A significant reason many people don’t achieve Financial Autonomy is because they get pigeonholed into a certain life. They define themselves in certain ways, and often this flows from the role they’ve developed in their marriage or significant relationship. Some people worry about how their partner will react if they want to choose a fork in the road and pursue significant change.
Yet I’ve found that when couples unite on a Financial Autonomy goal, it can really strengthen their relationship – they have a shared goal, something they can work on and achieve together.
So today I wanted to offer some suggestions as to how you might bring your significant other on board the Financial Autonomy train.
So you have a Financial Autonomy dream, but you’re hesitant to raise it with your partner. Perhaps they’ll think it’s stupid, or just want to shut down the idea altogether. Maybe you’re worried that they won’t understand why you’re dissatisfied with the way things are now.
We know that happiness comes from making progress on goals. It stands to reason then that goals set and worked on as a couple provide the opportunity for happiness as a couple. Psychologist Dr Barton Goldsmith goes so far as to say “goals are a relationship necessity”.
The first thing to recognise then is that whilst you might have some apprehension, there are some great potential gains to be enjoyed through sharing your Financial Autonomy dreams.
You might remember the discussion I had with Tim back in episode 55, where he made the jump from bank manager to primary school teacher. There’s no way Tim could have made the move without the involvement and support of his wife Maryanne, and without doubt that required Tim to share his thoughts, dreams and aspirations.
The outcome of having done so however is that he’s now in a career he loves, and Maryanne has gone on to make a career change herself, becoming a police officer.
How then to start the conversation? I found some great advice from Kathy Caprino, a career advisor for women.
She advised that you need to “find brave” – commit fiercely to being open, honest and compassionate. To saying the hard stuff, without allowing yourself to turn off or shut down, or become emotionally reactive.
I like that find brave idea, because deep down that really is what’s needed – put it out there. Bottling up your thoughts, perhaps your discontentment, is certainly not the path to happiness.
For me, there are two scenario’s that work for these type of conversations – in the car on a long drive, or out on a walk. You’re away from the distractions of televisions and kids wanting your attention. You can have unhurried and uninterrupted conversations.
Perhaps in this conversation you can paint a picture of what success looks like. For example if your goal is to cut back to 3 days per week paid employment, you can talk about the extra family time that will allow, or the reduction in stress levels in the household.
If your partner does have concerns, acknowledge them, and then try and find solutions together. There may be value in getting some financial modelling done so you can really see how things will look in a money sense if you pursue this goal.
I met a great couple recently who were about to have their first child. They wanted to know if it would be possible for the husband to quit his current job and become a tennis coach. He didn’t need it to be straight away, but wanted it to happen somewhere in the next 10 years.
We were able to perform the financial modelling for them, and provide a couple of ways he could achieve the choice that he sought. This was a great way for the two of them to really understand what was possible, and also what the costs were – in this case working longer before retirement.
I’ve had people tell me that getting their partner to listen to a Financial Autonomy podcast episode whilst they’re in the car has been really helpful in starting the conversation, which of course I’m super pleased about.
Once you and your partner have found common ground on the choices in life that you want, write those goals down and put them somewhere where you can both see them.
And finally, celebrate the wins. Identify some milestones on your journey to Financial Autonomy, and as you cross them off, pat one another on the back and acknowledge the shared journey that you’re both on.
We that’s it for this week, I hope you got some value out of my thoughts.
Resources & Links
- Podcast Version
- Goals Are a Relationship Necessity. Here Are 10 Tools to Help.
- How To Plan Successfully With Your Spouse To Achieve Your Biggest Career Dreams
- Tim’s big jump – from bank manager to primary school teacher
- Book an Appointment