Marriage

How to Discuss Finances with Your Spouse

Not sure how to discuss finances with your spouse? I've got some great tips to help you keep your cool and open the lines of communication.

How do you discuss finances with your spouse? Does it resemble date night or a fighting match? Do you look forward to it or is it dreaded? Marriage is a beautiful, if not slightly complicated, union of two people who may or may not have the same spending habits. Are you a saver who married a spender? Vice versa? In either case, it can be hard to consistently find your goals and spending patterns on the same page.

We all know that "money talk" is necessary in a marriage and I've got some great tips to help you keep your cool and open the lines of communication.

How to Talk About Money with Your Spouse

Schedule a Money Meeting

If it isn't on the calendar, is it actually going to happen? Carve out the time on your schedules, turn your phones off, and look at your finances together. Remove all distractions! If you have children, arrange for a babysitter or keep them busy with an activity.

Perhaps one of you feels like you're the only one who really looks at the finances while the other runs around spending money you don't really have. Routine meetings will encourage transparency and get the two of you on the same page.

Money Meetings are also a great time to start any of these wonderful financial habits or work on that credit score so you can join the 800+ Credit Score Club.

Listen and Then Listen Some More

Pay close attention to what your spouse says about their financial goals in addition to taking note of their overall relationship with money. Do they obsessively watch every penny you spend? Or are they spending all of the money in your accounts like there's no tomorrow?

Our spending habits are always formed by something, be it an experience or learning curve. Is your spouse overspending as a result of loneliness or worry? Are they an extreme tightwad because of a difficult financial experience in the past? Perhaps there are deeper issues that should be addressed.

Whether you're the saver or the spender in your relationship, it's important to hear both sides.

One exercise I recommend is to write down your financial goals or worries separately and then share them when you're ready to begin your money meeting. This encourages each spouse to be truly honest about what they're trying to accomplish.

Change Your Mantra to "Yours, Mine, and Ours"

There is no One Size Fits All when it comes to the best way to combine debt in a marriage. Fights can certainly get sticky, especially if one partner feels as though the other indebted partner needs to be solely responsible for whatever they owe.

"What's Yours is Mine" should be your mantra for the most united way to attack that debt. Perhaps your spouse came into the marriage with a $5,000 credit card balance and this frustrates you. But now that you're married, that debt is yours too. The sooner you embrace it and work together to pay it off, the faster it'll get done and the sooner you can move on from your debt guilt.

Honesty is the Best Policy

Lying or hiding debt and spending habits can cause serious marital issues. If a spouse discovers their partner was hiding something, it not only exposes a financial problem but a trust problem as well. What is a marriage without trust?

It may be painful and your partner could be angry for a while, but come clean with any debt you've been hiding. Also, joint bank accounts don't work for everyone but it's one of the fastest ways to create transparency and encourage trust in a financial relationship.

Play the No Blame Game

Blame is a dangerous thing to play with when it comes to discussing finances with your spouse. It can be easy to say what your spouse did (or didn't do!) when something doesn't go according to your financial plan. But you're in this "for better or for worse" so create a united front and tackle any problems together.

And don't be afraid to take a short break if the conversation during your money meeting becomes too heated. It's important that the two of you work things out but there's no shame in stepping away for 15 minutes so things can calm down.

Celebrate Together

Having the money talk isn't always fun. But if you follow it up with something exciting, you'll be more willing to do it every week or month. For example, after every routine money meeting share a bottle of wine or go out for a date afterwards.

You may not have accomplished all of your goals in that one conversation but you are communicating freely and that's something to celebrate!

Dealing with debt or financial worries is never fun or easy. Having a spouse to help you carry those burdens can take some of the weight off. Nurture your financial communication the same way you would nurture all other aspects of your marriage.

How do you communicate with your spouse? 

