The secret to navigating money fights
We’ve all had them. Everyone. Even the people who are great with money. So if you’re here, just know one thing.
You are not alone.
Money fights are hard, because finances are such an emotional topic. If things go south and your money is lost, it could hurt your family. It could hurt your future. So when a couple fights about money, it can be really hard to navigate.
How do get through such a sensitive topic while you’re both already upset and fighting?
First and foremost, remove the emotional aspect
Removing the emotional piece of the money fight will be the most challenging part. But once it’s removed, the fight will become a discussion, and your ability to reach an outcome grows significantly.
Here’s how you can do that: promise each other that no decision will be made until you are both in agreement.
If you know that no action will be taken until you are both in agreement, then there is no risk of someone’s trust being broken, being afraid of what might happen if things go south, and ultimately resenting your partner because of the outcome.
Undoubtedly, this will mean the decision will take longer to be made. This is because not only do each of you need to have a say, but you each also need to fully understand your partner’s perspective.
Talk it all out
You both have an opinion, and if this whole thing started as an argument, then they are probably different opinions.
Once that emotional aspect has been eliminated (or at least controlled), it’s time to come to the table about why you think your perspective is the right avenue for your family to take.
The most important piece here is that your partner understands your perspective, and vice versa. There shouldn’t be any gray area; your family’s financial future deserves more than that.
Talk through your points, ask questions, get clarification, and be sure that you both understand each perspective.
Now, that’s not to say that one of your perspectives is correct. Maybe, after talking through everything and removing the emotional piece of the conversation, you decide, as a team, to dig a little deeper. Maybe you do some online searching for more perspectives, or read a book about it.
It’s just important that you redo this step as you get more information. Remember: never leaving your partner in the dark or having gray area creep in!
Decide, together, the right avenue to take
I spoke about this in another post on talking to your spouse about money. Dreaming and planning your family’s “big picture” and working toward that goal.
Now, it’s all about the details on your big picture. As you’re navigating this money fight, it is one piece of your overall family goal.
Keeping that big picture in mind when you are having this financial disagreement will keep you both on the same page.
For example, you are arguing about how much money you want to allocate toward your fun money savings every month. One of you wants to allocate at least $200, so about $50/week. The other wants to hold back on that until your debt is completely paid off, so you only want to put about $50 total per month away.
Once you take the emotional aspect out of the picture (“I can’t believe you don’t want to have any fun until we pay off our debt!”), which again, is very hard to do, then you start looking at the big picture.
What did we say we wanted to accomplish financially? As a team when we first started, we said we wanted to pay off all our debt and eventually our mortgage, then save up to be millionaires by the time we hit 55.
You may decide, as a team, that since you have more debt to pay off before you can really start saving, that you should keep your fun money small for a while.
In that case, it’s helpful to give a timeline to know it won’t always be like this. Say you know you’ll have your debt paid off in the spring of next year, and then you’ll plan on increasing your fun money at that time.
Or, if your debt is paid off but you are saving for your retirement, it might be time to loosen the purse strings and give yourselves more fun money.
At the end of the day
It’s important to keep in mind though that none of this will work if you haven’t sat down, as a team, and made a financial plan for the future of your family!
That big picture is crucial to navigating through the money disagreements along the way.
It makes you guys a team; working on this goal together.
That’s it! Do you have any tips on navigating tough financial talks? What have you learned from past disagreements?