With any partnership, whether it be in business, a friendly relaionship, or marriage, it's imperative to communicate. No one can read minds, and when we think we can, often we're wrong. We need to know what the other person is thinking.
This is so true when it comes to money. Marriage Financial Planning was discussed in a previous entry; it allows couples to get everthing out in the open when it comes to finances. If you don't have the time or the money for counseling, here are some things to think about instead:
Get the Communication Ball Rolling: 4 Things To Ask
- What are your money priorities? Some people are spenders, some are savers. If you know this at the beginning, there are less complications down the road. Know what your significant other's outlook is with regard to money and spending.
- When should we talk about money each month? Yes, that's EACH month, or perhaps, even more often. The more often the better, that way not as much can get out of hand. If it's routine, then it becomes a habit, and this habit is a GOOD one.
- How can we help one another? You're in this together; the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. You both bring different aspects to the table. Leverage those aspects and experiences to help make the best decisions.
- What are our financial goals? This is a question that needs to be asked before getting hitched. Things like buying a house, do we want kids, and if so, how many, when do we want to retire?
Communication Is Paramount: 4 Tips For Talking
- Be an active listener. This is the first step; don't be thinking about what you're going to say next and keep an open mind.
- There is no win / lose. If you approach communicating with a score in mind EVERYBODY loses.
- Before bringing up a problem, think of solutions or a compromise; that forms a basis for discussion.
- Stay on track. If there are open issues, then you end up with more problems than when you started.
Communication Strategies That Work: 4 Action Items
- Mad money. Each partner gets so many dollars to spend each month, no questions asked. It should be the same amount for both of you.
- Trade places. If one of you does the grocery shopping and the other pays the utility bills, switch out. You'll have more variety and you'll see what the other partner sees. If you both go the grocery store and he does dog and she does dairy, switch that.
- Democracy rules. Make all big decisions together; weigh the pros and cons.
- Reward yourself. After a month, if you've managed your money well from communicating, then splurge. Not to the extent that you blow your budget, but enough that it makes you fell good about your communication accomplishments.
What is some advice you can lend to communicating effectively?