Money Talks: How to Talk to Each other About Money
While it has been a good decade since my husband and I walked down the aisle, I still remember the early days quite clearly. The excitement of getting married, and the prospects of what lay ahead- which were both simultaneously thrilling and terrifying.
What I do remember also quite clearly, is the transition from “me” to “we” in the financial department. Fortunately for us, we were sympatico on spending, saving and financial goals. But it is a well-known fact that money disputes is the greatest point of contention between couples- and is one of the biggest contributors to marriage breakdown.
So, for those newlyweds (we are in wedding season!) or for those considering the leap, here are some talking points for your money talk.
Like all other areas of marital success, this one hinges quite closely on communication- like the non-confrontational kind.
Literally lay everything out on the table. Everything. Debts (even small ones), savings, assets. Pull all the financial skeletons out of your closet. Full disclosure here means transparency-which will help set up mutual goals, as well as lay out responsibilities and expectations.
Where do you want to be in five years (other than still married, which means you have to talk about money now)?
Do you want to buy a house? Pay of wedding debt? Maybe one or both of you are carting around student debt that you’d like to unload?
Lay down short, medium and long term goals that address both paying down debt and accumulating savings (yes, both can be done at the same time).
Nothing will darken your financial future than “he said she said” when it comes to spending. If you husband has a spending weakness for say, electronics, and you spend an exorbitant amount on clothes, realize that your singular spending habits are not going to do much to advance you towards your goals as a couple.
Be flexible on modifying habits in pursuit of new goals and take accountability for your own role.
Talk it Out
Setting up your finances is not a one-time thing. Budgeting and financial planning needs to be revisited on a regular basis- because your life (and does- just wait!) change. You need to realign your goals to make sure that they are reasonable, and to tweak your current plan if need be.