5 tips for talking about money with your partner
Having regular discussions about money is an important step toward running a financially successful household. But for many couples, talking about finances is a stressful topic they’d rather avoid. These conversations are an important way to help you and your partner prioritize what’s important to you so you can plan for both long and short-term goals. Here are five tips to help you get started.
Don’t wait for a problem
Often, money discussions are stressful because couples wait until there is an issue, such as overdue bills, debt or overspending. Instead, try starting a conversation when you’re both calm and relaxed. Before you dive into specifics, agree to talk honestly about your money habits and your approaches to saving and spending. Be open-minded and realize that while you may not agree on everything related to your finances, it’s important to listen to each other and respect each other’s point of view.
Once you’ve set the ground rules, begin by reviewing your income and expenses together so you both know where your money goes each month. Next, discuss how you’d like to manage day-to-day financial tasks as well as saving for long-term goals. Also discuss whether you want to maintain separate accounts, have a joint account or strike a balance between the two. For instance, many couples choose to have a joint account for shared household expenses (such as the mortgage and utilities), but keep separate accounts, as well.
Focus on your goals
Instead of talking about numbers, think in terms of short-term and long-term goals. For instance, do you both want to buy a house, but need to pay off student loan debt first? Perhaps one of you wants to start a business or increase retirement contributions. Whatever your goals — from paying down debt, to traveling more to living on one income — you can accomplish more together as a couple when you both commit to a goal.
Take a team approach
It’s easier to make progress toward your goals when you work together as a team. When talking about money and goals, focus on using words like “we” and “us” instead of “I” and “me.” Talk to each other about what your dream retirement looks like. Working as a team, what steps do you need to take to get there?
Create a plan
Whether you want to pay off debt, buy a house, start a family or take an early retirement, decide on a plan to get there together. Develop a money management system that you both agree on to help you stay focused on your day-to-day priorities as well as your big picture goals. For instance, if you’re expanding your family, you may want to focus on setting up college savings accounts for your kids while still contributing to your retirement accounts. As you work toward your goals and track your progress, remember to celebrate your successes.
Communicate on a regular basis
Whether weekly, monthly or a few times a year, make money talks part of your routine to help ensure that you’re both on track. Whether you both agree on everything, or realize that you’ll need to make some compromises to get to where you want to be financially, keeping the lines of communication open is an important step toward financial harmony.
Talking about finances as a couple isn’t always easy. By being patient and open-minded as you work together toward your goals, you’ll find yourself making progress toward a more prosperous financial future. For questions about financial planning, money management, spending and saving, visit your nearest branch or contact us today.