Have you been dreading having "the talk"? Discussing budgets, spending, debt, and money goals in a relationship can be less than sexy, but only if you've been going about it the wrong way. Finances make up a huge part of a relationship so learning how to open the lines of communication when it comes to this sensitive subject can make for a stronger marriage overall. Not sure where to start? Here are some tips that can make it easier to discuss money with your significant other.
1. Set a recurring money date.
Come up with a set day weekly or monthly that you will discuss the budget, savings, retirement, and future financial goals. Choose a relaxed environment free of crying children or distractions like the game on t.v. or phone. Make it fun if you can and not something you want to avoid at all costs.
2. Share your money story.
We all have one. Talk about your financial past including childhood. What types of conversations surrounding money did you hear in your home growing up? Did you witness good financial habits? Was money viewed as something scarce? Listening to your spouse's money story can give you clearer insight on his or hers financial mindset. Also, sharing your own story out loud may give you some clarity on your own financial behaviors.
Tip: Consider getting some paper and a pen, and writing down your money story. For some, writing feels more comfortable than talking about it. If you choose this route, open up the floor for each person to ask questions about the other person's letter after reading it.
3. Highlight the positives first.
Talking about finances can become highly emotional. Start by praising your spouse for the positive steps he or she has made recently. Pointing fingers and pointing out financial mistakes can lead to arguments and reaching no solutions.
4. Remember change is possible.
Regardless of whether you or your partner is the saver or the spender, avoid playing the blame game. Money already spent is water under the bridge; a fresh start is possible. Shift the focus from past financial blunders, to coming up with a positive game plan. It is possible to change your story today.
Money issues often run much deeper than what you see on the surface. If you find yourself constantly battling with your spouse about money keep in mind that with a few changes, consistency, and a "we" mentality your marriage and your bank accounts can flourish.
Has having discussions about finances been difficult for you and your spouse?