Money talks need to be a part of scheduling weekly meetings—not just for money but also for catching up with one another.
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Bills, social planning, long-term goals, and working on your relationship are just some of the issues you'll discuss. Just sitting down once a week to talk about what happened and bringing the checkbook up to date can be a good management tool, a time to talk about long-term plans such as purchasing a house or paying off college debt.
Use the time not only to take stock of your finances but also of your relationship in general, too. Ask each other what is going well and what needs improvement. If you do it with the right attitude, this weekly meeting will be something that you look forward to, not an ordeal that you dread. As you talk about positive solutions and setting out long-term goals, many financial and other problems will be solved as they arise, and before they become difficult.
If you endeavor to share the time and energy in a mutually beneficial way, it can become a social occasion. Make it a pleasant occasion go out to dinner together, wait until the children are asleep, or have a late breakfast on a Saturday morning, and use the following guidelines to help you.
Guidelines for Money Resolutions
1. Share your different attitudes about money. Talk about how your families dealt with money, and what you liked and didn't like about their style. Share your observations about how various friends handle money, and share what you think. Then make the discussion more personal by talking about how you feel about spending, saving, and your future dreams.
2. Discuss long-term joint financial goals (i.e. a new home, baby, etc.). The previous step should lead you naturally into a further discussion of your long-term goals, and into a discussion of specific steps you need to follow to reach them. Steps should include saving and/or raising money to realize your goals, and a plan for how long you think it will take.
3. Put your plan to work. Once you have the steps outlined, break the first couple steps down into small increments and choose steps for which each of you will take the responsibility in the coming week.
4. Establish separate checking accounts or personal spending budgets. As part of your plans, you may want to open separate checking accounts, savings accounts for building your dreams, and agree on budgets for personal spending from your available funds.
5. Discuss how the plan is going on a weekly basis. Keep this discussion going every week, and keep each other informed about how your plans are going. This is a good time to discuss the bills that need to be paid, changes in income or expenses, and what you need to do to accommodate the changes.
6. Keep talking. No matter how well or poorly your finances are going at any given time, keep your financial discussions going. The more frequently you discuss your finances, the less difficult the discussions will be, and the more likely that you'll make good financial choices.
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