Need to convince your spouse you need to get out of debt? You can’t just tell him or her. You need to address it in the right way.
Getting out of debt and taking control of your finances is important to your relationship. Whether you are just starting out or have been together for 25 or more years, you have to be in the same page financially, or you will be destined for failure.
So, what happens if your spouse is a spender and you are a saver? Or, what do you do if you want to create a budget you both contribute to, but your spouse refuses to help? What happens if you want to get out of debt, but your spouse thinks you are fine?
These are questions I get over and over again from readers just like you. Get my answers on what you can do if you find yourself in any of the following situations.
I WANT TO GET OUT OF DEBT, BUT MY SPOUSE DOES NOT AGREE.
This is a very common scenario. One person feels that there is too much debt and their spouse or partner thinks that they are doing just fine. What do you do in this situation? I’ve got the things you can try to help get your spouse or partner onto the same page as you.
SET A DATE
Timing is everything when you are discussing debt with your spouse or partner. If you casually mention it over dinner, it may not actually resonate that you are serious.
Set up a date with your significant other. Carving out time to have a real, honest discussion about your finances can make all the difference.
USE “WE” – NOT “YOU”
When you sit down to talk, your money and finances should be discussed as “we” and never as “you.”
For instance, instead of saying “You are spending more than you make” – say “We are just spending a bit too much money lately.”
When you are in a relationship, your money is no longer yours and mine, it is ours. Addressing your debt should be addressed in the same way.
NAGGING NOT ALLOWED
If, after you have this discussion, your spouse is still reluctant to get started, take a break. Circle back around a few weeks later and have another discussion.
The thing you do not want to do is nag him or her about it. That will create more resentment and be much less successful in developing a plan you both can follow.
MAKE SURE YOU CAN STILL HAVE FUN
The main reason many people are reluctant to get out of debt is they fear that they will not be able to spend any money on anything at all. That does not have to be the case.
Talk to your partner about your budget and show him or her how you can still leave money for dinner out or the weekly movie dates you love to have together.
One way that my husband and I do this is that we have a “mad money” fund. This is money which can be spent on whatever we each want. We designate an envelope for each of us. When our money is gone, we are done spending. We actually have turned this into a challenge to see which of us can actually go the longest without spending any money! After a few months, we agreed that we both won and then turned around and used that money in planning a Disney vacation.
You are a team and together you will need to work up your budget so it works for both of you.
BE WILLING TO COMPROMISE
When you sit down for your meeting, don’t have everything planned out. As tempting as it might be to have the budget all mapped out and show it, that may actually result in your partner being more resistant.
When you talk, take the time to truly listen to what your partner has to say. Once he or she voices concerns, you will also have a chance to make your case.
When you show that you really do want to listen and work together on this journey, he or she may be much more willing to join you. However, if you shut him or her out of the conversation, you will not be successful.