there’s no doubt that one of the biggest stressors (probably the number one) in most marriages is money. how much you have…how much you spend…what you spend it on…who makes the decisions…how you handle loss of income… managing need versus want…and everything in between.
the pressure of handling life underneath the weight of limited financial resources has brought even the strongest of marriages to it’s knees. the suffocating burden of money shortfall squeezes communication…robs joy…creates mistrust… mangles priorities…and takes emotions hostage.
we all face financial crisis. some worse than others, but we all feel the pressure and are forced to deal with the effect. the question is whether we will be proactive or not.
i stumbled on these questions recently and thought i’d pass them on. it might be worth your while to sit down with your spouse and compare answers.
…and get ready for the storm before it comes. if you’re already in the vortex, maybe answering some of these questions might even point you to a way out. i hope so.
1. When you were growing up, did you think your family was poor, middle class, or upper class? When you look back now, do you still view it in the same way? Do you have any regrets about how your parents handled money? Are there parts of your financial history you plan to avoid?
2. Did your parents typically see eye to eye on the topic of money? When they did disagree, what was the process for coming to a consensus?
3. What were some of the best ways that your parents spent money?
4. Would you classify yourself as a saver or spender? When you think about investing, do you feel confident or cautious? When you work, do you typically want to choose the path most traveled or least traveled?
5. What is your greatest financial fear? How do you think that fear impacts and influences how you spend your money?
6. What do you believe about money? I believe money is best used by ______________.
7. How do you feel about debt? Are you comfortable having credit card debt, payday loans, car loans, or a mortgage? When I look at the stack of bills we get in the mail, I feel _______________.
8. How much does something need to cost in order for it to be an us decision instead of a you decision?
9. What is the biggest financial adjustment that needs to take place in this marriage?
10. The one thing I’ve always been to shy to tell my spouse about money is _____________________.
11. I feel ___________ when you ____________ with money.
12. If one or both of us were to lose a job today, how would you feel? Would you be financially ready to handle that crisis? If not, what could be done today to help you be prepared for it?
13. How are you enjoying your job (or homemaking)? Is there anything I can do to be more supportive?
14. I think our current debt levels are: (a) no big deal, (b) something to be aware of, (c) a serious issue, or (d) a crisis.
15. Do you have an emergency fund in place? What would need to happen to start saving up for an emergency fund?
16. If there were one thing you could change in our finances to make you feel so much better, what would that one thing be?
17. When it comes to giving money to the church or others, I feel _____________.
18. What do you want retirement to be like? Where do you see us living? What do you see us doing? Should one of us work? Part-time or full-time?
19. What are three things you’d like to do in your lifetime? What are the financial implications?
20. The one thing I’ve always wanted to do with my money is _____________.
21. (Here’s a creative one) If you won a million dollars, what do you think you would do with it?