Talking to your husband or wife can be hard, especially when you are staring down a double barrel shot gun named debt. For those of you who are lucky enough to be on the same page, these money talks are much easier to have as they tend to be more of a brain storming session. For those of you who are not, this conversation can be much more difficult to have. However, these conversations are not only important for your finances, but for your marriage as well.
Tips To Talk To Your Spouse About Debt
Start By Being Honest. Sharing your concerns, your hopes, desires and dreams with your spouse helps you both to create an understanding of where the other person is coming from. This is not a time for you to talk about what you think the other person is doing wrong but instead a time to find common ground. Money is an emotional thing, and being on the same page is the first step towards building a stronger financial relationship with your spouse.
Should you find your conversation becoming heated, take a step back and cool down. When you both have had time to collect yourselves try again. Remember you are on the same team. This should be a loving conversation, not a war.
Talk About Goals. You and your spouse should develop both short and long term financial goals. Make a list of things you want to accomplish together in the next six months, the next year, the next five years, and the next twenty-five years.
When establishing goals began with the easier ones (shortest term) and working your way to the more difficult or long term goals. Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. You didn’t get into debt overnight and you won’t get out of it overnight either. Unless of course you win the lottery!
Make A Plan. Now that you are both on the same page and have some common goals it’s time to make a plan. Decide together how you plan on accomplishing your goals. What are you willing to do or to sacrifice in order to reach your financial goals?
This needs to be a team effort with both people willing to work together, or your plan will simply fall apart. So make sure it is something you both feel is reasonable and can live with long term.
Create A Budget Together. Your monthly budget is your plan in action. Without it you will not get to the finish line and to financial freedom very fast. Many people are afraid to create a budget because they think it will be too constricting. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Your budget is actually very freeing, because when you know where your money is going you no longer have to worry about it!
Check In. Now that you have found common goals, created a plan, and put it into action don’t let it fall apart. Check in with one another on a weekly or monthly budget. In my home we sit down together to do the bills every week, and then revisit our budget once a month. By having these frequent meetings you can make sure you both are happy with the direction you are headed. It also gives you the opportunity to revamp the plan or establish new goals should the need arise.
The next time you sit down to talk about your debt with your spouse remember these five simple steps to help keep the conversation moving in a positive direction.
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