When you decide to overhaul your money and start working towards financial confidence, sometimes you hit this big ol’ speed bump. The partner speed bump. It doesn’t matter how focused you are on hitting big financial goals and shooting for your dreams – if your partner isn’t having it, it’s hard to make progress.
My partner and I are generally pretty aligned with our attitudes to money. We’re both natural spenders, who have got a bit more serious about money in recent years – and I’m really grateful for that.
Couples often struggle when one is a natural saver and one is a spender. It translates to more than just who spends and who saves, but triggers behavioural biases in other areas too. The saver might be more risk averse when it comes to investing or buying property, whereas the spender might be more able to flex their spending muscles for positive spends. The saver, on the other hand, might be a gun at controlling impulse purchases, while the spender struggles to back away.
A lot of people message me on Instagram saying things like, “I’ve been doing so well with my saving but it would be so much easier if my partner didn’t buy lunch out everyday,” or “I’ve completed your eBook and I’m so excited about my money goals now, but how do I get my partner on board?”
Here are my 5 top tips on getting your partner on board with your money goals.
1. Get clear on what you both want
Getting on top of your money is much easier when you’ve worked out what you’re actually doing it all for. A new savings plan sounds exciting at first, but unless you’ve connected it to something bigger, something worth making some sacrifices for, you might fall off the wagon. The same goes for getting your partner on board.
You might say, hey, I really wanna focus on this new budget so we can save a bit more. All very well, until the weekend comes and they want to spend up on takeaway when you want to meal prep.
Gently tease out of them what they’d want out of life if money weren’t an issue. It doesn’t need to be as explicit as ‘what are your goals’, but just set the scene. Play with their imagination and find out what makes them tick. You might even already know.
Then, when you introduce the idea of a budget or a new savings plan, you can link it to things like that dream trip they told you about, or being able to live in a certain area. It’ll get them excited about the possibilities and make it much more of a team effort.
2. Have regular money chats
It’s got to go beyond ‘hey, I made a budget’. Talk about money regularly, whether that’s over dinner in conversation, or sitting down and going through the tough stuff. Make it fun! Open a bottle of wine, set up your spreadsheet or your budgeting workbook and check in on your progress.
3. Get your skeletons out the closet
Setting financial goals together is a big step, and forces you to commit to somewhat of a future together. It might be short term like saving for a holiday together, or you might be playing bigger with the idea of saving for a home, or future kids.
Be open and honest with each other and get your skeletons out the closet once and for all. Do you have debt? Do they have a bad spending habit? Have they been in trouble financially in the past? Are either of you triggered by certain things financially?
Opening up to each other can bring you closer and set you up for success as a team.
4. Set a plan together and hold each other accountable
Togetherness is important in making it a team effort. Where you can, set goals together and make money moves together, even if you don’t combine finances. My partner and I have separate finances, but an overall joint idea of where we’re going and how we’re getting there.
We have joint budgets for things we do spend together, and we run big purchases past each other if we’re pulling money from savings to do it. You can hold each other accountable, too, by reminding one another of your goals and why you’re making this effort together.
5. Work to each other’s strengths
If you both have wildly different spending attitudes, it might take a little more work to get your partner on board with your financial goals. Identify each other’s strengths and weaknesses and work together to help balance each other out.
You might be great at saving but a bit too risk averse when it comes to investments. If they’re a spender, you can help them get their purchases in check, while they help you get more comfortable with spending money on investing in yourselves and your future.
It all comes back to communication. Talk about your goals. Talk about your spending. Talk about your wobbles when you nearly dropped $200 on a candle. Talk about what you’re good at, or not so good at. Being open will make it much more of team effort, and move you closer to becoming a financial power couple!
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