Money Talks: How to Engage Your Spouse in the Conversation

Let’s face it. Money talks. It’s often one of the main causes for marital strife and is the top reason cited when couples split. It doesn’t have to be that way. Money can be an effective tool to bring couples closer together as they share their hopes and dreams and work as a team to fulfill their goals. In order to do this though, it requires buy-in and participation from both spouses. So what do you do if your spouse just isn’t that into thinking about and/or handling the finances?

Shift the focus to passions and purpose.

A majority of the families I have the opportunity to serve end up having one spouse who actively manages the finances while the other spouse is fairly disengaged. More often than not, it’s the wife who is not actively involved in handling the finances. Regardless of which spouse is less engaged, it’s a beautiful thing to see them come to life when they’re asked about their passions. If you don’t know what your spouse is passionate about, I suggest you take the time to ask him or her the question and then sit back and listen. If you can more fully understand your spouse’s passions and what they see as their life purpose, you’ll more than likely find great joy in helping them live it out. It will also help them to be more engaged in financial decisions if they see that you are supporting their hopes and dreams and letting it influence the way you manage your finances together.

Create transparency.

Problems often arise when one spouse who is not engaged in the day-to-day management of the family’s finances assumes everything is going along fine and isn’t told otherwise if/when there are issues. In order to keep this from happening, commit to regular checkpoints with your spouse and provide complete transparency surrounding financial decisions and transactions. Each spouse should have access to bank account and investment account information, and it’s extremely helpful to have a cash flow tracking system in place that is able to provide periodic reports regarding monthly income and categorized expenses.

Seek Out Third-Party Accountability.

Oftentimes, one of the most helpful things you can do to improve communication regarding finances with your spouse is engage a third-party to provide outside accountability. This person could be a friend, a pastor, or more specifically, a fee-only financial planning firm like Sound Stewardship, LLC. When you work with our team, you get ongoing accountability with regularly scheduled quarterly meetings. Our proprietary process called the Purposeful Living Process will guide you and your spouse through all parts of the financial planning process and provide you with a Path for Purposeful Living. You’ll be more in tune with your spouse’s passions, purpose, values, and goals and you’ll each be supporting each other along with way.

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