7 Steps – How to Improve Your Canadian Marriage

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Whether you are a power couple or a one income breadwinner – Money, Marriage and Spending is a trio dance we all could put a little more effort into.

Have you ever debated a financial/real estate investment or spending decision with your significant other or spouse?

Have you ever had an argument about the importance of some sort of financial or material item that one party believes they need or that they want, and it would change their life for the better?

These decisions and conversations come up in families and households every minute of every day. They are one of the most significant causes of stress inducing situations outside of health-related matters. If not managed can lead to divorce, bad financial decisions or lack of wealth due to no decision being made.

After reading the book The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha he provided a great chart (shown below) on how your (and someone else’s) positive mood can impact your decisions. I have taken it a step further an integrated it into financial, real estate, insurance, investment, and overall wealth decisions.

When is the right time to talk to your spouse about a financial decision?

Step 1 – Recognize how positive you are for the most in life as a percentage.

Step 2 – Recognize how positive as a percentage of time your spouse or significant other is?

Step 3 – Use the chart below to identify how much of the time you are both in a positive state of mind. This will provide context of when and how much of the time you really must work with for when to bring up a financial decision or financial conversation

Step 4 – Establish a financial safe place to have a conversation with your significant other. This financial safe place does not have to be a physical location although that’s recommended (my wife and I’s financial safe place is in the car driving on road trips, no place to hide if silence sets in, you just have to talk it out). The financial safe place is a place or an establishment of expectations and rules. This is the place that there are no dream boundaries in the conversation, no judgment and no one can get mad at the other person after the conversation or in the future. It is an open dialogue about financial goals and whatever financial item/decision that needs to be made. The conversation could start like this… “ok we promise to not get mad at each other regardless of ____ ….“ . An example of this is going through your monthly bills/visa spending together. You may not want to show your significant other some of your bills and again if that’s for legal or marital reasons that’s your own problem, but if it is because you are concerned you are spending on nonfamily items or elsewhere…you might have get those out in the open. Again, this is a safe conversation. Build them into your monthly cashflow and work with it. If you like to spend money on nice clothes put it out there in the open and put it into the budget. If you like to spend money hosting parties or dinner get togethers this exercise is not to take away anything, it is to make sure that your spending is in line with your goals

Step 5 – Look for cues and past-history of when you were able to make a good financial decision together. Even a nonfinancial decision that you both agreed on. What state of mind were you in? What state of mind was your partner in? Did you just get home from the gym? Did you have a guys/gals trip the following week and were being present, pre trip. Were the kids around? Were the kids at grandma’? Were you on a trip and relaxed? Did you just receive a bonus? Ask yourself those type questions and be creative and create your own questions. This should give you an indication of when in the future to bring up your next financial conversation

Step 6 – Give each other respect and pose an opening question like “is this a good time to talk about ____”. If it is not, leave it and if it does not come up naturally then call a meeting with your spouse. Go for coffee and have a quiet focused conversation, notepad in hand and give your significant other a pre-email, text or note or show them on a piece of paper the brief concept of what you are considering.

Step 7 – GO or NO GO. By the end of the conversation, you should be able to establish if there is positive energy from both you and your significant other. To successfully take charge and go for this ____ project or seek further information, if there is not excitement on both sides of the fence this financial idea strategy investment is going to be very distracting, deflating and corrosive to a good relationship.

Nothing is more rewarding than a couple making a financial decision together and seeing it through to the finish line and it exceeds both of your expectations. Spouses that plan together stay together and thus double their net worth. If you have any questions around money insurance wealth investment real estate or making overall prudent spending decisions in your financial plan, book a one-on-one meeting today.

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