Marriage is a partnership in so many ways. When it comes to money, one of the best things you can do is make sure you’re both on the same page financially. The best way to do this is to set financial goals together and determine how you’ll execute those goals.
Start By Discussing Future General Goals
With a new year here, this is the perfect time to sit down and have a new year’s date to talk finances with your partner. Here are some key steps to follow to help you set money goals with your spouse for the new year.
Remember when you first got married and would talk about all the hopes and dreams you wanted to accomplish together? Revisit those days and get excited about sharing your goals for the future together.
Consider where you see yourself and your family in the next five years. What do you want to accomplish with your spouse? How do you want your lives to be improved? Odds are, money will come up during this brainstorming session.
For example, if you see your family in your forever home in the next five years, that means you’ll need to prepare your finances to move and buy a new house. Welcome the idea of adding money into the conversation so you can start to develop a solid plan for success.
Narrow Down Your Top Financial Goals and Compromise
It’s important to sit down with your partner and complete the first step before you get to this one. It’s key in terms of getting you both on the same page so you understand why you want to reach certain financial goals.
Next, you’ll need to narrow down some of your top financial goals and see if there’s room to compromise on anything. Prioritize what’s important to you both and start to lay out a timeline for some things.
For example, if it’s important to your spouse that you travel at least 2 to 3 times per year, you may want to set another goal to pay down some of your debt so you can free up cash flow to afford this.
One goal my husband and I have is to buy a new car this year. Both of our cars are getting old and need to be replaced. While we agree on this goal, we don’t quite agree on how to accomplish it. This is where compromising comes in. We prefer not to get a car loan, but we may have to settle for a small one. My one condition is that we pay it off quickly, and my husband agrees with this so that gives me reassurance.
Create a Joint Strategy For Success
Identify how you’ll work together to reach your goals. Try to be specific when planning out your action steps and don’t be afraid to assign roles.
When you set money goals with your spouse, be sure to determine a clear budget early on. Remember, your budget is a spending plan that you create based on your needs and financial goals. If my husband and I want to buy a new car next year, we need to include a savings category in our monthly budget for this.
You can also adjust your budget to help you meet your financial goals by cutting certain expenses or removing them altogether. If you’re looking to travel more as a family, your strategy could involve churning credit cards and maximizing reward points.
Make sure you clearly define roles so each person knows what they’re responsible for. Realize that some roles may not involve money directly, but will still be an important key in reaching your financial goals. For my situation, I will likely be in charge of researching different vehicles and comparing models and prices while my husband will be more in charge of monitoring our credit scores to make sure they’re in good shape if we do decide to finance the purchase.
Set Up Accountability Check
As you’re setting goals, also set dates and times for accountability check-ins.
Call it a finance date, money meeting, or whatever you want. Just make sure you’re scheduling time to sit down together to track your progress and go over the monthly budget. I like to put our goals for the year in a spreadsheet and share it with my husband or write them down in my planner.
Each week, we sit down and go over our finances as a whole. This is the perfect time to make adjustments to the budget, discuss any changes to the plan, and track our progress.
We make sure our current needs are being met and bills are paid on time. Then, we talk about our long-term and short-term goals. Having these check-ins is great for accountability because you can each provide an update on what you’re doing to work toward the goal and check in on things you said you would do at the last meeting.
Also, you don’t have to make it too formal. If you’re checking in once a month for example, make it fun and order takeout and make a dessert while you go over your financial goals.
Summary: Set Money Goals With Your Spouse to Improve Your Finances
One of the best things that you can do to secure your financial future in a marriage is to set money goals with your spouse. Doing this will help get on the same page, develop a strategy that works and hold each other accountable.
Plus, it feels great to celebrate a financial win with the person you’ve worked so hard on your finances with. Just remember to be open, understanding and willing to compromise on some things. Allow each other to fully express your own view, goals and priorities then find a way to meet in the middle.
Which financial goals are you setting with your spouse this year?