Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Couples and Money - how to have the talk without it turning into a fight

Love and money can be tricky subjects on their own.  When combined, they can be a powder keg ready to ignite at any time.

So often individuals have friends that are very similar to them financially yet, will attract a spouse that's the polar opposite.  Couples with both individuals defaulting to "savers" are fine - they are well on their way to financial freedom and likely will avoid divorce because of a money fight.  But for those in a relationship with a spender and a saver, or worse, two spenders, conversations about cash-flow can turn into a full on fight.

To avoid further frustration, shame, guilt and avoidance, couples need direction when having conversations about their household finances.  It doesn't have to turn into an argument with some simple guidelines.

The following is a process that will help you have a successful money conversation with your spouse and continue to keep the dialogue open:

  • Step one:  What are our goals?
  • Step two:  What are our needs vs. wants?
  • Step three:  Where are we now?
  • Step four:  How are we going to get to our goals?
  • Step five:  Make changes - what are we going to do first?
  • Step six:  Take action and get help

The full explanation and process can be found in my book, A Canadian's Guide to Money-Smart Living, published by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.  You can order a copy for $9.99 or an instant download for $3.99 here.

Even starting the money talk can be overwhelming for some couples.  If you find yourself in this situation, it's time to bring in some outside help.  A Certified Financial Planner will walk you through uncomfortable conversations, set life goals and help you design a plan that works for both you and your spouse.

Check out this article from the Financial Planning Standards Council - Modern families have one thing in common: they need a plan.

And if you're ready to check out a qualified planner, visit the FPSC's Find A Planner tool to locate a CFP in your area.

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