Talking about money can be hard, even for people in relationships without communication issues. That said, it has to be done – disagreeing or not being on the same page about finances is listed as one of the main sources of contention for most couples, and no one wants that.
So, in the spirit of healthy relationships, here are 6 tips on having “the talk” with your significant other and getting something great out of it in the process.
#6. Insurance should be part of the talk, too.
It might sound boring, but life insurance, health insurance, car insurance, etc are other things that should be discussed (and combined if it makes financial sense). It can provide peace of mind and go a long way toward making you feel better about financial security.
#5. Timing is everything.
Don’t wait too long into your relationship to chat about money – the sooner you do it, the easier it will be to focus on what you want to accomplish together as you grow as a couple. Whenever you do it, though, make sure you have enough time. It’s not something you want to rush.
#4. Debt can’t be a secret.
If you’re the one who has large student loans or credit card debt, talking about it can be embarrassing. That said, your partner deserves to know what they’re getting into, especially if you plan on joining bank accounts or on tax returns. You can bring a financial advisor into the discussion if you think it might be easier to have a third party’s ideas on the best way for you to resolve debt and move forward as a couple.
#3. Make sure you’ve got the meat covered before you move on to dessert.
You’ll want to talk about income, expenses, and lifestyle expectations (including children, if that topic applies) in order to understand how much your significant other makes, spends, and saves. Once you’ve got that down, it will be easier to talk about joining budgets or when you’re okay with splurging.
#2. The pros and cons of combining finances.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding whether to keep things separate or to combine them, but if you are considering the latter, you’ll want to think through what that means. You’ll need to be open and honest about expenditures – especially large ones – before they happen. On the plus side, it can be good for communication and understanding what your partner considers an acceptable “splurge.”
#1. Keep an eye on the future.
Remember that the end game of all of these tough conversations is to build a foundation for the two of you going forward. Decide whether to combine finances, whether one or both of you are going to handle the day-to-day spending and bill paying, etc.