Updated: Jul 5, 2022
Would you like to stop fighting with your significant other about finances? Would you like to improve your relationship at home, while at the same time improving your family’s financial performance? You can improve this area of your life without harsh words, creating lasting resentments, or all the accompanying mental anguish that accompanies so many long-standing money issues with your significant other. It all starts with three important steps:
#1. Set financial goals: Usually, failure to follow budgets or other chronically poor money behaviors (as it relates to savings and wealth building) typically stem from a lack of shared goals. Couples (traditional or otherwise) rarely set down and have specific goal-centered conversations. Instead, shorter term goals are discussed in passing. Example: paying off a credit card with high interest or some other debt-centered discussion. Saving money is only discussed in the broadest of terms as in, “I would love to save some money!”
To improve your relationship and financial performance, you and your partner must sit down at a specific goal setting meeting. Discuss where you want to be in 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years from now. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want your lives to look like at those benchmarks? Some couples may take some time to work through the process to create a shared vision they both believe in. Other couples can agree on long-term goals quite easily.
If the goal is truly a shared vision, it should create interest and excitement for you both, not just one of you. If the goal does not, then you probably are not in agreement yet; or, have not yet set the correct goal. Creating excitement and desire for the benefits of the goal is critical to success.
Perhaps building wealth does absolutely nothing to excite your partner. However, what if the goal was to build wealth so you can travel around the world; or, become wealthy so you can live in a different area that you both want to live in. Maybe the goal could be to become finically independent, so that neither of will need to work. It is not the wealth, but the freedom that wealth offers that is the primary attraction for most people. Use a vision of freedom to create excitement! Bring the benefits up, rather than complaining to your spouse about their money performance.
#2. Provide leadership: How do you exhibit leadership? First of all, hopefully, you make sure your own behavior reflects the priorities, goals, and moral standard you expect from others. That means if you want your spouse to live within a budget, you must make absolutely sure that you do as well and do it cheerfully. You lead by example! Leading by example is one of the most basic of all leadership principles.
Leadership does not mean “taking charge.” In fact, leadership (depending upon the situation) could mean the exact opposite of taking the reins. You might want to “shut up” and let your significant other provide their ideas regarding the correct strategies to achieve your shared goals. In fact, shutting up may be the most critical step in this entire process. If your significant other does not have significant input, there is not buy-in. Instead, it is a directive from “on high” and will likely be viewed with tolerance rather than engender the commitment needed to achieve tough goals.
#3. Improve budgetary compliance performance: How do you deal with the issue of poor performance on budgetary goals by your significant other? The answer is you talk about strategies to improve budgetary performance. No accusations, no harsh words, just ask how you can help them improve their strategies to get to get to success. Offer advice only if it is accepted. If not, you must let it go.
Finally, is your significant other lying, deceiving or misleading you about money issues? The process is still the same three steps if so. If the deceitful behavior persists, however, professional marriage counseling is likely needed.
Joint goal setting and goal agreement improves every aspect of your domestic life, but particularly improves money management issues. You do not have to work at cross purposes and suffer through almost endless arguments about money and how to utilize it. You can dump this stress and chaos and create a better domestic life while achieving your most treasured dreams.