Have you had the money talk with your partner?
Money can be an emotionally charged, stress inducing, anxiety filled thing.
And it can be an extremely empowering and potent force for good.
Which is it for you? What would you like it to be?
Our personal finances are exactly that; personal. It can take us years to get our acts together. Some of us never do it.
To complicate matters, we enter into relationships with people who have their own money issues. Now, we’re supposed to work through all of it together. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a user’s manual for this stuff?
So, what do we do? Do we leave well enough alone and not worry about it? Is that a bad idea?
Yes, that is a bad idea. You and I both know big problems don’t solve themselves. In fact, they do the opposite. They get worse. So putting our heads in the sand is not a recipe for success.
We need to address the problem.
I had been a financial advisor for 20 years before I ever spent any substantive time thinking about how to help couples work through money issues together. Apparently I’d been asked enough times, “How do I get on the same page with my partner about money?” So, I spent a lot of time thinking about it.
Fortunately, along with my professional experience, I also had personal experience of my own to draw from. My wife and I came from different backgrounds with money, and had different perspectives on it. It took us a while to work through everything and get on the same page.
While we’re by no means perfect, we have constructive financial conversations and share common goals, and values. And that’s what I want for you as well.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- How to prepare for your talk
- Start with the big picture
- Make it a habit
- Utilize resources
Let’s get started.
How to prepare for your talk
While I know nothing about your financial situation or your feelings around money (nor do I know your partners), I do know that many of us have a lot of shame and embarrassment about it. These are common and completely normal emotions to have about a subject we don’t normally spend a lot of time talking about.
Without trying to read your partner’s mind, know that they may have these feelings.
Either way, I encourage you to approach your money talk with love, empathy, and curiosity. Love, because you love them and want to move forward to a better life together. Empathetic because you want to understand how your partner feels. And curiosity because you want to better understand how and why they feel the way the do about money.
Finally, be prepared to give your partner your 100% undivided attention. From my perspective, this is one of the greatest gifts we can give another person. Eliminate as many distractions as possible. Turn off the TV, put down your phone, and have the conversation in a private place.
Start with the big picture
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best, what’s your current level of financial literacy?
What do you think your partner’s is?
Unless personal finance is a passion of yours, odds are you around a six or a 7, which is great. Part of the overall process of getting on the same money page as your partner is determining where you’re both at in terms of current knowledge. Therefore, as you’re getting started and preparing to have your money talk, let’s start with the big picture first.
When it comes to goal setting, your level of financial know-how is irrelevant. All that matters is knowing how you want your life to look in the future. Because of that, it’s easy to bring up doing some joint goal setting.
You can say something as simple as, “I’ve been thinking about our financial future, and I’d like to make sure we both want the same things.” To help you go through a goal setting process, you can access our Goals course for free.
The same conversation can be had around values by saying, “I know we share most of the same values, I’d like to put ours down on paper.” Same thing, you can access our Values course for free.
One of the most common money priorities for people I talk with is getting out of debt. This can also be an entry point to a money conversation. You can say, “I’m sick of this credit card debt, can we put a plan together for getting out of it?” We’ve also got a free Get Out of Debt course.
Alternatively, you can say, “I’d like to make sure we’re on the same page with money, can we have a conversation about it?”
The Goals course can help guide you in getting clear on your top priorities, and creating a plan for bringing them to life. From there, you can focus on your short, mid, and long-term financial goals.
Make it habit
Once you have your money talk, you need to keep it going. Some of my clients like to set a monthly “money date,” others treat it more like a business meeting. Whatever you and your partner decide, it’s important to create a recurring meeting in your calendar so you don’t skip it.
During your monthly meeting, you can be focused on your top priorities like saving and investing, and debt repayment. Once you’re in the habit, you should begin reviewing your cash flow and budget during these meetings as well.
Creating a habit around this will put you on the right track.
Wherever we’re trying to get better at something, we want to give ourselves every advantage possible. When it comes to losing weight, we need to understand nutrition and exercise. It helps to take a class, and working with a trainer can expedite the process.
Getting on the same money page with your partner is no different. The good news is, there are a ton of resources out there that can help.
If you’re going to DIY it, you can read blog posts like this one, and check out YouTube videos. There are a lot of free and valuable resources.
You can also invest in your process and purchase a course. I mentioned our free courses, and we also have a Get on the Same $ Page course that I’d love for you to check out.
Finally, you can partner with a professional to help. There are a lot of great financial coaches and advisors who can help. If you’d like to explore that route, check out our Academy Coaching Program.
Making it real
Money can be hard. What’s way harder is getting old and being broke. Should you find yourself in that situation, you don’t have very many good options.
Instead, rip off the bandaid and have the conversation you know you need to have. Once you do, you’ll be so glad you did. Financial success and peace of mind is available to you and your family. Get started.
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