The Money Talk in a Relationship: Starting Conversations about Finances

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The Money Talk in a Relationship

Working together with a spouse or partner can be very enjoyable – meals together, sharing schedules and calendars, and planning the future. But then there’s the nitty-gritty of life, like sharing closet space and the bathroom sink. And perhaps the most difficult of all – sharing finances.

The money talk in a relationship can be deeply personal – it shows what you prioritize and value. So it can feel intimidating to broach the topic. But finding a plan that works can save you both money and help you connect as a couple.  Here’s some questions to use to get at the heart of planning finances together:

Is there anything you’re saving for with your finances currently?

Particularly if you’re just getting serious, this can be a great way to start the conversation. Open up about yourself first – it can be a trip you’re saving for, a credit card you’re finally working to pay off, or a downpayment for a much-needed newer car. It can be exciting to talk about your goals or current plans, even if it’s something small or short-term.

Would you prefer always working overtime with plenty of money or a 20-hour workweek and being really frugal?

Some people enjoy work for its own sake and for the benefit of not having to worry about money. Others would rather live simply. There’s benefits both ways, but it helps to know whether you and your partner are on the same page.

What’s your first memory about money?

This is a great one because it lets you have a sneak peak into someone’s past and present without the judgment of “how are you handling your money right now?” Some people had great role models for how to use money, some picked up practical experience along the way. This opens the discussion to find out more.

Is there anything you do with your finances that really works well for you?

It’s always best to play to strengths and encourage each other. Asking about their habits could clue you in to how to divvy up responsibilities as a couple, learn something yourself, and boost your partner’s confidence. That’s a win-win.

Pick a time when you aren’t rushed and your partner won’t feel side-swiped with the discussion. Be prepared to open up about your own strengths and weaknesses.  Remember the goal is to find out about each other and a plan that makes the most of your individual strengths.  For another perspective, check out our recent post about your money personality. That can also be jumping board for conversation. Just like every person is unique, so is the combination and how to work together.  It’s very possible to enjoy that journey of getting to know each other’s financial personality just as much as their preferences in music, food, and hobbies!

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