Money Conversations Everyone Should Have
Essential talks to have with your spouse, your kids, and your parents.
by Walecia Konrad
CONVERSATIONS TO HAVE WITH YOUR SPOUSE
Where Does All Our Money Go?
Why it’s important: If you don’t know where it goes, you could end up running low, not to mention straining your relationship. “Financial issues are the number one reason I see couples divorcing,” says Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist and the author of Emotional Fitness for Intimacy ($11, amazon.com). The biggest marriage-buster among them? Over-spending. “Oftentimes a spender marries a saver,” says Goldsmith. “They need to master the art of compromise, and if they don’t, their relationship can quickly get complicated.”
The ideal time to talk: Yesterday, says Goldsmith. Every couple needs to have this discussion. Even if your finances seem to be in good shape, you should check in regularly in case priorities change or debt sneaks in unnoticed.
What to do first: Suggest to your spouse that the two of you―together―keep a monthlong spending journal that tracks personal and household expenses.
How to bring it up: When the month is over and it’s time to talk, focus on your feelings rather than his actions, says Puhn. Something like “Honey, I will sleep better if I know that our finances are in order” takes any judgment out of the discussion and offers your spouse a concrete way to work with you and make you happy. Then use the spending journal to help you both look for ways to stay on budget, cut back spending, or save more. It’s also a good time to create a list of long-term savings goals.
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