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How To Have Financial Conversations With Your Wife

Episode #691

Are you struggling to find common ground with your partner when it comes to managing your finances?

Turning financial discussions into fun and lighthearted “finance dates” rather than serious meetings can make a big difference. It is important to have open communication and flexibility when it comes to setting financial goals together.

By exploring your own relationship with money and implementing these practical steps, you can create a solid foundation for managing finances as a couple and achieve greater harmony in your financial decisions.

In this episode, Tim and Doug provide valuable insights and practical tips on how to navigate the challenges of financial discussions within a relationship.

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Doug Holt  00:01

Hey, guys. Welcome back to another episode of The Powerful Man Show. Tim, how you doing, brother?

Tim Matthews  00:49

I’m doing great. How are you?

Doug Holt  00:52

Good, good. I’m just realizing, jokingly, I set my name to master Doug Holt. It’s actually showing up on the screen. It’s only supposed to show up to you. Ahhh, boys will be boys.

Tim Matthews  01:03


Doug Holt  01:05

So, Tim, one of the things that came up within our private community was a gentleman is struggling in the area of finances. Now, when I say struggling area of finances, I’m really going to dumb this down. It’s really getting he and his wife on the same page. And so what I want to do is make this a very short episode where we’re talking about some basics of how to manage finances within a relationship.

Tim Matthews  01:29

Let’s do it.

Doug Holt  16:32

All right, so first and foremost, this was one of the biggest fights my wife and I would get into. And the fight would go something like this. I would look at the incomings or the bills that were coming in, the expenses, and I would see all the things that she was buying that were not on our budget. Right? And when we sat down, as most married couples do, we had a vision. We want to travel, we want to buy a new house. We want to do all of these things early on in our marriage.

And as we’re doing that, we come with a plan, right, that makes total sense. We’ll spend less money than we make, and we’ll set aside money to do these things that we’ve been dreaming about. Yet I would see the Amazon packages come into the door, and she’d have a new dress, she would have something for the house, whatever it may be. Maybe she was booking a massage, and it would frustrate the heck out of me.

So then we’d sit down for a finance meeting because, wait, that’s what the books say to do, sit down and talk about finances. The problem was, every time we sat down to talk about money, Tim, we’d end up fighting. We’d leave those meetings pissed off at each other, more disconnected than we were when we started it. Yet the idea was to meet so we could actually achieve our dreams, our goals, our hopes, and our desires, which are all great things, all great things in a marriage. Yet whenever we sat down to work the plan, we’d walk away pissed and angry at each other. Do you ever have that experience with Amelia?

Tim Matthews  02:57

Yeah, a couple of times early on. Luckily, we were able to nip it in the bud pretty quickly. But, yeah, I did.

Doug Holt  03:08

Super common. The number one thing that couples fight about statistically is money, and it could be a lot of reasons. So without going into the details of it being my wife’s fault or my fault or what have you, I’ve talked about this on other podcasts. But I want to talk about some of the basics here real quick on how you can turn that around. So we can go back and forth here. But I’ll start with number one. And this is what I see. I was doing wrong myself, how I changed it to make it something different. But also I see almost all the men we work with doing the same thing I was doing.

And that thing is, when we sat down to talk about money, I made it a board meeting, right? Here I am a business guy, used to running meetings, whether it be in a level ten meeting or whatever else you want to call it, or a board meeting. I sat down and we had a meeting. I had the papers ready, I had my documents ready. I sat down at the right appropriate time. Sometimes I’d bring a bottle of wine, whatever, trying to mix it up.

But I would talk to my wife like she was an employee. I would talk to her in a very serious tone about the business. Hey, babe. So, look, right now we have budgeted $10,000 towards X, and right now we’re spending $15,000, right? So that $15,000 really is $5,000 over our average expense ratio. We go through these things and I talk to it and I’d run through a PNL with her. My wife had no friggin interest in a PNL, right? She had no idea to look at our money that way.

To her, money was energy, and she spent it as she needed and et cetera, et cetera. She cared about the budget. She cared about the goals and vision, but she didn’t care to be talked down to or talked to like it was a business transaction. Number one mistake I made was not making it fun. I made it a business meeting. Not a fun thing to get down and talk to and making it something that was light. I made it rigid.

Tim Matthews  05:02

Yeah. The thing with Amelia and I is she’s very big. For her, it’s all about transparency, right? And the reason why I’m bringing up her point of view right now is because she’s not worked now for six years, seven years, we’ve been together ten years. And of those ten years, within the first six months, she’d left a job and she came to work in the other business that I had, and then that finished after a year or so. And then in the very early days, the powerful man, she would do a little bit, like in the background. That didn’t last very long.