9 Perks of Getting Married Young

Let me preface this by saying that getting married at a young age is not for everyone! This post is not a claim that younger is better than older. There is no one size fits all when it comes to soulmates. But there are perks to an earlier marriage in life just like there are perks to a later marriage in life. Since I've experienced the former, my post is centered around that.  My husband and I got married when we were 22. It's not the youngest I've seen people get married but it is still extremely young!

Looking back, it's obvious that if it weren't for our love and commitment to each other we never would've survived our lack of finances or our naivety about relationships. Regardless of how unprepared we were, it worked out for us and I wouldn't go back and change a thing.

We've had our rough times just like any other couple but overall we've been extremely blessed. Dedication and loyalty has brought us really far as well as given us some nice surprises along the way. Here are the 9 perks we've enjoyed from getting married at a young age.

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1. You get to spend more years with your soulmate.

This is the number one reason getting married at a young age can be awesome...if you marry the right person, that is!

The years begin the fly by and become more precious when you find your better half. One day you're meeting for the first time and then, before you know it, it's half a decade later.

Saying "I do" before you're out of college just means the number of years you get to spend together are even higher. It's a great way to start life!

2. There's less time to build unrealistic expectations.

When you get married young you have less time to create unrealistic expectations of what marriage and happily ever after will look like.

When I think back to when we first got together I realize that I had ZERO expectations of either one of us, which was a good thing and a bad thing all rolled into one. But I never had to struggle with adjusting my fantasies to fit real life. And marriage turned out to be an even greater experience than I ever imagined it would be!

3. You grow up together.

Your first big screen tv. Your first living room set. Life is just beginning when you're in your early twenties. And the most important person in the world will see every exciting experience in your life and, even better, get to celebrate right along with you. You will learn the hardest lessons of adulthood as well as enjoy the greatest surprises together. It just doesn't get any better than that.

4. There's less baggage to carry.

Regardless of how early you started dating other people, if you get married at a young age there's much less relationship baggage. There are no leftover feelings to confess or comparison issues to overcome. In fact, most of your dating memories will be with the person you intend to grow old with. It makes reminiscing so much more fun that way.

5. You avoid the "I Can't Find My Person" worry.

A happy, youthful marriage means you get to completely avoid the pressure most people feel when they hit their older years. You never find yourself thinking, "My friends are getting married and having babies! When will it be my turn? Is my boyfriend going to marry me? What if I'm wasting all these years with him?" There's no worrying about finding "the one" because you already found he/she!

6. You don't have to overcome being "set" in your ways.

This perk is pretty self explanatory. You don't have to overcome being set in your ways because you have no set ways yet. As we get older we spend our time finding out who we are, who we want to be, where we're going, and how we're going to get there. If you're already married, then you get to discover your preferences together as a couple.

7. You get spend all of your energetic, wild years together.

Let's be honest. The early twenties are our wildest, most exciting years. They are the prime years! And now that you're married you get to spend them with your spouse.

Since my husband and I got married we have partied in college, graduated from college, moved across the country, bounced from apartment to apartment, and had a baby. Whew! Thank goodness we have all this youthful energy because it makes things so much easier.

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8. You fight to overcome the many odds stacked up against you.

The doubtful parent. The doubtful best friend. Sometimes people won't say it to your face (although sometimes they do!) but a lot of them are skeptical that your marriage is going to make it because of your age.

I'll be the first to admit that a young age combined with a lack of maturity will make a relationship complicated. But not all young marriages end in divorce and the desire to prove all those people wrong will unite you two in a strong way.

9. The best parts of you are brought out at a younger age.

Your soulmate will usually bring out the very best of you and if you get married young, the best comes out way earlier than expected!

My husband has always made me a better person. His love has made me kinder, more driven, happier, and more patient. I didn't realize how beautiful my life could be until he came along. That's when you know you've met your soulmate.

Marriage is such hard work, regardless of whether you get married at 22 or 42. And while there are many reasons to wait, there are a lot of perks from enjoying a youthful marriage. When you meet the love of your life, why wouldn't you want to marry them as soon as the timing is right?

When did you get married? What were the benefits of tying the knot when you did?