Money issues are hard on a relationship and if not solved, can and do lead to divorce. Regardless of how long or how short a couple has been together, talking about financial matters and money issues with a spouse is crucial because money affects virtually every aspect of our lives.
Here are 4 things you can do to start talking about money with your spouse:
Set Time Aside
Agree on a set time to discuss one topic. Start with something routine, for example, how to better utilize bank accounts to organize household bill payments, spending money and savings. By limiting the time and the topic of your discussion, it will be easier to focus on solutions.
Progress, Not Perfection
Know that you don’t have to agree on everything. Money management isn’t about being perfect. It’s about trying your best and making adjustments as you need to. You each have unique ideas, so draw on each other’s strengths and start by working on the things that you can agree on.
Develop a Spending Plan
Establish a budget together. A budget is simply a plan for your money so that you can spend it in ways that will let you get where you want to go. No one is born knowing how to budget, so go easy on each other.
Consider setting up separate bank accounts to help organize household bill payments, spending money for each of you, and short and long term savings if you're not comfortable with joint accounts. Focus on what you can do, rather than on what you can’t.
When to Get More Help
You might end up asking yourselves if you are financially compatible, so don’t wait too long to get professional help if you need it. Non-profit credit counsellors are available to help you learn how to budget, use credit wisely and deal with debt. If you need help with communication skills, seek out the services of a clinical counsellor. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if you need help. After all, your relationship may be at stake if you don’t.
By taking simple steps towards talking about money with your spouse, you’ll soon find that it gets easier not to argue all the time. You’ll still disagree, but it won’t turn into an all out feud. With some fights there are winners and losers. But when a couple fights about money, no one truly wins.
Related article: Reasons Why Couples Argue About Money