Does the thought of talking to your husband about finances make you nervous and trigger off your anxiety? Does it always lead to a fight? Money is one of the top reasons couples fight. We are all bought up with different ideas about money, different values and different ways we earn, use and treat money. But for some reason, we think that it’s a taboo topic and we don’t talk about it. But you can talk to your husband about money, without fighting.
If money is something you’ve had difficulties communicating about in the past, it may be wise to get some outsider help to start off with if you feel comfortable. Finance is a highly emotive topic and things can get heated pretty quickly. Remember, if you want to have positive talks about money, then you need to talk in a positive way.
The best time to tackle your finances is right now, it’s so important for you to be on the same page as a couple and to know where you’re at, as well as where you want to be financially. Money isn’t evil, money isn’t bad, and money doesn’t do bad things. It’s just money. So follow these tips, get chatting and you’ll soon be on your way to a positive and exciting financial relationship with your husband.
Know Where You’re At Right Now
Do both you and your husband know exactly where you’re at right now financially? Do you know how much debt you have? How much money is in the bank? Do you know what you’d do if you had a major expense come up right now and you had to pay for it?
When finances cause arguments, people tend to avoid the conversation, naturally. But this is a conversation you need to have. If you have anxiety about talking money, or if it makes you feel uncomfortable, then you’re not going to do it and you’ll always have anxiety and it will always make you uncomfortable.
The only way to resolve this is to work through it and get it all out there.
It might be messy, it might be confronting, but it’s all going to be out there, on the table, ready for you to tackle together.
Using a financial planner can help with this because you can visually see what is going on with your money. Write it all down with pen and paper and don’t hide. This is your first big step forward.
Map Out Your Income And Expenses
You would be amazed at how many people don’t actually know what their monthly expenses really are. You can ask them, and they will give you a figure, but the amount of money they think their expenses are, versus the amount of money they actually spend on things is usually way off. Grab a copy of your bank statement from the last few months and work out exactly what you’ve been spending money on, and how much. Most of us use cards to pay for things, which makes this exercise a whole lot easier.
Be mindful, this has the potential to cause disagreements because one person may spend money on things the other doesn’t agree with. This is not the point of the exercise. This is to work out where your money has been going, so you can get on the same page and map out a good financial plan for you moving forward.
One of the things you can do to avoid arguments with this is to add into your budget spending money for each of you. This is ‘no strings attached’ kind of money you can spend on anything you want. Depending on your budget, it might be a small amount or a larger amount, but having money for each of you to spend (the same amount – this is important) means you don’t have to feel anxious about buying yourself something or annoyed if you husband spends money on something you don’t agree with.
Create your budget based on the income and expenses you have, and make sure you both do this together. Managing money isn’t the responsibility of one person, it’s something you both need to do together.
Talk To Each Other About How Money Makes You Feel
Remember how we said money is highly emotive? It is so incredibly true. It has the ability to make us feel happy or sad, anxious or elated, tied down or give us freedom. How does money make you feel?
A lot of our money mindset starts when we are children and is shaped by how our parents treated money and what we learned about money. Money management isn’t something that is taught widely in schools, yet is such an important life lesson.
Take some time to talk to each other about how money makes you feel. You might find that talking about money makes your husband stressed, and therefore he gets defensive and shuts down whenever the topic is bought up. This can cause tension and lead to arguments. But, understanding this can give you different strategies you can use to handle the situation and can help your husband feel less stressed about money (or it could even be the other way around).
Have Regular Finance Dates
Getting your finances in order isn’t something you do once and then it’s done. We have money coming in and going out on a regular basis and we need to keep track and reevaluate it. A business wouldn’t create one budget and run with that budget for the rest of the life of the business, so why should we do the same for our finances?
Make talking about your finances a positive thing. Go out to lunch or dinner together, order some good food and relax together talking about what you’ve done well, what you want to improve on, what’s coming up and how you can tweak and modify things so you’re achieving your financial goals.
Making money and finance topics that are openly discussed quickly removes the tension from them and reduces any arguments you have. They become part of your day to day lives, and having regular finance dates adds a positive spin.
It’s up to you how often you get to have these dates but I would suggest at the very least have them once a month. A lot can change over a month so it’s good to keep on top of things and stay on the same page.
Stop Hiding Purchases and Money
It really irks me when I see meme’s on Facebook about things like getting the mailman to hide your online shopping deliveries from your husband or ‘tricking’ your husband into thinking you’ve paid less for something than you actually have. This breeds such a negative money mindset and a negative financial relationship between you and your husband.
Regardless of who earns what, you are a couple and you’re in this together. You shouldn’t feel ashamed of purchasing something, and you shouldn’t have to lie to your husband about how much you spend. If you find that you ‘need’ to do this, then your ‘need’ isn’t actually to hide things, but to communicate better.
Hiding and telling lies leads to so much mistrust, and rightly so.
Be open about your finances, talk to each other often and do so in a positive way and you’ll find you argue less and have much less stress about money.
Your finances are a joint effort – it’s not on one person to ‘make them right’ and by communicating and being open, you’ll start to move towards and healthy and positive financial relationship and you’ll be able to talk to your husband about money, without fighting. Win!