The Day I Took Control Over Our Couple Finances

Not long ago, I discussed The Fears that I Want to Get Rid Of. One of them was lacking money. I mentioned how I believed we were missing organization for our couple finances. I am very proud of us today, as we managed to discuss our situation last weekend in a very relaxed way.

Trust me, this is a “première”! My husband and I get along very, very well. We almost never argue with each other and truly work as a team. However, despite our almost 7 years of harmony, finance is THE one exception. Every time we approached the subject, one could have cut the atmosphere with a knife!

Why I Let Go Before

I’m usually not the type of woman who lets go of something she believes to be important. So why did I wait so long?

1. I was not the biggest supplier

My husband always had a higher income than me. It didn’t feel right to force him into a financial decision that mainly involved “his” money. So I let him do most of the managing without really knowing what was going on.

2. Previous Successes

When we met, he had an history of financial success. He was only 21 years old, but was about to build his own house on land already paid for. He had no debt and was already putting money aside for his retirement. I soon started to think he was better than me at managing money.

3. Avoiding Continuous Fights

This might not be a smart reason, but I also wanted to avoid these disputes. I’m well aware that money is one of the top 3 reasons to get a divorce, so I didn’t want us to start focussing on this weakness.

Why Change Now?

Our situation was a source of anxiety for me for many months. I don’t think we’re in a very bad financial state. My husband is not a fool, and there’s no reason for us to be. However, we don’t seem to make any progress, which neither of us like. So this is how I approached the topic this time.

1. I Started with My Emotion

I started saying that our financial agreement was stressful to me as I didn’t really know where we were at.

2. I Asked a Question

I asked him how he would feel if I took advantage of my maternity leave to spend more time on our finance management. Surprisingly, he said he wouldn’t mind. So I knew it was a good timing to go further.

3. I Mentioned What We Had in Common Instead of What Pulls Us Apart

I said I felt we were both disappointed by the lack of progress in regards to our finances. I said we both wanted to put more money aside for retirement planning, but also for our children’s future. Then, I mentioned how we both knew we better start acting now rather than later.

4. I Showed Comprehension Towards His Needs and Actions

I told him I knew he was doing his best and that maybe I couldn’t do better. I continued saying I truly appreciated that he often wanted to please me, saying “yes” to some unnecessary expenses (mainly restaurants), but that I felt we had to tighten our belt a little and that I’d be harder on myself than he is with me. I ended up enumerating his financial priorities (mainly retirement planning and savings) and that I was planning on respecting that.

5. It Happened!

That’s when my husband started taking over the discussion. He said there was no reason that I wouldn’t be able to manage our finances. He said I had faced harder financial times in my life than he had, and that it surely gave me more “tools” to be able to save on things he didn’t think of. He said that maybe the time for a new watchful eye has come.

So we ended the discussion saying we didn’t have much to lose and that we could evaluate our satisfaction towards this change in a year when my maternity leave is over. I also said how I was convinced we both had our strengths and that it was time for us to put them together for better results, which we already do on so many levels.

The Plan!

Since the change is quite new, I didn’t set a real plan of action yet. I will give myself a week or two to analyze what truly goes in and out of our accounts. Once that’s done, I can:

  • Review some of our contracts: insurance, phone/Internet/TV bills, etc.
  • Determine where possible savings are, including on daily expenses
  • Automate many payments and savings
  • Evaluate our investing means

I’m actually quite excited by this! I’m expecting to face some challenges, but I already look forward to seeing some results, no matter how small they are. I’m also very encouraged by the fact that I have my husband’s support. I’m sure we will learn many things from this change and that it will make our relationship even stronger.

What do you think? Who should manage finances in a couple? Ever had similar experiences?

Image credit: Taking control, Couple fight, Couple finance

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