Money can be a divisive topic for couples, but you have to be able to talk money with your significant other as you make financial decisions together. The type, length and strength of your relationship will guide your financial talks. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, here are three tips to consider as you prepare to talk money.
1. Decide how open you want to be.
You might be the type of person who brings up financial topics on a first date. Or, maybe you wait to discuss money when you and your significant other decide to take your relationship to the next level. It’s okay if you’re an open book about your finances or if you only share essential information when you have to. You get to decide how open you want to be about your income, expenses, debts, and tax return.
When considering your openness to money talks, keep in mind that you both will probably have differing levels of comfort and differing opinions about money. They may want to open a joint checking account, and you may wish to keep your money separate. Try to show compassion and practice flexibility. Be willing to consider changing your perspective as you and your significant other learn how to discuss money together.
2. Make a plan and stick to it.
Some couples choose to split mutual expenses 50/50 while others choose to take turns paying for dates, groceries and entertainment. You may also decide to contribute equally to one savings or checking account or agree to help your significant other repay debts before you take the next step in your relationship.
You’ll have to work out the details together and decide what method or combination of methods is right for both of you. Whatever plan you choose, you’ll both need to commit and stick to it. Working together to boost income and share expenses can strengthen your relationship and trust. Alternatively, opening a credit account on the sly or expecting the other to pay for everything can cause resentment and distrust that damages your relationship.
3. Discuss how to bring up changes.
Financial changes are common in life. You might gain or lose income, receive an unexpected bill, or decide to splurge on a vacation or the holidays.
Because changes impact your financial situation, decide in advance how you’ll handle these fluctuations. Will you talk about the changes and make a new plan together? Or will you manage changes separately as they happen?
You may even want to schedule regular money talk meetings, especially if your relationship is serious. Use these conversations to discuss known and expected fluctuations, evaluate your financial plan, and set future goals. To make these meetings more peaceful and productive, you can set a time limit for these meetings and create ground rules that respect both of your comfort levels.
Money can be a difficult topic to discuss, but these three tips make it easier to talk money and make financial decisions with your significant other.
About the Author: Jennifer Turner writes web content for a variety of clients. As a gig worker, she understands the benefits and challenges of the industry, which is why she prioritizes professional networking and daily self-care. Find her at WriterAccess.