How To Start a Money Conversation With Your Spouse
Updated: Jun 15
Oftentimes introducing an idea to your spouse about a change can put us on edge. Talking about money can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be. Being well prepared and planning for the conversation will build confidence and increase your odds of having a thoughtful, engaging money conversation. It is an opportunity to build intimacy and positive communication among spouses built on respect and kindness.
#1 Pick the right time
Timing is everything! You want to be on the lookout for a time when you and your spouse are in the right mood and state of mind. Think of a time in your weekly routine that the two of you are focused on each other, connecting in a relaxed environment. Do you have a date night? A morning breakfast routine? Going for a walk?
Once you have determined the right time and you have taken an emotional pulse on your spouse proceed with the conversation. Choose your starter sentence that feels right for your relationship. The purpose of the starter sentence is to warm and welcome your spouse into a money discussion.
Avoid these common timing issues:
**Bringing it up on a whim after a long stressful day. This may cause your spouse to shut down or to get defensive, leaving you frustrated.
**Starting the conversation when you don’t have enough time. This will be more than a 5-minute discussion. You want to have enough time so both of you can share and be heard.
** Avoiding the conversation will not get you t where you want to be.
Remember you know your spouse best. The important thing is to approach the conversation in a loving, kind way just at the right time.
Need help with this? I am available to give you tailored advice to help you prepare. Reach out to me for help.
#2 Select the best lead sentence:
Initiating the conversation is the biggest hurdle to overcome, especially if a money conversation is not part of your routine. Think of the best way to start the conversation. The first sentence sets the tone of the conversation.
Select one of the suggestions or tweak it to make it your own. Be clear, without judging, on what you want to change.
I have been thinking about what our life could be like if we could… (have more money in savings, if we lived without debt, if one of us stayed home with the kids, change jobs, live without car payments, live debt-free, including paying off our house, stop living paycheck to paycheck, stop being stressed about money, afford a vacation, spend money without guilt and judgment, etc.)
I have been thinking about our finances and am scared about our financial future if we continue to…
I want to talk more frequently about our finances. I think that we are doing well, but I wonder if we can be doing better. Are we making the best choices for ourselves and our family? Are we well prepared for an emergency?
I am curious about what a money plan can do it help us achieve our dreams.
What if we could…
Avoid these common starter sentences mistakes:
You spend too much money and it has to stop
Let’s sell your car (or whatever else you think needs to go)
I should be able to buy whatever I want...
#3 Have the conversation
Keep the conversation going with vision questions like, What if we could...live without debt, pay cash for the things we want… just have less stress. Ask about your spouse's childhood experiences around money. Oftentimes, stories can tell us a lot about our fears around money. Having these conversations helps you to build intimacy, understanding, and acceptance of each other’s thoughts and feelings. Once understanding is built, ask what is the best course of action to calm these fears? What is a workaround?
Avoid these words that will prompt your spouse to get defensive. The below phrases often lead to arguments.
You always… You never… You should stop… Let’s get rid of your… You spend too much… I never get what I want… You never listen… You are not the one having to figure out the bills...
#4 Have a next steps plan
This may include gathering resources, listening to podcasts, reading a book, researching coaches that can help so that you and your spouse can make an informed decision. Your next step could be as simple as let’s circle back and talk more about our thoughts and dreams for our money. Ask yourselves what do we want to do right now to consider making a change.
#5 Circle back to share what is going well and not going well
Make it a practice to encourage each other daily, weekly and monthly. Celebrate even your smallest wins. Notice the small things you are learning about yourself and each other. These small things add up! Most importantly, remember you don’t have to go it alone. As a former teacher, I am trained to bring down concepts into small digestible pieces so that my clients make progress. As a coach, I am trained to see the big picture and can guide you through conversations and habits to build your dreams together.
I am here to guide you so your money fits your goals and dreams! I believe you hold the power to change! I wish you the best!