Every relationship goes through their fair share of money awkwardness. From sussing out who’s buying the first drink on the first date to graduating into bill splitting territory – any serious relationship is due for a money chat sooner than later. We know, it might not be the sexiest topic, but it’s an important part of a larger conversation about establishing trust. Especially if you and your partner are thinking about moving in together or getting married in the future.
Tips for talking about money.
#1: Schedule the conversation.
We recently listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast where he explained how he and his partner lock in calendar time to have serious conversations. This might sound extreme, but the idea of making a formal ‘money date’ has merit. Try to lock in time with your partner to have the big money chat, and do your best to keep your emotions out of it. It’s critical to be as honest and open as you can about your current financial situation – but keep in mind that you’re not obligated to share everything about your money.
#2: Talk about values.
One thing that we don’t hear people discuss enough is their money values. How do you feel about your money and how does it influence your life? We’ve all had different upbringings and parents with particular views about money. Whether you had George Costanza or Kris Jenner for a parent, it definitely had an impact on you. So, it’s important to discuss how you and your partner both view money. Is it a worry? Is it a focus? Is it a means to an end?
#3: Resist having expectations.
Some of us will be more guilty of this than others, but sometimes old-fashioned expectations can come back to haunt us. Be mindful that every couple is different and there is no wrong or right way of doing things. You have to just do what’s right for you both. If you find yourself expecting something unattainable from your partner, ask yourself why you think that and make sure to get on the same page.
#4: Don’t keep secrets.
We all have one or two skeletons in our money-closet. The best way to get rid of them is to share them. We know, it’s a tough ask. A high amount of debt or a serious financial setback like a default isn’t easy to admit. Common issues that come up between couples are typically around income disparity and current debt. It’s tough to open up about these things sometimes but it will only make your relationship stronger if you can be open and transparent.
#5: Keep your cool.
Opening up about your financial situation is always difficult. Nobody is perfect with their money so try not to judge if your partner reveals a slip-up, or if they have more accumulated debt is than expected. Like any difficult conversation, be respectful and try to respond in a way that you would appreciate if the tables were turned. You don’t want to risk them closing themselves off and being scared to discuss it again.
Make sure you and your partner both stay on top of your credit score. Good luck with the chat!