Money and Marriage: How to Talk About Money with Your Spouse
Some couples consider money a taboo topic, but tiptoeing around the issue can cause more harm than good, leading to conflicts and dishonesty. From bickering over hiding the occasional splurge to arguments over full-fledged financial infidelity, money problems are a leading reason for divorce.
Here’s how to have the money talk with your spouse in a manner that brings you together rather than pushing you apart.
Look Into the Financial Past
Everyone enters into marriage with their own ideas and experiences related to money, which influence their habits, goals, and overall attitude about money. When two people come together with different backgrounds and outlooks, finances can become a bone of contention.
Looking into your financial pasts to identify what shaped your views and behavior can help. Knowing more about yourself and your spouse will help you better understand why you each do what you do and why you want what you want.
People like to talk about money as if the only factor is simple math. They want to believe it’s nothing more than a resource, earned and spent, to be discussed objectively. But in reality, discussing money means emotions come into play.
When talking about finances with your partner, it’s important to be open, honest, and accepting while acknowledging your feelings and your spouse’s feelings. Admit to your shortcomings, failures, and past mistakes so you can both start with a clean slate and grow from there. It takes courage and strength to move forward together with confidence.
Look at the Numbers
Once you’ve delved into your financial past, confronted your emotions, and recommitted to taking the next steps as a team, it’s time to dive into the numbers. Prepare to be surprised but decide in advance to talk through everything without judgment.
Pull out your financial statements to see where your money is going, how it’s being spent, and what you have saved versus invested. You’re looking for spending patterns, money leaks, and opportunities to handle finances differently. Once you have a clear idea of what’s coming in, what’s going out, what you want, and what you need, you can begin to create a realistic budget and a plan.
John A. Frisch, CPA/PFS, CFP®, AIF®, PPC™ founded Alliant Wealth Advisors in 1995 and has over 30 years of experience as a financial professional. In his free time, he’s an avid long-distance runner, a sport that requires discipline, patience, and vision. John applies these same skills to his professional pursuits: He helps families and retirement plan sponsors adopt a patient, disciplined approach to overcoming financial challenges and reaching their distant goals along a clear path. Learn more at www.alliantwealth.com.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.