The money topic – it’s not the most romantic conversation a couple can have, but it is one of the most important.
In a study by SunTrust, people cited finances as the number one reason for stress in their relationships, and divorcees blame it as the deciding factor in 22% of divorces. It’s no wonder that many couples avoid this topic altogether.
Aligning with your partner financially can make or break your financial goals and success, as well as your relationship, so it’s important to have this discussion sooner rather than later – even if it might be a scary one to broach. Here, we’ll walk through our top five tips for having a more productive money conversation with your significant other so that you can work towards a smarter financial future together.
Prep the topic
Talking about finances isn’t easy, so start slow by bringing up small, subtle topics, such as improving your credit score or saving for a vacation, and see how your partner responds. If that still feels too forward or out of place, try sharing a recent blog or funny Tiktok video you’ve come across. You can break the ice with: “This woman was able to pay off all of her debt using the snowball method, do you know about this?” or even “Wow, lettuce and juice have gotten really expensive. Do you know how much I spent at the store today?” This is a great way to make your partner aware that you’re actively thinking about your own financial health.
Find the right time
When you sit down for dinner with your other half, do you ask, “How was your day – and how much money is in your 401(k)?” Probably not. Financial topics can be emotional and taxing – especially if money is already a source of strain on your relationship – so finding a time when both partners are relaxed and motivated will be key to steering the conversation in a positive direction.
Try planning the conversation for a Sunday afternoon after brunch or a breakfast date Saturday morning. Keep it casual and lighthearted, and don’t put too much pressure on either party to come to any agreements the first time around.
Leave judgements at the door
If you have money problems in your relationship or if spending habits vary greatly on either side, feelings are likely already going to be on high alert. Nobody likes to rehash why they spent $2000 on last year’s impromptu Las Vegas vacation or where last month’s grocery money went – even less so with a frustrated partner.
We all have different reasons for why we are in the financial situation we are in today, and it’s important to understand that there are usually underlying reasons for our habits and behaviors towards money. Try to leave the criticism at the door, approach the conversation with an open mind, care and empathy and whenever you think you might blow up – just take a break, get up and get a glass of water before talking any further.
Lay your cards on the table
When the time comes, it’s important to share everything about your financial situation with your partner – the good, bad and the ugly – so you both have a better idea of where the other stands. This includes sharing what you earn, what you owe (e.g. credit card debt, student loans, etc.), and what you own (e.g., shares, investment properties, savings accounts, etc.). You may find it helpful to bring financial documents, such as credit card statements and loan documents, to the discussion. Laying all your cards out on the table is the only way to move forward in an honest and constructive manner.
Talk about values, not just numbers
As a shock to no one, men and women approach finances differently. That’s why it’s important to not only talk about the price tag of the trip on your credit card bill, but also why the splurge was worth it to you (or not). This will help both partners understand one another’s ‘money language’ – what your values and goals are in life and which costs are (not) justified because of these beliefs. You may find what initially annoyed you about your partner’s spending habits will not bother you as much once you understand the importance (s)he places on it.
Have you had the money conversation with your partner yet? We’d love to hear about it! Comment down below with your experiences and Jennifer will be in touch directly.
As always, you can reach out to us here for help at any time with any part of your financial journey. We’re here to support and guide you and your other half every step of the way!
About Diamond NestEgg
We‘re Diamond NestEgg, an innovative financial education and personal coaching company that loves to help hard-working Americans improve their financial health. Our mission is to show you how to save money, not spend it, by dismantling the mystery around personal finance. From learning basic budgeting skills to understanding complex government services, we’re breaking down the complicated financial jargon and giving ambitious Americans the financial knowledge and tools to take back control of their bank accounts and future savings. With our personalized human touch, resources, and innovative technology, we deliver comprehensive financial education and coaching to help you reach your peak financial success.