SERIES: The Reluctant Spouse – Part 3

Welcome to the latest series at – “The Reluctant Spouse”

Perhaps the most challenging issue I face as a financial author, teacher, and coach is “the reluctant spouse.” One spouse wants to prepare and live by a budget, invest, save, give, and live frugally. Meanwhile, their spouse is very reluctant to participate in the budgeting process and routinely makes contradictory financial decisions. In this series, I will share some tips and ideas to help bring the reluctant spouse on board as an active and willing participant in financial decisions.

Part Three  Share the WHY

As you live out the principles in your life, it is important to begin addressing the reasons you’ve identified as the cause of your spouse’s reluctance to participate in financial decisions. This can include marriage counseling/coaching as well as ongoing one-on-one conversation.

Ultimately, you must convey to them why you want them to participate in financial decisions. This should be done with a few key things in mind.

  • You are both rested  Trying to have a financial conversation when your spouse is exhausted is a recipe for a terrific argument.
  • Without the kids present  Children tend to be very distracting to serious conversation. Hire a babysitter and go out to a nice dinner at a place where you can have a real conversation free of interruptions.
  • Focused on the issue – and the emotions  Attempting to separate emotions from finances is an impossible task. Acknowledge this fact and remain focused on the issues – which is the “why” you want their participation in financial decisions. Don’t make any personal attacks.
  • Not too long  Your spouse probably isn’t naturally drawn to financial conversation like you are. Don’t drag out the conversation.

With these items in place, it is the moment to share WHY you want their help with financial decisions. Have your reasons written down on paper. Your preparedness will quietly convey the importance of this conversation. Remember, “Your level of EXPECTATION will determine your level of PREPARATION.” Because of your high expectations, you must be prepared!

Your reasons should not be focused on financial principles and tools like “I want to have a budget that works.” This is uninspiring to your reluctant spouse. Instead, focus on the outcomes that will occur as a result of excellent budgeting. Outcomes like “I want to be able to retire by age 55.” Even better, “I want us both to be able to retire by age 55.” Here are a few statements to help you get started with your own list:

  • “I want us to be able to build our dream house.”
  • “I would like to own a cottage at the beach.”
  • “I want to pay cash for our children’s college education so they don’t have student loan debt like us.”
  • “I want to see you start that business you’ve always talked about.”

Do you see it? Share the WHY and then apply the fourth step which I’ll share in the next part of this series.

Read the entire series (available after 10/21/2014)

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