If you find that the majority of your arguments stem from money problems, it’s time to take a stand and commit to resolving the issues before they destroy your marriage. It’s important to have full transparency when it comes to finances and financial goals in order to live harmoniously and confidently together.
Vision has partnered with Brett and Kate Ryan from Focus on the Family, and Alex Cook, founder of Wealth with Purpose to bring you a special Marriage and Money seminar live-streamed at Vision’s Brisbane studios and hosted by Neil Johnson from 20Twenty.
It’s not just couples who can benefit from the valuable insights and expertise shared by Brett, Kate and Alex; everyone will find gold nuggets of wisdom in this seminar series they can apply to their lives to help them make sound financial decisions and build strong relationships.
The Spiritual Nature of Money
There are spiritual issues we face when it comes to money. Fear is a huge one. A lot of people lie in bed at night, fearful about whether they are going to be able to pay the mortgage. Idolatry of money in our society has also become a problem. Jesus said:
‘”No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”’ Matthew 6:24 NASB
‘We need to be really humble and be willing to explore the things that are affecting us,’ said Alex. ‘Sometimes we won’t necessarily see it in ourselves, but our spouse might see it in us. So being able to have those sorts of gracious conversations where you discover how you relate to money because if you don’t deal with these issues, they will have a huge financial impact on you. When I was young, I was a stockbroker, and I wanted to be successful. Not only that, I wanted to look successful, so that impacted how I spent my money. You want to have the nice car, the nice suit and everything else that goes with it. Therefore your finances deteriorate as a result of that misplaced identity. So, I think one of the key things is to be really open about the spiritual things that are affecting us because it will have a ripple effect on our finances.’
Set up Money Dates
Kate suggests setting up a date to do a financial audit where you can discuss your current circumstances and where you would like to be in the future. These dates can be either a dinner date or a supper date after the kids are in bed and you are both in a relaxed state to be able to have a calm conversation. Finances should never be discussed in the heat of the moment. That’s when people get triggered and go into fight or flight mode, and it doesn’t end well.
‘When we go into fight or flight mode, our prefrontal cortex physiologically shuts off. So you cannot have a thought-provoking conversation that’s going to end well. You need to set a time when you’re both calm and you’re able to plan and maybe come with a few ideas,’ said Kate. ‘Some people like things to be written down. Understand your spouse and where they’re coming from. If someone likes it written down, write it down. If somebody needs to verbally hear it, then talk about it.’
The aim of the money date is for it to be a valuable time together that results in a good outcome. It’s important that you take some time to plan ahead what you would like to achieve so it becomes a successful win/win for both of you.
Should You Have Joint Bank Accounts?
Alex believes nothing should be hidden in a marriage, so he recommends having a joint account for full transparency. However, if you find yourself fighting over how you’re going to spend your money because one of you is a spender and the other is a saver, then one option is to agree on a small allowance to be transferred to separate accounts after you’ve worked out all the family finances that will run through the joint account. Each spouse then has control over how to spend their allowance without having to consult each other. One might immediately spend it on whatever they like while the other might save it.
Insurance Safety Net
One of the major areas people overlook in their finances is insurance. If you’ve got a young family and one person gets sick or injured, the family can suddenly be thrown into crisis. It’s important that you prepare for worst-case scenarios so you’re covered if the unthinkable happens.
This article was inspired by the Marriage and Money seminar. To view the full Marriage and Money seminar, click on the link below. The topic of Communicating About Money begins at the 27-minute mark.