Secrecy in the area of personal finance can lead to huge marital problems. Many married partners struggle with this because of a spouse who acts disinterested until some type of financial problem arises. The silent partner will rise up with accusations and issues of distrust.
The only way to prevent this scenario is to involve your spouse continually in your family’s area of personal finance. How to teach your spouse about the workings of your family’s money can be a difficult mountain to climb. These 10 tips should help you get the job done.
Walk softly into this area of discussion.
Make an appointment with your spouse for this discussion. Ignore comments like: “You just do it” or “I’m not really into that type of thing.” Not having this discussion will bite you eventually. Be firm but not too pushy until the meeting can be set up.
Know why you feel the need to do this teaching.
Besides the future risk of not doing this teaching, you may have other good reasons. Hopefully, it is not to reveal to your spouse that you are bankrupt or nearly so. However, regardless of the state of your family finances, you need to be able to answer the question of why it needs to be discussed now.
Come prepared with details of your family budget.
Do your homework. Have your household income and expenses itemized and categorized. You need to have the blueprint for the discussion ready before starting to talk.
Insist on participation in the discussion by your spouse.
In spite of being prepared, do not plan to make this a one-way communication experience. Your partner has to participate. This will let you know that your spouse is involved. The input from your spouse is necessary so that he or she feel like a part of the process of building the family budget.
If you struggle to communicate together in other areas, this could be tough, too.
Do not expect this discussion to be completely smooth. Couples tend to relate about money in the same way as other areas of their relationship. The more submissive partner will be very uncomfortable, and the more aggressive spouse will try to dominate. Depending on which side you stand on, you either need to push back or give room for your spouse to give opinions.
Get your spouse to commit to multiple meetings.
Understand that it is unlikely that you can complete this teaching process in one sitting. For the best results, you need to open the discussion and let it sit for a few days or a week. This will give your spouse time to become more accepting of the issues and teaching. Having a weekly family finance meeting for a month or two will let you explore many topics and work out solutions together. After that time, you will still want to meet monthly to monitor changes and progress.
If there are financial issues to resolve, be relentless in trying to make this work.
You will be tempted to just let me take care this. Unfortunately, this approach only pushes off the inevitable battle over family financial issues. Having this discussion before the situation can escalate further is the best plan. Push for input and mutually acceptable solutions. These may not always be pretty or pleasant, but over time, setting your finances on the road to recovery is the only acceptable answer.
Learn your spouse’s level of financial understanding and start at that point.
This is not the time to showcase your financial prowess. Think team effort. You need to make sure that you are speaking in a way that is understandable to your spouse. Do not talk down or in a condescending manner. You are two equals working together to solve a problem. You job is to bring your spouse up to speed on the material.
Emphasize the need to control debt and spending and maximize saving.
To avoid future financial issues, you need to put a budget into place that allows you to control where your money goes. By accounting each month for your funds, you will be able to navigate your through and around nearly every type of financial situation. Make it a project that you and your spouse work together on each month for the good of your home.
Be prepared to make compromises.
Flexibility and tolerance need to be a big part of this process. Both you and your spouse need to give and take during the formation of the budget. He or she needs to be able to feel as good about how your finances work as you do in order for the budget to be usable. Be sure that you listen as much as you talk.