Talk about Money and Grow Your Love, Too (Printable PDF)
Tips for making and keeping financial resolutions—together!
Who says resolutions are just for New Year’s? Show your love by setting financial resolutions together this Valentine’s Day and allow your relationship to grow.
Research finds that people who make resolutions are up to ten times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t explicitly make a resolution to change. To maximize your chances of success, pick ONE goal right now, not a laundry list of changes. Maybe you want to spend less, give to charity, or start saving for retirement.
But just making the resolutions usually isn’t enough: Go public with your commitment, and get others to join you on your journey. Telling others is a great commitment strategy to keep you on track. Research shows taking a financial management course together as a couple can help improve your relationship.[i] Finding an accountability partner can help you attain your own.
Here are some tips:
- Write down your money goals: List them, and be specific. What do you want to accomplish, and by what date? What are the steps that you’re going to take to achieve these goals? Which goal is the most important? As you’re making the list, add a few goals that you know you can easily accomplish, so you’ll feel like you’re making progress immediately. By writing things down, being specific and setting up a plan to accomplish the goals, you take a wishy-washy dream and turn it into a step-by-step plan.
- Start small. Last year, a friend told me his goal was to save 30% of his salary every month. I suggested trying to save 15% of his salary this month, and trying to increase it by a few percentage points each month. Smaller, incremental gains are easier to achieve than big, seemingly impossible goals that can always be put off until “later.” Start with a small goal you and your partner can achieve together.
- Think big.Most of us focus our financial goals on things for ourselves – trying to save for retirement or perhaps buy a big-ticket item. Instead, consider adding a financial goal that’s bigger than you: Giving your time, talent or treasure to a specific charity. Serving your community. Anything that will take you out of yourself for a little while. Think about your purpose, values, and goals as a couple and start thinking big about whom you—as a team—could positively impact with your many gifts.
- Set a monthly money date. Having that first conversation about finances is great. Build on the momentum by setting a monthly date to revisit your values and goals. Use the Equal from the Start workbook as a guide for your conversations. Make this year one of financial and emotional thriving!
[i] Zimmerman, K. J., & Roberts, C. W. (2012). The influence of a financial management course on couples’ relationship quality. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 23(2), 46–54.