We all have individual passions in our lives. Sometimes our interests don’t always gel with our spouse's interests.
You might be really into brewing beer as a hobby, but your wife … not so much. She prefers photography. It’s all good though. Both of you respect each other, you do your own thing and you’re happy.
When it comes to our finances in marriage, that can be a whole different story. This is an area where teamwork, collaboration and partnership is required to be truly successful. Going off and “doing your own thing” when your money, future and retirement are at stake can be a recipe for disaster.
My wife Nicole and I both have different hobbies and interests, but we do our best to come together on our family financial planning. We’re far from perfect and we’re always learning, but through our partnership we’ve been able to become consumer debt free and we’ll be mortgage free by the end of the year.
Here are five strategies that we’ve used to achieve our goals, honor each other's passions and maintain a spirit of adventure with our future financial challenges.
1. Share Your Financial Dreams
Take time to share your goals and desires with your spouse and ask them to do the same for you. This is a great opportunity to discover what fuels their spirit and motivates them.
Perhaps your wife wants to quit her stressful job and start a full-time photography business. On the other hand, you like your 9-5 but you’ve always dreamed of going on a two-week adventure in Southeast Asia. Now that the dreams are out there, you can both support each other physically, emotionally and financially to reach those goals.
2. Plan Your Path Together
Each big goal needs to be supported by smaller ones to get you to where you want to go. If quitting a stressful job to start a new photography business is the long-term goal, investigate what those shorter term actions steps are first.
Let’s say that full-time job is bringing is $50,000 per year. You and your wife will need to partner together to discuss ways to increase her photography side-hustle revenue and decrease your living expenses to make up for the future loss in full-time pay. Times might get tough, but if that full-time gig is driving her crazy, it may just be worth it.
Plot out what milestones need to be hit to make it a reality.
3. Budget Monthly
Ah! No! Not a budget!
It can be the most unsexy word out there for some couples. Instead of thinking of it as something that will take away your money, think of it as something that will allow you to reach those financial dreams sooner. Measuring your spending and saving will allow you track your progress and eventually accomplish those BIG goals.
Meet up with your spouse once per month and reassess your financial situation and your dreams. Are you reducing your spending like you’d planned? Have you earned enough side hustle income to pay off one of those debts that’s been holding you back?
Have some fun with these get togethers too! This can be an excellent way to connect with your spouse and talk about the month ahead. You could even sample some of those microbrews from the garage during your money date! Mmmm … beer and budgets.
4. See Things From Each Other’s Perspective
There will be times in your marriage when you have disagreements about your money. Shocking, right?! Who knew!?
It’s okay. You’re both human. It happens.
Take a step back and try to empathize with your spouse. When you put yourself in their shoes for a moment, you may just realize why they are responding the way they are. Trying to find middle ground can go a long way in marriage especially when it comes to your money.
5. Celebrate Your Wins Together
Let’s say your wife had a huge photography gig and you’ve used that extra cash to pay off her last student loan. It is time to celebrate! Crack open the bubbly, make her favorite dinner and share the news with family. This is a big deal. Make her feel like the rock star she is. You both deserve it.
When you take time to recognize your spouse and share these incredible moments together, the happy memories will last you a lifetime.
How do you and your spouse deal with money?
This post was originally featured on My Strategic Dollar on August 11, 2017.