It’s a new year, and you may be ready for a new you: Someone who saves money to build for a more secure future.
Unfortunately, if you’re a wannabe saver who is married to a spendthrift, you face an uphill battle. Here’s how to bridge the divide and get your spouse on board when it comes to putting money aside for the future.
1. Stop nagging
Recognize that no amount of cajoling, rationalizing and pleading with your spouse is going to make him or her come around to your line of reasoning. In fact, feeling pressured to do something might make him or her dig in and do the opposite.
So lay off. If you’ve been lobbying heavily for your spouse to save more, take a break from the subject and don’t mention it for a month or two. Give your spouse space to let any lingering resentment from your heavy-handed tactics dissipate. Then, try to strike up the conversation again — only this time, in more positive terms.
2. Tune in to his or her personality
It helps if you understand why your spouse is so committed to spending. Perhaps it’s true that your spouse:
- Grew up in a low-income household and bristles at the idea of living frugally as an adult.
- Works hard for the family’s money and feels entitled to spend it.
- Had parents who modeled bad financial behavior.
- Has an underlying problem — such as an addiction or mental health concern — that is leading to overspending.
Getting to the root of your spouse’s reluctance to save is key to successfully tackling this issue. Address any underlying issue before you worry about saving money.
3. Focus on shared goals
Once you are ready to have a conversation, focus on your spouse’s personality. Will asking to schedule a money meeting be most effective? Or should you bring up the topic spontaneously when the moment seems right?
Don’t lead off by telling them to save more. Instead, talk about how you were thinking it would be nice to do “X” in the future. Once you’ve outlined some shared dreams, bring up the idea of reworking the budget to make those dreams possible.