Monthly Money Meetings for Couples by Peter Geckeler
The computer screen was still open, papers spread out – and both of us were walking away fuming. This was the result of my wife & I’s first attempt at having a “money meeting” back in our first year of marriage. “Well, I am never doing that again” I thought. And we were not alone – many couples struggle when it comes to talking about money. In a survey by Ally Bank, 36 percent of couples reported that money was the biggest source of stress in their relationship. Money has this funny way of bringing deeper seeded issues to the surface. Yet for a couple to succeed long-term financially, I believe they must communicate about money on a semi-regular basis. So, to help our clients we created a tool that can be used monthly or quarterly as a template for having money conversations. In this blog I will list out some concepts & ideas for a couples financial meeting, and in the next blog I will outline concrete topics to discuss each month. Before Getting Started: 1. Make sure you both mark your calendar for the conversation, and keep it marked months out. It is easy to continue putting the money conversation off, or doing it once or twice and letting it fall by the wayside. 2. Choose an atmosphere that you would both enjoy. Whether that be at your favorite coffee shop, favorite restaurant, or a quiet night at home. 3. Choose an incentive or reward for completing the money talk. While discussing money issues results in increased stability and comfort, which is a reward in itself - it is good to have something to look forward to after the talk. 4. Set an agenda that you both agree on. We encourage you to start with prayer, asking for unity and a listening spirit. After prayer, it may be helpful to revisit items like your vision statement, long-term goals, and discuss what your “picture of success” entails. 5. Don’t be afraid to dive into a hot ticket item during the meeting. Committing to dealing with these issues sooner rather than later can prevent bitterness and conflict. You can even set aside a time to discuss more difficult issues. Use concrete examples of what you want and do not want (Ex. “I would feel much safer if we had X amount in our emergency savings.”) 6. Actively Listen. Seek first to understand, then be understood. If you would like the full “Monthly Money conversation for Couples” template, don’t hesitate to reach out. Also – I feel it should be shared, my wife & I had our 2021 financial talk just a few weeks ago – and we came away high-fiving instead of fuming. Progress!