How Do I Get Her On Board?

Danny wants to know how to get his spouse on board with Dave's Baby Steps. She won't even read the book to understand where he wants to go with their finances.

QUESTION: Danny in Chicago wants to know how to get his spouse on board with Dave’s Baby Steps. She won’t even read the book to understand where he wants to go with their finances. Dave explains that Danny needs to talk to her about the why of getting out of debt.

ANSWER: I think sometimes what happens is you’ve discovered a new set of information. You, in the last six months, have a different way of looking at money than you ever have before in your life. That’s exciting to you that you think if you do some of these things, you could actually start winning instead of merely just existing. You’re trying to get her to see that same vision, but she thinks everything is okay and doesn’t want to bother with any of this. I think what can happen is, if you’re not careful, you get excited about where we can be and start going there, and you start working on what we need to do before she really gets the why. You know why because you’ve got it down inside of you now that you can see that if you didn’t have any payments, you’d have some money. You’d have some money to give, you’d have some money to save and invest, and you could do more things for your family if you didn’t have it all going to the stupid bank.

As soon as you knew why this was a good idea, you started talking about what we need to do. All she heard was the what. If you’re not careful, my name will become a cuss word in your house. You need to go back and start talking about the why. What would it be like if we didn’t have any payments? I think it’d be cool to be able to go on vacation and pay cash for it. I think it would be cool to be able to help your family if someone gets behind on a house payment. I think it would be cool for us to be able to send these kids to school, and they can go to college without any debt. I think it’d be cool for us to be able to do this or that. Start talking about what it would feel like to be there. Then, only when she catches the dream of where we need to go to is she going to be willing to do the sacrifice to get there. But you short-circuited. You went straight to the sacrifice. Unless she’s a psychopath, she doesn’t want to sacrifice just because it’s fun. It’s not fun to sacrifice.

I’m going to tell you to step back, and you might even start with an apology. Dream with her. Get her dreaming with you. Then you start talking about what you have to do to get there once she starts believing that it’s worth getting there.