You have most likely read that 'Communication' is the key when it comes to talking about money with your significant other. Yet, how do you do that exactly?
In my experience working with thousands of couples throughout my career, it is quite common for couples to have the following differences when it comes to money:
- Spender vs. Saver
- Investor vs. Spender
- Wealthy upbringing vs. middle or lower class upbringing
- Fearful about running out of money vs. not concerned with the long-term
- Desire to talk about money vs. uncomfortable discussing
These differences can lead to explosive and emotional discussions that do more harm than good. So how do you have a positive talk with your spouse about money? It starts with understanding.
Understanding Your Spouses Money History
The key to money conversations is understanding where your spouse is coming from in the first place. What are their beliefs about money? What are their fears? Does money make them nervous or angry? If so, why is that exactly? Did they grow up in a household that couldn't afford certain things or without a financial care in the world? My best advice is start there. Don't talk about who bought what, blame the other for a mistake, your retirement account performance, or the monthly budget just yet. Ask them what their parents taught them (good or bad) about money. Ask them what their goals are for the short and long term and how you can support them and 'team up' to reach the things that are important to them. Once there is genuine, mutual understanding, now it's time to get into the weeds and discuss spending, saving, investing, retirement planning, insurance needs, legal, etc.