How to Discuss Money Matters With Your Spouse
Like in any relationship, challenges are bound to happen along the way. Financial setbacks are opportunities for you to strengthen your bond as a couple.
Question: I attended the Financial Fitness Forum last Saturday and I’m so happy to have been there, learning new things. I am a stay-at-home mom and also doing part time online selling. My husband and I have been happily married for three years and been blessed with two children. I’m so eager to learn about investments and hoping to share what I learn with my husband. However, we’ve never really talked about money matters before and since he’s the main provider, I’m afraid that I might be overstepping my boundaries and not sure how to talk to him about it. Any advise, please? — Joy C. through email
Answer: I’m glad that you are taking time to learn about investments and wanting to get involved in managing your household finance. No matter how forward-thinking we consider our generation to be, the subject of money is still one of those issues that we shy away from openly discussing with our partners.
We put emphasis on our emotional ties with our partners and pay less attention to financial matters. But remember that marriage is not only the union of your hearts but of your wallets as well. If you haven’t done any serious talk with your husband regarding your household finance, it’s high time that you did. It is never too late to sit down and openly communicate money matters with your partner.
Do not be afraid that you will be overstepping boundaries, you are partners now and every decision being made for your household should be done as a team—financial decisions included. Treat yourselves as equals, who makes what, and how much is not relevant, your job as a homemaker is also hard work and adds a great deal of benefit to your family so do not just retreat and take the back seat when it comes to money matters. Be involved.
One thing that will be helpful in making your discussion healthy is to start talking about your mutual financial goals. These can include your dream house, a vacation or as simple as planning your child’s birthday party. Establishing and agreeing on your financial goals together will not only provide you with a clear vision of your future but will also help in strengthening your bond as partners. It gives “partnership” a deeper meaning as both of you work hand in hand in fulfilling your shared goals. Make sure that your goals are clearly defined, know the cost of your goals and be certain with your deadlines.
Now that you have established your shared goals, you can progress in discussing each other’s roles when it comes to managing your household finances. If you’re the one more inclined toward learning about investment and finances, take the CFO (chief financial officer) role in the family. This includes budgeting, bills payment, recording and doing the homework for your investment plan and, therefore, your husband will be the CEO of your family. Having roles do not mean abandoning working as a team, these roles are meant to divide tasks according to your strengths to make the most out of your financial management as a couple.
Like in any relationship, challenges are bound to happen along the way. Financial setbacks are opportunities for you to strengthen your bond as a couple. Discuss challenges openly and calmly. There should be no blaming game. Pointing fingers will just do more harm and do no good with your situation. Do not let pride get into your way of dealing with the problem together. Problems are easier to handle when you do it as a team. Help and support each other in bouncing back and learning from the financial mistake.
Zig Ziglar once said, “Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.”
Cheers to a financially healthy relationship!
Jesi Bondoc is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines. He is the current Director of My Wealth MD and Partners Inc. and a columnist in Money Sense Magazine and Business Mirror.
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