How to Talk to Your Partner About Money

Ladies, want to know the secret to true relationship success? Communication. And one of the most important things to communicate openly about with your partner is money.

We can’t tell you how many couples we’ve worked with over the years that struggled to see eye-to-eye on finances. Money is often a tricky topic, even for the closest relationships. But having open, honest, and non-judgmental dialogues about finances is crucial for building a strong foundation for your relationship and future together.

We’ve seen firsthand how poor communication about finances can damage relationships. But I’ve also seen how candid conversations on money matters can bring couples closer together!

Reflect on Your Own Money History First

Before diving into money talks with your partner, take some time to reflect on your own financial habits and attitudes. As the saying goes, you can’t know someone else until you know yourself.

Think about how your family background and upbringing shaped your money values and habits. For example, did you grow up watching your parents argue about finances? Or did they sit you down as a teen to teach you budgeting basics?

Consider your own approach to things like saving vs. spending, investing vs. avoiding risk, and using debt wisely or avoiding it altogether. Becoming aware of your own money mindset helps you understand your partner’s perspective.

For instance, one of our clients, Amina, realized the reason she was so adamant about saving was because she grew up watching her parents live paycheck to paycheck. Her husband, Eric, on the other hand, was more laid-back about spending because he had financial security growing up. Once they understood where the other was coming from, it was easier to find balance.

Align on Financial Priorities and Goals

Once you have some self-awareness around your money styles, it’s time to sit down together and get on the same page. This means having honest conversations about things like:

  • Short- and long-term financial goals. Do you want to buy a home in the next 2–3 years? Pay for your children’s education? Retire early and travel the world? Discussing both individual and shared goals is important.
  • Budgeting and spending priorities. What do you both value spending money on? How will you balance individual discretionary expenses with joint expenses?
  • Approaches to saving and investing. Do you want to focus on building an emergency fund first or investing for the long term? How much risk are you comfortable with?
  • Attitudes about using credit and debt. Does credit card or loan debt make you anxious, or do you see it as a useful tool? How will you avoid bad debt?

For example, one of our esteemed clients, Joy and Tim, had opposing views on borrowing. Joy preferred to save up first before making big purchases, while Tim was comfortable with financing if the terms were decent. Through compromise, they found a balance that worked for them.

The key is communicating openly to find areas of alignment and compromise. This ensures you’re both working towards the same money goals!

Create a Shared Budget You Both Contribute to.

Here’s where it gets granular!

Sit down together and review your full financial situation, including incomes, fixed obligations like rent and loan payments, and variable spending on things like groceries, utilities, entertainment, etc.

Then, create a joint monthly budget that reflects your shared financial priorities and leaves room for individual spending money. Having a balanced budget prevents many money arguments down the road!

One of the client couples we worked with, Sharon and Victor, found it helpful to each have a monthly fun money allowance that could be spent without oversight or guilt. This ensured they still had independence while saving and working towards shared goals.

Divide Financial Responsibilities Based on Strengths

To keep your budget on track and financial tasks from piling up, it’s wise to divide and conquer. Look at each of your strengths and interests, and split up who will take the lead on managing bills and payments, insurance renewals, taxes, investments, estate planning, and so on.

For instance, let’s take a look back at our client Tim. He preferred handling investments and long-term planning, while his wife, Joy, was great at day-to-day budgeting and paperwork. Tim managed their investment portfolio while Joy handled bills.

No matter how you split duties, make it a habit to have regular check-ins to review finances and address anything that may have cropped up. Keeping tasks split but communication open is key!

Keep the Money Conversations Ongoing

Talking about money shouldn’t just happen when financial issues arise. Make having regular, judgement-free money talks a habit in your relationship.

Aim to have quick weekly or monthly check-ins on how you’re tracking towards your budget and financial goals. Are there any changes in income, expenses, or goals that need to be discussed?

Of course, life happens. Try not to pile blame on yourself or your partner if you veer off budget one month. Instead, work together to course correct and realign with your shared money priorities.

The couples we’ve worked with who have the healthiest financial relationships keep lines of communication proactively open. They address money matters as a team, as it should be!

Take Control of Your Financial Future Together

Managing finances with a partner takes empathy, patience and teamwork. But I assure you, the effort is well worth it! Handled right, money can bring you closer instead of driving you apart.

If you’re just starting these money talks, don’t get discouraged if they feel awkward at first. Ditch the tense dinner table talks and choose a relaxed setting where you can both feel comfortable and heard. Open up judgment-free and lead with curiosity about your partner’s views. With practice, the conversations will get easier.

Ladies, we encourage you to take the lead in opening up these money dialogues. When you commit to proactive and positive financial communication, your relationship will reap the rewards for years to come!

Now go forth and conquer your financial goals, sister!


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