So for the past seven years or so, she’s not worked. And this is a double edged sword, right? Because on one end, she likes it. She likes the flexibility and the freedom. On the other hand, in the beginning, she used to feel a bit out of control, right? Because that level of freedom that comes with her making her own money and her then doing what she wants with it was kind of taken away from her. And that created a lot of issues, because back then, that was a case of her basically having to ask me for money when she needed it.

 And as a result, what happened, I would naturally say back then, oh, what do you need it for? Which wasn’t a good thing to say, right, because it’s completely take. I didn’t mean it like I wanted to watch out on what she was spending money on it. I don’t know. I just did. I just said it, right? So that then created friction naturally. She felt like she was being babysat, kind of. And the solution that we came to is when we sat down and we figured out, how much money does she have going? We just kept finances, our personal finances very separate. Even though she didn’t work, she still had bills and all that kind of stuff.

We just came up with an amount that she would essentially get paid every month, and that number would just drop into her account, and she would just do what she wanted to do with it. Whatever. I don’t even look. And that little shift was much better because it gave her that sense of freedom. Luckily, fortunately for me, she’s typically quite good with money, so she wouldn’t really go over it and start pulling from the joint accounts. That only happened a couple of times, and that led to certain conversations.

But that shift from me saying, okay, her asking me for money, essentially, which would then frustrate me as well, to then just us agreeing on what amount she would need and just dropping that in her account every month and her just free to do what she wants with it, that made a big difference for her and I.

Doug Holt  07:53

Love that! So step one, guys, right? So this is for all of you guys, whether you’re financially savvy or not. One is, have these meetings with your partner, but make them finance dates, not finance meetings. You’re probably very good at having board meetings, employee meetings, staff meetings. Your wife doesn’t work for you. That’s not what this is. And if you’re like me and you treat her that way, she’s not going to like it.

You’re going to end up getting in fights and arguments and disconnect and not know why. Because everything you’re presenting, the pie graphs or whatever else it is, is so logical and you’re running it like you’d run your business, right? This is the logical steps and this is what we’re going to do. And nobody deviate from the plan. Don’t do that. Make it a finance date. Make it fun. Be the CFO, right? But in this time we’re going to talk about it being the Chief Fun Officer, not the Chief Financial Officer. So be the CFO in these dates.

So that is step one to getting things back on track. Because if it’s not fun, why would she want to go to it anyway? You’re not going to go to a meeting that’s not fun if it’s outside of your business. You got to make it fun, make it light. May or may not be your wife’s forte, finance, maybe yours, but maybe it’s not yours either. And maybe you’re learning by watching YouTube or videos or Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, which is what my wife and I went through. I think it’s great for the basics, things of that nature. But you got to make it fun. Got to make it fun. So that is step one.

Step two, in my opinion, we’re only going to go over three steps here today, but step two is coming up with dreams. Coming up with dreams and goals. Now, what I mean by that is budget has such a negative connotation, in my opinion. Now you need a budget, right? But let’s call it dreams and goals. What do we want to do with our lives? What do we want to love? I read Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Work Week, first came out. I don’t remember when it was, but a long time ago.

Tim Matthews  09:49

Long time ago.

Doug Holt  09:51

One of the things he talks about is having these many retirements. And I love that idea because I was already kind of doing it. And at the time I was working with people who are much older than me, and I was seeing them client physically, but they had all the money in the world and they couldn’t do certain things they wish they would have. So have some dreams. What is it that you and your wife want to do with the money you’re making? What is it you really want to do?

So often when your marriage isn’t working well, you end up thinking, okay, well, I’ll make her happy by buying a new ring, taking her on the vacation, buying the new lake house, whatever it may be. But what are the dreams that you actually want to do with your money? Maybe it’s philanthropic. Maybe you want to give back a certain percentage to charity, to your church or your synagogue. Or whatever else it may be for you.

Figure out what those dreams are, what those desires are first and then back them into goals, aka a budget. Goals just sounds better, right? It’s the same thing if you have goals. If your budget really is $1,500 a month for food, make that a goal. Right? It has a different connotation for a lot of people and you can have these conversations much more freely.

Tim Matthews  10:54

Yeah, I think I just want to emphasize that point about making it light and fun and the verbiage that, you know, Amelia said it to me many times before, using your work voice. Don’t use your work voice. I don’t work for you. Right? Women, pick up your energy. Pick up on how you say what you say more than what you say as well. So it’s really important.

