All great love stories have one thing in common—COMMUNICATION. Ask most people, though, and they’ll tell you the one subject they avoid with their partner is finances. No matter how long you’ve been coupled, it can be uncomfortable and feel deeply personal. It’s not exactly easy to look at your partner across the candlelit dinner table and ask, “Honey, exactly how much debt are you bringing to this relationship?” Whether you’re married, engaged, or dating, you can establish a strong foundation with transparency in regards to money. We have some helpful tips to get you started:
Have a “What-If” Conversation
Imagine you’ve won the lottery and have disposable income at your fingertips—what would you do? Quit your job? Buy that Tesla you’ve been eyeing? Save it for a rainy day? Conversations like these can not only give insights into your partner’s thought-process, but also open the door to more questions. Light-hearted discussions make the topic less of a big deal.
Talk Early and Honestly
Don’t wait for a money-related crisis to discuss your finances. Discussing how you each feel about money and setting guidelines for what makes you comfortable and uncomfortable can be eye-opening. We all value money differently and it’s worth taking the time to outline where you stand when it comes to managing finances.
Create Goals Together and Hold Each Other Accountable
A shared outcome can tie the two of you together. Think of something you both want to work towards—a trip, a new car, a nice dinner—develop a plan, and adhere to it. As you get through the kinks, you’ll learn more about your individual money management skills. There will definitely be times that someone will stray from the path, but having a partner will increase the likelihood that you will stick to your budget. Once accomplished, you will have something to celebrate together.
Know When to Get Serious
You know what your strengths are when it comes to taking care of your finances. However, when it comes to important life events, you have to be sure you and your partner are both on the same page. Buying a house, getting married, and having a baby can be joyous occasions, but they each come with a level of stress. Determining what’s going to be reasonable in terms of saving and spending will help reduce future friction in your relationship.
Discuss Earning Potential
It’s important to understand what you make and the possibility that it could change at any time. Be prepared to withstand changes in income by brainstorming with your partner. Adjustments of any kind will require mutual support and it will be crucial to know what makes each of you comfortable. Whether it be an investment of additional earnings or covering you when you need assistance making ends meet, you’ll want to be sure you’re both in agreement.
Consult Each Other When You Make Mistakes
At the end of the day, we’re all human and money is a vulnerability for some of us. Mistakes have the potential to be set-backs, but having a partner to rely on can make it easier to bounce back. Be understanding and kind to each other; remember that you’re a team and together, you can face the world.
Resources That May Help You Navigate Your Discussion: