Discussing money in your relationship can often be hard, especially if one partner is earning more than the other or if there are vastly different views on what the spending priorities should be. Not agreeing on a budget can make it even harder as you have no joint control of your finances.
Here are six tips to help you navigate the “money conversation” in your relationship.
TIP 1: UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER’S VIEWS ON MONEY
This is an easy and ongoing discussion which will help you learn more about each other. Discuss how your parents dealt with money and whether you think it worked well for them or not.
Find out what money means to both of you and what your priorities are. Another way to look at it is to think about the amount of time you spend working for your money and ask yourself why. What’s the point of spending all that time at work just for money? What is it that you actually want out of life and what role does money play?
Also think about your spending habits and whether they reflect your priorities. If you dream about quitting your job and travelling, but spend your money on clothes and eating out then your spending and priorities are probably out of sync.
TIP 2: DISCUSS ONE OR TWOJOINT FINANCIAL GOALS
It’s useful to have joint financial goals that you can work towards. A travel fund is often an exciting goal, but more practical things, such as saving for home renovations, a special occasion or a new couch, can be good for the relationship. It’s not uncommon that one partner earns more than the other, and having joint goals can help both parties feel that they are contributing.
TIP 3: BE TRANSPARENT WITH YOUR FINANCES
It’s really important to be fully open and transparent with your partner about your money. Share bank balances and credit card statements with each other so that you both know exactly what the state of your finances is. It’s no use having one person saving, investing and building up a nest egg while the other is living in debt and getting deeper and deeper into it.
If you’re afraid to share your financial information with your partner then you need to question the reason for it. If you don’t trust your partner with money then you should really deal with that, as the problem won’t fix itself. Rather tackle the problem and figure things out.
TIP 4: SHARE YOUR FEARS
We all have fears that somehow relate to money. Things such as:
- Not being able to retire
- Having to look after family members and not reaching your own dreams
- Having your home or car repossessed
- Not being able to send your child to university
- Not being able to look after your family
- Losing your job and becoming destitute
Discuss your fears and think of ways that you can protect yourselves as a couple. This may simply mean contributing to an investment account or stocking up your emergency fund, or it may mean a large financial goal. Knowing the reason you’re setting the goal will help keep you motivated.
TIP 5: DISCUSS THINGS AS AND WHEN THEY HAPPEN
No matter how much planning and budgeting you do, there will always be unexpected expenses and unavoidable issues. Be open and honest as and when you spend money.
Even if the spending was simply a splurge based on your emotional state, you shouldn’t be afraid to tell your partner. As long as things are in the open you can discuss, analyse, plan and fix whatever issues may arise. Spending money behind your partner’s back can only result in bad news down the line.
TIP 6: IF ONE OF YOU BUDGETS,MAKE IT TRANSPARENT
If one of you sticks to a budget, make it accessible to the other. Whether it’s an app or a spreadsheet, make sure that your partner knows where it is and how to access it. You never know, they may just be interested in asking some helpful questions. That should most definitely be encouraged as your finances affect both of you and your family’s future.
DISCUSSING MONEY OPENLY
Don’t be discouraged if your partner isn’t as financially savvy as you. Money plays a huge role in relationships, so always approach the subject with openness, patience and a clear mind. Stick to your values and speak openly about money in a non-judgmental way and always explain your reasoning and thinking, and try to understand your partner’s. Let your relationship grow in this area.
Dale is a personal finance blogger at takechargeofyourmoney.blog