The holidays can be stressful. Money can be tight for some. We all have different habits regarding money, but we can generally categorize people into two groups. You are either a spender or a saver. I’m definitely a spender. Something I am working on. The first step is acknowledging that I have a problem, right?
Where do you fall? You need to know your habits to have an effective conversation about finances with your partner.
Finances can be a weird topic to bring up randomly over dinner, so how do you talk about money with your significant other? The last thing you want is to have a conversation when something comes up. No good decisions are made if there isn’t already a game plan when emotions are running high.
The what if’s
Possibly the easiest way to get to know how someone feels about a topic is just throwing a bunch of hypotheticals at them. What if you won $1,000 today? What would you do with the money? This form of questioning lets you get a sneak peek at their view of money. Hearing how someone would spend money they win from the lottery is entertaining and gives great insight into their values.
Talk about your money goals
Some people get defensive when you ask about finances. Debt can be crippling like that, or maybe they are just irresponsible and are avoiding the truth. But if you open up about some financial goals you are trying to reach, it can be a perfect opener for the conversation. And if you don’t have any financial goals, now would be a good time to set some. Maybe you want to see a comma in your savings account, or you wish to save for a vacation or new car. Set a goal, make a budget, and stick to it.
Making financial goals as a team
This tip is more for those in long term serious relationships, but useful nonetheless. Making goals together can solidify your financial future with someone.
Having bad credit can be detrimental to every aspect of your life, so it wouldn’t hurt to tackle that problem with your partner. Accountability can go a long way, especially when it comes to tackling our financial demons.
Ask about their childhood
How did their parents manage financial situations? Whether we like it or not, we tend to get some of our habits, good or bad, from our parents. Our outlook on money is usually shaped by the way our parents handled money. So getting even a brief overview of what their childhood looked like can give you a glimpse into how they handle money.
Mention an article you read
Using this article as a jumping point can help ease the anxiety of broaching the topic. (Shameless plug.) A simple, “Hey babe, I read this interesting article about talking to your partner about finances. You should check it out.” can make life easy. So what if you gave them a little homework? This article isn’t a hard read. But it does gives you both shared knowledge to start having the conversation.
Talking about money can be awkward, especially if it’s with a newer partner. Wasn’t defining the relationship and having that conversation anxiety-filled enough? Well, welcome to a healthy adult relationship. Sometimes you have to get uncomfortable for a short while, but communication will go a long way in setting standards, boundaries, and expectations in your relationship. And you are going to need all three when it comes to money.
To sum it up…
This list is here to help you figure out how to bring up the topic, but it’s on you to carry out the conversation. You need a game plan so that when life happens, which it does, you are prepared for the absolute worst. No one wants to argue with their partner when the S@*# hits the fan. It’s all about making decisions together and knowing what to do as a team.
When was the last time you and your partner talked about money?