You’ll use this article in all steps of The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom.
Now, I imagine that some of you single individuals out there are thinking that you’re getting off Scott Free.
Wrong! You should still read all of these tips because one day, you’re going to need them. In fact, you could technically apply a lot of these to your single lifestyle!
For those of you in a long-term relationship, you need to know that it takes teamwork to get your finances in order.
In other words, you’ll need to work through your financial issues together or you’ll never make it out alive. Having only 50% of a team does not equal success.
I know a lot of you are out there saying, “Yeah, like I’m going to get HIM/HER to talk about our finances”!
Well yeah, you are. It has to be done if you want ultimate success.
So today, I’m going to give you a few guidelines (in no particular order) to use when talking about money with your significant other.
1. Realize That You’re Both Different
Most couples have different opinions on how the household money should be handled.
You might be extra cautious with money. You may not want to spend money on ANYTHING and would like to see it all go into the savings account for a rainy day.
Well, maybe your significant other is a little more carefree. They might live by the mantra, “You Only Live Once”!
You just need to realize that you’re both different and trying to approach the subject as, “It’s my way or the highway” will only lead to a fight. You need to see the situation from their point of view.
2. Talk About Your Own Flaws
It’s easy to point the flaws out in others.
In fact, a lot of financial arguments start out with someone saying something like, “If you would only stop doing X, we wouldn’t be in this mess”. As you probably know, that approach never leads to anything good.
Therefore, you need to discuss issues carefully.
Start by pointing out something you’ve done to hurt the household finances. Once you get that discussion out of the way, tell them that it’s their turn.
Just let the conversation flow naturally. Don’t accuse them of anything.
3. Be Willing to Compromise
You already know that you’re both different. Because of this, you both need to be willing to compromise. Come on, you’re not Congress.
Do you want to cut entertainment expenses all the way to $0 but your significant other still wants to budget $100 per month? Find a compromise that can make both of you happy.
If you’re both somewhat happy, you’ll be more likely to stick with the plan.
However, if one partner isn’t happy at all, it’s not going to stick.
4. Set Some Common Financial Goals
Financial goals are crucial to your success. Therefore, you need to sit down with your partner and hash out some common themes that you can both strive for.
By having something that you both wish to attain, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
5. Set Meetings With No Distractions
Where have the majority of your financial arguments happened? While cooking dinner? Sitting on the couch watching TV?
These places are the LAST place you should be talking about money.
You need to start planning meetings with your significant other.
Get out of the house for the meeting and find some place quiet like the library. You need to have the least amount of distractions as possible.
These meetings should be utilized to talk about the household finances. When you get to the point of creating a budget, this is where you need to discuss the upcoming month.
Once you get some things accomplished, celebrate by doing something romantic after.
6. Budget For Guilt-Free Spending
As previously mentioned, you probably have a different opinion regarding money than your significant other.
Because of this, I recommend that couples budget “Fun Money” for each individual.
This is individual spending money that is guilt-free. In other words, you’re not allowed to comment on what the other person uses their “Fun Money” for. It’s theirs to do with what the please.
I know some people that budget $5 per month each just to figure out how they can get the best bang for their buck. Make it fun!
7. Discuss Expenses Over a Certain Threshold
To open the lines of communication, you should also consider setting a “discussion limit” for new purchases.
For example, you might say that any single item purchase over $50 requires that you both discuss it first. This threshold could vary widely depending on how tight your budget is.
8. Bring in a Third Party
If all else fails, you may need to bring in a third-party like a financial coach or psychologist.
Having an unbiased individual to discuss issues with can greatly increase your chance of financial success.
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What things have you done to get productive discussions about money up and running in your house?