Financial matters are often cited as the leading cause of why a couple gets divorced. Whether you’re still waiting to get engaged, are currently planning your wedding, or have been married for years, it’s important that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to money. There’s a lot of stigma in our society when it comes to talking about finances, so it may feel awkward. However, it will help prevent future arguments. To help make sure these conversations are effective, Al Zdnek – the author of the book Master Your Cash Flow: The Key To Grow And Retain Wealth and of the upcoming book Master Your Cash Flow: The Key To Grow A Valuable Business – offers his tips on having a healthy discussion about money.
- Planning the talk. This is the first step and it’s an important one. “Find a time when you can both talk without distractions – no phones, TV, or kids,” advises Al. “It’s also a good idea to have these meetings monthly, or at least quarterly, to ensure you’re on the same page.”
- Discussing the hard numbers. You both should be prepared to discuss your budget as well as plans for savings and retirement. In a 2017 MagnifyMoney Divorce and Debt survey, 70 percent of respondents who said their divorce was due to money issues also said they didn’t stick to a budget during the marriage. “Bring notes about how your family has handled money in the past and how you would follow or change those steps,” Al suggests. “Is it best to have joint bank accounts or single? Now is also the time to talk about financial goals and dreams, and to see how together you can make them come true.”
- Remember, it’s ‘we,’ not ‘I.’ It’s no longer just about you since you’re building your lives together. “It should also be noted that empathy will help with these conversations,” Al says. “Try to understand where your partner is coming from, especially if you have different spending habits. It’s also important to listen to qualms your partner may have.”
“It’s important to remember that old saying: ‘No one is perfect,’” he adds. “Both of you are going to make financial errors. Be forgiving and understanding. And then try to figure ways to prevent it from happening again.”