Welcome! In this installment of the Challenge I want to cover how to work within a family unit when trying to clear debt. Having 2 partners in sync and sharing the same goals is the ultimate perfect debt-busting storm. However, if you’re in a relationship and your partner does not share your vision it can be frustrating. Challenging, but not impossible! Let me explain…
No one person is the “problem”
The first thing to realize if there are disagreements in how money should be managed is that, with rare exception, neither person in the relationship is the “problem.” The world would be a boring place if everyone agreed on everything. In addition, just because you don’t agree with your partner it does not mean they are wrong! Open, honest communication with your partner is the key. It’s not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. If both partners commit to making it work, you’ll be golden.
Both Partners are Equals
Just as important as honest communication between partners is realizing both partners in a relationship are equals. It’s easy for one partner to cede their money authority if one earns a higher income than the other. This is especially true if only one partner earns an income, such as with a stay at home mom/dad. If your relationship is a true partnership, both partners should have an equal say in how the household money is spent. If one partner has ceded their authority to the other partner where money is concerned, both partners must work together to restore the equilibrium. It’s absolutely vital to being successful in your debt-free quest.
Lead by Example
If I’ve learned nothing else in my own life experience, I’ve learned that kvetching, nit-picking and cajoling will get you a sum total of NOTHING! Nagging is pointless! A sure-fire way to get your partner to completely ignore you is to pester the daylights out of them, no matter how well-intentioned. If you want to change the behavior of someone in your life, the best thing you can do is to quietly lead by example. Don’t draw attention to what you are doing-just carry on and do what needs to be done. If your partner is smart, and they chose YOU so this proves that they are, they’ll see what you’re doing and figure out that it can’t be all that bad.
The Art of Compromise
No one is 100% right all the time. You may think you can never be wrong, but if you’re always right, that makes your partner always wrong. As I said earlier, they were smart enough to choose you so they can’t possibly be wrong all the time, right? In all seriousness, the best way to deal with conflict in a relationship, about money or anything else, is to compromise. Back when Hubs and I sat down to write our very first budget, he let it be known in no uncertain terms that he had his own ideas on how our money should be handled. I’m the accountant of the family and I had my thoughts and plans for how it should be done. If I was going to make ANY progress in clearing our debt AND maintain a solid, loving relationship with him, I needed to consider his thoughts and work with him to formulate a plan. That’s what we did, and the rest is history.
Consult a Professional
Most partnerships are healthy enough that both partners have the ability to work through whatever differences they have over their money on their own. That said, if the conflict in your relationship is so strong that you cannot work out your differences on your own, I strongly urge you to consult with a professional counselor for help.
So, have you worked out a debt clearing strategy with your partner after initial disagreements? If you are comfortable doing so, please share how you did it in the comments.
Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…
Facilitating Financial Health-Brad Klontz, PsyD., CFP
Note-Any and all items contained in the Older Wiser Money Miser Debt Free Challenge are intended as a resource for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional tax or investing advice.