How To Talk About Money In A Relationship (Without Starting An argument)

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    Whether you’re getting married, moving in together, or just making money, there is always a good time to talk about finances with your significant other.

    But how do you talk to your partner about money?

    For many, this may be scary or uncomfortable, but don’t worry. We’ve put together a guide with a few word-for-word sentences along with all the tips and information you might need.

    When should you talk about finances in a relationship?

    When you have a new date

    Money talks probably aren’t a big feature of your conversations when you reschedule, but it doesn’t have to be. You can bring in some cash to talk about things, who pays for appointments, your salaries, and general conversations to get started.

    At this point, you probably don’t want to reveal any important debt and mortgage information. That might sound a little too strong …

    When you make a big life decision together

    At this point, you’ve been dating for a while and are now in a committed relationship. Money should be something that you have serious conversation about. Now is not the time to gloss it over.

    If you want to move in together, you need to discuss bills, rent, insurance, and the breakdown of expenses.

    Getting engaged is an exciting time, but it’s also a time to make some important money decisions. How are you going to get married? What will the budget be like? Are There Deal Breakers You Need To Know BEFORE You Get Married? How do you divorce assets in the event of a divorce? Not very romantic, but still worth considering.

    When you have a baby, your partner can work out with your partner on parental leave, lost income during that time, and all the money you need to spend on that little bundle of joy. Have these conversations BEFORE any of these life changing events. You will thank you in the future.

    After you’re married

    You should have had a lot of money conversations by now. But surprisingly, even after ten years of marriage, many couples still don’t discuss money much.

    Often this is because someone is simply better at managing money and taking on that responsibility, or a person is not working so that the breadwinner does everything.

    Regardless of your life and money situation, you should strive to be more open about finances. It’s never too late to check in with your partner so you can stay on top of things.

    Your goals and financial situation can change, so make it a habit to speak openly now. It makes all sorts of changes a lot easier to handle.

    Would you like to know how to talk to your spouse about finance? Prepare for the big money talk …

    This is how you prepare for your first money talk

    It may sound painful to talk about money with your partner, but I promise you it doesn’t have to be embarrassing. As cheesy as it sounds, it can actually bring you closer together.

    The secret to starting your first big money conversation is to start with the right mindset. One way to bring the subject up is to ask them for advice or thoughts … even when you don’t need them.

    Scripts to start the money conversation

    If you are concerned about bringing the subject up, start slowly.

    “Hey, I’ve been trying to learn about money lately. . . What do you think of investing versus saving? ”

    If you don’t get an answer, try a more specific approach:

    “Okay, hey, I have one more question. . . What do you think of my expenses? Is there anything you think I should change? ”

    I guarantee you will have an opinion on this – and while you are sacrificing yourself, that will at least get the conversation going.

    After a few days, ask again for their financial advice: “What do you mean – should I pay off my credit card or my student debts?”

    Then, a few days later, tell them you’ve done further research. “I picked up a book on personal finance and it had some really interesting things. What do you think of talking about our money together? “

    When you sit down to talk, the first thing you should do is ask your partner for their opinion: “I know you pay for everything with cash, but this guy says we should use credit cards to build up our balance and keep track of expenses. What do you think?”

    The goal of these mini-meetings on money should be to understand that money is important to both of you and that you should work together. That’s it!

    If all goes well, ask your partner if they would be willing to sit down again to discuss your two finances together.

    Important topics of conversation about money

    As you start your big money talk, here are a few things to consider and discuss:

    How much money do you both make?

    The starting point of any conversation about money should start with your income. Knowing each other’s income can help you decide how to use that money together. They might even talk about ways to increase your income, either by finding a new job or taking on a side job.

    How Much Debt Do You Have?

    Knowing how much debt you have is another very important conversation – especially if you’re getting married and looking to get involved in the finances.

    They don’t want any surprises waiting for either of you. If someone has staggering credit card debt, now is the time to know.

    Other things to discuss are student loans, personal loans, auto finance, and any mortgage any one of you has. These all affect your creditworthiness so the two of you need a complete picture of each other’s finances.

    Make a review of all the debts you both have and write everything down for clarity. Try to write down the interest rates, monthly payments, and the end date.

    This can help you plan what to do next. Maybe refinancing at a better interest rate is something you can do. Perhaps the snowball or avalanche method can help you settle debt faster.

    What invisible scripts do you have about money?

    Invisible scripts are truths so deeply anchored in our society that we don’t even realize they’re there. They influence our habits and behavior without us noticing.

    For example, “I have to go to college to be successful.”

    At some point in your life, invisible scripts like this one have probably crossed your mind. Personal finance could look like this:

    • “Credit card debt is bad.”
    • “You should buy the biggest house you can afford.”
    • “Budgeting is about cutting down on the things you love. So it’s impossible! “

    These may not be the word-for-word scripts you have on your own mind, but take a moment to think about what yours are. These invisible scripts can affect us (either positively or negatively) so it is important to be attentive and challenge them.

    If you’re struggling to save because “Budgeting is about reducing funny things” This is an invisible script that is holding you back. Having a partner who is good at budgeting can create a small gap between you.

    To get on the same page with your partner, don’t overlook this step. Spend some time evaluating your subconscious thoughts about money. Discuss them, challenge them, and find alternatives if they hold you back.

    What are your long and short term financial goals?

    Talking about your money goals is a great way to frame the entire conversation. Not only do you need to know how to manage daily expenses, you also want to plan for the future.

    Having some common money goals in mind is only truly achievable once you’ve laid the foundations and openly talked about money.

    Money goals can be:

    • Save up for a down payment on a home
    • Saving for a wedding
    • Invest in the stock market
    • Carry out home renovations
    • Saving for a new car
    • Plan vacation
    • Saving for an emergency fund

    Whatever it is, it all starts with an open conversation and a solid plan.

    When you know all of your income and expenses, you can decide for yourself how much money to budget for your goals. It helps to have some solid numbers and a deadline in mind so that you stay on track to reach them.

    What Not To Do When Talking About Money With Your Partner

    Don’t make it feel like an ambush

    Money is a sensitive issue. Not everyone likes to talk about it, so in some cases it pays to be careful here. You don’t want anyone to shut down.

    That is why we suggest taking it easy at the beginning and addressing the topic with a few harmless questions.

    That way you can gauge how open the other person is to talking about finances. It saves them from being ambushed, which is never a good way to start a conversation.

    Don’t try to change your partner

    What a lot of people do wrong is trying to “fix” their partner. Now if you have a massive gambling problem and you are about to lose your home … it may be time for intervention.

    But in general we all have our own different approaches. Don’t go in all directions and ask that your partner change their ways.

    The problem with this approach is that you assume that you are doing the following:

    1. Law
    2. The only way

    What may or may not be true. Instead, be patient and discuss money habits on an equal footing. If someone needs to change or adjust their habits, do so together.

    Don’t shame or blame your partner

    Don’t make your first real conversation about money negative whatever you do. If someone is over-spending or in debt, it is not the first time that you talk about why they shouldn’t have done it.

    It doesn’t change anything and starts the conversation with tension and emotion when it should be open, friendly and productive. This only works if you both want to be successful together.

    Talking about money with your partner doesn’t have to be scary or uncomfortable. Lots of people talk openly about money and that’s great. Not everyone is, so in these cases, smaller steps and mini-talks are the perfect way to get started.

    Improving your habits will help you manage your money AND your relationships. Check out Ramit’s new Ultimate Guide to Habits.

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