Let’s face it, talking about money isn’t always the easiest thing to do. To tackle these sometimes-difficult conversations the hard part is scheduling a time to talk. When you are in a relationship and your finances are intertwined, having conversations around money can let your partner know your values or money worries. Talking to your significant other about money can help develop your shared goals and identify where your goals diverge.
Write Down Your Goals
One tactic my spouse and I used when we were dating was to write down our goals individually. We then came together and evaluated where our goals aligned. Next, we planned to budget for our shared goals and our individual goals. Our goals consisted of short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. Our short-term goals listed things we wanted to achieve in a few short months. Our medium-term goals consisted of things we wanted to accomplish within one to two years. Finally, our long-term goals listed everything we wanted to achieve in the future, say five to ten years.
Check out this video about having family money conversations: Saving as a Family
Find ways to Save
When you establish goals, the next step is to find ways to save. Here are some ways to save:
Identify skills you have that can make money (cooking, yard work, car repair)
Sell items that are sitting in an attic or spare room
Pick up a part-time job (grocery delivery, dog walking, babysitting)
Cutting back on expenses (eating out, cable, unused subscriptions)
See how my spouse and I tackled our finances in 9 Secret Habits of People With Credit Scores Above 800.
Monitor and Update Your Plan
It’s essential to monitor your financial plan. It should not be a set it and forget it plan. As you receive pay increases, have children, or buy a new/used car, you should update your plan. If you receive a pay increase, think about saving more in your current situation. Ask yourself, should we increase our retirement contributions or adjust our tax withholdings? If you need to pay for daycare, your savings goal may need to be adjusted to reflect these life events. You may even have to think about setting up a 529 savings plan for your new bundle of joy.
Continue the Conversation
The conversation should continue as time goes on. A tip could be to set a date on your calendar to review your budget on a quarterly or semi-annual basis to ensure that your saving goals are on track. If your budget is not on track, this would be the time to try again next month to help you refocus and save. Focusing on positive money habits as a couple is the key to making sound financial decisions and financial stability.