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10 Tips on Having Financial Discussions

Money is one of the biggest issues that couples fight about. Having open, fair discussions ensures that your money troubles don't become your relationship troubles. Here, author Mark Jala offers 10 tips on having those important discussions.

1. Give advance notice that money matters are on the agenda to discuss at dinner tonight. Don’t surprise a spouse or partner by putting them on the spot. This takes pressure off the moment and allows each person to prepare.

2. Always remain calm and never let emotion enter into the discussion. Don’t get angry.

3. Always start by showing respect to your partner or spouse. Be respectful of them always and in everything.

4. It is quite possible one person is a money spender while the other is money saver. Each has merits and each person can learn and benefit from the other. The key is to not have either one dominate the other. This situation requires the skills of understanding and compromise.

5. Be honest. Be truthful. Don’t hide any spending or saving from the spouse. Lay all the cards on the table.

6. Never blame. If you are married, you are equal partners and in it together. Like partners on a doubles tennis team, you win or lose as a team. If one is not doing well, it is up to the other partner to step in and pick it up until both are equal again. This is a very important mindset.

7. Make and stick to a budget. It is important for the parents to know exactly what is coming in and going out. Children should have a general idea.

8. This is a great time to teach children about finances and money planning. The use of a book like “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clason is instrumental in teaching savings and investing. Read and discuss segments of the book.

9. Set goals, financial and otherwise. See my recent article about goal setting for more information.

10. Track progress and stay on top of the finances. It’s easy to slip back into old spending habits when not reminded of the goals and reasons why spending and saving changes were made.

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