Fill your calendar with one of these financial meetings with spouse for each month of the year. See your financial intimacy (and money) grow!
What is the best way for married couples to handle finances? With a lot of communication, understanding, and basically being “in it” together.
All of these are helped by having regular financial meetings with your spouse.
But what exactly are you supposed to go over in these financial meetings? I mean, what do they look like?
Glad you asked. I’m got specific topics that are going to help you and your spouse manage your money to its fullest.
First up, let’s talk about what consistent financial meetings are going to do for your couplehood, and for your money.
Why Consistent Financial Meetings with Your Spouse Helps Your Finances
How do I have a financial meeting with my husband?
I’m challenging you to go through the topic list below, and choose one financial meeting idea as the theme of your own money meeting over the next 12 months.
Well, doing these consistent meetings will help you both:
- Get on same page with spouse about money (couple's budgeting apps help with this, too)
- Understand spouse’s views on money better
- Get a better couple’s money system set up
- Address complaints/problems
- Clear out the money cobwebs in your closet
- Rebalance the power over this limited resource
I don’t know about you, but all that sounds like something I want.
Best Topics for Financial Meetings with Your Spouse
At the start of each meeting, you’ll want to give the same four updates:
- Net Worth Update: this is an overall snapshot of where you guys are at and are headed, financially. I use the free Personal Capital dashboard – set up all of your accounts once, and you can easily sign in once a month for an update.
- Debt Update: you’ll want to report on how much debt you were in last month, how much is left this month, and possibly break these down by each debt.
- Savings Update: you’ll want to report on your overall savings number, where it was last month, how much it grew (or didn’t) over the last month, and report progress on any specific savings goals.
- Goals Update: How are your financial goals for married couples going? Should you set any new ones (or even your first)?
Then, choose one of the financial meeting with spouse topics from below to theme the rest of your meeting.
Topic #1: State of Your Financial Union
You know how the President gives his State of the Union address each February?
Well, I’m encouraging you to do a State of Your Financial Union meeting once a year, too.
Honestly, I think this is one of the most important things in financial planning for married couples to do – get an annual account of how everything is going. Catch each other up on where you are financially. Make some pivoting plans based on the actual numbers.
I’ve created some free printables to guide you through the entire financial meeting.
Here’s what you’ll do:
- Pre-Money-Date Questionnaire: You’ll each fill out a questionnaire, testing how aware you are of your financial state, before the actual date night.
- Money Values List: You’ll work on figuring out which money values are important to each of you, and then which are your top three as a couple.
- Maverick and Goose Money Roles: You’ll work on handing out who is going to take the lead (Maverick) and who will take the secondary lead (Goose) for a number of money roles.
- One Page Money Digits: You’ll then either fill out your one-page sheet together (gathering all your financial digits to see where you’re at), OR, one of you will do this ahead of time and reveal them to your partner during this financial meeting.
Topic #2: Couple’s Money Goals
Where do you see your relationship in the next six months, one year, five years…and what are the couple money goals you need to work on together to get there?
You’ll want to:
- Daydream as a couple, without edits or limits
- Write down each of your priorities, and then come up with your priorities as a couple
- Narrow down 3-5 couple’s money goals that are important to achieve in order to accomplish those priorities
- Pick just 1, maybe 2 couple’s money goal to go after
- Set a deadline for when you’d like to meet this goal
Hint: you might want to check out these 5 essential types of financial goals, 3 free financial goals worksheets for couples, 11 fun saving money games for adults, and 47 cool things to save up for, how to prioritize savings goals.
Topic #3: Money Systems Audit
What does your current couple’s money system look like? And where can you tweak it to make it better?
I want the two of you to map out your couple’s money system.
Take a blank piece of paper, and draw boxes with arrows to show which accounts you have, who has access to those accounts, and which accounts are connected to each other.
Does your drawing look like a football play gone wrong?
Here are ways to make your system better:
- Access: Make sure everyone has access to everything (passwords, shared accounts, etc.). Create a “favorites” folder with each sign-in page for each of your accounts, so that you can easily access them (this is what I do!).
- Consolidate Accounts: Have too many savings accounts? Never shut down that checking account when you moved banks? Now’s the time to scrap accounts you no longer want to make things simpler.
- Set Up Automatic Deposits: Split automatic deposits into couple’s savings goal accounts, set up automatic deposits into the right savings/checking accounts, etc. Look for efficiencies.
Topic #4: How to Handle Money and Kids
How are you handling money with your kids?
I have an entire website on how to teach kids about money that you can go through.
But for now, here’s what I want you guys to work on:
- Set Up or Tweak Your Kid Money System: Do you guys have an allowance system? A chore commission system? If so, is there anything that needs to change about it?
- Set Up a Family Savings Goal: Is it time to set up a family savings goal, not only to support your couple’s money goal, but also to teach your child how to set and work on savings goals?
- Set Up or Tweak Money Responsibilities and Boundaries: What are your current money responsibilities and boundaries you’ve given your kids, and do these need to be adjusted?
Resources to help: should kids get paid to do chores – pros and cons, how to set up a chore system for families, allowance for kids (how much allowance by age), and best chore and allowance apps for kids.
Topic #5: Money Skeletons
Time to get any money skeletons out of the closet, out into the open, and talked about.
Money Skeletons could be dealing with money imbalances in your relationship. Or talking about something that is causing financial friction in your relationship. Or confessing financial dishonest in your marriage that you feel bad about.
Hint: this one can be a very triggering topic for spouses to cover. Tread carefully! Here are some financial discussion rules of engagement from our own household.
Topic #6: Financial Documents Filing System
Are your financial documents in order…or do you not know what a financial document filing system is?
No worries. Now’s the time to tackle this issue.
