What happens when you and your partner have different approaches toward money? How do you bring up this loaded topic without it spiraling into a heated argument?
Talking about finances can be a touchy subject. Whether you’re dating, married with young children or empty nesters, you can use these guidelines to make the conversation easier.
1. Dedicate a time
Let your partner know you’d like to talk about money and together pick a time and place that works for both of you.
2. Prepare your thoughts
Make a list of topics you’d like to discuss. Maybe it’s creating a budget, how to share living expenses or planning for retirement.
3. Start with a vision
Rather than begin the discussion with accusatory statements, start with a goal.
Here are a few to get you thinking:
- Do we take a family vacation this summer, or pay off the car?
- Wouldn’t it be amazing to move out of this apartment and buy a home of our own?
- I’d love to retire at 55. Would you? How can we do that?
4. Create a saving plan
Now you can start talking numbers. How much would the family vacation cost? How much do we need to save for a down payment? Together, create a plan that will help you reach your shared goal.
6. Build a budget
Before you can start saving, decide what you’re both willing (and not willing) to cut back on. If the gym membership is a must-have for you, maybe you can scale back on something else. Figure out a monthly budget together that accounts for all your expenses and your new savings goal.
7. Discuss expense management
If you aren’t already sharing expenses, now’s the time to bring it up. There are no hard rules here; every couple has their own system. But, if you’re living together, it makes sense to split some basic costs.
8. Recognize your partner’s strength
When dividing financial responsibilities, assign tasks that use each partner’s strengths. If you’re a stickler for deadlines, take on the bill paying. If he follows the stock market, he can manage your joint investments.
You’ve made it through the money talk. Now, go make those dreams happen!
How did you bring up the big money issue with your partner? Share your best tips with us on Facebook and Twitter!