The old relationship adage goes, “Opposites attract.” This generally isn’t a problem unless you and your spouse or partner are on completely opposite sides of the financial savvy spectrum. But, do you know how to help a spouse or partner that is terrible with money?
Money is a major cause of stress in relationships, and if you are always on top of your finances while your spouse is more forgetful or lax about money, then you might hit some bumps on the road to financial stability as a couple.
If you want to maintain a good relationship and reduce frustration with a spouse who may not share your values when it comes to financial responsibility, then here are a few ways you can help them with money management. (To keep it simple, we’ll refer to boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, and wives as simply “partners” from here on out.)
How to Help Your Spouse Who’s Terrible with Money
Lay Out Your Financial Situation
Are you the one controlling the finances in your relationship? If so, then it’s time that both sides get up to speed with your shared finances. Because oftentimes, financial irresponsibility stems from an ignorance of the reality of your situation, rather than a malicious desire to squander your family’s hard-earned money.
Take an hour or two and lay out your finances on a table – budget records, utility bills, credit card payments, mortgage or rent and car payments, receipts, etc. And, go over everything with your partner. If they’re not particularly excited to talk about something as seemingly dull as finances, then make some coffee or drinks or snacks and take it slowly to make it a more bearable experience.
Keep it straightforward and objective. They’re less likely to feel defensive and want to leave if you avoid blaming them for a budget misstep or bad impulse purchase they made recently. And, at the end, you might assign them small tasks to help you manage your collective finances together.
No matter what – you have to be on the same page when it comes to your family’s finances. That’s how you help a spouse who is terrible with money. My wife and I go over our budget and net worth once a quarter. We sit down and have a family meeting to discuss the finances of our family.