Finances stress relationships. This means we avoid discussing finances, and we tend to avoid the unpleasant discussion. Separate plans lead to even worse relationship problems, when you realise you’ve been working towards different goals.
Experts tell us a happy marriage is all about communication, and I’d have to agree. For your finances, and your life goals, communication with your life partner is key. Before communication can be effective you must have goals clear in your mind, along with what sacrifices you’re willing to make (and expect your partner to make).
Communication isn’t just key. It’s everything
If you were treating yourselves to a night at the movies, you wouldn’t buy your own ticket and hope your partner had bought tickets to the same film. You’d make sure you were both seeing the same movie and someone had bought both tickets. Picking the right financial strategy is vastly more important than picking a movie, so you need communication to be perfect. This means laying good foundations, being open about tension, and keeping your goals aligned.
What’s your money culture?
You attitude to your, and your family’s finances grows out of your culture, family religion, and cohort. If your partner has a different background, communication is even more crucial. If you can listen to each other’s position, and analyse your options calmly and openly, you will always find common ground, even if your money cultures are a million miles apart.
Once you’re clear about each other’s’ goals and attitudes to finance, the next step is to simplify. You should be able to describe your joint financial plan in three sentences. Once you’ve simplified the goals, simplify the steps: remove all the clutter until you have a clear sense of your income and your outgoings, and how these change over time. Everything else is a distraction. Don’t fiddle with the distractions – Bill Butler achieves most of this in one hit.
Now you can discuss your goals and hopes in the context of your future balance sheet, and play around with small changes in income or spending. This makes setting goals and sticking to the required changes to achieve them literally automatic. Set up your payment schedule, and your plan will execute itself.
Executing the plan
The aim is to be confident that you have formulated a joint plan, agreed up front, and “programmed” your spending to happen automatically in accordance with your agreed goals.
Now neither of you, or your partner, will waste time arguing about whether that big purchase is in budget, whether you have overspent this week, or how your finances are tracking – and with Bill Butler all of that is tracked for you. Freed of clutter, your financial relationship can now focus on planning and investment decisions.
Bill Butler is a great solution for providing independent clear thinking at both planning and execution phases and just takes the personalities and differences out of the decision making processes, keeping it at the level of facts and data. Maybe your relationship could do with a Financial “arbritator” … I mean Butler.