Talking money is never easy. It can be especially difficult for couples who have different spending styles or financial priorities.
And for people who know they tend to overspend while their partner tends to be more conservative with money, spending can feel like an ever-present hot-button topic. That kind of tension can simmer in a relationship. Often, neither partner wants to have a conversation about finances for fear that it will quickly turn into an ugly battle.
But avoiding the issue doesn’t solve anything. It is important for a healthy relationship that both partners can discuss money matters. And it is possible to have a calm, productive conversation with your partner, even when you don’t see eye-to-eye on all financial matters. It just requires a little bit of effort from both parties.
If you and your partner are walking on eggshells because of financial differences, here are some tips that will allow you to have a productive conversation.
How To Take Control Of Finances … Together
The underlying reason for the need to address finances is usually because a couple has lost control of their financial situation. An important part of the financial conversation is to discuss how to move forward and take back control of your finances.
Work Toward a Future Goal Together
No matter who earns more, it is important to set a budget and make a plan that treats each person as an equal. Both partners should have an opportunity to discuss what is important to them and what their personal goals are. Because the budget and future goals affect everyone, both partners must be included their creation and implementation.
Once you each understand and agree to goals, create a plan to reach those goals — a plan that requires participation from you and your partner. The plan will likely require sacrifice from both partners and should be agreed upon before closing the conversation. A plan should include a specific layout of who is responsible for what, financially, moving forward. Create a checklist of tasks to formalize each person’s responsibility and add some accountability and commitment to your financial future.
Make a Plan to Talk About Money Regularly
Don’t save “the talk” only for moments when there is an issue to tackle. Before ending the conversation, agree with your partner on a plan for regularly discussing finances, whether that is once a week, once a month or once a quarter — whatever works best for you as a couple.
Personal finance writer Maryalene LaPonsie explains at MoneyTalksNews that the talks can be as formal or informal as you want them to be. You can dive deep into planning for upcoming major expenses or simply review last month’s budget. The purpose of the meetings is to ensure you and your partner are on the same page financially and that you are both doing your part to meet your financial goals.
Overcoming Fear of ‘The Talk’
Talking about finances can be scary, but ignoring financial issues can lead to bigger problems. With a little preparation and a lot of compassion, a money conversation can be a productive discussion that actually brings couples closer together. It requires both partners to let down their defenses and be completely honest with each other about their financial priorities. And just because your priorities don’t align exactly doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to be financially compatible.
Don’t be afraid to have these very important talks with your partner. By openly discussing finances, you will both be less stressed about money and more focused on achieving financial goals.