In a long-term relationship, there will inevitably be occasions when you and your partner want to have hard (and even downright unpleasant) conversations.
One thing that may be especially difficult for couples? Figuring out how to talk about money in a relationship, because finances are a tricky topic to navigate, especially the first time the subject comes up.
Money is a personal and frequently touchy problem, and it may be difficult to open up to your partner around things like how much you make and any debts you have. But as tough as it is, talking about money with your partner is necessary if you need to continue to intertwine your lives as your relationship progresses. While in a relationship, talking about money is non-negotiable.
Consider it as essential to the health of your partnership as supporting hobbies of each other or being polite to moms of each other. Opening up around your financial life means you are showing each other the real you, and that honesty or vulnerability helps the relationship grow.
Keeping secrets about money erodes trust, and avoiding the conversation for too long means you would not have the tools to deal with money problems as they come up. Will it be fun for sitting your partner down someday and reveal the precise amount of your student loan debt?
Likely not, but mutually opening up about your finances is an essential step in any long-term relationship. If your relationship is getting serious and you want guidance before broaching this sensitive subject, here’re some expert tips that will help you discuss financial matters.
Talk about your financial expectations early on
Addressing money conversations early on in a relationship is crucial. Waiting unless you’ve got a money-related problem means it is too late, emotions are higher, and rash decisions will probably be made. Talking openly around your financial expectations helps set the stage for a healthy relationship.
When bringing up money, take baby steps
Though money is a difficult subject to bring up, it can be easy if you take baby steps. Start with just allowing your important others to know your credit score and work up to the big stuff such as planning for retirement. Not only will this strengthen your relationship early on, but it will strengthen your financial, mental, and physical health.
Bring this Topic When You Feel Ready
First thing: do not rush into talking about money if you do not feel it is the right time. Each relationship moves at its own pace, and it is up to you and your partner to decide when the right time to begin talking about money is for you.
You do not have for talking about money right away. Take note of your partner’s approach to money for the first few months. Do they live more lavishly than what their income would allow? Do they talk about any debt and whether it causes them stress?
Keep It Light at First
Rather than hyping up your first discussion about finances as scary talk, think of it as an opportunity to best get to know your partner and grow as a couple. When you discuss money, try to take it lightly. Frame the talk as something you need to do to strengthen your relationship.
Come to the conversation with openness, curiosity, and empathy, not fear or blame. And if it gets intense and your partner is very uncomfortable, put it on hold and try another day.
Start with Goals
When you broach the subject for the 1st time, you do not have to do a deep dive into your extensive financial history. Start small by talking around your individual financial goals and even a few goals you can tackle together as a couple. If you are having a problem getting that first money conversation going, try to start your financial goals in the next 3-5 years.
Compared to something such as budgeting or spending habits, goals are typically a more positive and fun way to start talking around money. Then, once you open a dialogue about finances, it is easy to naturally get into the nitty-gritty such as planning and budgeting. Discussing financial goals is a good habit to start early in your relationship.
Schedule A Money Talk
Having a difficult time committing to having this convo? Instead of just saying we will get about to it next week, block out an actual time slot for it on your shared calendar. If you discover yourselves pushing off your first money conversation, you can try putting 15 to 30 minutes on the calendar. You will be more probably to really have the conversation since you will both have agreed to be available at that time.
On top of that, it’ll give your partner a heads up that you are serious about discussing money, which makes you both more probably for giving the topic some thought beforehand (always the best thing). Last but not least, delineating time to discuss money will help make a safe space to talk around an uncomfortable topic, which is half the battle.
Know When to Discuss Serious Details
The first some conversations you’ve about money do not essentially need to cover the minutia of your financial situations, but the longer you are together, the more opportunities there will be for you and your partner to intertwine your finances which call for extra detailed convos. Get into the details when you get serious and you are talking around building a future together.
For a lot of people, that can be around the 6-month mark, but the precise timing depends on your relationship. The full talk should include sharing financial details such as your income, credit scores, debt loads, and the amount you’ve saved. You should discuss any huge financial goals you’ve, such as wanting to buy a home in 5 years or retire early.
Talk About Your Money Beliefs
Another thing you should do with your partner? Talk about how you view money, its role in your life, and what you were taught around money growing up all things that can help you better understand each other’s financial point of view. What your parents taught you about money? Has money taken as something negative? Taking a money personality quiz can help you understand beliefs you did not even know you had.
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