My spouse and I have a wonderful relationship in many respects, but one area that we don’t see eye to eye on is finances.
He feels like I spend too much on clothes and gifts, and I think if we “need” one more thing for “manland” I will lose my mind. How can we get on the same page?
What a great question. We talk about this in our office all the time. What is fascinating is that money seems to still be a taboo subject in so many lives. We seem to have an easier time talking about our sex lives than our money!
The other interesting thing about money is that so much of how we feel and talk about money comes from our parents and our childhood.
So, the first step to getting on the same page is taking a trip down memory lane. How did your parents treat money? Did they spend it and not seem to care about it? Did they talk or act like they did not have any? Did they seem stressed about it? Get your spouse to do the same reflection.
I find that there tends to be two patterns – we unconsciously either adopt the same habits or do the exact opposite.
When you reflect upon your upbringing do you see yourself adopting a similar or opposite pattern? One example is someone who grows up without much or in a family that experiences significant financial distress, they make the determination that that will never happen to them. So they work hard and are determined to buy whatever they want because they don’t want to be without.
These exercises form a great basis for understanding why you treat money the way you do. Your money mindset, if you will. And now, the conversation must begin. These conversations won’t always be easy, and assuming a non-judgmental tone to your discussion can be helpful.
One thing to consider is introducing a third party to the discussion.
Some will find a therapist helpful while others use their financial advisor. The financial advisor is not a therapist, but can focus on uncovering your overall goals and show you how your spending is helping or not helping you achieve these. A good advisor will help you with a plan that can show you how to deploy your money in a way that you both understand agree with. I believe that a cash flow plan that simplifies your financial life is better than a complicated budget and that is what you need to get your advisor to help you with.
Finally, you need to figure out your “why”.
Why is it important to be on the same page and have an agreement about how to spend your money. The carrot you and your spouse to change your approach to money and spending needs to be big enough so that it influences the change in behavior your need to be on the same page and achieve the long term financial success you seek.
Wendy Brookhouse, Founder/Chief Strategist at Black Star Financial Group
Financial Expert, Innovator, Author, Business Owner, Lover of Fun, Wealth Ambassador
With the audacious goal of changing a million lives through finances, Wendy saw a gap in the market and developed the One Number Solution™, a unique system which focuses on planning with behavioral finance tenants in mind. People need to see how to have a financially successful today while planning for tomorrow.
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