The money talk between couples is not as common as you think. We know that it is important but there is something about discussing money that seems to make us shy away from each other.
But this is an important conversation that you need to have – regardless if you are married or not. You might be a saver who is fallingin love with an impulsive spender. If that is the case, you might find yourself in trouble. An impulsive spender as a spouse can destroy everything that you have worked so have to achieve while you were single – at least, this is true for your finances. Their tendency to overspend can quickly pull you in debt and eat up the assets that you have tried so hard to save up for. You might think that your love for each other can help you pull through but that is easier said than done. It is difficult to think about love when you are hungry for lack of food or you have to give up your home because of debt.
In times of economic struggles, the relationship of couples will be truly tested. In an article published on USAToday.com, it is revealed that the economy has the power to affect a relationship. The stress that comes with financial instability can put a strain in any relationship. Some strains can even break couples apart completely.
This is why you want to be transparent when it comes to your finances. If there is a problem, you need to realize that solving that as a team will strengthen your relationship. But in order to do that, you have to communicate with each other. That means going through the tough money talk that none of us usually want to go through.
Importance of financial discussions in a relationship
There is an article published on BusinessInsider.com that revealed how secrets kept between couples, especially when it is about money, will lead to the loss of trust. Without trust in a relationship, the couple will have bigger problems down the road.
That means having the regular money talk will keep you from unpleasant financial surprises that could ruin your love for each other.
But that is easier said than done. The article mentioned that the things that makes money conversations difficult is the admission of bad financial habits. The way you handle money tells a lot about who you are as a person. That is why even married couples find it difficult to open up to their spouse about financial woes.
While it is tough, you still need to make sure that you will go through with it. Avoiding it will not solve the issue. Ideally, you want to have the money talk when your relationship becomes serious. This is also necessary when you start making plans to get married.
Being confident about financial conversations signal that you are ready to take your relationship to the next level. It means you are honest enough to tell your significant other about this very controversial part of your life.
But what exactly should you talk about? These are the three important aspects that you may want to share with your partner.
- Financial goals. This is probably the easiest topic to discuss. We all love to talk about what we want to happen in your lives. It makes the goal seem reachable if you discuss it with someone that you know will support you all the way. By including this topic in your money talk, you are giving the other person an idea about your aspirations for the future. And if you hear about their own, you can decide if that is the type of future that you want to share.
- Household expenses. If you do not live in the same roof, this discussion may not be done in details. But being open to your partner about the household expenses will help them understand the financial responsibilities that you are facing each month. It will help them get an idea about the type of lifestyle that you lead. That is also true vice versa.
- Debt problems. This is the most difficult of all to reveal to your partner. Debt is oftentimes associated with failure. The more deeply rooted you are in your debt, the more embarrassed you will be to divulge this. Not only that, you will fear that your loved one will think negatively of you because of your debt. But if you trust in what you feel and you accept that you need help, then you have to share this information with your significant other. This is the toughest money talk to have but it is the most rewarding – especially when your partner turns out to be very supportive. Tackling debt as a couple, when done correctly can help strengthen the relationship.
Tips for couples discussing money concerns
NYTimes.com published an article that indicated the importance of couples discussing financial matters before getting married. The article implied that failing to discuss it will be like having a minefield in the relationship. If it is not exposed, it can explode at the wrong time and ruin the marriage. But the article also mentioned that even if couples go through the money talk, there are still things that can happen. This is why communication and flexibility are the key ingredients that will help couples surpass financial difficulties.
We’ve mentioned that you have to talk to your significant other about money as soon as possible. Here are tips on how you can do that during different stages in your relationship.
There is no need to be detailed about your finances when you are still in the dating stage. You do not want to divulge too much information at once. But there is one thing that you need to be honest about – your lifestyle. How you live your life will determine your financial behavior. Do you like to cuddle at home and watch a movie or do you want to party each night? Whoever you are dating should respect this. If you have to discuss anything, you want to be clear on who gets to pay for what – on dates, vacations, etc. Observing the reaction and behavior of a person when the time comes to pay for the tab will tell you a lot about their financial beliefs.
When things are getting serious
This could mean a lot of things. It could mean exclusively dating for months or years. It could mean moving in together. If you feel like your relationship with someone is getting a bit more serious than the dating stage, you need to take the money talk topics up a notch. If there is a chance that you will be spending your lives together, you want to know about each other’s financial obligations. Let them know about your financial difficulties because they may be able to assist you with that. You also have to encourage them to be open with you about debts that they owe like credit card debt or student loans. Just be completely honest with each other so as not to be unfair. You do not want the other to suffer for your financial baggages. This is also a great time for you to share your financial goals in life. This way, you can both determine if you want to be in each other’s future.
When you are married
Once you are married, the money talk will really be at its peak. You want to be really transparent because failure to do so could lead to divorce. Start by discussing the type of lifestyle that you want to live. Make sure that you keep your expectations realistic. Then, talk about the household expenses and who gets to pay for what. Some couples manage their own money while others assign one to handle all the finances. If you prefer the latter, make sure that both are still transparent with each other. You should also discuss the goals that you will try to reach together. And if any of you brought in debt to the marriage, you need to discuss how you intend to pay it off and how you will stay out of it. You can set a monthly, quarterly or annual discussion of finances. But if you can make it as regular and frequent as possible, you need to be on the same page. Try not to make the money mistakes that drive couples apart. You can avoid most of them through the simple money talk sessions that you will set up.
Here is a video from CBS This Morning that discusses the evolving role of money in marriages. It tells us a lot about how couples deal with money concerns.