Am I wrong? Do most people spend at least some of their time thinking about how their financial situation could or should be better? Does everyone dream of not having to worry about money and bills?
If you ask my wife, I am usually wrong. Based on discussions with several people I know over the last several weeks, my wife may be right. At most, it appears that only half of our population is concerned about their financial future. The other half (the spouse) does not seem to share the same thoughts.
Today another friend shared her frustrations about her spouse and his lack of concern, thought or participation in trying to right their financial path.
If you don’t have a significant other at the moment, you have only yourself to blame or praise. It is all up to you.
When it comes to effective financial management, if you are married or planning on it you probably can’t do it alone.
Statistics show that more divorces are caused by conflicts about money than any other single issue. E-Harmony has an article that indicates that while money may be the primary reason conveyed, the real underlying issues may be more complex.
A couple only has 4 options toward addressing their finances. They can:
Option 1) Divorce – or divide and conquer. Divide and be conquered is probably more accurate. Divorce is one option but probably the most expensive you could imagine. And how sad is this, two adults that were presumably devoted to each other now cannot sit down and get the real issues on the table? Time to grow up!
Option 2) Division of money and accounts is another approach that some take. Again, how sad, two adults that are devoted to each other cannot combine their resources to make the most effective use of their combined earning power and money management skill? Time to grow up!
Option 3) Command and control – One half of a couple can take total control of the money and make all decision on what to spend, what to save, what to invest and where. Does one of you have greater knowledge and skill? Great, use it and leverage it but don’t exclude participation of your partner! Command and control to the exclusion of your partner would indicate you don’t have a partnership. With only 50% of your team focused on your finances, exclusion of your partner means you may also miss opportunities to save more or make more.
4) Teamwork – By far this is the best choice for a number of reasons. No one person is ever going to know or be able to learn as much as any two. Working together you can challenge each other in a number of ways. Challenge each other to learn more and do better and challenge to save more and spend less. The greatest benefit of teamwork however will likely not have anything to do with money, working together will make your relationship better and stronger.
I’m happily married for the second time and I am speaking from experience. My first marriage was the typical problem filled union. We fought about money often but there were other underlying issues. If you cannot effectively communicate about money, why would anyone think that communicating about other issues would be any easier?
Is your spouse on a different page? Make building a team your priority, the sooner you can get together and headed the same direction the sooner you will see success.
How do you get a spouse involved? I don’t pretend to be an expert in the area of relationships, you already know I only have a 50% success rate!
However, I can share that my Saving Money Is Easier Than Making Money calculation was instrumental for me. When my wife discovered how much we had to make and how long it takes to make up for $100 in wasted money, it changed her perspective forever.
Another approach that I’ve heard being very effective is Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. This book is an easy and quick read and has helped inspire several people I know to get their financial house in order.
Check with your church, more and more I’ve been hearing of Dave Ramsey based money management classes being held in churches.
Consider hiring a financial professional, sometimes the same words given by an third party “expert” are heard when the same words out of your mouth will be dismissed.
If your spouse is already a partner you are well on your way. Did you face a challenge getting your spouse engaged in your financial plan? How did you finally get them to participate? Please share your approach and provide a different perspective, please leave a comment below.