Get this– Money is the second leading cause of divorce in the US (behind infidelity). Many sites have articles, upon surveys, upon polls that list out startling stats that are enough to make you cry. Most cite high amounts of debt and lack of communication on money as being the drivers behind the sinking ship.
The American Psychology Association says 40-50% of marriages end in divorce (and there is some wiggle room due to permanent separation while remaining married). Ugh, that’s depressing!
Now you may not be married right now, but it’s likely that your future may include formal vows (let’s leave out the “obey” part mmmkay). So put on our practice pants and get to work on being a team player when it comes to money!
Here are four tips to help couples getting on the same page when it comes to money, both earning and spending.
ASK FOR HELP
Now for some of you, this may not be so simple, but no one ever got anywhere when they went 100% solo. Everyone needs someone to bounce ideas off of, a different perspective, or just a good game butt slap. Hey, you appreciated someone’s help when they saw something that you didn’t right? (Hint, your fly is down.)
So when you’re stumped on your budget (read this post if you don’t have one) or need to think of a plan to raise extra funds to fix your car’s grinding noises. Ask for help. Ask and be prepared to listen. Then say thanks. If you ask them for help then maybe they will ask you for help with something = win/win.
Think about it, when someone asks you for sincere help (not the “hey can you fix my stapler” kind of help) you feel pretty good about yourself and your relationship. This simple tactic can be used for so many things; definitely something you should become comfortable with.
SHARE YOUR GOALS
Everyone has goals, well almost everyone. Some days it feels like just putting on pants is a good goal.
Share your goals of what you want your future to look like. You want to own your own home, share it! Do you want to own a 1970 Ford Mustang with a Boss 302? Hey, maybe your significant other has an Uncle that works at a car shop in LA that works explicitly on old 70’s muscle cars. BUT you wouldn’t know that unless you share right?
Now, your goals may not have anything to do with saving money, but I’m pretty sure you will need money to reach some of your goals. Maybe you find out that you both want to go on a vacation to Bora Bora? Say hello to a joint travel vacation savings account. I highly recommend a high-interest online savings account with 1.9% APY. That’s 20x higher than the national average.
Sharing your goals still means that you need to be smart with your money. So go ahead print out that picture of that bungalow over the water, bust out your crayons and make a money thermometer (you know, like the fundraiser type thing from grade school), post it on your fridge and get to saving.
TALK ABOUT IT
So from the other tips, you may have noticed a trend… TALKING about money. If you didn’t get that hint, go back and reread it, I’ll wait. You back? Cool. Let’s continue.
When you don’t talk about something, something that is plainly there then it gets somewhat awkward doesn’t it? Only when you start communicating and doing it often do things get easier.
Traditionally (aka our parent’s generation) talking about money wasn’t a polite topic of conversation. Maybe you grew up in a household where money was a sore spot?
When you avoid something, it grows. We are not ostriches. We can’t stick our head in the ground and ignore money issues… because they don’t ever go away without action.
Yes, it may be weird in the beginning, but it will get easier, just as everything does with practice.
DO A MONEY CHALLENGE
These can be a lot of fun if done correctly. It is fun to have a goal, a goal that maybe you think you can’t achieve. But then it gets turned into a game… guess who shows up with a full tummy of Wheaties? YOU!
- Do a No Spend Month
- Cash only envelope challenge
- Eat just what is in your pantry
- Save all your $5 bills that you get
- Cut 50% of your subscriptions (you won’t notice, trust me)
- Try the 52 Week Savings Challenge
Whatever you decide to do keep it lighthearted. No one likes a sore loser (or a lousy winner). In fact, you don’t even need to have a winner, set it up as a team challenge!
Whatever you decide to do to help you and your honey get better at this thing called money management, know that nothing is set in stone. If one thing doesn’t work after some decent effort and time then try something different. Just keep trying. GOOD GAME!