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How to Talk to Your Spouse About Money

Filed under: Retirement

Couple in convertible car smilingAsk any married couple about the source of their fights, and most will tell you that money is a common source of angst. Perhaps you have been putting off a financial planning discussion because you’re afraid of a fight, or maybe you have already endured World War Three with your spouse. Either way, it’s understandable that you’re nervous about this topic.

But because it’s vitally important for partners to be on the same page regarding financial planning, you really do need to have that talk. Follow these steps to a (hopefully) calm resolution.

Don’t be hasty. If you recently had a fight with your spouse, now is not the time to bring up a potentially touchy subject. Even if you’re getting along, you should spend some time organizing your ideas. No one is saying that you should have this discussion right this minute.

Schedule the discussion. Your spouse might feel overwhelmed if you try to discuss finances without giving them any notice. Ask them for a day and time that will fit into their schedule, and wait until your “appointment” to talk about money.

Consider their point of view. It is much easier to resolve any conflict when you consider your opponent’s point of view. Was your spouse raised to have a different attitude toward money, or is their job overly stressful? Different circumstances often breed a different approach to financial planning. It’s important to consider your partner’s point of view.

Focus on goals, not past wrongs. No one likes to have past mistakes pointed out. Focus your talk around the future, and dreams that you both share. When you can identify common values, then you can discuss how to accomplish those goals.

Make a date of it. Most people don’t respond well if you point out their mistakes and flaws. If you’re worried that your spouse will feel attacked, ask them to accompany you to a workshop on budgeting or debt. You can spend the day together, learning new skills, and your spouse might even recognize their own destructive behavior.

Avoid money fights in the future. If you agree on a savings goal, have your contributions deposited directly from your paycheck into your retirement account. It’s hard to fight over money that never lands in your bank account!

Create a buffer zone. No one wants to fight in front of a neutral third party. Schedule a retirement planning consultation with us, and we can help guide you through difficult financial planning decisions.