A person changes a lot between 22 and 40, right? Well, our relationship back then and now reflects that change pretty clearly. One area most of all is finances.
When we were young, we did not see eye to eye on finances. He has always been very conservative and I, on the other hand, was too free with money. My approach to finances at that time led to many years of debt later on when we were no longer together.
Dave Ramsey?" (A financial guru I'll talk more about in a minute).
He said, "Of course!" Turns out he had read Dave's books and listened to him on the radio. I had listened to Dave's CD's which helped me take control of my finances.
Different financial philosophies can create a lot of tension in a marriage. I have experienced that personally and it is no fun.
And I can attest to the fact that once you are on the same page with your spouse - not necessarily of the exact same mind but working toward the same goal - married life is a lot smoother. After having experienced both sides of this, I'd just like to offer my few tips if you find a financial division in your home:
- First and foremost, talk about it. I made the mistake of holding back my thoughts in my first marriage until I was really upset and then it was a blow up.
- Take it slow. Change is hard and the end result is very important. Nothing worthwhile is easy.
- Give each other grace. Financial issues are deeply personal and tied to what a person views as important as well as how they were raised. Try and understand their point of view.
- Approach it as a team, not a you vs. them. What are your goals as a couple for your family, your home, your future?
- Consider checking out Dave Ramsey. He has great advice for couples here and in his CD series talks about how there is usually a "nerd" and a "free spirit" as it relates to money. He has books, CDs and also offers biblical-based Financial Peace University classes at churches that couples can take together. His ideas changed the way I look at money.
- Check out the Money Saving Mom's posts on marriage and finances. She has a lot of great ideas.
- Set goals. What do you want to achieve? By when? Sometimes sitting down and writing goals solidifies the thoughts in your head and puts you down the path.
- Keep communication open. As your circumstances and life situation changes over the years, so will your goals and needs. I think Dave Ramsey advocates a monthly budget meeting. My husband and I work together so we discuss finances a lot throughout the month, but you could set up a day that you sit down and focus on it.
- Keep some flexibility. Again, Dave Ramsey advocates a "blow" category in your budget or "fun money." I think that's crucial. This way you each maintain independence and can buy certain things you want, but within the joint structure you have come up with together. Nobody wants to have to explain everything little thing they buy!
- Decide who handles the technical part. In our house, hubby is the go-to bill payer. He has it built into his schedule. I like that he has that chore, but we discuss finances a lot. He may be the check writer, but we make the decisions together.