Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” What a smart guy. (Although flying a kite in a thunderstorm doesn’t look like wisdom at first glance.)
Planning is a key to success – especially with your money.
Planning doesn’t just help you get ahead financially; it helps put (and keep) your relationship on solid footing. When no money plan is in place financial infidelity creeps into relationships.
Financial infidelity is lying, cheating, or hoarding money in a relationship. Basically any dishonesty about your finances. And it’s killing marriages.
A recent study says “money worries” is the #1 cause of relationship strain (62%) – above working long hours (40%), AND extra-marital affairs (36%).
When you don’t have a financial plan people get desperate to fix things and go to extreme lengths like secretly borrowing or opening secret credit card accounts to cover up mistakes. Others might overspend without telling the other because they think it won’t be noticed or matter because there isn’t a plan in place.
Benny is right, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
The Good News: You can avoid the pain of failure by taking these three steps:
1. Schedule a start time.
Be intentional about when you will start your money plan. Circle a date on the calendar to start your discussion about money, or set alarms in your phones for a day and time and then respond to the urgency of that alarm by sitting down and openly discussing your money.
Pick a good time for both of you. Not late at night. Not when the kids are running around or are hungry. Pick a Saturday morning or a weekend afternoon with a glass of wine. Select a time where you can begin to plan to succeed.
2. Name your money plan.
This is a new idea for most people. So it may seem a little odd, but we’ve found if you name your plan for success it feels a little more “official”.
A couple of names we’ve heard are: Our Money Success Plan and The Rock On Money Plan. You can pick anything. The Let’s Buy An RV Plan, The Start A College Savings Plan Plan ☺, The Let’s Not Work For Them Anymore Plan, or The Let’s Destroy Our Student Loans Plan.
Name it. Make your plan official.
3. Make sure you both feel good about the line items in your plan.
Most people marry someone who approaches money differently than they do.
In fact, over 150,000 individuals have taken our free Money Personality Assessment and 80% of the people who have taken it (and their spouse did too) discovered they are married to someone who approaches money exactly opposite from them.
So when you design your money plan, be aware of your differences and honor those. This money plan can’t just be a saving plan. You need spending in there too.
Honor your differences and avoid the pain. Figure out how to craft a plan that takes into account how both of you approach money.
We know that setting aside time to talk about money seems boring. And life is so busy. But we’d really like to encourage you to jump in — pick a start date, make your plan feel official by naming it, and consider both of your opinions as you plan.
We’ve heard from lots of couples in your same boat who took the plunge. The planning plunge. Those couples tell us, “Not only did our finances improve, our relationship did too.”
If you’re not entirely sure how you’re wired to approach money (we call that approach your “Money Personalities” — you each have two), or you have a hunch and you’d like it confirmed, take our free online Money Personality Assessment.
Money and marriage – neither are simple. And we don’t have all the answers, but we are here to help. Leave us a question or comment on your biggest planning challenges or something you’ve found that works for you.
Make it Happen!
Scott & Bethany Palmer