Finances are one of the most common issues that married couples argue about. In many cases, these arguments stem from fundamental differences regarding how funds should be properly managed or from different levels of financial education. It can be stressful and even disturbing to realize that your spouse recently made a huge financial mistake that set your family back. You may initially be livid and ready to lash out at your spouse. However, you can approach your upcoming confrontation more strategically to improve the situation in various ways.
Build Your Case
Some people make seemingly foolish financial mistakes because they do not understand the ramifications of their actions. You must find a way to communicate the severity of the issue with your spouse. Consider using online calculators to generate graphs and charts to more clearly explain the result of the financial mistake your spouse has made. You may also use Excel worksheets or other tools. Visualizing the results of poor financial decisions is often an effective way of communicating the issue.
Confront Your Spouse Calmly
Once you have a case developed, calmly approach your spouse about the issue. Getting emotional about family finances will not resolve the situation. Your spouse will likely get defensive if you take an aggressive approach or blame him or her. Remain calm throughout the entire discussion to achieve better results.
Educate Your Spouse
Whether you are having an issue merging finances, dealing with debt or accomplishing other goals, it may be necessary to educate your spouse about finances so that you both are on the same page. Over the next few weeks, find various articles online that you can share with your spouse. Locate related books on the topic, and ask your spouse to read them.
Create a Mutual Agreement About Family Finances
When you believe that your spouse has a better understanding about financial matters, you may discover that he or she shares your common goals. You can then sit down together to create a budget, to develop a plan for dealing with debt and to improve your savings and investment activities.
You understandably may feel emotional about the current state of your finances if your spouse has made a serious mistake. Rather than lose your temper in a heated argument, you can take a strategic approach to improve the situation. These steps will help you and your spouse to move past this situation together.
David Milberg is a financial analyst from New York City.