Figure out what kind of system you want, then figure out who is going to do what.
Once you decide on your system, action steps could be:
- Gather all financial documents in one place
- Shred/get rid of financial documents you no longer need
- Set up the filing system
- File the remaining documents
Topic #7: Set Up Your Home Binder
Do you have a home binder? Whether you’re living in an apartment, or you’ve bought a house – you’ll find this exercise really, really useful.
Here are some of the documents we keep in our home binder:
- House quotes for repairs/renovations
- Receipts for house work we’ve had done
- Measurements/product IDs for things we have to replace frequently, like the air conditioning and refrigeration water filters
Topic #8: Dream Travel/Vacation Planning
What a fun topic – spending one financial meeting with your partner daydreaming and planning your next vacation.
- Come to the meeting with each of your ideas for where you want to go, or what you want to do
- Wanderlust together with your laptop or some travel books during the meeting
- Narrow down your dream list to 2-3 ideas, and sit on them for a little bit before deciding, OR
- Come out of this meeting already having narrowed down to the one place you want to go (that’s a major win!)
You’ll want to leave plenty of time between when you do the daydreaming and planning, and when you actually want to go on the trip. That way, you can save up enough money, book everything, etc.
Topic #9: Assets Rundown
Time to calculate your assets, and see where you guys are at!
I personally use the free Personal Capital dashboard to keep me up to date on our assets. It’s totally awesome to just sign-in and see everything in one place.
Psst: check out why might it be important to track your net worth?
You can also track your net worth on paper – here’s my article on how to keep track of money on paper.
You’ll also want to check out my article, screw your financial statements: what are the numbers actually telling you?
Topic #10: Bills Audit
Do you have a bill-paying system that’s working?
Identify what’s working/not working with your household bill payment, and write down action steps for each of you to take to make it better.
And how about auditing those bills, meaning, seeing how much each has increased over the last 12 months and negotiating those costs down?
Here are resources to help the two of you set up an efficient bill paying system plus pay less each month on your bills:
- Set Up a Bill-Paying Station
- Stop Automatic Bill Creep in its Tracks: Sounds dramatic, but hear me out. Many of us now pay our bills automatically…and some of us don’t check in each month. When I’ve sat down to look at what I was paying by automatic bill pay six months ago vs. now, I’ve often found price hikes. You might, too! Review what you were paying for services like your internet/cable, auto insurance, etc. six months to a year ago vs. what you’re paying now. If it’s higher, call and negotiate.
- 7 free monthly bill payment checklist pdfs
Topic #11: Set up or Tweak your Couple’s Money System Foundation
Did you decide to combine finances, but never got around to finishing the task? Or, did you decide to keep things separate, but now you’re wanting to combine your finances?
Whatever stage of the couple’s money system you’re at, there’s likely tweaks and changes that need to be made since setting it up.
Also a great time to go over spending thresholds, or how much each of you can spend before consulting with the other. And you can establish a mad money fund for each other, or tweak the one you have (the money you each get to spend, weekly or monthly, on yourself).
Topic #12: Deep Dive into Money Values
You could dedicate an entire financial meeting to deep dive into each other’s money values, and then create couple money values, and family money values.
Answer questions like:
- What are my personal money values?
- Where do my money values differ from my spouse’s?
- What were my childhood money values, and how has that changed over the years?
- What do I want our family money values to be – what we pass onto our children?
- Are there any money values I have that are no longer serving me, or are not serving our couplehood/family?
Topic #13: Beneficiaries’ Updates
Updating the beneficiaries on all of your financial accounts is something that is super important…but often neglected.
If you guys have never properly figured out who you want to leave your accounts and money to, then this is the time to dive in.
OR, if you have done this, but you’ve had life changes, then have those discussions and make those changes.
For example, after we had our own baby, our beneficiaries changed dramatically. I didn’t realize this until our “baby” was almost 2 years old!
Bonus Topic: Financial Fire Drill
Have you ever stress-tested your finances to spotlight the weaknesses and areas to work on?
Stress tests can be:
- Coming up with a budget with just one of your incomes (in the event that one of you loses their job)
- Seeing how long your current emergency financial fund would last you guys, if you lost all income
- Calculating what percentage of your income goes to needs, what percentage goes to wants, and what percentages goes to saving and debt
Also, check out this article on preparing for unexpected financial problems.
How to Set Up Your Financial Meeting (aka, the Money Date)
I don’t know about you, but between our jobs, raising our son, running a household, exercising, and doing all kinds of other things…there’s not much time left for my husband and I to truly connect.
That’s why even though spouse money meetings are mostly about talking, updating each other, outlining action steps to take, checking in with how each of you are feeling, they’re also about sharing a date night together.
Here’s how you can set up your financial meeting to turn it away from just logistics, and into something the both of you actually look forward to.
Step #1: Make it a Munch’n’Meet
Who doesn’t love a meeting with food? Take turns coming up with food for the night, and be sure to add something fun to the mix.
Like fondue, where you both get to engage with the cooking. Or a fun ice-cream bar after regular dinner, where you build sundaes while going over your stats.
Step #2: Choose an Activity
Put “date” into your money date night by tacking on an activity you’ll do together.
This could be:
- Watching a Money-Themed Movie: The Money Pit, Indecent Proposal, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Wall Street, The Big Short, Margin Call, etc.
- Going through a Date Box: Sign up for a date night subscription box, and have fun with that after your money meeting.
- Setting up an At Home Date Night: I have 37 awesome at home date nights for married couples.
I hope I’ve uncovered some seriously helpful topics for financial meetings with spouse that you can use over the coming months and years. Use these to either tweak, overhaul, or to just open the money discussion with your spouse. All three can be helpful when managing money in your marriage!
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