And I would really encourage you guys, when going into this conversation around girls, to really come from a place of curiosity as well and just ask some real curious questions to understand why these things might be important to your partner, rather than just dismissing them or assuming they might be a bit stupid or necessary or whatever it may be. It’s really important, as Doug’s saying, to just get on the same page. You have to be on the same page. And if you enter into that conversation trying to fight for your corner, for a dream or a goal, then it’s going to be tough for you to get on the same page. Just really maintain some entertain some curiosity there.

Doug Holt  12:01

Yeah. So, so far we have step one, which is have regular meetings. Now we’re going to call these not meetings, regular financial dates. That’s step one. Make it fun. Regular fun financial dates. Step two is you’re going to dream and set goals. Dream and set goals. Now step three. The last step we’re going to leave you guys with today because you want to do this is step three. I’m going to say is be flexible. Right? And I know this is tough, especially around money. You may be a financial planner. You may be watching YouTube and buying all gold and silver because the world’s going to end or investing in the latest crypto. I don’t know what you’re doing, but be flexible.

You see, I’m hoping that you are changing as a man. I hope you change every day. In fact, I hope me that I become at least 1% better each and every day of my life. Doesn’t always happen, but that’s always my goal. Now if that is happening, then I am changing. And guess what? Your wife is too. She’s evolving. So be flexible.

And so if you say, hey, we’re going to set aside $100,000 for a lakeshore property, I don’t know, making it up as I go be, okay, that along the way that your wife may not want that lakeshore property anymore, her goals may change. Maybe something else is occurring for her. Maybe she wants to travel the world with you. Maybe she wants to get into a coaching program so she can better your marriage. I don’t know what it is, but things could change.

Now, what I know for us men, or at least for me, I’ll talk about myself, is I can say something like, here is my goal, put my head down and work towards it and then pick it up when we’re done with it. What I’ve realized along the way, and this goes with staff and anybody else, but especially feminine energy, is along that way of working towards a goal. I have to pick up my head and check in with the people I’m working on with to make sure that we’re still in agreement. We’re still in agreement. This is what we want to do.

So with my wife, I bring it up often during these financial dates, but other times of like, hey, we’re still looking at buying the house on the East Coast and that’s still something under your radar. And I’ll get it. Sometimes it’s more important, sometimes it’s less. But as long as that’s still on the radar, great. We’re still working towards it. Absolutely great. Let’s move forward.

But if I don’t pick up my head and I’m working towards this goal, what I found out many times is by the time I get to the end of the goal or towards the end, I find out it’s changed for my wife. And by that time I’m so rigid because I’ve been working so hard on it that I get pissed off rather than just being flexible and realizing, hey, I’m changing and my wife’s changing, so I’m going to be flexible and open to changes in the plan.

Tim Matthews  14:34

Key. It’s a key, right? There’s a nice balance between providing the structure and direction and being decisive whilst also being open to possibilities as well, right? Especially around finances. I’m going to give a bonus fourth point here as well, because I think some of the underpinning to all this stuff is for you to explore your own relationship with money. Because if you have certain thoughts and beliefs and energies around it and you see money in a particular way now, you don’t have to get your wife to do this, but I just think you as the guy, as the Leader.

If you have certain thoughts and energies around money that aren’t necessarily that healthy, then you’re going to try and do these three steps, and you’re going to find them tough. You’re going to be relying on willpower, right? Because you’re going to get immensely triggered, like the idea of being flexible when things change. If you hold on to money, for example, and if you view money as something that’s scarce or hard to come by or whatever it may be, right?

You confuse your net worth with your self-worth. There’s all sorts of stuff that go into this. Then it’s going to make these three steps increasingly hard. If I were you. And this resonates, these three steps resonate, I would also just explore your own relationship with money as well. And maybe it’s healthy and maybe just struggling with understanding how to have the conversation with your wife. No problem. Great. Good for you. Or maybe it needs a little bit of work. It’s going to help you to have this conversation with your wife, but I’d really just encourage you to just explore that.

Doug Holt  16:06

Absolutely, great point! And gentlemen, there’s a lot of programs out there. We have a couple of Master classes that we do for the men that are in our one year Mastermind, as well as producing more that are coming out. But we want to give you guys some of the basics, because money can be such a tricky subject to navigate within a relationship. So take these four steps. Start there. Think of this as the foundation of building your house. Yes, there’s a lot more you can be done here, and there’s a lot of different ways of doing it. But these four things are basic foundational items that can provide a stability to any relationship when talking about finance or, frankly, any other subject. So, gentlemen, as we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action. We’ll see you next time.