Research shows us that Americans don’t like talking about their finances very much. In fact, one survey shows that many Americans would prefer to have dental work done than talk about their finances with a spouse or family! In another survey, 44 percent of Americans said money is more challenging to discuss than death, politics or religion.
But you need to do it anyway. Studies show that couples who discuss their financial situation and financial goals do better financially than those who don’t. Ideally, you’ll want to set aside a regular time each month to discuss your finances as couple. Some possible topics: How to spend your tax refund or a bonus check, how fast you want to pay off your debts and how much you should save for your child’s college education. Are you on the same page when it comes to saving for retirement? How much should you give your children in allowance money? Talking it out can be a great way to prevent conflicts down the line. It’s especially important during challenging times, such as when one spouse has been laid off.
In survey after survey, money — how to spend it and how much to save — remains the top reason for marital discord. Regular ‘money talks’ can help couples deal with different money-management styles and avoid ongoing arguments about finances, especially if one person is a saver and the other loves to spend. Consider trying to make the monthly meeting fun in some way — perhaps dine in with your favorite takeout food, have a fun dessert or follow it up with a date night.
When your children are old enough, you’ll want to talk to them about money, too. Your children are interested and know more about the family’s financial situation than you may realize. Pay attention when they ask questions!
Through the 101 Financial system, my goal is to help middle-income families struggling with financial stress. I provide educational classes that help students budget better, bank smarter, manage debt better and build strong credit. Since 2002, the 101 Financial system has helped thousands of individuals and families experience financial peace of mind. (503) 679-3490