George and Mary-Lynn

How to Reach an Agreement with Your Spouse on the Family Finances

By Bigg Success Staff
06-25-08

Bigg Success with Money

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Opposites attract. Unfortunately that can create some problems when it comes to the family’s finances.

Money is one of the biggest sources of disagreement between spouses. It’s often the case that one spouse is a “saver”, while the other is a “spender”.

If you’re the saver …

You may feel like you’re beating your head against the wall. Your spouse doesn’t seem to understand that you’re trying to save for the future. So, just when you think you’re getting a little ahead, your spouse goes out and spends the money. Now you’re back to little, or no, money in the bank!

If you’re the spender …
You may want to “live a little”. Your spouse doesn’t seem to understand that you can’t put off all the fun. You can’t worry about every single dollar you spend. Life’s too short to not live it. Your spouse just wants to save money for when you’ll be too old to enjoy it. You want to live now!

So how do you come to an agreement on the family’s finances?

By having a conversation with your spouse.

Values
Talk about your respective values. To one of you, being debt free may be important. Perhaps you don’t like to use credit cards at all. Or perhaps it’s important to one spouse to buy certain things. It may be as simple as eating lunch out every day.

Understand what’s important to each of you individually before you try to proceed collectively. Something may be very important to your spouse and not important at all to you. That’s okay. You don’t have to agree with each other. You just need to understand to each other.

Goals
Now that you understand each other, you can proceed to your mutual goals. Certain items should be somewhat sacrosanct. An example would be funding your retirement. If you would like to have the option of not working at some point, you have to set money aside while you are working.

As you establish your goals, keep each other’s values in mind. Instead of trying to find ways to pay for what’s important to you, look for ways to get what’s important to your spouse. Ask him or her to do the same thing for you. This role reversal will make the conversation more productive because you’re not fighting for what you want; you’re fighting for what your spouse wants.

Strategies
With your goals established, you know what you need to do. Now you just have to do it. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

It’s not!

This is the hard part because it’s involves the daily decisions that make or break the budget.

There are a number of strategies you may employ. You may each take an allowance for all of your incidental expenses. You may set a limit and agree to call each other before spending that amount. You may maintain a joint account or separate accounts. You may even do both.

Find what works for you and your spouse through trial and error. Then go for your goals. As you see your accounts grow and grow, following your plan will get easier and easier!

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