goal for each conversation.
Your goal cannot be to "convince your spouse to stick to your budget." How's that been working so far?
Instead, decide on one goal to focus on for each conversation. If you're not on the same page, seek to understand the page your spouse is on. What motivations are driving your spouse to do what he or she is doing?
Pick one thing to focus on and dive deep. That leads me to...
3. Seek to understand your spouse's motivations and goals.
If you're not following a budget together, there's a reason why. Maybe you're seeing the danger of debt and your spouse is seeing the freedom of a higher credit limit. Maybe you're more of a planner and your spouse is more carefree.
Once you have a shared understanding of each other's motivations and goals, you'll start to develop a shared language around money and it'll be easier to talk about.
4. Align your whys.
Now that you've uncovered each other's motivations and goals, you need to work on aligning them.
I've worked with couples who have completely different visions or whys. One wants to be financially free, so she can run her own business. He wants to travel the world. It's okay to have two separate visions! Both can exist in harmony. Find that harmony and compromise.
When you knit your visions together, you'll find that you both have much more fun once you get there AND on the journey to your destination.
5. Uncover your money backgrounds.
Sometimes there's a monster lurking in the dark that needs to be exposed for what it is.
Talking through your money backgrounds can help you discover why you treat money the way you do today. If your family was often just barely scraping by, that can cause you to feel a sense of insecurity unless you have at least a 6-month emergency fund. If you have a terrible credit score and a high debt load, that could cause you to want to avoid talking about money completely.
Each person and situation is different. Uncover your family money histories and personal money histories, so you can move forward together - with all the boogie men out in the open.
6. Make a plan together.
Easier said than done, right? What if I told you you're trying this the wrong way?
Instead of creating "the plan" or "the budget" and trying to push that at your spouse, try creating it together to account for your shared values. Maybe she wants a date night every week and he wants to go golfing. Real example. Work that into the budget together or come to a compromise.
Everyone should get a little of what they want. Make the plan together, so you both have ownership and both follow the budget.
I have tons of free resources to help you on the way to financial unity. Feel free to download and use any of them!
Take the first two lessons of our Money and Marriage course for free!
As always, if you'd like help with your personal finances, you know where to find me (that's right here at saverstreet.com). Book a complimentary consultation right on the homepage to schedule a time to talk.