When it comes to your family’s finances, it’s incredibly important to work together, communicate, to not force the other person into doing it “your way” and to be honest. The responsibility of managing the finances should not fall on one person alone, even if both people in the relationship want it that way. In order to be financial healthy and have a healthy relationship, the responsibility should be shared. And if anything should happen to you, the other person knows exactly exactly the status of the finances and where to find all of the financial documents.
Communication is key. If you’re fighting to get out of debt while your significant other is spending away, tension over the finances is either a part of your life or will be soon. One of the leading causes of divorce in America is financial trouble. Both people should be aware of the money situation and have a say. Andrea and I communicate constantly throughout the month as well as at our scheduled monthly budget meeting… over a bottle of wine. It’s funny, not only do we talk about the budget but we have a couple of glasses of wine and talk! Just talk! It’s great! You may need to start with weekly budget meetings to help define your goals, establish a budget and get into a routine but the main takeaway here is to sit down, on a schedule, and talk about your finances.
Don’t force your position! If you are not on the same page it’s time to get on the same page but do it constructively. If you feel you are being financially responsible but the other person is not, it’s important not to accuse, blame or demean but to say what you are feeling in a positive way! No one likes to be put on the defensive or to have an idea forced down their throat. Explain that your goal is to have your family be financially healthy and prosperous. I would suggest asking the other person to start by reading Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover”; that you’d like to work as a team when it comes to the finances and that this book could help you reach your goals.
Be honest! If you make a mistake (e.g. – made a purchase you shouldn’t have or neglected to pay a bill on time) own it! You’ll prove that you are open and honest; that your spouse can trust you to tell the truth when you make a mistake. The consequences of not being honest could be a fight or, if there is a history of dishonesty, divorce.
If you share the responsibility, communicate effectively and are both honest about your finances you’ll be on your way to financial health as well as a healthy relationship. Work together!