Have trouble talking to your spouse about money? You’re not alone. We all communicate differently and money tends to bring up some big emotions for people.
Read on to learn 3 ways to improve communication with your spouse around finances.
Last year, my husband and I experienced a huge misunderstanding about money. As I was sitting outside enjoying the sunshine, my husband called to check in for the day. When he proceeded to say “We should go on a holiday, just the two of us”, I’m sure he expected a response like most women who would be excited and say “great idea honey, where are we going?”
Instead, he caught me off guard and was met with my swift reaction of, “we can’t afford that!”
That did it. Now he was annoyed: the money coach just told him his idea wasn’t a good one and we couldn’t afford something so significant. In his defense, he argued about how hard he works, asked why we don’t have money and blah, blah, blah (love you babe). Me? Well, I got my panties in a knot and if I remember correctly, hung up on him.
Fortunately with my money coaching experience, I understood that I was being irrational. I knew I needed to take a step back and look at the situation again. I immediately called him and apologized. It simply came down to an obvious misunderstanding.
In my mind, a holiday for just the two of us would entail something like our trip to Thailand years ago. My brain automatically spat out numbers in the range of $4000 for a tropical vacation. When we spoke, I apologized and explained that it wasn’t that we couldn’t afford it, as I knew we had the cash, but that I was choosing not to spend that kind of money right now.
His response: “how much money are you thinking we’d need to spend?”
I told him my guess of $4000.
His next response: “what kind of holiday are you talking about?! I was thinking the weekend in Jasper! (a tourist destination only 4 hours away)
A simple difference in the way we think caused a money misunderstanding of epidemic proportions! Needless to say, I was certainly okay with $400 instead of $4000.
Little misunderstandings can turn into very BIG misunderstandings if we don’t get clear.
3 simple ways you and your partner can learn to communicate more effectively about money.
- Talk about your goals. If as a couple, you have completely different goals financially, how will you work together effectively? Every so often, my husband and I sit down together to individually write a list of the next 10 things we want to save for. Then we look at both lists together. Some of the goals are very different but some do align. The aligned goals get moved to the top and then we discuss in detail other goals to determine order of priority.
- Talk about your fears. If you or your spouse have fears around money and debt, it can be extremely damaging to your finances let alone your relationship. Make sure you clearly let the other person know how you feel. If the fears are coming from your spouse, don’t discount them. Acknowledge them and work together to discover the source of fear and eliminate it together.
- Ask for help. If one or both of you are experiencing any fear, stress or anxiety about money, it becomes easy to bury your head in the sand and avoid the reality of it altogether. Asking for help is not a bad thing! In fact, it is one of the smartest things you can do! Ask someone you trust, perhaps another couple you admire or seriously consider hiring a money coach! After all money could be ruining your sex life!
Be open. Be honest. Your conversations around money will improve with conversation and openness. Studies actually show that couples that speak about money feel more trust and relief than those who don’t. Need I say more?
If you feel you need help or guidance when it comes to your financial situation please do not hesitate to contact me. I’m never too busy to speak with you and we can always schedule a free consultation to see if my services could be beneficial for you.