Are you and your spouse on the same page when it comes to finances?
In a recent study, it was found that approximately 31% of all couples — even the happiest ones — clash over their finances at least once a month. The most common points of disagreement were major purchases (34%), decisions about finance and children (24% of respondents with kids), a partner’s spending habits (23%), and important investment decisions (14%). Sound familiar?
Well, money doesn’t have to be a deal breaker for you and your spouse. Instead, it can give you the opportunity to work as a team to create a strong financial foundation built on communication, planning, and shared responsibilities.
Here are 4 ways you can get on the same page with your Military Spouse when it comes to money:
1. Talk About Money
If you’re currently engaged, talking about a future together, or even if you’re already married, you should already be having open and honest conversations about all sorts of things. But, have you really sat down and discussed the elephant in the room — your finances?
Talking about money is one of the most important conversations you can have with your significant other. When you agree on how you spend, save, and invest your money, you will tend to be on the same page on personal and family priorities, goals, and values.
Here are some questions to help you get the conversation started with your partner:
- What are your dreams or goals in life?
- Do you feel like we’re on track for those goals financially?
- Is there anything that scares you about our financial situation?
- What do you appreciate about the way we’ve spent money so far?
- What is one thing you would change about the way we handle our money?
Now, this isn’t a conversation that is one-and-done. Continue to sit down together and talk about your money as often as you need to.
2. Recognize Your Differences
Everyone has a different money mindset, and opposites tend to attract. One of you might be the saver and the other is more inclined to spend.
If you and your partner have different approaches to finances, try and write down what your wants and needs are, and why you want and need those things. That gives the other partner a bit of background as to why, so they don’t just make assumptions.
You’re both on the same team here, so plan and budget together! Use your personality differences to become a stronger, more united team.
3. Make a Plan
Once you have some goals that you both agree on, spend some time figuring out how you can get there.
If your goal is saving for something smaller, you might be able to make a plan to cut down on your Starbucks addiction or fast food purchases. For something larger, it might be a good idea to start saving automatically.
If you’re unable to save money because of debts you’ve accumulated, it’s important to at least to pay down high-interest credit card debt and then have a plan in place so you won’t fall into the same trap again.
Each of you needs to be willing to make some sort of sacrifice to reach the goal, and if you need a little help along the way, try this free Financial Unity Planner Kit for Couples from Pennies into Pearls.
4. Make a Budget (and Stick to It)
The key to getting — and staying — on the same page as your spouse when it comes to money is having a financial agenda or budget.
Living by a realistic budget helps prioritize and monitor spending, avoid credit problems, ensure essential expenses are covered, and financially prepare you for emergencies. With a budget, you’ll get a clear picture of your responsibilities versus your guilty pleasures.
No idea where to start? Follow these 7 simple steps in creating a budget.
And remember, your budget isn’t just about numbers, it’s about creating the life you dream of!
Talking about money can be tough for couples, but you don’t have to figure out your finances on your own. Working with a military financial advisor can help you develop a comprehensive plan that fits your needs both today and tomorrow.
Ultimately, the sooner you start working together towards financial unity, the sooner you will both start achieving your life goals!
More Financial Planning and Money Saving Tips for Military Couples:
Solutions for Your Military Family:
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