I got a call Monday morning from a woman in our #pinkfix community. Right away I could tell she was panicked! She nervously explained to me that she is on the verge of divorce because her husband hasn’t been open and honest about their finances. They were just married, yet they never had the BIG money conversation before the marriage. Who wants to think about money when there is a fun wedding to plan? Well that is the first mistake they both made. The second mistake was continuing to not discuss their money, their money fears, and the gaps in their retirement plans. You might have experienced something similar to this, you’re on one side of the money equation and your spouse is on the other side. Sometimes you agree, but most of the time it is a battle to get on common ground. Money is such a tricky topic, and no matter what…you and your spouse are going to come from different money mindsets and priorities!
The more you disagree, the more resentment will build in your relationship until you get to the point like Susan. You might get to a point where resentment has built such a wall between you and your spouse that divorce is the only option you see. Susan was on the verge of this wall being built too high. She was in tears as she told me the secrets her husband kept, how he is ashamed to tell her about his money.
The third mistake was all about their expectations of one another. He expected her to pay for half of their expenses including his children’s expenses from a prior marriage. She expected him to be open and honest about his financial situation. Susan couldn’t understand why he didn’t tell her certain things. While he couldn’t figure out why they mattered to her. All of these issues and insecurities only got worse during the COVID shutdown. Her income was completely halted, his was cut in half, yet she was still paying for the bulk of their expenses. It was a bad situation, only getting worse, and on its way to breaking up a family.
So what is the solution?
Susan and I developed a plan to get her husband on board with their money! We would all meet together, come from a place of understanding, and begin to tear down that wall. I would ask the questions, I would get the thinking about where the other is coming from, and why this began in the first place. It wouldn’t be her against him or him against her, it would be me coaching them to do it together. I would outline the meeting, give them homework to do such as write down their net worth, income, and expenses. We needed to put everything out in the open, collaborate on options, and find a solution together. I would chunk down their big goals into daily tasks they would each do so they know they aren’t in this alone. They will have money dates to look at their money every week with an outline of what to discuss, what questions to ask, and to make sure they don’t accuse one another. It’s time to make the conversation about money positive, and end the negativity!