Finances are among the top reasons for marriages ending in divorce. Being so close to the heart and how people choose to identify themselves, money and the handling of it is not a subject to be taken lightly. Money issues and concerns are difficult to bring up and have ongoing conversations because at the surface it appears to be illusive and not in their control. Many people find themselves in a circumstance of life conversation when it comes to finances until they choose to be deliberate and intentional about their mutual and independent money related goals.
You have goals, dreams and your spouse may or may not be on board. They may or may not also enjoy and handle money quite like you do. Actually, chances are they see money quite differently than you do and you are needing to create more money conversations so that you both can thrive financially.
The first thing when it comes to creating a blossoming money conversation is to keep all solutions and answers on the table. Think of it like a brainstorming session rather than an interrogation. In a brainstorming session, all ideas are fair game and all solutions can work. It is up to you, both to sort through the good ideas and the bad ideas, to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Determining the parameters of your money conversations will reap positive outcomes. No one spouse wants to enter a conversation about money that has no apparent beginning or end and no objective. In other words, dropping a comment about finances so that you can jump right in and solve problems is not the best strategy for the long game of financial success together. Also, having no objective or time allotment can be intimidating for a spouse who is unsure about finances or not yet mature in handling money.
Begin with setting an appropriate weekly time to have “money dates.” This can become a habit. When weekly or routine meetings are held, then progress can be made. Choose the amount of time together that you can commit to talking about your finances. Also decide on the topic you want to discuss or the problem you want to solve together. Remind each other that it is a brainstorming session, all ideas are fair game, and solutions work. It’s your opportunity to pick the best one for your mutual and independent goals.
When discussing having separate bank accounts after having joint bank accounts make sure to explain the benefits of both and be able to see the pros and cons of either. Caution: When making a decision to have separate bank accounts (or to even talk about it), depending on the level of trust and intimacy in a relationship, it may cause doubts around the security of your marriage. However, whether a couple has separate bank accounts or a joint account trust, security and intimacy is required for both financial conditions. Being transparent with your intentions and supportive of your spouses independent financial decisions will pave the way for a healthy conversation.
The last thing to remember when having the courage to bring up the ”money talk” is to take on the “we” attitude while listening to your spouse. Learn from the mistakes that you’ve made separately and together. Keep an open and acceptance attitude about money and your partner. Steer clear of the blame game and tread lightly while entering into a new financial circumstance with your spouse.