3 Tips to Avoid Having Money Decisions Ruin a Good Marriage Donít let your marriage end up a casualty of money. Understand the emotion and intention behind your decisions to communicate with your spouse and make honest choices. BY JOE JOHN DURAN
Sit down with your spouse and have an honest conversation about how you want your money to work for you.
“ Money decisions are usually filled with emotions because our underlying motivations can be ignored when we make decisions.”
How many times has a simple conversation with your partner about something fun, like a vacation or buying a new piece of furniture been ruined by an argument about money that becomes much larger than the topic you are discussing?
Money decisions are usually filled with emotions because our underlying motivations can be ignored when we make decisions. In other words, when someone says you spend too much, they might be ignoring the fact you may have a genuine desire to do something to validate your hard work. If, on the other hand, someone says you donít know how to enjoy life or are too tight with your money, they ignore the possibility that maybe itís because you want to protect yourself and your family from unforeseen financial hardships.
We often donít understand or discuss each otherís rationale, and that can mean we rarely have calm, unemotional conversations when it comes to money. There are two major issues driving the majority of tensions about money amongst couples:
First, our values are deeply wrapped up in the way we make decisions about money and secondly, almost every financial discussion we make is rooted in emotions. Because of that almost every financial discussion feels personal and often leads to ever escalating emotional reactions.
Here are the three things you can do to ensure that your marriage does not end up a casualty of your money?
1. Understand how you think and feel about money and own it. We are either wired for fear (the protector), happiness (the pleasure seeker) or commitment (the giver). As in most aspects of life thereís the good and bad that comes with each of these money minds. If you are not aware or honest about how this drives your thinking when it comes to money and how you spend it, itís very hard for anyone else to be honest with you. You can learn which category you fall into by taking a simple, fun five minute test at www.honestconversations.com. Your results will not only tell you what type of money mind you are, but also provide you with the positives and negatives and helpful communication tips to avoid the pitfalls many of us experience when we talk about money with our loved ones.
2. Remove emotions from the equation. Any time emotions get involved, you are better off stopping the discussion and re-engaging in it once you have both truly calmed down. Very rarely does a good decision get made when two people are overly sensitive or emotive. Instead, what you will do is assure that one person feels they have compromised too much or someone feels bullied. It is far better to be in a position where there is some distance between the decision that needs to be made and the emotions of making that decision.
3. Agree on what matters most to you both. We are all different, but whatís certain is that we usually want more than we can afford and having an agreed set of priorities helps to align your interests (and the way you make decisions). Compile a list of your major priorities as a couple so that every decision can be made through the lens of your list of your joint major life goals. The list can include straightforward things, like educating the kids, buying a new car or owning your own home. Remember to prioritize the list. For example, is it more important to the two of you to educate your kids or to enjoy big family vacations? Knowing that you are clear on the destination helps you work together for the same goals rather than separately on your own goals.
Being together is far more important than being separate when it comes to financial decisions. Money and everything about it can often be confusing, complex and unpredictable. It doesnít have to be that way.
Joe Duran is CEO of United Capital, a fast-growing national partnership of private wealth counseling offices. Today, United Capital and its affiliates provide advice on approximately $17 billion in client assets at 44 offices around the country. Joe is also the author of the best-selling book, "The Money Code." When you have a financial decision to make, visit www.honestconversations.com.