And for our second question of the month comes in from Christine …
I’m looking for some advice. My husband and I have been together for 5 years now and money has always been a difficult subject for us because we have very different views.
I’m more financially conscious and he doesn’t like talking about money.
We have around $36,000 in debt. Our first child is due later this year and I’d love to be debt free like the people I hear on your show.
Combined we make around $120,000 and we’re in our late 20’s.
Do you have any advice for me to get my husband to want to pay off our debt with me?
Thank you for all your inspiration and advice.
Look forward to hearing from you,
Thanks so much for reaching out Christine.
First of all, congratulations on your pregnancy! That is great news.
I love being a parent. It honestly changed my life. I don’t know what I would do without my kids.
This is a tough situation you’re describing, Christine. Your husband thinks one way about money and you think another way. That can be very frustrating in relationships, marriage and especially when you’re married with kids. It can make you feel stuck.
The two of you are about to make some big changes in your lives. This will come with new expenses, new decisions, and new conversations.
And part of being a parent is talking about financial matters. You need to talk about your kid's future college needs, which car seat to buy and even the cost of diapers.
I may be preaching to the choir here. So how do we get your husband to talk about money with you and push toward debt freedom?
I have 5 ideas for you to try …
1. Ask Yourself Why You Want to Become Debt Free
I know hearing stories about people becoming debt free is super motivating, but it’s important to understand your internal motivation first. Paying down your debt is going to be very difficult. And it’s going to be even tougher for you because your husband isn’t thrilled about financial conversations.
Make sure you understand why you want to do this.
What’s the first thing that comes up for you when you ask yourself “why do I want to be debt free”?
- Is it for peace of mind and reducing stress as a new mother?
- Will the extra space in your budget allow you to make a job change that benefits your family?
- Will you be able to save for your kids future college needs?
Find out what your “Why” is and write it down. If you can’t articulate this well to yourself, then you definitely won’t be able to with your husband.
2. Share Your Debt Free Dreams with your Spouse
If you’ve been shying away from the debt-free conversation with your husband, now you have another reason to talk. You want to share your dreams with him.
Find an opportunity to connect this week. Don’t do this over the phone or text. Make sure you’re able to be alone together with no distractions.
Tell him you have something important you want to share with him and you’d really appreciate his time and focus.
When you’re together, tell him you want to become debt free and tell him why. Describe to him how this debt freedom will make you feel. Ask him if he will help you make this dream become a reality.
This way, your husband feels empowered and wants to help you. After all, he loves you.
Related Article: 7 Dreams That Can Come True When You're Debt Free
3. Take a Leadership Position
Let’s say your husband is receptive to your plans but wants to know what this means for your life and your finances. This is where you need to take a leadership position and tell him that you’re going to come up with a plan and share it with him. Ensure him that you’ll both have an equal say when it comes to the financial decisions, but there will need to be some changes in order to make this happen.
At this point, you’ll need to do a few things:
- Make sure you understand your monthly expenses
- Review areas you feel can be cut back to be able to pay off the debt
- Think about any easy ways to increase your income during the debt pay downtime
- Decide a reasonable timeframe for the debt pay down process
- Plan a regular get together to discuss your finances with your husband
This will be a lot more homework on your end, but easing your husband into just talking about money might be a lot of work. If you feel he’s excited about supporting you after your talk, ask him to take on one of the tasks as well if you think he’ll do it.
If not, take the steering wheel and start driving this car toward debt freedom-ville.
4. Review the Debt Freedom Plans with your Spouse and Be Flexible
After you’ve created your master plan, have another get together with your husband and lay out your plan.
Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t go for EVERYTHING you propose. Make sure you listen to his concerns and do your best to accommodate them because if you force it on him, the whole thing might just backfire.
You may have to adjust your timeframe to debt freedom. If you were hoping for 12 months and that would require a lot of sacrifices and your husband is concerned with the sacrifices required, look at a 24-month plan and 36-month plan. It may take longer, but it could be better for your marriage in the long run.
Related Interview: When Couples Have Different Views on Money in Marriage
5. Seek out a Third Party to Support
Perhaps your conversations don’t go as planned. You share your dreams and your husband ignores you. Or you create a plan and your husband doesn’t really follow through with his promises.
Getting support from a Marriage Therapist could be a great solution.
This third party can help you learn to communicate more effectively and have you both create the relationship you desire. There may be something deeper to your husband’s refusal to participate. A professional counselor can help you figure that out.
I think working with a money coach is a great idea (not just because I am one), but if it’s a communication issue then it's not a money problem, it’s a marriage problem.
Christine, I hope these 5 ideas help you with your situation. Since you’re pregnant, I would probably focus on building up your emergency savings instead of focusing on the debt. You never know how the process will go. More money in the bank is always a good thing when it comes to hospital visits.
And then when your baby comes into the world, you can use that money toward the debt if you’d like.
Best of luck with your conversations. At the end of the day, communication is the key. Openly sharing your feelings, emotions and desires will help your husband know where you truly stand.