Talking about money with anyone, including your partner, is one of life’s challenges. It is also one of the main reasons people get divorced. I receive countless phone calls from distressed spouses because they know their money challenges are leading them down a destructive path. What can you do as the concerned partner to be able to talk to your partner about money?
There are many ways to approach your partner about your money concerns. After almost ten years of money coaching, I will often suggest a few conversation starters. I thought it would be useful to get input from other professionals.
Conversation Starters from a Psychologist
I asked Nancy Silberman Zwiebach, a School Psychologist, Psychotherapist, and Motivational Speaker for her thoughts. Should you wish to contact her, Nancy can be reached at 201-569-3299.
Here are Nancy’s three suggestions:
1. “I’ve found someone who I think could be very helpful in suggesting ways we could improve our finances. I could contact her on my own, but it wouldn’t be good without your input. You’re usually better at evaluating these things. Would you consider making an appointment when we’re both available?”
2. “We’ve been working so hard and don’t seem to be getting far. I’m really concerned about our future and hope there’ll come a day when we can relax, sit back, and just enjoy the fruits of our labor – really appreciate time together. I know there are things we can do to maximize our savings, ways of spreading what we earn further. I got a recommendation from this person I know who said s/he was amazed at what s/he learned by consulting this financial advisor. I’d love to make an appointment for both of us to meet with her”. Can I do that?
3. “There was a discussion on radio about how most people don’t know how to maximize their income and really get the most out of it. They said they don’t understand how people don’t go to experts to guide them. If they need their car fixed, they go to a mechanic. If they don’t feel well, they go to a doctor, etc. Nobody is an expert on everything … why not meet with someone who’s an expert on getting the most out of their money? I don’t know, it seems like a good idea. I think we could try it. What do you think?”
Conversation Starters from a Life Coach
I asked Robin Gardner, a Certified Professional Coach, who works with couples for her thoughts. Should you wish to contact Robin, visit her website or call 201-612-6700.
Here are Robin’s four suggestions:
1. “I care about our marriage and because this stresses our marriage and our lives, this coaching is important for both of us. (I feel this even impacts our children.) I know we might have very different money beliefs and behaviors, but how can we come together so that this doesn’t continue to be an issue?”
2. “If this continues it will only cause further problems in our lives. At the rate it’s going, if this issue isn’t addressed, what will happen in time? Possibly bankruptcy, divorce, and more. In the long run, coaching will help save us money as well as our marriage.”
3. “I know it’s scary to try something new, but if we want things to be different we need to do something different and that means getting help with this problem. What’s the downside of getting help?”
4. “This program is really important to me, so how can we make this work for both of us?”
Remember that this is not about placing blame. You are concerned about the health of your relationship. If something doesn’t change soon, you are worried that the path will only get worse. The first step after agreeing there is a problem is to arrange a free 20-minute discovery call.
What conversation starters have worked for you in the past? Did you practice with anyone before approaching your spouse?