Are you struggling to discuss finances with your partner? Are you fearful to bring up the topic? Does the house need repairs or the car is on its last leg? Discussing unexpected events or loss of job can bring up a hard challenge to face on your own, so it is extremely important to discuss this with your husband or life partner.
The fear comes from the anticipation of the conversation rather than the actual conversation. One of the biggest causes of divorce and break ups are based on issues surrounding money. So the anxiety you feel may be very real, but understand that talking about the elephant in the room directly is more productive than constantly avoiding the issue. Sweeping things under the rug only makes bigger problems instead of facing them head on. There are healthy and useful tips that can make this disastrous subject turn into a valuable discussion.
Timing is essential: Knowing the best times to discuss finances is imperative. Whether you are married or living together, if your partner is stressed out with he comes home from work, then avoid discussing finances during that time. You can even prepare a particular time such as on the weekend or when he has a day off so you both will be in a more relaxed state. You may even want to have a dinner date to talk. Discuss what time works best for both schedules especially if children are involved. With all of this being said, I do not recommend talking about money on vacations or family time.
Be aware of tone: A lot of couples complain about their partners using an aggressive or parental voice rather than a neutral voice. Money is a sensitive topic for particular individuals based on their upbringing and socio-economical class. If a person feels they may be facing a loss of money, then they may get understandably upset. If you or your partner is having a horrible day, discussing finances does not need to be a part of that energy. So be aware of your approach and tone of the situation. If you face the money problem with a neutral attitude, you will more than likely receive the same.
Boundaries: Listen but don’t be passive. It is important to state your views and opinions, but respect your partner’s time to speak. Do not interrupt and do not speak over him. Likewise, expect the same from your partner and enforce boundaries. In some relationships there is one person who is the controller while the other is the passive person which is a makeup for a disaster on both parts. Know that your voice and concern is valuable to any productive partnership via personal or professional. You may want to even say I am presenting the problem, then you get the floor for a certain amount of time and conversely the same.
See his perspective: Understanding that you both may come from different backgrounds and a perspective on money is imperative. He may be a saver while you are a spender or vice versa. If your partner says something that you disagree with, then say “I understand where you are coming from, but hear out my perspective on the situation.” If you can show that you respect his way of thinking then he will more than likely shed the same light on you.
Be prepared: Have all your information that you need and are willing to discuss. If you are looking to refinance the house, then have some print outs of different lenders that you may use with their interest rates handy. If you are looking to repair the leaking basement, then discuss if you will take out a loan or increase your credit card limit. Continue with discussing the effects of your decisions. That will be the main key point in your presentation.
I know you may think this is a serious approach, but it is an educated approach to ensuring both parties find a common ground. Also, having a plan of how, as a partnership, will pay off this expendendure. Going in blindly with no research or preparation is going to send your mate to a state of fear or uncertainty.
Stay calm: Sometimes when discussing money, dissimilarities may transpire. Breathe and stay true to yourself. You don’t want to make the problem bigger than it really is. Remember to stay calm. The calmer you are, the calmer they will remain. If you are deciding how you will fund your child’s college education, then take into consideration that this is a hard financial pill to swallow. Your partner may not want to pay for the child’s college while you do. It can be a hard mountain to climb. Stay calm and know that with patience and perseverance, you both will come to a consensus.
Take a break: If needed when making the decision to refinance the house or take a second mortgage can be a very stressful time for any family. If you see that the conversation is going nowhere, then take a break and reevaluate your stance and partners perspective. Have an initial, middle, and final discussion. That way it allows both parties to step away from the issue and really think it through and develop firm decisions that will be best not for only one party, but both.
The initial meeting will consist of the issue brought to the table. Step away for a few days to really think everything through. Meet half-way during the middle session to discuss more information that may have developed. Step away and the meet for the last meeting with a decision and if not amicable, find a compromise. If there is a big disagreement during the middle meeting, I suggest taking the third session with a financial consultant.
Seek a financial consultant: If it continues to be a problem when speaking about finances with your partner, then seek out a third party resource. If an unexpected expense has occurred, then it makes be good to get professional advice anyway. If you are thinking about hiring a nanny not only affects your finances, but also your personal space.
A financial consultant may bring up valuable information such as how to insure your prospect hire or about taxes. Also, they can teach you how to protect yourself in case of an emergency. A financial consultant will have all the legal information you need as well. They are full with nuggets of wisdom. So discussing money with this disposition may be advisable to discuss with another person. Making financial decisions does not have to be a challenging time for you and your partner; it can be a time of growth. Keep pressing forward and see that your financial choices will be some of the best decisions you make.
Dealing with major financial decisions can be a tough time for most families, but having precedent strategies laid out for the family can make problems easier. Whenever change is faced, resistance will come. But, if one can get to a state of acceptance of what it, life becomes easier and dealing with problems is no longer seen as a problem. Good luck on your financial decisions and I know that everything will fall as it needs to.