One of the biggest mistakes couples make when it comes to money is to worry and obsess about finances to the point where it becomes all consuming. After all doesn’t every decision we make as a couple always come back to money? Why don’t we be intentional, talk about it, and get it out in the open so we can stop the fights, stop the questions and become closer as a couple. That’s why we advise you, as a couple, to plan regular conversations about your finances. We call them Money Huddles because they’re an opportunity to talk through your money relationship.
Before we dive into the details of the “Money Huddle” it is imperative to understand what a money relationship is. When you hear the words “money relationship” what comes to mind? If you’re like most couples, you might think about your budget, your retirement savings, or even the fights you have about money. But when we talk about a money relationship, we’re talking about something that goes far beyond your checkbook or bank balance. We’re talking about the way each of you think about and deal with money. Your views on money impact every decision you make as a couple from the big stuff like houses and cars to the mundane details like the kind of coffee you drink and the brand of shoes you wear.
Every person has a distinct way of thinking about and dealing with money. And in a relationship, those distinctions can be the difference between being on the same page about financial issues and having money be a constant source of conflict. That’s why when couples ask us how they can stop fighting about money, the first thing we tell them is to figure out their Money Personalities.
In our book, First Comes Love, Then Comes Money we have identified five money personalities: the Saver, the Spender, the Risk Taker, the Security Seeker, and the Flyer. We have learned that each person has two of the five Money Personalities, a Primary and a Secondary. So keep that in mind as you identify what you and your partner are.
Understanding your Money Personalities will add consistency, clarity and transparency during your Money Huddles.
So what is a Money Huddle? Here is what it IS NOT:
- about the budget
- about the debt
- a time to bring up the past
- a time to blame
- a time to pay bills
- a time to argue
- a time to be rushed
Here is what it IS:
- a time to Demonstrate respect
- a time to build trust
- a time to bring back the dreaming into your relationship
- a time to reconnect
- a time to move forward together
- a time of restoring and refining your money relationship so you can live as true partners
Here is how to get started:
Stephen Covey teaches:
Begin with the end in mind…
This is true of your Money Huddle as well. As you get started it is imperative that you are intentional with this time. Set all distractions aside (including the kids if necessary), remember your Money Personalities, and stay consistent. We say once a month is best, we use the “Third Thursday” as a guide. This monthly 45-minute Money Huddle will transform your money relationship.
Use the acronym E.N.D. to direct your Money Huddles:
- E – Evaluate: Take 15 minutes and quickly review your debt and your savings. Debt may include: loans, credit cards, home mortgage, personal debt. Next, review your savings. Savings may include: retirement savings, emergency accounts, and college savings.
- N – Needs: Take 15 minutes to discuss your money needs. Each state 1 need for you or your family where money is involved. Examples include: I need to update my wardrobe, I think we should get more life insurance, I don’t think we have enough savings, I would like to go on a vacation, I want to go on more dates. Next, evaluate when this need can be met. We suggest pulling out the calendar and writing down your target date.
- D – Dream: Take 15 minutes. Somewhere along the line, the dreams you and your partner had early in your relationship can easily fade away. Use this time to do a little dreaming. What do you want the future to look like? Do you want to travel? Send your kids to college? Buy a new home? Support your aging parents? Stay home with your kids? Move? Start a company? Whatever it is, talk about it. Then start planning how you can make it happen.
So there you have it! By beginning with the E.N.D. in mind you can have a money relationship that will help you approach everyday financial decisions in a way that will bring you closer, keep the love alive, and give you the relationship you always dreamed of.
We are designing a 90-day program to “jump start“ your Money Huddles. Stay tuned!!
If you have any questions about your money relationship please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make It Happen!
Scott and Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple
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