Couples from older generations might look askance at the idea of a money management course, since they probably managed money perfectly well without instruction. Younger couples often find that managing money in the 21st century requires more knowledge and planning to avoid pitfalls and achieve their goals. Money management courses can help couples improve their communication about money and take control of their finances through an approach that leaves nothing to chance.
Just by starting a money management course you're making the statement that you are serious about your finances and understand the need for detailed, practical information to build and protect your financial health. Formal courses direct participants to answer questions, provide factual information about their finances and examine goals realistically. In-person courses have the added benefit of instructor feedback and activities, such as role-playing and completion of worksheets, and the chance to share experiences with couples in similar situations.
Values, Practices and Goals
Participation in money management courses motivates couples to talk about money, values, goals and their approaches to saving and spending. Couples get it all out in the open so there are no surprises. This proactive approach prepares couples to work at combining different financial values and styles by recognizing the differences and identifying a few essentials to which each partner can agree. For instance, a couple might decide that purchases larger than $500 require agreement by both partners. Money management courses encourage couples to evaluate their financial health, set short and long-term goals and prepare a time line for the achievement of goals. This advance work prevents future disagreements and provides direction for the resolution of conflicts .
Strong Financial Foundation
Decisions made early in a couple’s union determine whether they are able to reach the goals they set. A couple planning to buy a home in five years may need to adjust their time line if their credit is less than stellar and there are no savings. Money management courses emphasize the importance of laying a strong financial foundation if dreams are to become accomplished goals. Couples learn what it takes to move beyond the desire to be homeowners, to understanding exactly what they have to do and how much they need to save to buy that home in five years. Couples also learn how each decision made can affect their financial foundation and either support or prevent the achievement of goal.
Informed Decision Making
Money management courses prepare couples for decisions about credit, loans, insurance, retirement and investments. The information learned in a money management course equips you to ask the right questions and understand the consequences of your decisions. Participation in a money management course gives couples the confidence to make appropriate financial decisions and to know when to ask for professional help, such as from a financial adviser or attorney, when needed.
Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.