This is part of a sponsored campaign with Wells Fargo. All opinions are my own.
Recently, I had such a wonderful time sitting on BMWK’s Financial Intimacy panel sponsored by Wells Fargo. Founders of BMWK, Ronnie and Lamar Tyler, strategically positioned this discussion as the kick-off event to their 3rd annual BMWK Marriage Cruise—to make it clear that financial connection, closeness, and transparency is a cornerstone of happy marriages.
Step 1. Create shared financial goals.
The exciting thing about having a life partner is that you get to co-create aspirations and dreams: own a home, slay debt, get a PhD, start a business, retire by 40, have a huge family, vacation in the Caribbean four times a year.
What’s even more exciting than having shared dreams is creating an action plan and budget to reach them because every dream has a price tag. When you sit down to speak to your spouse about your individual goals and your common goals, please use the following guidelines to organize your conversation:
- Think about your short-term goals which you want to reach within one year.
- Think about mid-term goals which will take between two-five years to achieve.
- Think about long-term goals which usually take at least five years to realize.
Step 2. Execute a plan that will move goals from the start to finish line.
Creating shared financial goals is only the first step of engendering financial intimacy in your marriage. Once you’ve identified what you’re pursuing, the next step is to discuss the “how” and “when”:
- Create a timetable for each goal. In my experience, I work backwards: I set a realistic date for achieving any of my goals. After the date is set, I’m able to create milestones along the way. For example, if I have a short-term goal of saving $12,000 twelve months from now, I’ll be able to figure out that I would need $1,000 every month or $250 every week until I fill my money pot.
- Review your progress consistently to determine if you need to adjust your timeline. Wells Fargo created this simple yet effective financial worksheet to keep you organized and focused.
Step 3. Take the stigma out of money talks.
One of the reasons that couples are not on the same page when it comes to their money (i.e committing financial infidelity) is because there are a lot of hidden messages, shrouded intentions, and ambivalence about financial disclosure. When you’re single, this financial baggage only affects you. But when you’re married and with children, your inability to work through past financial money trauma and mixed messages will directly impact your family’s ability to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals. Try any of these easy ways to help take the edge off money conversations:
- Share one article from a site like The Frugal Feminista and Black and Married with Kids about a money topic of interest. Make sure the article is short, engaging, and easy to understand. It will be easy for you to read, easy for you to share, and easy for you to take action.
- Give each other financial compliments. No matter how dysfunction you think you are when it comes to money, you do something, even if it’s a small thing, well. Give props for organizing the mail, packing lunch for work, setting up bills payment, calling a creditor, saving at the grocery store, finding great online resources like Wells Fargo’s Hands On Banking tool and Budget Watch or brainstorming an additional stream of income.
- Create a “money talk” calendar: Similar to a social calendar, a “money talk” calendar schedules dates and times for discussing your family’s financial goals. Bring your best to these talks: heels, cologne, and desire. Make it sexy. Consider a “budgets in bed” breakfast or a “money, wine, and cheese” dinner to bring some zest to the topic.
Step 4. Ask an expert.
It’s an asset to be open and honest about what you know and need to know when it comes to money; not only to yourself, but also to your spouse. If you and your partner realize that you need more guidance, consider enlisting the expertise of a financial advisor; using financial advisors like the ones at Wells Fargo can help bring clarity to competing financial goals and provide free or low-cost resources for you to incorporate into your family’s money management arsenal.
You can have financial intimacy in your marriage. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. But just like anything else that is worthwhile you have to put in the work. And the “work” begins with opening your heart and bank statements to see how you and your spouse can grow together in all ways, spiritually, emotionally, and financially, through clear communication, goal-setting, and follow-through.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Wells Fargo. BMWK has collaborated with them on a Couples Financial Empowerment Series that started with the Financial Intimacy Panel in Fort Lauderdale, FL and will continue with two awesome webinars later this year. All opinions are my own.