Look at the couple in the above photo. Don’t they look ridiculously happy? Do you want to know why they are ridiculously happy? It’s because they are
being featured on Money Pebbles consistently talking about their money. Okay, maybe that is not the reason. It could be because they are getting ridiculously paid for agreeing to stock photos where they look ridiculously happy. And I understand that my use of ridiculous up to this point is getting ridiculous, but stay with me! You don’t have to take a stock photo to increase your happiness as a couple. There’s a better, less photogenic-dependent way: Talk about your money more often.
Couples Who Often Talk About Money Are Happier
The truth is, when couples consistently talk about money, they are happier. Don’t believe me? You don’t have to. Instead you can believe the almost 2,000 people in relationships that TD Bank recently surveyed about love and money. Here’s their take on how talking about money affects couples’ happiness:
So, couples ARE happier when they talk about money more. And guess what, you and your partner can be happier too through regular money talks. This post will show you what to cover in your money talks, but there is an elephant in the post that we have to address first.
Sorry, not that one. This one: If couples are happier when they talk about money, why aren’t more couples talking about money? There are a number of reasons, what I call “money talk hurdles.”
A husband may be ashamed of how they are currently handling money and would rather avoid the subject with their wife.
A spouse could think they are too busy with job and family responsibilities to sit down and have a money discussion.
A fiancé could be afraid to reveal their money troubles to their future spouse.
A wife could desire to avoid money talks with her husband because past money talks have ended in arguments.
And the list could go on… But I won’t continue, because chances are that you already know why you are not having consistent money talks. And if there is a reason, keep these two things in mind in order to remove your money talk hurdles:
There is no hurdle that outweighs the importance of your relationship. Not talking about money will hinder your happiness. Period. Your relationship is more important than any hurdle in your way. Jump that hurdle to see money happiness and real results!
Delaying jumping the hurdle will only create more unhappiness. You want to be happy, right? Thought so. So again, jump that hurdle to see money happiness and real results!
Our Personal Experience
I’ve convinced you that having money talks with your partner will lead to happiness, but will money talks bring real results in your personal finances too? Yes they will. Mrs. Money Pebbles and I are living witnesses. When we have been on the same page about money, we’ve been so much more successful with handling our finances and reaching our goals. We have gotten and stayed on the same page by having regular money talks. Here are a few examples of how regular money talks have led to real results:
When we felt the pressure of debt early in our marriage, we had a heart-to-heart talk about our money and decided to make a push to pay off $10,000 in 3 months. It took us longer than 3 months to hit our goal, but we wouldn’t have paid off much of anything without that initial money talk.
We continued talking about money to continue our debt busting and track our progress, which helped us pay off $25,000 in debt in about a year and a half.
We used money talks to create a money system, which led to great habits such as setting aside money for giving to others, saving a set amount out of our regular income, and deciding never to carry a credit card balance.
Having regular money talks have worked for us, and they can work for you too.
What To Cover In Your Money Talks
So what do you cover in your money talks? Here’s a list of topics to get you started. You may not hit every topic in every talk, but the point is to be aware of where you need to be in sync financially and hit those topics regularly:
• Current status of debt (if any), credit (if any), checking, savings, and investments. In essence, a snapshot of your net worth. Personal Capital is a great resource for getting a snapshot of your net worth and keeping track of it in real-time.
• Any upcoming major purchases that may affect your money plan such as home improvements or vacations.
• How successfully (or unsuccessfully) you have followed your money plan since your last money talk. If there have been major hiccups in or deviations from the plan, discuss why. It may turn out that your money plan needs to be adjusted to be more realistic. Or, you may find that your discipline needs to be adjusted, not your money plan.
• Even if you were successful with your money plan, re-evaluate it to see if it still makes sense. Times change. Your plan may have to as well.
If you hit the above four topics regularly together, you will not only see real results with your money, but you will be happier together too.
How Often To Have Money Talks
Mrs. Money Pebbles and I don’t have a set schedule for Money Talks. Instead, whenever we feel or see that we are drifting apart in how we’re thinking about or handling our money, we both sense that it’s time for a money talk. Here are some tell-tale signs of drifting apart:
• You see habits or purchases that are outside of your agreed upon money plan.
• Your money system doesn’t seem to be working.
• There is a major purchase looming that hasn’t been discussed yet, and you start to notice assumptions on how the purchase will be handled.
• Comments about your finances are made that do not line up with your money plan or money system.
You may decide to formally meet and talk on a set schedule. Whether you have formal meetings or informal chats, the goal is to develop an ongoing conversation about your money and how it’s doing.
Commit to having regular money talks today so that you too (and you two) can be ridiculously happy. Or, at least happier as a couple.