12 Tips For Talking About Money With Your Spouse - Refresh Financial

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12 Tips For Talking About Money With Your Spouse

Money is stressful. Even talking about money can bring a heightened state of irritability. It can lead to arguments between spouses and things being said that can’t be taken back. Psychologists cite money as one of the leading causes of divorce. If you struggle to make ends meet you stand a good chance of money getting between you and the person you love the most. The great news is, though, that you don’t need to let money have that power over you. You can take steps to ensure your relationship survives tough financial times.

Here are 12 things you can do to make sure money doesn’t break your partnership down:

Talk often

Many couples fail by not talking about money at all. It’s easy to get caught up in the business of day-to-day life and convince yourself that you have no time to talk money. You won’t avoid the money stress this way. In fact, you’re going to increase it. That stress is going to get between you and your spouse eventually if you’re just letting it fester untended for a long time. Make a money talk schedule you both agree on instead, and stick to it.

Never shut down your spouse’s ideas, even if you disagree with them

It’s important to understand that no two people are going to want to approach money the same way. There’s no need to get upset over it. Instead, calmly weigh the pros and cons of each approach, and figure out which approach makes the most sense financially. In other words, check your emotions at the door and approach it logically.

Hear your spouse out

Tensions rise when we appear to not be listening to each other, or when we are constantly talking over each other or interrupting. Even if your spouse is having trouble hearing you out, doing the same to them is only going to get you more stressed, angry and frustrated. Instead, take a deep breath and let your spouse finish. Really listen to what he or she is saying, and even show them that you heard them by repeating what they’ve said back to them when it’s your turn to talk. Someone who feels listened to is less likely to get their back up or become frustrated and your talk will go that much more smoothly.

No lies or secrets

Do not lie about money, or keep secrets about it. Lay everything out on the table. When it comes to money, the numbers don’t lie and you’re going to be found out. All lying will accomplish is creating an atmosphere of distrust, which will lead to arguments, anger, and irritability.

Make a point of discussing the good things

Point out the progress you’ve made when you can. Recognize where you both have saved some money. Point out decreases in spending and debt and increases in savings. It’s important to look at the good things even if everything else feels really terrible and scary. The best way to face financial struggle is head-on with a good attitude and you can’t really do that while you’re focusing on everything bad. Pointing out the good is also going to set a positive atmosphere which will deter anger and irritability.

Don’t play the blame game

If you feel your spouse is spending too much in certain categories, it’s not necessary to point fingers and assign blame. Instead, point out that, as a couple, you’ve been spending too much in said category and that, as a couple, you need to reduce your spending to such and such an amount. There is nothing to be gained from fighting over who is to blame for what.

No distractions

When you do sit down with your spouse to talk about money, ensure there are no distractions. Put the kids to bed, get the dog walked, turn off the television, disconnect from social media and just talk to your spouse. Trying to multitask through a conversation on a tough subject is going to cause frustration, lack of focus and likely end in an argument. The best way to avoid this is to plan when you’re going to talk with your spouse about money. Set down a time and a date and get everything else out of the way first.

Try to talk when you’re not exhausted

Talking about a stressful topic when all you want to do is crawl into bed and sleep off the busy day you’ve just had is not a good idea. Chatting about money when you’re extra tired can result in poor communication, poor listening and increased irritability. You may find yourself agreeing to things you might not normally agree to, just to end the talk quicker and head to bed faster. Discuss money towards the beginning of the day if you can. Even if you work most days, it’s worth setting some time aside when you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Expect disagreements and face them head on

You will disagree with your spouse on many things. Do not avoid these topics like a minefield. Instead, approach them willingly, discuss them openly and hear your spouse out. It’s okay to disagree - it’s how we deal with those disagreements that count.

Admit your own shortcomings

We all make mistakes and it really serves no purpose to avoid admitting that. If you want your spouse to admit when they’ve overspent, you’re going to have to do it, too.

Discuss the facts, don’t discuss opinions

The great thing about talking money is that the numbers are all there and can’t be denied. The facts are laid out before you. Leave speculation out of it and let those numbers do all the talking.

End with the positives

Some say to start with the positives, but I am in the camp that you should end with them - get the gritty stuff out of the way first, and then look to the future. Look at what you want your money to do for you; talk about the house you want to buy or the car you’re saving up for. Look ahead at your goals and leave on that note, so you can go about the rest of your day feeling lifted instead of bogged down by money troubles.

What are some of the tips you can think of to successfully talk to your spouse about money? Let us know in the comments!

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