★ Money Challenge #10: Have a Money Date Night!
This is part of our Weekly Money Challenge series.
Be sure to check off any you’ve missed!
Money and Marriage… let’s open this can of worms, shall we? It will be fun, I promise! No, really. Where are you going??!! Come back!
According to a 2009 study by Jeffrey Dew at the Utah State University, one of the best indicators of marital discord is what he terms “financial disagreements”. Couples who “disagree about finances once a week” are over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples that report “disagreeing about finances a few times a month”. Disagreeing about finance means fighting about money. – U.S. Divorce Rates and Statistics
Ouch! That’s pretty harsh man, why you gotta be such a downer?
I just gave you the answer to the problem! Let me sum it up for you…
The more you talk about money, and the better those conversations are, the less likely it is to become an issue!
I can’t think of even one couple who hasn’t had issues surrounding money. There’s no avoiding the issues that money brings into a relationship, so the answer is actually pretty simple (not easy, simple):
TALK ABOUT MONEY!
This week’s challenge: Have a Money Date with your partner, spouse, or your teddy bear*.
What you talk about is up to you. Here’s just a couple suggestions to get things rolling:
- Your feelings: I would start here. Forget the budget for a minute, how are you both feeling about your finances?
- Your monthly budget: Are you both agreeing on how you are spending your money?
- Your five-year plan: Debt, dreams, savings, investing, kids. Creating a five-year plan together is really helpful to get these money talks rolling in the right direction.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so let’s get this done before then so you can focus on things that are much more sexy. ;)
Tell us how it went – and any tips you may have or learned – over in our forums!
– Derek, Master of Challenges
PS: Curious to see how last week’s challenge went? Click here and scroll to the bottom.
PPS: Pretending to spend $100,000 together with your partner is a fun way to start the money conversation.
*PPPS: We didn’t want to leave all you singles out of the conversation… bonus points for anyone who takes a pic with their bear or dog or cat! Or more seriously, grab a friend and you guys can be money accountability buddies.
By far the best response we got over in the forums this week was from our very own J. Money himself.
I used to have to bribe my wife with wine in order to sit down for more than 5 seconds to talk about money Now I just bring it up on the spot anytime something’s needed that way it’s like having a full hour of talking about it only spread out throughout the days haha…
I also like playing the game “guess what our net worth is now?” as she literally never has a clue. Some months she’ll guess $400,000 and other $800,000 and I’m like “COME ON!! how can you not even have an idea of how much we have?? We talk about it every month!!” So then I’ll tell her what it was last month and she’ll guess like $100k more and then I want to punch myself in the face since the real answer is never that good #FAIL
At first I just thought this was the funniest thing I’ve ever read. But after thinking about it it because quite interesting. Even a money blogger who posts his net worth needs to spend time talking with his wife about their money. This comment from J shows how people have different interests levels in personal finance, even within a marriage. It points to the importance of talking about money and at least being okay with the different interest levels. Every couple is different, whatever works for you, do that!
Here’s another tip from Elle at Couple Money.
My tip – If the numbers seem scary, start with your goals and dreams! Less stressful and it’ll help you two define what matters and you can then work together on the finances to make it happen.
We keep our money dates fairly low key – beer or wine, some awesome food, and we look at the numbers for about 5 minutes most months. For us, money dates are about checking in on our goals and discussing our lives. It’s helped us keep the mindset that money is a tool, not the goal.
NorthernExpenditure mentioned this post on how align your budget with a financial date night.
And here’s another tip from yours truly!
The big take away was that it’s okay (more than okay!) to adjust your plans often.
We’ve had a ton of big changes in our life over the past 3 years. We just had our 2nd baby girl. Carrie quit her job to start her own business. I’m working on my business too. Somehow we are making it!
What we found would happen is we would set a plan and then the plan would “fall apart” within 2-3 months. We would get frustrated and feel like we didn’t know what the hell we were doing.
BUT!!! That’s not really true. We finally realized that it wasn’t our inability to stick to a plan, it was that our surroundings and circumstance changed, again and again.
We have to re-adjust almost monthly to stay ahead of our ever changing life.
I think this is true for everyone, not just a couple with small children. I bet the plans you had when you were 25 aren’t still in effect when you are 35.
So, re-evaluate, adjust, repeat!
See you next week!