5 Dos and Don’ts of Discussing Money with Your Partner

There are many awkward topics of discussion when it comes to your relationships, and money is certainly one of them. Because it can be a sensitive topic, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do when it comes time to discuss finances.

Do

Talk about money when you’re about to take a “next step.”

It’s hard to know when the right time to talk about finances is, but it should usually be around the time that you start discussing those next big steps. Whether you’ve decided to move in together or are on your way down the aisle, the money talk should definitely be in your queue of conversations. You will be much better off starting sooner than later.

Discuss Money With Partner During Next Step

Don’t

Don’t preach or lecture.

If your partner has ideas on money that you just don’t agree with, try not to be judgmental or preach why they should immediately change their ways. Chances are, your partner developed their money habits long before you made your way into the picture. Be understanding and work together on ways you can both manage your money. You’re a team.

Do

Discuss EVERYTHING.

You’re about to share everything with this person, so be open to sharing everything related to your finances, as well. From your accounts, your credit scores and credit histories, every bill you pay, how much debt you have, any investments, how much money you make each year and how much money you have to your name should be included in the conversation.

Don’t

Don’t get defensive.

If your partner is constructively criticizing you for how you spend or manage your money, or even just trying to give you helpful advice on how you can better succeed at financial matters, try to stay calm and don’t feel like you’re being attacked. You’re both in this for the same reason and relationships take sacrifice. So, if your partner is asking you to reel back on the online shopping or the frequent trips to the local burger joint, try to remember that it’s for the sake of winning at your relationship goals.

Do

Discuss your goals.

What do you hope to accomplish with your finances as an individual? How about as a couple? Do you hope to save up an emergency fund that covers six months of expenses? Do you hope to buy a house together? Go on a vacation? Eventually join accounts? Talk about the financial state you hope to be in or what you’d like to do with your money, both for yourself and for you and your partner. When you know what each other wants and where you both want to see your relationship go, it becomes easier to come up with a financial plan, together, and work towards a common goal.

Couple Goals with Money

Don’t

Compare yourselves to other couples.

One of the worst things you can do is compare any part of your life to somebody else’s. It’s not fair to your partner to put “Becky With The Good Hair” and “Beyond Average Joe” up on a pedestal and demand to your partner that you be more like them. You are different and your situation is different. Give your relationship a chance to grow as it is supposed to, not how you think it should compared to anyone else’s.

Do

Compromise.

There are going to be changes you’re going to have to make in order to make things work. Same goes for your partner. And that’s OK. In fact, that’s how it’s supposed to be. When you make or even talk about the potential of a big a decision, compromise is very important. When my boyfriend and I decided we were going to buy a house together, he moved back home instead of signing another lease on an apartment so he could save money on rent and other expenses. It’s not a move he made with enthusiasm, but he knew (and still knows) it’s what is best for us to accomplish our goals. I also had to understand that I couldn’t watch over everything he spent his money on, or be overly cautious about spending myself. While saving and limiting spending is important when trying to buy a house, we can’t stop having lives to make it possible.

Compromise

Don’t

Don’t keep secrets.

Have you ever heard of secrets benefitting a relationship in any way? Chances are, probably not. It definitely doesn’t help you to keep secrets about money. Be honest and up front about your expenses, spending habits, large purchases, debts, bankruptcies, etc. This also stands true down the line. If you’ve set up a spending plan, a budget or savings goals with your partner, it’s not a good idea to go out spending cash on unnecessarily expensive items without discussing it with your partner first.

Do

Keep realistic expectations of your partner.

Sometimes in relationships one partner is a spender and the other is a saver. One may believe that saving for a successful future is top priority, but the other lives in the moment and if they have the money, they’re going to spend it. You shouldn’t ask the other person to completely change what they believe and come over to your side. Relationships don’t work like that in any aspect. Instead, keep in mind the goals for the relationship, and if the behavior is literally going to stop you from paying your bills or it is so strict you feel like you’re being treated like a child, maybe a really serious conversation is in order. But, if it’s not detrimental to your financial well-being, then accept it for what it is and work around it.

Don’t

Don’t let money ruin a good thing.

Money isn’t everything. Last night, my boyfriend’s 80-year-old grandmother was talking about all the things she wishes she did when she had the chance. The top two? Learn another language and become a teacher. And, in all the conversations I’ve had with her about the old days, never once has she mentioned anything about money. Unless your partner is secretly taking on credit in your name and not making payments, stealing from you, or anything else that’s a sure-tell sign your partner is just not a very good person, find ways to work around each other’s habits, compromise and live a little. Enjoy your time together, not your money. Spend time thinking about all the amazing memories and experiences you have, not how you wish you two had more money.

Have you had the “money talk” with your partner recently? How did it go? Any tips for other readers? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

 

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