Written by: Danny Kofke, Motivational Mentor
Financial incompatibility and poor communication are two of the leading causes of divorce. Fortunately, these issues can often be overcome through honest conversations, compromise, and a desire to understand the wants and needs of your significant other. However, it all starts with communication. If you and your spouse are not talking about money, you could be leaving yourselves exposed to financial risks and emotional struggles down the road.
Mentoro is dedicated to helping people learn more about their finances and take better control of their money. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we would like to focus today’s post on helping couples talk about money. Since talking about money can be difficult and even divisive, here are 7 questions that you and your partner can ask each other to help open the line of communication:
1. What does money mean to you?
Many people simply think of money as something that helps them feel secure and allows them to purchase things they want and need. However, when you dig a little deeper, individuals can have very different goals and feelings toward money. For example, you may be a natural-born spender, while your spouse prefers to save a significant portion of every paycheck. Talking about what money really means to you and your spouse can help you find commonalities and areas where you don’t (and may never) see eye to eye.
2. Did your family talk about money when you were growing up?
In many families and cultures, money is a taboo subject. This is especially true during some people’s formative years. Parents often don’t reveal the details of their finances to their children, which is a habit that can continue once the child grows to adulthood. Socioeconomic background can also impact the answer to this question. If you grew up in a poor environment, but your spouse grew up in an upper-middle-class environment, you will likely have different feelings about money and how to talk about it.
3. If I spent $100 on something and didn’t consult you, would you be upset? What about $1,000?
This question is a bit more direct and one of the best ways to gauge how you and your spouse feel about expenditures of varied amounts. For some couples, $100 on a non-essential purchase could be a major issue. For others, it might not matter at all. However, there’s always a limit on the amount that your spouse would be willing to brush off. So, understanding your partner’s boundaries can help you learn when and how to discuss purchases with them beforehand, rather than telling them after the purchase has already been made.
4. What does it mean to be good with money?
While this question may sound like a no-brainer, everybody will likely have a unique answer. For some people, being good with money simply means earning more than you spend. Others think that it’s related to the percentage of income you’re putting into savings. Still others might focus on investment vehicles and how good you are at making your funds grow. Thus, being “good” with money is quite relative, and you should learn how you and your spouse define it.
5. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate how we manage our money?
This question will give you a quantitative indicator of how your spouse views your collective money management abilities. It may also be a good idea to ask each other this question at the same time and write down your answers before you reveal them. In doing so, you can avoid being swayed by each other’s answers and actually provide your honest opinion. Then, you can discuss why you each wrote down your number.
6. What would we do if one of us was laid off?
Asking about important hypotheticals is a good way to actually devise practical emergency plans for the future. Many couples do not have a Plan B if something goes wrong, which can lead to potentially disastrous consequences. So, discuss what you both would do if your household income was suddenly cut in half or reduced to nothing overnight.
7. What is one of my money habits that you admire?
Finally, it is always important to keep financial conversations between loved ones civil. You never want to feel antagonistic or accusatory when talking about money with your partner. Instead, you should try to approach everything as a collaborative team. One way to help keep things positive is to ask what good money habits your partner sees in you, and vice versa. This will show both of you that you are appreciated for something and that you know that the other is working to improve your shared financial life.
If you are currently in the market for a financial education company or you want to learn more about the benefits of financial wellness education, be sure to contact the experts at Mentoro today!