How can I get on the same page with my spouse when it come to money issues?
They say that money issues are one of the leading causes of divorce today. So obviously how you and your spouse handle money together, is a pretty big deal. Are you on the same page? Do you even know what that right same page should be?
Money is divisive, and can be an emotional topic. But it’s something that you need to deal with, or else you’ll end up with a big pile of stink on your hands.
The new year is a great time to start fresh, and take inventory. What can you change or fix? And know that when you and your spouse are united in tackling your money problems, there’s nothing you can’t overcome!
So how do we deal with money in our house? And what are some ideas to help you get on the same page with your spouse?
Define Your Money Personalities
First, let’s just say, I’m the money/numbers guy, and my wife is more carefree – though not necessarily a big spender. This is a good thing, as we’ll talk about later.
But you and your spouse need to figure out your different money personalities. Figuring out your different tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses when it comes to money is crucial to getting on the same page. Are you a rule-breaker? Do you love to save or spend money?
Most couples have at least one person who is more of a saver/numbers person, while the other might be a care-free spender. The care-free person may not necessarily spend frivolously, they just don’t hold spreadsheets, numbers, and percentage rates in the same high regard as the numbers person. Shocking I know, but trust me, those care-free people – they’re out there. *da, da, daaah **menacing music**
The goal is to work within your strengths, and let your spouse take over during tasks where they have strengths. For instance, the numbers person would be in their element tracking spending and budgeting. While the care-free person is great at balancing the
frugal cheap lifestyle with fun and relaxation. The care-free person can also be great at setting some long-term goals and dreams.
Once you figure out who is who – money-wise, then you can start to divide the money tasks properly. Since the numbers person gets to do the budget, financial planning, and tracking the spending, you might think if that’s not you, “Welp, that’s all there is . . . nothing for me to do.”
But this is where the problems start. The numbers person does all the numbers and the financial planning, and either feels taken advantage of (because they did all the work), or they become a control freak (and the care-free person feels enslaved).
So while the numbers person should take the lead on budgeting and financial planning, they shouldn’t be doing it on their own. Both of you should be involved. You both spend the money – right?
I already mentioned that I’m the numbers person. And my wife and I certainly have our money disagreements. For instance: She wants to buy some cool looking decorations for the house, while I see dollars wasted on something just to look at.
If it was up to me, I would be sitting in a folding metal chair typing this post in a nondescript room complete with bare walls and minimal lighting. Not a stitch of decoration or comfortable furniture in sight. And then I would wonder why I never seem to come up with any inspiring topics and I always feel depressed. But I saved so much money not buying those things. . . right?
Thank goodness my wife balances me out. And just so you know, I’m not really that bad. My folding chair would at least have a padded seat.
But seriously, she creates an awesome atmosphere in our home that is relaxing and comforting. And that does take some money. So we talk about it, and discuss it. And we agree on things we buy.
She doesn’t just go out and buy things she thinks we “need”, and I don’t automatically shoot down all her ideas. Just like in any other aspect of your relationship, you have to be able to compromise . . . and work together.
To that end we have regular money discussions. We go over our budget before each month. And adjust it as needed. And once we have the plan in place, we stick to it. Sure things come up, but we discuss it, and we get on the same page.
All our Accounts are Together.
If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you might have seen my money map. All the accounts we have, I manage. I am the numbers guy – remember? But my wife can always find out the balances of any of accounts when she wants. We have no hidden accounts or secret stashes . . . at least I don’t.
To the care-free person(s) out there, listen up. All of our money goes through our checking account, and we agree on the disbursements to the different savings and investment accounts. And while my wife doesn’t always care about some of the details, she does know them.
I know you care-free types can’t be bothered at times with trivialities like account balances and such. But you need to know at least the basics. I think it’s important for you both to be able to manage your accounts. And if one of you never sees the information, or never pays attention, how would you manage if, God forbid, something happened to your spouse.
So when your spouse is talking about this balance or that interest rate, at least try to pay attention. Because you know they’re telling you out of love. Love for you . . . and for the information that they’re spouting off about.
So I make sure my wife knows by telling her. Out of love of course.
We’ve Synchronized Our Money Goals
This is where the care-free person really shines. Cause they are the dreamer and the big thinker. Of course I, as the numbers guy, have dreams too . . . like being out of debt and having a solid bank account balance. But that’s sometimes as far as I get.
My wife on the other hand. She wants to cruise the Mediterranean with me and tour exotic locations. She wants to travel and drink tea in China, India, and England. How do I know this? Because we’ve talked about it.
I want some bigger more exciting money goals to shoot for than simply being out of debt. And I need help coming up with fantastic ideas like that. So I asked my care-free wife, and we’ve agreed on some big travel and money goals.
So do we still have disagreements? Yes, but it all comes down to communication. Talk about your money tendencies, and figure out your money personality. Then discuss your day-to-day spending, and get on the same page.
Then finally, together, come up with a big why. A goal or two that you both can aspire to. Work in each other’s strengths, and learn to rely on your spouse in areas where you aren’t as strong.
Working towards a common end can help to keep you both from money fights and money problems.
What do you think? Are you and your spouse on the same page financially?
Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading and sharing.