When it comes to your financial picture, there are many dimensions — emotions being one of them. Our emotions are strongly tied to our financial behavior. Add your spouse into the mix and you’ve got plenty of emotions to sort through!
Effective communication with your spouse about financial habits is the only way you are going to adhere to your goals and objectives. Here are a few key tips to get the conversation started.
1. Your financial future is never linear.
When I meet with my clients, I will draw a straight line on a whiteboard and tell them this is how they think their financial future will look. Their idea of a plan is usually very linear. They say: “This is where I’ll be three, five or 10 years down the line.” Then I draw a squiggly line that represents reality. We need to embrace the randomness of financial life. Financial progress is tied to how comfortable you are with the uncomfortable.
2. Recognize your future selves.
It is always uncomfortable to make decisions based on something you can’t see way out in the future. Because couples can’t recognize themselves in the future, they just spend the money now. That’s what I call fuzzy goals. The weaker your goals are, the more you are going to react instead of being proactive. That’s why writing out clear and concise goals will help you find your purpose and your “why.” When you know that, every financial decision will come from that place.
3. Acknowledge your financial DNA.
Ask yourself: “Am I a spender or a saver by nature?” Often, opposites attract, but couples that have the same financial DNA have the tiger by the tail! Once you acknowledge you are a spender or saver, talk through it with your spouse and create some rules around your spending and saving habits.
4. There is no shortcut to saving.
If you don’t save, you don’t have a financial future — and one day your future will be decided for you. Saving is a marathon, not a sprint. The earlier you start saving for your financial future, the more you’ll be able to pace yourself and accomplish realistic goals, together.
Let’s talk about your financial goals. How can we help?