If you’re like most people, chances are money is a not the conversational topic of choice in your home. It may be that it’s uncomfortable to bring up, somebody is always on the defense or it just plain happens to be the cause of arguments, stress and anxiety with your significant other.
Money is a sensitive topic–but that doesn’t mean it should be avoided altogether. There are steps you can take to lift some of the stress of these conversations and ensure that you and your significant other are on the same page.
The No-Stress Way to Talk About Finances
Set a recurring “Money Huddle” with your Honey. If you find yourself tiptoeing around your financial situation or questioning an “appropriate” time to have the talk, stop worrying and break out your calendar! Set a recurring monthly or bi-weekly appointment for a financial check-in to see where you two stand.
You’re in this together. Remember that you two are a team and as the cliché goes – there’s no “I” in “Team”. Even if only one of you actually manages the tracking and paying of bills or handles the money, your finances should be treated with a team effort. This means making sure you have a list of joint goals that you’ve worked to prioritize together. This can include debt pay down, a new home purchase, retirement contributions or vacation planning. By ensuring your goals are aligned, you’ll each be able to show support and ensure you’re putting forth a concerted effort by reducing spending, making adjustments, or simply being your partner’s cheerleader in their efforts.
Set an agenda. Scheduling a time to talk is one thing. Determining what to talk about is a whole other. Like we said–money is tricky and it makes people uncomfortable. However, by setting an agenda for each meeting, this will give both you and your partner some time to prepare on your own and think about the issues being addressed. Neither will be blindsided by something because the topics have been laid out in advance. The agenda can include items like reviewing credit card spending, matching up expenses against your budget, tracking goal progress, planning for big expenditures, etc. Having an agenda will ensure that each partner is included and feels invested in the management of household finances.
Track your progress and celebrate the successes. Having money huddles is a way for you two to have an open conversation about what’s going on. Agree that there won’t be any finger pointing, but instead you’ll work together and put your best effort towards reaching your joint goals. Track your progress with each meeting, whether spending, debt, or savings are the issue at hand. Understand if you’re moving in the right direction and at what pace. You’ll be amazed at how quickly things can become aligned if you’re working together instead of in avoidance. Lastly–celebrate your wins. Take time to bond together over the items that you two accomplish. Share in the joy of crossing items of your “to-do” lists and have fun setting new goals for yourselves.