How do I get my spouse on board?

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!


  1. Jon Smock on May 2, 2007 at 7:36 am

    I thought Dave Ramsey’s book had some excellent advice in this area as well. He talked about having a “budgeting committee” rather than a one spouse “budgeting dictatorship.” Dave also gave some practical ways to talk to your spouse in a way they understand. Guys, tell your wife that talking about money would improve the communication as a whole in your marriage (she’ll love it). Girls, tell your husband that you think working together on finances is more romantic than flowers or chocolates to you – make him feel like he’s rescuing you from having to do it alone.

    You absolutely right, Joe. Working together on the finances will maximize your financial potential as well as just improve your married life together.

  2. THE checkbook holder on May 2, 2007 at 9:43 am

    My husband is all for me doing the finances the Joe Sangle way .. but thats the problem he is all for ME doing it. Now in his defence we both know if he was left to the bills we would all have new shoes and the top of the line technology but no power and water. This is why we are in “you do it” mode. So thank you for this, I will be trying this soon. if nothing else it will save from the “honey are YOU ever gonna get OUR bills straightned out so i can have _____ ?” LOL ill keep you informed on how/if it works.

  3. Moneymonk on May 2, 2007 at 10:13 am

    “Our finances stink because of your ignorance, and this is all your fault.”
    Wow, never say that , LOL

    I must agree if you are not on the same page financially, you will not maximize wealth.

    My husband and I did not get on the same page until a year and a half after marriage.

    We now look forward in being debt free but the house next year. All because of a discussion we had on one Tuesday evening.

    Talk and communicate about future goals expenses with your spouse

  4. jsangl on May 2, 2007 at 10:48 am

    I have found that if I involved my bride for more than 15 minutes in the discussion of our finances, her mind drifts away.

    This is what I do. I come up with an initial budget (in Excel) that includes all known upcoming events/expenses (birthdays/weddings/graduations/weekend trips/etc.). I then call her over to the computer, and we spend about 10 minutes ensuring that all the next month’s expenses are loaded in.

    We make INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO and print it out.

    I take care of paying all of the bills, writing the checks, etc. But I do it in accordance with the amount that was budgeted.

    It changed our lives forever!

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