Finances are often cited as the #1 reason why married couples get divorced. And it’s probably why some couples don’t make it down the aisle in the first place. In the U.S. most folks aren’t taught how to deal with their finances. There’s no “Money 101” course in high school or college. Often, we’re left to piece together what we saw our parents do and throw in some things we may have learned along the way.
Often times its a taboo topic as well. We’re taught not to ask how much someone makes or how much debt someone has. But in relationships, it needs to be the complete opposite. Open and honest communication is essential to having a healthy relationship and managing money together can be a challenge. Here are some ways to talk money with your partner.
Talk about what your values are
Everyone has a different idea of what money means to them. What may be super expensive to you may be a deal to your partner. I’m not into fishing at all so spending any money on fishing things makes no sense to me. The hubby however uses fishing as his way to relax and unwind and absolutely loves it. He has no problem spending money on fishing related things. While personally it’s not for me, because I understand why he values those things, we don’t get into arguments about why he spent $200 on a fishing rod.
Don’t wait until something goes wrong before talking about it
If you understand your partner’s money values you’re less likely to be upset about things they do with their money. Money shouldn’t come up only when there’s a problem. Talk about it often. It’s an everyday part of life so it shouldn’t be this taboo thing. By talking about money when things are fine, you’re less likely to get into disagreements.
Figure out who’s the better money manager
Gender roles would have us believing that men handle the money and women just spend it. But its 2020 guys. If you’re the one who’s better at handling money and just happen to have a vagina, then handle that money! My hubs and I keep our finances pretty separate (you care hear about that on the podcast), but when it comes to big purchases or things like taxes, I handle that. We found that I’m just better at keeping up with the finances and he trusts me to make sure we’re on the right path.
Know that you won’t always be on the same page (and be okay with that)
Like I mentioned earlier, everyone values money differently. The more you talk money and your values surrounding it, the less likely you are to get mad at money decisions. But inevitability there will be some purchases that you simply will not understand. Or necessarily agree with. Be okay with knowing you and your partner may find joy in spending your money in different ways. As long as they or you aren’t accumulating debt with your spending, it’s all good.
While I might not freely tell the hubs how much those new pair of shoes I just got cost, I won’t lie to him if he asks me. If you feel like you have to lie to your partner about your spending, you may be partaking in financial infidelity (it’s a real thing). Somewhere between 25-35% of people admit to lying about money to their partner and lying in any capacity in your relationship hardly ever works out for the best. One of the best ways to get comfortable talking about money is to do it honestly.
Talk about what the future looks like
When we think about our financial futures it can look different to different people. My husband would like to be on a boat fishing while I’d much rather have the house by the water that he can fish out back from. Talking about what your financial future looks like and how you plan to get there can help you manage your money better because you have goals in mind.
And that doesn’t just mean retirement. Think about how you feel and how you would handle different situations; like one person earning significantly more; if someone loses their job or wants to take a lower paying job, if someone wants to go back to school, or even if someone wants to be a stay-at-home parent. Planning for those situations (by talking about money) will help you and your partner create better goals and a clearer path to help get you where you both want to be.
Want more help? Download the FREE budget printable to get the conversation started!