How I Talk About Money With My Partner

5 min read

how to talk about money with your partner


My wife and I are complete money opposites. Now, when you read that statement you either thought “oh well, that’s okay” or “oh man, how then do they talk about money?” Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re trying to figure out how to talk about money with your partner. I was you just a few years ago.

I enjoy tracking my Net Worth on a daily basis. She does not.

I could watch a documentary about money, wealth, and she’d rather do gardening. And she really hates gardening.

I could sit here and write personal finance blog articles, and she’d rather be shopping on Instagram.

When money is one of the leading causes of fights, and even divorce among couples, it’s clearly very important that couples talk about money with their partners.

1. Talk about money early, and often

Human beings are creatures of habit. Once a habit is formed, it so so hard to break out of it, and money isn’t an exception. Money is probably an excellent example of habits.

It’s thus super important that you should talk about money with your partner early on in the relationship so that expectations are set at the very beginning. Things to talk about might include:

  • Who’s the saver, and who’s the spender?
  • Do you have any debts?
  • What are your financial goals?

Now, the important thing to remember is that when talking about these items, it shouldn’t be done like you’re in a job interview. You might be the get it over with type of person when your partner might absolutely hate confrontation and the conversation might lead nowhere.

So make sure that these very important items are discussed between you and your partner.

What we did:

At first, our conversations were awkward and uncomfortable. Tears were shed at times, but with time and perseverance, we figured out how to best talk about money.

Even at first, if the conversations end horribly, try again and learn how to talk about it. Don’t give up, It will save your financial lives 🙂

2. Be honest with each other

The thing with finances is that, when it’s just you, you never have to answer to anyone. You could make all the financial mistakes under the sun, but you never had to explain yourself or come clean. Now that you have a partner in your life, it’s very important that you’re open and honest with each other.

If you’re really bad with money, have tons of debt, or maybe even have a gambling problem, it’s important to lay it all out for you and your partner to decide how to best handle them. Communication goes both ways.

What we did:

Communication was always my weakness from the very beginning. It was hard to remember to talk or mention very important things, but with time, learnt how to say things, and was reciprocated by my partner.

3. Don’t hide your financial issues

Conversations about finances don’t get easier over time if you are hiding financial issues from your partner. The earlier the conversation is had, the better.

You don’t have to reveal every single financial detail to your partner if you aren’t serious, but the more serious you get, the more you will need to share everything.

Remember, relationships based on dishonesty, especially financially, don’t end well. So make sure you talk to your partner about money early, and often.

What we did:

Some financial aspects were hidden from each other. When they were all said out loud, it wasn’t pretty, but it was also a strong learning and growing experience for both of us. From that point on, everything was an open book, and working through our finances got so much easier without having secrets. Trust me, complete and utter honesty is key.

4. Focus on goals, not just numbers

Remember, when you’re talking about money with your partner, it means that you probably have goals in mind. Maybe it’s paying off credit card debt, or saving for retirement, or even saving for a home you want to purchase.

It’s important to frame your conversations with the goals you want to achieve. It’s also important that your goals are aligned, so it’s easier to work for them when you’re both in agreement. Be specific to each other as to what financial things you want to accomplish, get on the same page with these goals, and work towards them!

What we did:

Our goals consist of a bigger house, kids, more travel, diamond facials, and shopping sprees 🙂 They might seem silly to most, but these goals are attainable, and working towards them is a breeze when you’re both wanting the same things.

5. Make a budget

Across many articles that I’ve written, making a budget has been the top of my list! It’s important that you and your partner make a budget that not only addresses your day to day household expenses but also caters to your own spending habits.

Thing is, one person’s spending might seem like a total waste to another. I definitely know what that’s like. My wife loves to shop, and I can’t shop to save my life. But It’s important to remember that it’s an important aspect of her life, and as such, can be budgeted appropriately.

What we did:

Making a budget was not fun. Nobody likes to restrict their spending, and we aren’t the exception. But we knew it was important to control any spending that we did, so that we can save towards our financial goals. So we busted out the calculator and an excel spreadsheet, and wrote down our monthly expenses and started budgeting from there.

6. Make it fun

Conversations about money don’t have to be all serious talk. Yes, the topic is quite a serious one at first, but you can always put a spin on it to make it less tense and awkward.

You can do things like:

  • Have it over a fun coffee date
  • Have it over dinner, keeping it informal
  • Talk about how much fun ___ would be if we ____
  • Focusing only on the positives

These are just a few things to consider when talking about finances with your partner. By having a relaxed tone, and smiles while you converse about it, it makes it a lot less uncomfortable talking about it.

What we did:

My wife calls them “coffee dates”. This is when we pick a coffee shop, go there dressed up, with a laptop and a notepad, and talk about money. This way, it remains a somewhat informal event, relaxed, and it’s an adventure for her. This makes these conversations so much easier to talk through, and they are pretty fun!

7. Learn to be fair

Here’s the thing. We live in a consumerist society that bombards us with triggers that make us spend money. When and if you find out your partner has a spending habbit, don’t blow up on them with blame and shame.

Instead, figure out how to better control the behavior, than assuming you can just stop it cold turkey. You can’t. So instead, like I mentioned earlier, work on a budget that keeps the urges at bay, without blowing up and making it much worse.

8. Agree to talk about it regularly

Personally, monthly money meetings are absolutely wonderful to have. Things change over time, such as your grocery budget, changes in insurance, income, etc. So it’s very important that you talk to your partner about money often, and in turn, keep each other informed and talk regularly.

This doesn’t happen over night, and you shouldn’t expect it to either. Instead, work towards this, and over time, you will get used to talking about it, and in turn, communicate better.

9. Figure out each other’s upbringing

When you figure out how each of you were raised, it can show a lot about their financial thoughts and behaviors.

A great deal of our attitudes and opinions towards money come from our family and our experiences as children. A fantastic way of communicating better on money is by first figuring out how your partner’s childhood.

So make sure that you both sit down and discuss how your childhood was, regarding finances within the family, and how that is playing a part in adulthood now.

10. Take baby steps

Money, and the process of handling it responsibly, takes time and a lot of effort. Talking about money with your partner is a process of it’s own, and deserves a lot of time and attention.

Thing is, you’re both going to get frustrated, annoyed, or even upset at each other, but with time and persistence, you’ll eventually understand each other better.

Don’t force conversations or keep pressuring your partner to behave in a particular way, or vice versa. Thing is, they had a life before you, and now that you’re in it, you both have to work on your finances together, slowly but surely.

Being able to talk to your partner about money will take time, but persistence is key, and time will get you much better in sync.

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