You're trying to get out of debt, but your spouse thinks that's crazy. I see that all the time.
"What can I do to make ________ see the light? How can I bring my spouse to team up on these financial goals?"
It's a difficult question, I understand. You can't nag your way to financial unity. You can't explain your way to financial peace.
Sometimes, you need to bring an expert in to tell you both how to talk through this the right way. Sometimes, you need help.
That's okay. We all need help. I needed help to lose 60 lbs. I was the spouse who needed to get with the financial program. Now I'm a financial coach. People can change with the right guidance.
Here's a quick guide to help you get on the same financial page as your spouse:
1. Find Your Why
You need to both know why you're trying to tackle that financial goal. You need to know why your spouse is digging his or her heels in.
What are you going toward? Where do you want to be together? Figure out a mutual why. Come together and talk about your vision for the future.
2. Talk Through Your Family Money Management Methods
How did your parents manage money and how is that affecting each of you today?
You need to reconcile your different backgrounds. Talk through what you saw your parents doing and what you want to do similarly and differently than them. It's important.
3. Learn Your Different Money and Spending Personalities
You both naturally manage money in different ways. Some of your personality you were born with, other parts you learned growing up. You might like to buy lots of clothes because a friend of yours did. Or maybe you hate to shop!
Talk through your likes and dislikes. Start figuring out a shared language. Once you can speak the same language, you can start getting on the same page. It'll also help you avoid some uncomfortable conversations if you already know which one of you is the saver and which one is the spender.
4. Get Deeper Into Why You Both Do Things
When talking to married couples, I strongly advocate that they learn each others' love languages. Gary Chapman's love languages are: acts of service, quality time, physical touch, giving gifts, and words of affirmation.
If you know your spouse's love language, you can speak their language even more, instead of accidentally speaking your own at them. Use their words to them.
Knowing your spouse's love language can also change your spending patterns. If your spouse gives gifts to you, because that's their love language... well, you have a discussion coming at you. You might not feel great receiving the gift, when your spouse expects you to feel loved.
Talk it through.
Knowing each others' love languages is just one more way you can get to know your spouse better.
Your marriage should be the best team you've ever been on.
5. Talk Through Your Personal Histories
Yes, I'm talking about debt. I can't tell you how many couples I meet who don't know the extent of their joint debt. They surprise themselves by how much money they owe.
You need to talk about how much debt you are each in. It's so easy to keep things separate these days.
But you're a team. Your marriage should be the best team you've ever been on.
Get to the bottom of your debt together. It's difficult but good to have everything out in the open. You can then get to the last step.
6. Make a Plan Together
After you've done your homework (steps 1-5 above), then you can start making a plan together. You're sharing the same language. You're loving your spouse the way he or she wants to be loved. You can now tackle this as a team.
Can we be realistic for a moment? It's incredibly difficult to get through steps 1-6 without a little guidance. Flying in the dark, my husband and I took five years to really understand each other's family money histories. That's just one point! It's also one video.
After talking to hundreds of couples, I've systemized couples' financial coaching, so you and your spouse can get on the same financial page in 10 short lessons.