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.
Don't give up on your marriage. It is worth the effort and investment. If you feel like your marriage is struggling, or even failing, there is hope. There is healing.