Money can be a major source of stress in relationships if couples do not take the time to communicate effectively about their financial ideals and practices.
Whether you are just starting to merge your finances with those of your partner, or you suddenly find your long-term relationship being plagued by money issues, the time will likely come when you are looking for ways to initiate comfortable discussions about your fiscal circumstances.
Fortunately, these conversations need not be as awkward, tension filled or argumentative as you may fear. Use these 10 strategies when approaching your partner to talk about money, and you will be on the path toward a healthy, mutually beneficial financial life.
1. Set Aside Time In Advance For Your Discussion
Money discussions can sometimes become quite involved, so you will want to ensure that you and your partner have plenty of time to address all of your concerns. Accomplish this by deciding on a time in advance when both of you will be free to talk without interruption or distraction.
2. Try To Be Factual, Not Emotional
Though leaving emotions out of talks regarding financial issues can be difficult, strive to do so to the best of your ability, and ask that your partner do the same. Utilize a matter-of-fact approach when bringing each money topic to the table and your conversation is far more likely to be efficient, productive and devoid of hurt feelings.
3. Write Down Your Topics Of Concern Beforehand
Just as carving out a block of time in advance of your discussion is helpful, outlining the topics that you intend to talk about with your partner beforehand allows you to stay focused and on track. Make a list of your concerns, from most important to least important, and refer to your list as you converse.
4. Display Willingness To Change Unproductive Habits
If you have contributed to poor financial habits within your relationship, such as overspending, not paying bills on time or running up credit card debt, then take the opportunity during your discussion to show a willingness to change your patterns. Own up to your unproductive decisions, and ensure your partner that you are dedicated to improving your money situation.
5. Establish Short Term And Long Term Goals
Couples who combine finances often have goals that they wish to work toward as their future progresses. Facilitate a conversation with your partner in which you mutually establish financial objectives in both the short and long term, such as purchasing a vehicle, making a down payment on a home or saving money for your children’s educations.
6. Be Transparent In All Aspects Of Your Finances
Transparency is vital to a productive discussion concerning money, so even if you and your partner maintain separate credit cards or bank accounts, you should still be amenable to sharing details about all of your financial information. Be honest about your spending and saving, and stress the importance of this on your partner’s end as well.
7. Enlist The Help Of A Money Expert If Needed
If your money issues seem too numerous or daunting to tackle by yourselves, then you and your partner can benefit from asking an expert to guide your discussion. Enlist an accountant, financial adviser or other type of professional to give insight on your situation.
8. Determine Your Joint And Individual Responsibilities Going Forward
You and your partner may have individual strengths and weaknesses regarding money management and creating household budgets. Steer your financial future in the right direction by assigning future tasks according to each of your strengths and determining what you will handle separately and together.
9. Contribute Toward A Positive Discussion Of Ideas
Using a negative tone when starting a conversation about money may quickly put your partner on the defensive, leading to strained communication and unresolved financial issues. Begin your talk in a positive manner, and focus on remaining as encouraging and helpful as possible as you and your partner exchange ideas.
10. Commit To Talking On A Regular Basis
Discussions about your household finances are bound to be necessary on multiple occasions. Help to keep these conversations of a non-urgent nature by checking in with your partner regularly. Scheduled money talks are ideal for catching problems as they occur so that you can solve them quickly.