Do you cook with your spouse? I do… sometimes. Not often.
(truth be told, Graham is the better cook. He enjoys cooking more… and it shows when the food is on the table…)
Even if you don’t prepare meals together, just imagine that you do for the next couple of minutes.
So how do you make dinner? You’ve gotta decide what you’re going to make, first! Imagine if both of you started getting out ingredients without even knowing what recipe you’re working on. It’d be an interesting mish-mash, but the result miiiiiight not taste so good.
Next, you get to work! You figure out who is going to do what:
X —- You’re not both chopping the onions at the same time. (That’d be an easy way for someone to lose a finger.)
X —- You’re not nit-picking whether the tasks are divided exactly 50/50. (“You only diced 34 pieces of carrot?? I diced 58 pieces of red pepper! Slacker!” – Can you imagine?)
✓ —- You DO both have a common goal: Make _________ (Spaghetti? Shepherd’s pie? Peppercorn steak and potatoes? Fillet mignon?)
✓ —- You DO decide who is going to do what (one of you chops up veggies while the other seasons the meat and puts it on the grill!)
Creating a budget, a.k.a. spending plan, a.k.a. path to your goals, is exactly the same!
You both need to decide *and agree* upon your objective.
Then you both need to contribute to accomplish the plan. You don’t need to worry about who’s doing what, more, or whether or not it’s “even.” You each pitch in, in some way.
If I do all the cooking, maybe my partner does the dishes. If I vacuum the house, maybe my partner mows the lawn. They may not be contributing the same amount of work to the recipe at hand, but they are contributing somewhere else.
If one of you thinks it’s too salty or too spicy, you communicate that, so that you can find a way to make sure both of you enjoy the meal. It’s OK to stick your finger in the pot, taste the sauce, and suggest more salt! Just like it’s okay to make a suggestion about your common goals.
In MANY households there is a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) that handles 90% of managing the finances. If this is the case, that’s fine — as long as there is open communication and the other partner is on board with how the plan is going. It can’t be in the brain of one partner. It needs to be on PAPER, so that BOTH people can see it… and know whether or not they are on track. How are you going to change the plan if it’s not written down?? How are you going to follow a recipe if you don’t have one to read from?
Trying to manage finances with a partner can be really tricky. Often I hear from my clients that they talk and talk about their goals and objectives… they start out on the same page… annnnd then one of the partners throws in some extra ingredients, throwing the recipe off.
So how can you possibly come up with a tasty meal if your partner keeps derailing it? You talk about what ingredient threw off the recipe. You talk about why that partner decided to throw it in. Did they decide after you started that they actually really didn’t want cake… and instead wanted pie? Did they commit to the recipe because they knew it was what YOU wanted, but their heart really wasn’t in it, so they weren’t really paying attention to what they were throwing in?
Sometimes the recipe just doesn’t work out. But you usually don’t throw it all away. You find a way to use what you’ve got to make something new.
I’m an Accredited Financial Counselor married to an Qualified Associate Financial Planner… many of our clients hire us because they want a 3rd party in their money conversations. They need support in talking about money in a different way. They need help seeing things from a different perspective. They want to make sure their common goals are not “his or her” ideas. Because often “money problems” are not actually money problems. They are communication problems.
If you feel like you are on a hamster wheel with your partner in regards to your finances and you think that it’s time to get some support to finally get on the same page as your spouse, I’d love to chat. Send me an e-mail. Shoot me a message on Facebook. Or, even better, click here to fill out my intake form (you’ll be prompted to book your free intake call at the end). We can set up a time to chat so that I can tell you about what financial coaching is, and if it’s something that will benefit you.