Are you on the same financial team as your partner?

I was recently a guest on Kathleen Kingsbury's radio show, Chicks Make Cents on the topic, “Talking to Your Partner About Money.”

Here are the highlights of my talk:

1. Learn about your partner's money history. Yes it is difficult to talk about money in our society but in order to have a good marriage or partnership it is essential. With the recent economic turmoil, more and more people are discussing money matters so use this as an opportunity to talk to your loved one about his or her thoughts and feelings about money, what he or she was taught financially growing up and how these lessons influence current spending and saving behaviors. Here's a great question to start the conversation off on the right note. “What are you most proud of financially?” Yes, you can talk about the good parts of your relationship with money as well as the things you would like to change!

2. Create and develop a shared vision. Couples go through changes and developmental patterns just like individuals do. Starting out you want to make sure you discuss money matters along with having children, living arrangements and the usual dating conversations. If you did not start out that way, no problem. It is never to late to have a “financial meeting” to start the process.

Create a vision of what you want your lives to look like now and in the future. Write this long term vision down and review it periodically. Having a shared vision around money and your life together as a couple will increase intimacy and allow you to find out more about your partner, his or her dreams and how you can live a wonderful life together. Remember that you do not need to agree on everything, you just need to respect each other's viewpoints.

3. Agree to productive money conversations. Here are a few tips on how to have a healthy conversation around money. Follow these tips and make sure you take a break if one or both you is unable to follow these guidelines.

Use “I” statements. Start the conversation with “I am concerned about X, Y and Z,” not “You did X, Y and Z.” It may feel like a subtle difference but it will get both of you started off on the right foot. Respect each other and talk about your experience helps you not accuse your partner of wrong doing. And nobody likes to be put on the spot. Using “I” statements takes practice, but there is better time to start than today.
Set ground rules. It is important to agree that you will not blame each other, that you will agree to disagree if needed and you will get some professional help from a money coach or therapist should you not be able to follow the rules. We all need help from an expert from time to time and a few meetings with a money coach can go a long way in getting two people back on track and on the same team.
Set time aside. Life gets busy so you need to schedule “financial meetings” from time to time. Agree to a time to talk for 30 minutes about the topic of money and your couple hood and keep the appointment. If you have kids, make sure they are taken care of so you are not interrupted. These financial conversations make great excuses to get a babysitter and treat yourselves to dinner and movie once you are done.

You can listen to the full interview from 6/19/09 here on BlogTalk Radio .

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