One of the topics that we cover in the Crafting my Life class is money. It’s not exactly the easiest and most fun week in the class, but it is one of the most important. Money, and our relationship to it, shapes a lot of our behaviours and actions. It can make us stay in a job that we hate, it can keep us from having the things we want, and it can change our status in society. Money is tied to value in our culture. Just consider the phrase “net worth“, and you’ll see what I mean.
I’ve heard that money is the leading cause of divorce. As someone who’s been married for 10 years, I can see how that would be true. Sharing finances can be stressful, and it can trigger a lot of our issues surrounding security and happiness. If we’re not on the same financial page with our partner, it can be even more difficult. But getting on the same page isn’t always so easy.
As part of the class content on money, I interviewed Sierra Black. In addition to her fabulous parenting blog, she also writes at the financial blog Get Rich Slowly. I wanted her thoughts on how to share finances with someone without turning it into a battle. And she came through for me, with a suggestion to have regularly scheduled money meetings.
My husband Jon and I are usually on the same financial page, more or less. We’re both reasonably frugal people who don’t spend a lot on ourselves. But even so, we’ve had our fair share of disagreements when it comes to spending and saving, like any couple married for 10 years. We can’t be the only ones who’ve started a discussion about something seemingly innocuous, like what the vegetable garden will look like this year, and had it turn into an all-out argument about family finances. It takes up a lot of space and energy, and it’s not exactly my idea of a good time.
So we decided to take Sierra’s suggestion. Once a week, now, we sit down and talk about our money. If something comes up between meetings, we put it on the agenda. It sounds kind of ridiculous and formal to have weekly appointments with my husband to discuss finances, but it really works. It frees up time and mental space during the week, and it gives us the opportunity to both be heard and be sure that we’re on the same page. It’s actually been a very freeing experience, which isn’t what you’d probably expect from a money meeting, but I’m taking it.
While the money meetings are great, our relationship with money remains a constantly-evolving work in progress. That’s the way that life is. And so I’d love to hear how you and your partner have gotten on the same financial page. How do you share money and share a life without creating too much stress? Did you marry someone with the same financial views as you, or are you total opposites? Please tell me!