4 Simple Questions to Ask Your Spouse About Your Finances


When we were first married (almost seven years ago!), I remember feeling like a fish out of water when it came to communicating about the important things. My tactics as a 23-year-old were not very good. Kelsey and I were both fighting for expectations that we had set for each other before we were married. The problem was we didn't share any of those expectations with each other, but we deployed our own ways of trying to get the other to do what we wanted them to do. I know that's really vague, so I'll give you an example.

Before we started budgeting, I paid all of the bills. Probably because they were all in my name, and Kelsey had never had to do that sort of thing before. The first few months after the wedding, I was left trying to figure out how our finances would mesh together.

We both had good paying jobs for newly graduated college students, but we became very apathetic toward our money. We simply spent it. We had a few thousand dollars in savings and didn't keep track of it at all. We were putting everything on our credit card (for the points) at the time and paying it off every month. What we weren't doing was keeping tabs on where all of our money was going. And that meant we weren't saving money, nor were we paying off debt.

This is perhaps the worst place to be in financially. Frivolously spending your money without being intentional. I don't want to get into a debate about which is better, paying off your debts or investing your money. Those are decisions you can make with a simple calculation if you really wanted to. What I do want to discuss is how do you start the conversation with your spouse.

This is probably the one thing I hear holding couples back from achieving their financial goals (whatever they may be). Getting your spouse on board and holding each other accountable. But, for today's post, let's talk about the first step of getting on the same team.

Take your spouse out to dinner, or find some time where you can engage in conversation without distractions and calmly explain the current situation. (Note: If you are bringing this up, you may need to do some homework before starting this conversation.)

4 Simple Questions to Ask Your Spouse About Your Finances

  1. How much do we make per month?
  2. How much do we spend per month?
  3. How much goes toward paying consumer debt (monthly payments with interest not including your mortgage)?
  4. What could you and your spouse do with that extra money every month if those payments were gone?

The first two questions aim at being honest about your current situation. Seeing this on screen or paper should stir up some healthy conversation. I wouldn't recommend accusing anyone of anything. If you both sit down with an open mind you should be able have an honest conversation about how to team up and improve your budget.

The last two questions start the brainstorming and dreaming engine. Talking about this stuff in our marriage sparked the emotion we needed to actually make changes in how we spent money. We rallied around the goal of getting out of debt before expanding our family, and we never looked back. Twenty-three months of sacrificing was all it took for us (it sounds like a long time, but it went faster than we predicted).

You and your spouse will have to decide what you want and do the work to get it. I'm not saying it will be easy, but at least I hope this gives you a starting point.


The four questions above are from Chapter 12 of my book It's Your Money: What Will You Do With It? The rest of the post are some additional thoughts surrounding the questions. Check out the details of the book and how to get it here.

P.S. Here's what Suzanne had to say after reading the book and discussing with her husband: "Reading Eric's message was just the spark we needed! It's a reminder to us that we don't need to keep slogging through month after month; instead, we can take charge of our money!" Read the rest of the comment on Amazon.