Let’s get real for a moment. Managing your money in partnership can feel like one more item on your never ending to-do list. You are working, your partner is working. You are running here, there and everywhere to keep up with running your household, working, staying married and getting your various tiny humans to and from their assorted activities. In the hustle and bustle that is working parenthood, money management can take a backseat or become a stumbling block causing arguments between you and your spouse.
Money fights, disagreements, and simply not taking the time to be intentional and on the same page financially can be devastating to your marriage. Money is among the leading reported causes of marital discord and research has found that financial problems or fighting about money is cited in over one third of divorces as a “major reason” for ending a marriage.
Experts, including this author, recommend taking the following steps to avoid fighting and foster healthy communication around finances in your marriage:
- Open Communication
Surprise! Talking with your spouse about money, savings, budgeting and investing is key to preventing fights. Taking the time to being clear about your priorities and values when it comes to managing money is a great investment that will pay dividends for years to come.
- Setting a Budget
A monthly budget, one where each partner has an equal vote, is a key piece in ensuring your financial and marital health in the future. One partner can absolutely create the budget for review, but both of you need to be able to have your voice heard in the determining of where your money goes this month.
It should come as no surprise that hiding things, lying, and committing financial infidelity (yep, that’s a real thing) is not going to be a blessing in your marriage. Investopedia defines financial infidelity as when couples with combined finances lie to each other about money. Even if it’s a tough truth, honesty is a the best policy when it comes to money in marriage. Establishing whether you are going to operate your finances together or separately and the degree of transparency you are agreeing to in your marriage are key to a healthy relationship with each other!
- Mutual Goals
Setting goals that you can both agree on (and get excited about!) can be a big motivating factor to combine forces and finances and work towards that common goal. Whether it’s being able to proclaim “we’re debt free!” or taking that family trip you’ve always dreamed of, having short-term and long-term money goals that you both agree on is a game changer for making big moves financially.
- Extend Grace
No one will get this money, communication and marriage thing right every moment of every day. When you or your partner flub up, miscommunicate or make a mistake moneywise because, well, you are human… offer grace and forgiveness, just as you’d want to be extended to you in the same situation. We are all humans and mistakes are inevitable. Forgiveness and creating a plan together for how to prevent those missteps in the future goes a long way for healing your relationship with each other and managing money together!
If you have been looking to improve your communication about money within your partnership, check out The Money Meeting Checklist. It’s designed to serve as a framework for productive and calm discussions around money at home. Using this checklist will help you to skip the arguing, address those issues head on, to save more money, and start agreeing about the direction of your household finances!
The Money Meeting Checklist includes:
- Framework for a Money Meeting that facilitates calm and productive financial discussions with your spouse.
- Prompts to ensure both partners get an equal say that is respected in managing the money at your house!
- Checkpoints for moving towards your money goals.
- Prompts to generate conversations about having FUN with the money you worked so hard for!
- A simple method you can put into practice this week to start communicating clearly with your spouse about money!
- The Money Meeting Checklist has step-by-step instructions for how to use it to stop fighting about and start winning with money.
Once you get on the same page, pulling in the same direction with eyes set on the same goals as your partner, you can make insane progress financially. I’m talking about paying off ALL your student loans, ditching that car payment for good, and even paying off your home mortgage! Not to mention the healing that will occur within your relationship once you can start having these conversations in a calm and positive light.
Download your Money Meeting Checklist here.
Looking to hear more about how we manage our money in partnership? Check out this episode of Fulfilled – The Podcast.