How To Get On The Same Financial Page With Your Spouse

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This is part one of a three-part series focused on helping couples get on the same financial page. I have used these three steps to work through substantial financial challenges and achieve some of my biggest plans, hopes, and dreams. I’m confident they can help you move forward to living a fully funded life!

How do I get my spouse to work with me on our finances?

This is a very common question—I have been asked it countless times. I call this the “Non-participating Spouse Problem.” It is a very real issue, and it can be extremely frustrating. It can also take a tremendous toll on a marriage.

First, let me share two key facts we must all understand:

  • Finances are one of the top causes of marriage fights and divorce.
  • Until both spouses are on the same page financially, it is impossible to maximize your financial potential.

So, recognizing how important it is that you both be on the same financial page, I submit the following strategies to bring the reluctant spouse on board with planning the family’s finances. 

Step 1.  Plan your conversation

Write down the reasons you would like to have your spouse’s active help in managing the family’s finances. Include your dreams in this list. Items could include: the 25th anniversary trip you have always dreamed of, the boat you’ve always wanted, paying for your child’s wedding or college education, etc.

Prior to the conversation, identify some potential ways to improve your financial management. I highly recommend putting together a monthly spending plan before the month actually begins.

Establish one big next step you wish your spouse would take with you on your financial journey. Write down this step as your goal so that you can remain focused during your conversation. Some potential next steps could include:

  • “We need to work together on our budget. Will you help me prepare the budget each month?”
  • “We would benefit from meeting with a financial coach together.”
  • “We need to write down our plans, hopes, and dreams together and establish a financial plan to achieve them.”
  • “We should begin saving for our children’s college.”
  • “We should participate in the financial class that’s being offered at church.”

Take time to plan out your conversation. As Henry Ford once famously said, “Fail to plan. Plan to fail.”

Once you’ve planned your conversation, it is time to “have the conversation” and that’s what we’ll talk about in the next part of this three-part series.


Joseph Sangl is a leading teacher of personal finances and the founder of I Was Broke. Now I’m Not., an organization committed to helping people live fully funded lives. He’s also the author of several books including his latest release, “I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.” Joe resides in Anderson, South Carolina with his wife, Jenn, and their three children. You can connect with Joseph on Twitter.

534650110_1280 Check out Married, an online experience for couples. This video series will provide a ton of insight and advice on ways to strengthen and enrich your marriage. Hear from the experts and apply it your marriage today.




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  • Christine

    I’ve tried several times to get my husband on board with our budget. He refuses to open any bills/mail that look like they might be asking for money, he leaves it all to me. I’m fine with that…so we opened a joint checking account for him to deposit his paychecks into and for me to withdraw what I need to pay the bills.
    He’s been in and out of work for 4 years now, so honestly, anything he makes should be going towards the household to help me recover my financial losses for having to shoulder 100% of the burden when he refused to work.
    With mortgage, utilities, insurance, medical bills, food and fuel we have about $3890 in monthly family expenses.
    Let’s split that, because that’s fair right? $1945 each
    He makes $2000 a month…. with a $552 car payment, his monthly obligation to family plus his car payment is $2497, he’s -$497 as it is every month.
    So I’ve been picking up all that slack. He just got demoted which will add an additional $200 to my burden.
    The other day he had the audacity to ask me where his money goes and why he doesn’t have $2k in there for a downpayment on a new car (that he also can’t afford). He doesn’t get it…he stops listening when it comes to family responsibility.
    I’m done with this, seriously.

  • Pierre Audy

    Whatever we earn, because we love both our jobs, and money isn’t the main “why”, it becomes our budget.
    We have only one bank account.

    I don’t spend more because i earn more. Some times, it seems I’m the lucky one to buy something new and other times, it’s her.

    We want to be all together in everything, money, times with the kids, activities, etc.

    She work between 15 And 35 hrs/week to be more available for the kids. Si it would be unfair if she would “have” less budget.

    We budget together, she used to pay the bills because i was working a lot in the past.
    Today, it’s almost who find the bill first, pay the bill.