Maybe you’ve just met the man or woman of your dreams and you want to do whatever you can to build a healthy relationship and life together. Or, maybe you’ve been with that special someone for a long time. In either situation, do you tend to talk about everything except finance-related topics? Is it the only thing you don’t feel comfortable talking about?
Maybe you feel that conversations about money come across as confrontational, stressful, or distasteful. That isn’t necessarily the case though – money is just another area of your life that you have to deal with on a daily basis.
If talking with your partner about money intimidates or downright scares you, here are four tips on how to have this important discussion with your significant other.
Hollyn Michaels, who lives with her husband in Illinois, jokes that you should talk about money like so: “Quietly and carefully, after a large glass of wine.” Michaels says she and her husband have never once fought about money for the past seven years. “Not once. I think it’s because we don’t make it a ‘thing’,” she says. “We don’t give it undue power. It’s money, it’s important, but it’s not THE most important thing,” she says.
Michaels, whose husband has a job and degree in financial management, stresses the importance of being open and trusting each other fully. “I think couples get into trouble when money is handled secretly or used as a power play or control in relationships,” she says. “Big money fights are often about a lot more than just money. They’re about trust, control, power, blame, responsibility, etc.”
Kathryn Christenson, who works in the Peace Corps, has been with her boyfriend Will for more than 3 years. “For me, it’s more about choosing the right partner than the right way to talk about money,” she says. “A huge aspect of compatibility is shared values, which dictate how you spend all of your resources (money, time, energy, etc.).”
Christenson says she and her boyfriend live together and make decisions as partners. “Regardless of income disparity, you make decisions as a team about what you want to own and do with your resources and then you contribute individually based on your individual capacity,” Christenson explains. “If you have the same goals, you just get to them faster as a team than on your own.”
From the beginning, Christenson says they used the app Splitwise to track all their shared expenses, from rent to date nights. “There’s never any resentment or feeling like someone isn’t pulling their weight because everything is recorded,” she says. “I think that’s helped avoid a lot of assumptions and negative feelings. Just generally being really open about money from the beginning helps, too.”https://www.splitwise.com/
Since topics about money tend to be delicate and trigger negative emotions, it is always best to start the conversation in a very mindful way.
Aaron Lewicki gives simple advice when it comes to talking about money with your partner. “I use an inside voice,” he says. “It’s pretty dependent on if you have the same concept of money and financial expectations,” Lewicki adds.
When you have a conversation, you are using words to exchange sentiments, opinions, ideas, or observations. So, when you’re talking to your significant other about something you want to buy, or about what money is meant to do, you’re basically learning more about each other. Therefore, when discussing money, see it as more than a dollar sign thing. Because in reality, it’s about your underlying values.
You now know how to better approach talking about money with your partner. But what about when you’re actually facing stressful circumstances where money is a far more highly charged issue? Do the prior four tips even still apply? Of course they do! And even if you’re facing an emergency and need money fast, you have options.
Whether you need to repair a deteriorating roof, pay some hospital bills, or need some fast cash to deal with an unexpected expense, there’s a way to do it. Even if you have less-than-perfect credit, you can always get a payday loan. Here’s why you should consider it:
No matter how long you’ve been with your special someone, you don’t have to dread or avoid talking to them about finances. It can help you grow closer as a couple when done right. But, if you do face possibly devastating circumstances – from car issues to illness – and need money fast, remember that you have options. Stop stressing out or thinking of money conversations as taboo; use those tips and go enjoy being a happy couple.