Relationships and Finances: Learning About Finance Together

Earlier in our Relationships and Finance series, we touched on “How to Help Your Spouse See You as a Financial Equal.” In the post, we discussed education, discussion, timely communication and planning as ways to open your financial plan to a joint venture. We laid out the basics and promised to come back to each idea more in depth, and today, we are going to take a look at education as a means to developing a better financial relationship with your spouse.

Prove You Are a Team Player

As we discussed in the first post, nobody gets picked for a team just because they want to be there. You have to show up and show off your skills. Proving to your spouse that you are serious about joining your finances can be as easy as flexing your financial muscles or as hard as going through tryouts and spring training. Every family, of course, is different, so let’s take a look at both.

Flexing Your Muscles
If you already have a great financial knowledge base, you may simply have to show off your individual powers to become a team. Tell your spouse you would like to join the finances for a more cohesive plan. This is very difficult for some people, though, especially if you have maintained separate finances for years.

My husband and I, for example, did not join our accounts until recently simply because our separate finance system wasn’t broken: it worked. Once it wasn’t working anymore — I left my traditional job for a new non-traditional career — we were forced to discuss a joint account. I laid out my specialty, budgeting, and Mike introduced the Moneydance financial software into our plan. From there, with our joint financial ideas, our team developed a system that worked.

Tryouts and Spring Training
However, if you are not as financially savvy as you would like to be, your spouse may have qualms about joining finances. In this case, you will have to prove you are a serious contender for the team through try-outs and spring training.

To try out for the team, you will have to study finances. This can include everything from budgeting to investing, but at this point, you can pick one area in which to focus. For example, if you would like to begin your joint journey by budgeting together, study budgeting principals and try them out on your own finances. Play around and really build those muscles.

Once you know a thing or two about budgeting, approach your spouse. Let him/her know that you are a serious player now and want to contribute. Show off your new skills: Present your spouse with your budget. More likely than not, your spouse will welcome you to the team.

The hard work does not stop there, though. At this point, you will enter the spring training season, where you and your spouse will work out the finances together. If one or both of you are unfamiliar with a concept, you will have to consult the coach (more financial training). However, as you become knowledgeable, you will be able to play ball with the best of them.

Whether you are a financial MVP or a rookie, joining your financial path with your spouse can help you both develop the skills necessary for your team. The best teams in the league join MVPs and rookies together to play killer ball, and you and your spouse can do the same.

Now if your spouse is the rookie...that's another story for another day...

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Anonymous's picture

Finances and Relationships - Taking on Tough Topics | MomVes wrote:

Sat, 01/21/2012 - 18:00 Comment #: 1

[...] Learning about finances with your partner can be an important step towards conquering your finances together. [...]

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