This is a VERY common question that I encounter in the world of personal finances!
First, let me say these two things:
- Until BOTH of you are on the same page financially, you will never be able to maximize your financial potential.
- Finances are one of the top causes of marriage fights and divorce.
So, recognizing how HUGELY IMPORTANT it is that you WORK TOGETHER on your finances, I submit the following strategies to get that reluctant spouse on board with planning the family's finances.
1. Plan out your thoughts
- Take time to write out the reasons you would like to have your spouse's active help in managing the family's finances. The Financial Planning Checklist can help you with this. Include your dreams in this list. That 25th anniversary trip you have always dreamed of, that boat you always wanted, paying for your daughter's wedding, paying for your children's college, etc.
- Look into some potential ways to improve your financial management. I highly recommend putting together a monthly spending plan BEFORE the month actually begins. You can find FREE copies HERE. Find a financial class in your local area. I recommend Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. You can find a FPU class in your area by clicking HERE.
2. Talk to your spouse about it
- Get a babysitter. Schedule a night out with your spouse. Go to a nice dinner. Go to a coffee house. At the coffee house, tell your spouse that you have something you want to discuss that is VERY IMPORTANT to you. TRUST ME. When you tell them that you want to discuss something with them that is VERY IMPORTANT to you, you WILL have their attention! This is NOT something that rarely happens!
- Tell your spouse your concerns. Explain in terms of unrealized dreams. Here are some examples."I am concerned that if we do not work together to plan our finances, we may not get to go to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary" and "The children are growing up so fast, and we have not started saving for their college yet" and "We have earned over $500,000 over the past ten years, and we only have $1,500 in savings." DO NOT PUT THEM INTO A DEFENSIVE POSITION – THIS WILL NOT BE A PRODUCTIVE DISCUSSION if you say things like, "Our finances stink because of your ignorance, and this is all your fault."
3. Take Action!
- You have had the discussion. It might be appropriate to back off for a little while to let your spouse think through all that has been said. However, at some point, you need to take action! Sign up for the class. Set up a night to put together a budget once the children are off to bed.
I hope this helps! If you know of other ideas that have worked for you, please share!