Talking money with your partner can feel tricky. Maybe you grew up in different financial situations, or perhaps you were raised with opposing attitudes about money.
When you’re managing money with a partner, communication is key. Here are a few tips to help navigate finances with a significant other.
- Be open and honest.
People don’t just bring their emotional pasts into a relationship—they also bring their attitudes around money, which reflect their values in life.
Set aside shyness when it comes to discussing money with your partner. Talk honestly about your habits: Are you a saver or spender? Do big purchases make you nervous? How much debt do you have from student loans, credit cards and other sources? How much do you each earn?
If you’re not sure where to start the discussion, look online for scripts and conversation starters to help ease into the topic.
- Set the stage for a recurring conversation.
Talking about money with your partner isn’t a one-and-done task. Regular check-ins can help the two of you stay in sync and fend off potential conflict, especially if you share a home and all the expenses of daily living.
Consider scheduling a monthly check-in to review your budget and reflect on the past 30 days then plan for the month ahead. If the thought of a monthly money meeting with your partner sounds unappealing, make it an event you’ll enjoy. Pair the chat with a coffee date or a treat at home to create a laid-back environment. Choose a setting where you’re both at ease to talk openly about your spending, saving and goals.
- Create clear expectations.
Don’t make assumptions about who pays which bills. Even splitting all your shared expenses 50/50 can lead to tension and inequity, especially if one partner earns significantly more than the other.
Set expectations in advance to avoid hurt feelings or fights when the bill arrives. Expectations are key, whether you’re dining out at a restaurant or paying utilities for the month.
- Consider meeting with a neutral third party.
If you and your partner are struggling to see eye to eye on finances, enlist the help of a professional. You might start with a financial advisor at your bank, or you could look into couples counseling with a therapist who specializes in issues around money. A therapist or coach can help you navigate sticky situations and conversations about finances with kindness and compassion.