Long-term relationships can play a defining role in couples’ lives. What marks a good relationship is trust and support for each other and sharing of various roles and responsibilities. A common thread that comes up time-and-time again when running a household is finances. In fact, it’s an important vehicle that sets the wheels of married life into motion. Therefore, it is important that money matters should be in sync between the spouses.
Take It Slow
Depending on your current financial situation, bringing up this topic may be difficult and may require some tactful planning. Often, when such topics are broached, the other spouse may feel that they are being attacked and retreat towards being defensive.
The idea is to start slowly. Avoid direct confrontations over money, rather plant the seeds so that the topic can grow into healthy conversations. Small efforts over time, consistently demonstrating that you are showing interest and want to help will allow the lines of communication to open.
Be honest and transparent
It is important to assess your spouse’s tendencies towards money. Is he a spender or a saver? You need a conversation around that but again, take it slow. Being transparent and revealing bad money habits to your spouse will help eliminate financial problems down the road.
You should keep aside pride and ego to be able to share financial problems with each other and find solutions as a team. This way, you will both learn to sacrifice and fight for each other’s dreams and start treating them as your own.
Make budgets and goals
The fastest and easiest way of getting on the same page is to begin budgeting together. Identify what’s coming in, what’s going out, how much you can save (or decrease expenses).
Consider budget date nights with your spouse. Pick a relaxing environment—it could be a restaurant or your living room where you can sit and relax after the kids have gone to bed. It should never be a stressful or negative event.
Start with discussing your dreams and goals. Where do you both want to see yourselves individually and as a couple or as a family? Where do you want to see yourself in one year, five years, or 10 years?
Make separate worksheets for yourself as an individual and as a family and then compare notes. Common savings goals should be set for both short and long terms.
Dream big but also be realistic; look at what is achievable and what’s not. Also, make a note about what you value the most. Is getting out of debt more important than going on vacation? Lastly, discuss the obstacles.
Stay with the plan
It’s important to look back, periodically, and check the progress you’ve made thus far. Also, ensure you are on the right path to achieve your goals. If you are not, encourage each other to make changes in your lifestyle to get back on track.
However, don’t let hard times discourage you, as it’s all part of a long journey together. If you feel discouraged, pull that financial goals’ list back out and recall why you started this in the first place. Staying focused on your plan can take you a long way.
If you want to realise the goals in your life, you will not get there by accident. You need to be passionate, hard-working and focused towards achieving them. Together, if you are on the same page of the same book, there will be a much higher chance to achieve your goals.