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Supercharge Your Marriage’s Communication with the Money Huddle
Updated: December 05, 2020 |
Taylor Kovar, CFP

How to Talk to Your Spouse About Finances: The Money Huddle Technique

We usually have a lot to say about money and marriage, and especially avoiding money fights with your spouse, at The Money Couple. Here’s a little secret we’ve discovered and seen to be true time and time again: sometimes, less is more.

Why It’s So Important to Balance Money and Marriage

Any time you can do something more efficiently, we are all for that. We want you to know that talking about money more frequently is not necessarily going to improve your finances or, frankly, your relationship. After a while, it all just sounds like white noise. Money, bills, debt, receipts, budget, blah, blah, blah. At some point, at least one of you is going to become bored by or disinterested in all things financial. If this happens, it may seem like a good idea to allow one partner to make all the financial decisions and basically stop talking about money altogether. This really isn’t a healthy situation, though, and can easily lead to financial infidelity ruining your relationship.

On the other end of the scale, another huge mistake couples make when it comes to money and marriage is to worry and obsess about their shared finances to the point where it becomes all-consuming. This gets exhausting really quickly, since almost every decision you make as a couple involves money. The chances of you both feeling exactly the same about matters like debt, savings, and retirement are almost zero, so constantly revisiting these issues is almost sure to lead to money fights that could have easily been avoided.

There is a middle way, however, between never ever arguing about money and letting finances sneak into every single conversation you have. In most marriages, communication doesn’t just happen: let’s be intentional, follow an agreed-upon system, avoid most of the tension, and become closer as a couple. In other words, get your money huddle started.

How to Talk to Your Spouse About Finances: The Money Huddle System

We suggest you plan regular conversations about your money and your money relationship. We call these Money Huddles because they’re an opportunity to huddle up (and cuddle up) and talk through the emotional side of your Money Relationship – the “whys”, not the “hows.”

This means delaying all the smaller discussions about money and combining them into one weekly “Money Huddle”. Set aside some time each month to look over your budget, evaluate your options, discuss your goals, and dream about the future – together. Regular Money Huddles give couples a place to talk through their money concerns and find ways to work through them as a team. And that means a lot less worry for both of you.

It’s best to agree on a time limit of 45 minutes to make sure you only stick to important topics and focus on the big picture. If you keep it short, you will also be more likely to make time for it in your busy lives. Some couples prefer talking about money every week, others find a monthly schedule more effective – whichever you choose, make sure that you have a regular time scheduled and don’t just try to scrape together a few minutes here and there. In marriage, communication is what’s going to keep your relationSHIP on an even keel, so don’t shortchange your routine opportunity to talk about money and marriage finances. Doing so is a good way to allow minor disagreements to become full-blown money fights and eventually grow into marriage-ending differences.

4 Tips to Get Your Money Huddle Started

How do you structure and organize the perfect Money Huddle? The first thing to do is to make sure that you’re both on the same page in terms of the attitude you’ll bring to this important conversation and what you’d like to get out if it. When we’re talking about money and marriage, the TALK principles are always worth keeping in mind:

T = Time Together: Set a positive tone and get away from distractions.

A = Assign Tasks: Specific things for each of you to do to improve your Money Relationship.

L = List of Goals: Review what you both want to achieve and how far you’ve come toward your objective. Remind yourselves what you are working for!

K = Keep It Consistent: Agree on a set, regular meeting time for talking about money or whatever else is placing a strain on your marriage’s communication. Don’t let separate issues get mixed up together.

Your Money Huddle Agenda

As your money situation and marriage evolve, you will have to tackle different topics in different money huddles. If you try to juggle issues like life insurance along with your plans for your kids’ education, you’re only going to lose focus and risk ending up arguing about money.

In general, though, you can use the following template to facilitate open and productive communication about your finances. In keeping with the TALK system above, we’re going to take a page out of the advice found in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and “Start with the E.N.D. in mind”.

1. Evaluate

Begin by evaluating your situation. Do not try to cover every penny and every receipt here. Definitely avoid finger-pointing. The blame game won’t get either of you anywhere fast.

Break your financial reality down into your two main areas: spending and saving. This is the time to look over things like your credit card statements and savings account balances to figure out where you are financially.

2. Needs

Next, figure out how to handle your financial NEEDS.

It’s important to have this conversation every time because your needs change every month. For example, back-to-school is a crazy time for us financially. Did you know that back-to-school spending is the largest expense for a family after Christmas? The average family spends over $600. So taking the time to figure out what supplies the kids need is crucial.

And we hate to say it, but it seems like every month has some “new” need pop up that your budget needs to cover. In order to preserve the trust in your marriage, communicate about whether these expenses really are necessary. The worst thing either of you can do is to resort to sneaky spending behind the other’s back.

If you’re meeting every week and forecasting your future expected needs, you won’t get caught off guard. You lay the foundation to work together to make your hard-earned money work for you.

You don’t have to spend each day as you’re rushing out of the house or sitting down to dinner discussing bills. Knowing you have a set time to talk about it later helps end the endless talks about money that end up going nowhere.

3. Dreams

Money huddles shouldn’t be all about figuring out how to pay for things you “need” to buy. You should also spend some time dreaming together about what you’d like your money to help you do – beyond just paying the bills.

Really dream. Once you get out of debt what will that feel like? What will you be able to do then that you can’t do now? Or if you’re not in debt, but you want to cut back on spending what is that dream you get to realize by skipping your usual lunches out? Envision your money working for you.

We suggest you spend at least 15 minutes at your Money Huddle talking about your long-term goals and dreams. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of just focusing on surviving instead of thriving, and that’s not good for either your marriage or your money plans.

Would you like to set aside funds for:

  • A kitchen remodel
  • A trip to see old friends from college
  • A class to see if you want to make a career change
  • Starting a ministry or non-profit on the side
  • Creating a secondary emergency fund for your aging parents, just in case
  • College for the kids
  • A road trip with a rented convertible
  • A phone upgrade


Keeping your mutual goals in mind helps remind you of what your working towards and helps refocus your efforts. Plus, when you’re still at your desk after 5 p.m., working away, the thought of that new culinary class or that family trip will put a smile on your face (more so than the stack of bills at home, anyway).

The “Money Huddle” won’t eliminate all your arguments about money, but you’ll be amazed at how it reduces the stress about financial matters that probably nags at you daily. A little weekly focused discussion is great to end your endless money talks. If you don’t have a regular time, set aside, to talk about your money relationship be sure to schedule your next time today. Give each other a “high five” and congratulate each other for “Making it Happen”!!

Make it happen!

Taylor and Megan Kovar

The Money Couple


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