Spouse On Board with Money Management

So, your hubby isn’t exactly on board with your money strategy, huh? #normal

First and foremost I want you to know that you’re not alone.  Not in the least bit.  This is the number one stressor and complaint that I hear from women in marriages when it comes to their household money management. I’ve outlined some tips for talking to your spouse about money below. There is even a real and raw video of how your conversations may look and sound to get your spouse on board with money management.

In fact, talking about money with my spouse was a challenge in my own marriage for a period of time as well.  I was certain that once James and I were married, we’d be combining our finances and tackling our goals – whatever those may be – while holding hands and skipping off into the sunset.

Little did I know that this was not on his list of things to do.  He was happy to transfer over whatever was needed into our shared checking account to cover expenses, but ditching his individual account, and just having a single joint checking account was like letting go of his last bit of independence and free will as a newly married man.

It was probably a year or so into our marriage, and the 19th time I had brought up the topic when finally he caved.  I preface this with saying….this is not the approach I’m going to suggest to you as you embark on this journey with your significant other.  Ahem, this is for example only – lessons learned since. 

How to get your spouse on board with finances image

How NOT to get your spouse on board with money management

Let me paint the picture for you. We’re sitting in the his/hers office space of the den in our 3 BR/2.5 Bath home that we had recently bought for “grown up” selves.  It was a weekend morning; James was likely working away on a design project for his freelance business and I was paying bills.  We both had full time roles working for local companies, a hefty mortgage payment, a couple of car payments, student loans, etc. Totally normal stuff.  

As I was sipping a Starbucks peppermint mocha, and him a Sugar Free Rockstar, I asked him to transfer over his monthly contribution to our prior month’s expenses – and for whatever reason it was higher than usual.  Likely our love for eating out and catching up after a work day at local restaurants was the culprit.

He asked something about why it was higher, I tried to explain – and ultimately made my 27th attempt (who can remember details like this 12+ years later….you get the idea) that paying our bills would be easier if we had our money “together.” 

The responses…

His response was something like this, “Fine!” And you and I both know that this is not the type of ‘win’ we’re after. We want our spouses to want to adore our ideas and get on board with a smile….as if they have waited their whole lives for us to ask, and they would love nothing more than to do this thing for us, the love of their life.

Since, the whole ordeal didn’t go down the way I envisioned it, I responded with something like… “Well, not if you’re not comfortable with it.” Pretty sure he rolled his eyes at me and took steps to close his other account and truly become “one” with our money that day.

Although I may have gotten to the finish line with what I was after with the whole joint checking thing – the approach was, I’ll just say it – bad.  Wrong. Stressful.

Up for some girl talk about all of this? 

I have a free video download for you with all the juicy details on better preparing yourself for this convo and helpful next steps with your hubby.

Real Talk about Getting Your Spouse on Board with Money Management

Now, might I share with you an approach that has worked for us in the present tense, as well as for other wives that I work with, and couples that I coach?  I suggest Dream Dates often.

What is a Dream Date?

A dream date has a few common core elements, but the nitty gritty specifics are all up to you.  I need to make sure you’re clear here that this works for either sex.  I’m speaking to the ladies about their husbands. You can swap a few words around and make it work for you to mister.

The firsts on your list…

No kids allowed.  Enough said, right?  You can’t focus on this convo if you’re burping someone, pleading for another to eat, or picking up green beans from under the chair.

Out of your normal environment.  You don’t have to leave your home if you can’t get a sitter. But if you can swing it – book one.  Go out to your favorite restaurant, or pack a picnic to a local lake.  If you’re staying home – move that picnic to the fireplace after bedtime.  Trade out dinner for wine and dessert.  It can’t be on the couch where you normally spend your evening. Put your phone away and turn the TV off.

Prepare him in advance.  Cue up this date night, let him know that you’ve been thinking a lot about future planning and goals and you want to have some time to talk to him about it.  Promise plenty of time for….no talking….later in the evening.

Have a drink.  Don’t start this convo the moment you sit down and the waiter hands you a menu.  This is entree convo, so enjoy a drink and one another’s company first.

Ask about his goals.  Wait, what?  You thought that you were going to be able to unload all of the reasons that you two should be on the same page about money at this point?  Sorry, sister.  Take some time to find out what he wants out of life in the next few years.  Listen.  For real.  Don’t roll your eyes or gasp.  Just hear him out without judgement.  Ask follow up questions.  Be interested.  

What do you talk about?

Your turn! Now, it’s time to share your goals.  What are you hoping to tackle?  Does it include a big financial goal?  This is the time to share it.  

Now, dream together.  What do you both want for your future?  For your family?  For your kids? What does that look like?  Is it a house with enough space to have a chicken coop?  Maybe private school for your children?  Perhaps the ability to help your parents out as they age?  Perhaps it’s a tropical vacation every year for your anniversary.  Picture it.

Here’s the wind up, and the pitch. Let your hubby know that you think that you both can have the goals you’re after if you start working on them together.  Go ahead and paint the picture of how you can start saving for his big purchase (just guessing at his dream there) while giving you the financial stability/growth/decreased stress that you’re after.  You must explain what’s in it for him, clearly – and it can’t be all about your goals, and not about his.

Trial.  Ask him to trial putting your money together, and working on a plan for 3-6 months.  Share that if it doesn’t work out in that time period, you two can separate out and go back to business as usual, but that this trial would mean a lot to you.  Be sure to explain how the current situation makes you crazy, however that looks on you – and share the picture of how you would be feeling through this trial.  Be specific.  Would you be less stressed?  Have more time?  Energy? He wants those things for you because he cares about you.

Talk fears.  What are his biggest fears around this money management change?  He has them, which is why he’s been holding out on you.  Is he worried that you’ll be too controlling?  Concerned that he’ll be left with an allowance and no beer money?  Frustrated that the expenses are yours and not his?  Hear him out, talk through it and challenge him to give it a try.

Dream date complete!

Keep your promise of no talking later in the evening.  Regardless of how the convo goes during your dream date.  It could go swimmingly, or it could be dream date 1 of 3 that needs to take place.  Be patient.

You can tackle your goals BETTER, together – I truly believe that.  There is something powerful about working on dreams that you both have, and sharing that load and responsibility.

If you want some help getting your goals ironed out, your budget on point, or accountability to make your dreams come true send me a message.  I’d love to see you reach those goals.

Want more info about getting your spouse on board with money management?  Download this video that I created that goes into more detail about these steps including some before and after planning – in addition to some interview questions with my own husband.

Sarah is a Ramsey Preferred Coach
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