If you’re reading this, that means something has already clicked for you.
Maybe it was a debt collector calling, a growing frustration over your lack of money, or even just fear of the future.
It doesn’t matter what was the final straw for you. What matters is that you’re finally ready to do something about it.
And that’s a great place to be. That’s one of the first steps we teach in the Winning To Wealth Course.
But then there’s your spouse. To you it makes perfect sense to get on a budget, pay off debt, and begin to build wealth, but, for whatever reason, they just haven’t bought in.
I’ve been there.
Back when Taylor and I got married in 2014, I was super pumped about getting on the budget and paying off debt.
We came back from our honeymoon, and I started making calls to cancel extra services, selling stuff on Craigslist, and creating our debt snowball.
The problem was that although she knew we needed to change, she hadn’t fully bought in yet and that led to money fights we had never experienced early in our marriage.
After pretty close to a month of arguing about her going to get her nails done all the time, I realized the problem wasn’t her. It was me.
I had tried to change 25 years of her habits in a single month without ever even asking her for her input.
This revelation led me to completely change my approach and soon after we were united financially and ultimately we paid off $61,000 in only 16 months.
So how was I able to get my wife on board after she was so resistant early on?
Of course everyone has a different situation with different backgrounds and upbringings so there is no one size fits all answer.
However, here are a few ideas that can definitely get you moving in the right direction.
Talk About Goals…Not Budgeting
Remember when you were dating and you had those late-night phone conversations where you would plan out this amazing future together.
You know what I’m talking about.
Questions like “How many kids do you want?” or “What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?”
The ones where you focused on the future and you did it together.
You need to get back to that.
Take your spouse out on a date that allows for conversation and ask a simple question:
“What does your dream life look like?”
Then listen without interrupting, ask them follow-up questions, and be prepared to be questioned as well.
Be careful to avoid turning this into an interrogation. Your whole goal is to gain a deeper understanding of where you both want to end up not to make them feel like they’re on trial.
Lead By Example
Sometimes the best thing you can do is just dive right in yourself.
Now I’m not encouraging you to make drastic changes behind your spouses back.
However, you can do things like set up a budget and show it to them.
At the end of the month, you can come back to the budget and say “Hey we came in $75 bucks under our food spending this month. I would like to put this towards our credit card so we can become debt free sooner.”
If you’ve already had your Dream Session, you can even say something like ” I want to put this extra money towards the car payment so that we can be one step closer to that trip to Italy you’ve been wanting to take.”
More often than not, once they see your commitment and dedication, they will start to become more involved.
Now it probably won’t happen overnight, but give it time and stay consistent with just showing them the positives every month and inviting them to be a part.
Show The Math
I already alluded to this in the last section, but showing the progress you’re making and getting their thoughts is a great way to get your spouse on board with your financial plan.
There are a few different ways you can approach this step.
Setting aside the time to create a debt snowball spreadsheet that shows estimated payoff dates and how a small surplus applied to debt can knock a single month off your estimated debt-free date can go a long way.
Enter your email address below and I’ll send you the one we used:
Also, sitting down and talking through what you could do if you didn’t have your larger debts is another great option.
I know showing Taylor that the $439 we were spending on my car payment every month totaled $5,268 per year was huge. Why? Because we were literally driving her dream vacations around every single year.
Get Their Input Consistently
One of the worst things you can do when trying to get your spouse on board with your financial plan is to create everything and only talk to them when you’re nagging about what they didn’t do.
Trust me when I say that will never work and will only make them resent you.
I’ve coached couples who were here and I even did that myself.
When you create the budget and debt snowball plan, give it to them.
Then let them know they have 24-48 hours to look at it and give you feedback on it before you finalize it.
Don’t be surprised if they give you something back that you disagree with at first.
You’re gonna have to be at least a little flexible and open to compromise in the beginning. But think about this:
Would you rather have a spouse that’s 60% on board with your plan initially or continue beating your head against the wall in frustration at their mistakes every month for the rest of your life?
Remember: it’s not just YOUR plan. Believing that would be a mistake. It’s a joint plan for the two of you.
There may be parts of what you’re trying to do that just don’t work for them and vice versa.
That’s okay. Take the small wins early on.
The beautiful part about it is that a spouse who participates a little bit and sees the progress will usually fully commit later down the road. That brings me to my next point.
This is probably the most difficult part when you’re completely sold on a plan to change your finances and move forward. But it’s also the most important part.
It was hard seeing how cutting certain things that Taylor wanted out of our budget would knock a month or two off our plan to eliminate debt, but what was more important was creating a plan that we both could agree to that would still move the needle forward.
So instead of being frustrated that Taylor wanted to still get her nails done almost every week, I chose to be patient without nagging her about it.
Eventually she saw that she could space them out a little further and came to me with the idea as we set our budget one night. Patience my friends. Patience.
Encourage Good Behaviour
You have to become the biggest cheerleader in your household when your spouse is working towards getting on board.
Everything they do gets a standing ovation.
From choosing to not buy lunch to skipping out on one haircut and much more.
Anything that moves the needle forward gets praised and gets reinforced by showing how that great decision helped.
For example, show the spouse that’s a shopaholic how snowballing the cost of those shoes they didn’t buy helped the family get closer to debt freedom. And make it a big deal.
At least until they tell you to knock it off!
Get Professional Guidance
If you’re really struggling with getting your spouse on board with your family financial plan after trying these steps, your best option is to talk to a professional.
You can interview and research a marriage counselor if the communication has broken down or is nonexistent.
Another option is to take a course together. We obviously recommend our Winning To Wealth course where you’ll learn basic money habits as well as how to communicate together about money.
If you just can’t agree on a budget or on just how much you should be paying off, I’d love to help you sort through it. As a Master Financial Coach, I’ve met with hundreds of couples that are looking to move forward financially.
If you would like to schedule a free consultation to talk more about your situation, you can schedule a session with me by clicking here.
Have any tips for getting your spouse on board with your financial plan? Be sure to share them in the comments below.