No matter how in love you are or how long you have been in a relationship, talking about money can be difficult. It is difficult even if both are financially okay.
Did you know money is one of the leading causes of divorce and separation?
The reason for this is because we are all different, and value money differently. But one thing is for sure, if both of you are to survive the money and couples statistics on breakups, getting on the same page about finances is a must.
So, How do you and your partner get on the same page?
There's only one way around this.... talking about it.
"But talking about money always leads to a fight Sofia!" I hear you, and I believe you. So here are some strategies to have a blissful conversation with your partner about money:
1. A Relaxed Environment: Create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, this could be at home after having dinner (the kids asleep if you have) or at a local cafe. Somewhere where the two of you feel relaxed.
2. Understand Your Partner's Perspective: Needless to say, men and women see money differently. To most women money represents security, and to most men is part of their self-confidence. And as human beings, we all value money differently. This is a typical example: wife sees a branded coat that originally costs $300 for $150 as a great deal, but husband sees that as a complete waste of money. In his eyes, there’s a similar looking jacket at Walmart for $30. And then the same applies when husband wants to get season tickets for half price. You both simply have different values on the things you like to purchase, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Also, our upbringings can also influence how we deal with money. Ask about what were his/her parents like with money when he/she was little. What did he/she agree or disagree with the way his/her parents handled money. You should take a look at your answer as well. This can be a teachable moment for the two of you. Learn from each other's parents.
3. Talk about each other's Financial Goals: Start slow. Start with easier topics like your long-term financial goals and work towards more sensitive ones like debts, assets, and credit histories. Do not be too opinionated on what his/her financial goals should be. The point here is to learn each others financial desires and try to find a middle ground.
4. Set a Budget Together: Depending on where your relationship is at, you can aim high or low. You be the judge. It can be something like purchase a home together, save for retirement or simply start an emergency fund. If your partner feels uncomfortable putting $200 a month in savings, ask why. Is it because the spouse wants to use that money to pay off debt or student loans? Because they want to eat out more instead of cooking all the time. Listen to what your partner says and find out if there is a reasonable compromise. Again, both partners have to be on the same page for a budget to work.
5. Set a follow-up Money Date: Set a date again to talk about money and see how far the two of you have come with your financial goals. What worked, what didn't. Maybe even research a couple of budget apps you both can use. My favorite one is the GoodBudget App. It is an easy way to keep track of your budget and the two of you have access to it.
Here’s what not to do:
Keep secrets about how money is being spent
Make large purchases or big financial commitments without your spouse being in agreement with it
Not giving access to the other spouse to money. If this is a recourse to keep money from being spent, it is a sign that there are different financial goals.
Not talk about money. If money is not discussed, it will eventually become a problem.
Your Therapy Friend,
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