Have you struggled with talking with your partner about finances? If you bring up money in a casual conversation, does it always result in an argument? If you're not on the same page about your financial goals and priorities with your partner, it can lead to resentment, delayed goal achievement, or divorce. So what do you do? Before you've run out of options, seek help addressing your financial situation. Here are a few ways couples can benefit from discussing money and how a financial coach can help.
What's the Process of Working with a Financial Coach as a Couple?
Evaluate Your Financial Situation
When you work with a financial coach, the first step you will embark on is to evaluate your financial condition. Your coach will discuss your current money situation and help you determine your desired future. As a couple, you must be prepared to discuss this openly and understand that you and your partner may have different ideas about your current financial outlook. It's important to know that this may occur and be willing to be open to hearing your partner's point of view.
Define Your Financial Goals as a Couple
Once you determine your current financial situation, your financial coach will work with you to define your financial goals. You may already have a picture in your mind of what your goals are. However, are they attainable and realistic goals? Does your partner strive to achieve the same goals? Where are your goals not aligning? These are essential questions that your financial coach will help you uncover in a measured and systematic process.
Develop an Action Plan for Achieving Your Goals
Now that your financial goals have been developed, it's time to develop an action plan to achieve your goals. It's essential to understand that one individual's goals should not take priority over the other partners. Discussing which goal is either the easiest to achieve or the goal that causes you the most stress can help you to prioritize the order of importance for tackling your goals. You may also aim to pay down debt, fund your child's education, or purchase a home. Whatever your goal is, a clearly defined action plan can ensure you stay on track.
How to Talk With Your Family About Money
Create a Budget Together
Most people think creating a budget is the first step in organizing your finances. However, you will find that there are other matters of concern that you must address first. If you've gotten this far with your financial coach, you are on the right track to achieving your goals. You've identified the goals you want to achieve, and now it's time to develop your budget around achieving them.
Your coach will help you identify your income and expenses and provide ways to cut costs, increase your savings, and achieve your goals. Knowing that your financial coach will empower you to develop your budget is essential. By creating your budget with your partner, you can ensure that you hold each other accountable for obtaining goals and staying on track.
Review and Update your Goals
You've achieved a goal or two at this point in the process. Congratulations! Now, it's time to review and update your goals as you reach them. What's the next financial goal on your list that you can set a plan to achieve? It's a continual process, and at the end of the financial coaching relationship, you should feel comfortable with maintaining a pattern of setting a goal and achieving it with your partner.
As you navigate to more challenging and complex goals, you can revisit with your financial coach to find additional resources and support throughout your financial journey.
See my feature in 16 Coaches Share Why They Became A Coach in Lovely Impact.
Benefits of Couples Working with a Financial Coach
There are multiple benefits of working with a financial coach. You will find that you can achieve the following:
Improved Communication: You will find that it's easier to talk to your partner about money and other difficult topics. Money is one of the most challenging topics people discuss, and if you can open up about money, you can discuss different issues that may be causing stress or worries in your relationship.
Increased Financial Literacy: Your financial coach will educate you on financial topics you may have yet to consider. They will also provide the tools and resources to help you understand how money works, how to save, and how to invest.
Reduced Stress: You can sleep easier at night knowing that you have a goal for your financial future. It makes it even easier to sleep when you know the person lying next to you is on the same page regarding achieving goals. Not only can this reduce your financial stress, but it can also benefit other areas of your life that affect your health, like your mental and physical wellness.
Increased Financial Security: Reducing your debt, having an emergency fund, a savings account, and investments, and being able to reward yourself now and then when you achieve a goal is life-changing. There will be no more living paycheck to paycheck or using payday loans to make it through to the next payday. Using joint forces, you can tackle your goals faster and ensure you have a cushion to fall back on when you need money.
Stronger Relationship: This is the ultimate goal. When you and your partner are on the same page about money, you can smile again and enjoy what life offers.
See my Feature in LegalZoom: What is a Financial Coach and What They Do?
What should you look for in a financial coach?
Credentials: Anyone can call themselves a financial coach if they have ever handled money. You want to ensure that the financial coach has a certification from a credible organization. Certified financial coaches undergo rigorous training and testing to ensure they can educate others on financial literacy. Some of the best coaching certifications are the Financial Fitness Coach (FFC®) and the Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®)
Payment Schedule: Before working with a financial coach, the payment schedule should be laid out plainly to include the costs. The cost of working with a financial coach can vary significantly. However, the agreement should clearly state the costs of weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly coaching sessions for individuals and couples.
Personality: You will want to ensure that your financial coach meshes with your personality and is able to work with you and your partner. If you are not on the same page with your financial coach or if you don't feel that their communication style works for you, it will make it difficult to proceed forward with the coaching journey. If you complete a consultation with a financial coach, you will know within fifteen minutes if the coach is right for you and your significant other.
Availability: Talking about money is a sensitive topic, and your financial coach should be available to you during off-peak hours. This means that your financial coach may speak with you in the evening hours or on weekends so that you're not distracted from work or having to find a time that works for you and your partner. There are coaches that work during normal working hours as well, so it's best to find one that works best for your schedule.
Are you ready to embark on the financial coaching journey? Contact me today for a consultation to see if financial coaching is the perfect fit for your relationship.