Perhaps you’ve heard some variation of the statistic that suggest money fights and/or money problems are a key indicator of whether or not a relationship will end in divorce. In fact, a study conducted by Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University, reported that couples who disagreed about finances at least once per week, were over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who only disagreed a few times per month.
While it’s best to discuss finances before the relationship gets too serious (and definitely before contributing to the statistic above), nearly one in five couples do not talk about their financial situation until after marriage.
5 Tips for Talking Money
If you feel that your relationship is turning the corner into more serious territory and you haven’t had the ‘Money Talk’ yet, it’s imperative that you do it now before it’s too late! To help push (or gently nudge) you along the way, here are 5 tips for talking money with your significant other.
1) Identify your approach to money
Before even beginning the money conversation with your significant other, you should first identify your approach to money. Are you a free-wheeling big spender? A penny pincher? Somewhere in between?
In order to have an honest conversation with your partner about money, you have to know where you stand. Think back to the days when you received an allowance or a paycheck from your first job. How did you spend it?
Did you save every penny for the future or did the money burn a hole in your pocket so quickly that a trip to the nearest shopping mall was the only way to extinguish the flames? Although your money habits have probably changed slightly since you received your first paycheck, thinking back on that moment can provide an idea of the value placed on your dollars and cents. One of the best tips for talking money is to understand your own financial habits first.
2) Be honest about your financial missteps
Being honest about your money mistakes can be awkward and scary, but it is an important step toward avoiding unnecessary stress down the road. We are all human and we’re prone to get in our own (financial) way sometimes.
Shed light on your own mistakes. Maybe you’re an impulse shopper or you’ve accumulated debt as a result of poor money management. Whatever the case may be, share that with your partner. By opening up, and ‘calling yourself out’ first, you encourage the other person to feel comfortable doing the same.
Step out of your comfort zone and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Sure, it might feel a bit odd at first but it will go a long way toward creating productive dialogue.
If this is the first time talking about money with your significant other, you will probably want to tread lightly to avoid a potential standoff. Money is a sensitive topic that can easily lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings. There is a ton of emotion wrapped into most money decisions which explains why it is so easy to become defensive when discussing the intimate details of your financial history with someone – no matter how deeply you care for them. Keep this in mind and consider starting with a few high-level topics instead of jumping head first into the nitty-gritty details.
Here are a few questions you may want to discuss:
- What are some of your dreams for the future?
- What are some of your financial goals?
- Are you a saver or a spender?
- How do you manage your money?
- How is your credit?
- How much debt do you have?
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list but it is a great place to start.
4) View things from your significant others perspective
We are naturally inclined to think either you’re right or I’m right – and nine times out of ten we’re convinced it’s the latter. Instead of immediately discounting the other persons viewpoint, you might be surprised to learn a thing or two from adjusting your perspective.
Seeing things from your point of view takes no particular skill or extra effort – after all, you’ve been doing it that way your whole life. However, if you are truly committed to financial success with your partner, you must consider things from their angle. Ask questions to gain more insight into why they view things in the way that they do. Do NOT be deceived, this will take some effort and focused attention – but in the long run, it’s worth it.
By the end of the conversation, you’ve both shared your dreams, goals, behaviors and setbacks with regard to money. Now’s the time to put in the action! You’ve probably heard the phrase “teamwork makes the dream work” and this is exactly the approach you should take with your finances.
By working together toward common goals, money can go from being a source of division and conflict, to simply a means to provide the lifestyle that you both enjoy. It’s been said that the single greatest indicator of a couple’s future success is when both partners are on the same page about their finances and I wholeheartedly agree.
If you and your significant other are not on the same page financially, it can lead to a life of frustration and a host of other issues. Now to be fair, it is highly unlikely that the first time you sit down to discuss money, you will be in full agreement of the other persons financial philosophy. But don’t let that deter you! By communicating and working together over time, your relationship has a much higher probability of achieving financial success.
Have you had the money talk with your significant other? Do you have additional tips for talking money?
This post was written by Kelby from TheFrugalennial.com
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.