Discussing finances and money can be about as romantic as a root canal, but it’s just as important for the health and happiness of your romantic relationship.
We are going to guide you through how to have and handle the “money talk” without the weirdness (okay, it will always be a little weird, but we can make it less weird) and, hopefully, minimal frustration.
Get Ahead of It
First things first, start talking early. Like that awkward first date, the earlier you discuss finances, the less weird it becomes. Whether you’re dating or taking things to the next level, open up about your views on money. Are you a saver or a spender? Do you have debts weighing down your credit score? Spill all of the monetary beans.
Timing is Everything
Now, how do you even bring it up? It’s not exactly pillow talk, so keep your eyes out for natural or organic openings. A dinner bill, a streaming subscription, or even a dream vacation discussion can all be segues into the money conversation. And keep it casual—there’s absolutely no need to bring out spreadsheets or a PowerPoint presentation for that first talk.
Active listening is your best friend, when your partner talks numbers, give them the floor and your undivided attention. Get to know their money history: Did they grow up in a save-every-penny household, or was money never discussed? Their past shapes their financial habits.
Compromise isn’t just for rom-coms. Maybe you love dining out, but your partner thinks it’s a waste of money. You need to find a middle ground! Maybe it’s a once-a-month splurge at that fancy French bistro you adore instead of a weekly visit. Set boundaries that suit both your wallets and your wants.
Talk Financial Goals
Set goals together. Dream up a future where both your finances and your relationship are thriving. Whether it’s saving for a house or planning for retirement, these goals can guide your spending and saving. They’re the map to your financial future.
Honesty is the Best Financial Policy
Be honest, always. If you hit a financial snafu, don’t hide it. Secrets are the quicksand of the financial world, and they’ll suck you under like that one movie or TV show you saw that made you sure you’d encounter quicksand at least once in your life (you probably won’t). Share the snags and work on solutions together.
Get Professional Help
Finally, if it’s getting too complex, seek a roadmap from the pros—financial advisors aren’t just for the super-wealthy! They’re like relationship therapists for your bank balances, helping you safely steer through any and all money matters.
Here are some additional practical tips for navigating financial discussions in relationships:
- Schedule Regular Check-Ins: Make a date to discuss finances at regular intervals, ensuring it’s a normal part of your routine, not an emergency meeting when issues arise.
- Use Apps to Your Advantage: There are a lot of useful budgeting and finance tracking apps that both partners can easily access to maintain openness and lessen anxiety when it comes to managing joint finances.
- Celebrate Milestones: When you reach a financial goal, celebrate it together! This can strengthen good financial decisions as a couple.
- Understand Each Other’s Money Language: Just like love languages, people have money languages. Know if your partner puts a price on experiences over material possessions, or vice versa, and plan your finances according to that money language.
- Learn Together: Engage in financial education as a couple! Read educational books about finance, take an online course, or attend a workshop to improve your financial literacy together.
- Split-Up Responsibilities: Divide and conquer financial tasks according to each partner’s strengths or preferences to manage money together.
- Emergency Fund Agreement: Decide on how much to put away for any surprises or emergencies and what defines an emergency, so there’s no disagreement when those funds need to be spent.
- Debt Discussion: If one or both of you have debt, make a comprehensive and clear plan on how to handle it together and decide if and how you’ll help each other pay off those individual debts.
- Adapt as Needed: Be open and willing to revisit and adjust your financial plan as your relationship and financial situation change.
- Keep Personal Allowances: To steer clear of resentment, it’s often helpful to divvy up personal spending money for each person that doesn’t need to be accounted for or justified.
In the love story of your life, money will play a role, but it doesn’t have to be the Joker to your Batman. With good, open communication, mutual respect, and a fair deal of planning, you and your romantic partner can build a financial fairy tale that lasts forever after.