I love my husband. That is a fact, but it is also a mantra that I repeat to myself before we sit down to discuss anything about household finances.
No matter how innocuous the discussion may be, it typically causes one or both of us a bit of tension. It should come as no surprise that the number one reason for divorce reported last year was money problems.
In our first five years of marriage financial discussions were a battle ground.
Nobody escaped unharmed and we discovered that we had VERY different perspectives about managing money. We also happened to have very different attitudes about what was worth spending money on and what was not.
We now have ten years of marriage under our belt and thankfully, a lot has changed.
We have learned how to mitigate much of what caused bad reactions over the years. We have developed a bag of tricks which allow us to discuss finances like two loving adults who respect each other. I selected a few of these tricks to share with you… well anything rated PG (blush).
1. Approach the discussion with the right attitude.
Like my mantra above, always approach any financial discussion with a reminder to yourself that you love your partner and that you both want the very best for each other.
2. Discuss in advance your goals for the conversation.
Establishing the goal up front allows one or both of you to reign in the discussion when necessary. It is not uncommon to veer off into separate yet related financial matters when discussing something specific. Making the goal clear up front makes it less confrontational when you need to bring your partner back to the discussion at hand.
3. Make the time and reduce distractions.
You need to be prepared to give your partner your full attention for financial conversations. Not only do finances deserve your full attention, but distractions like children or a pinging IPhone can create frustration or even undermine the value of your respective opinions.
4. Talk about debt!
You really need to be on the same page when it comes to debt. I am not only speaking of unsecured debt like credit cards, I am also talking about mortgages, home equity loans, car loans and more. There should be can no secrets, no hidden cards or no under reporting of what is owed. Those secrets can and will come back to bite you.
So those are my top four. Do you have any tips to tricks to add? What do you think the key is to successful financial discussions?