How to Talk to Your Significant Other About Money
There’s no doubt that money is a stressful situation for everyone, whether you’ve been an adult for a while…or for a minute. Bills, food, vacations, smartphones, Coachella…life adds up. Think you need to split these costs with someone else? Think again! Money problems only intensify when there’s two of you. After all, mo’ money, mo’ problems. So, how do you talk to your significant other about money (with less problems)? Let’s put that fire out before it starts.
Create an Open Dialogue
If you’re going to talk money, you need to…talk. Not argue. Studies suggest that 7 out of 10 Australian couples fight about money. To ward off the fighting, you need to do the opposite. So, how do you create this open dialogue? Slowly.
Slow is key… especially for newer couples. Money is a sensitive subject. If someone has fallen on hard times, already fought their way out of debt, or doesn’t make that much moolah, it can cause embarrassment, anger, or backlash.
First, bring money talk up casually. Not casual like when someone tells you to “Don’t look now, but behind you…” and you are immediately whip your head to see someone looking at you. We mean “casual” like simply bringing it up.
Before throwing all your worries at your partner, feel them out. Bring up the fact you want to talk about finances and gauge their response. If they seem huffier than the time you won control of the remote, then get on some kiddie gloves.
In the words of RuPaul, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love someone else?” Okay, this isn’t quite the same… But seriously, why find out what your partner’s financial goals are if you don’t have any yourself? If you don’t know what you want, how could you meet your partner in the middle?
Also, be prepared for your partner’s answer. The thing about being in a relationship is that you are two individual people living a life together. You and your partner had dreams and aspirations before you met and if you are the 2 out of every 1,000 Australians that get divorced each year, then you’ll have goals after you part as well. Stay true to you.
It’s common to tell a little white lie when you spend money. However, little white lies may cost your household a lot of green and make your significant other pretty red. If you splurged, own up. Being caught later will only make the anger worse, and open the door for mistrust over more serious issues in the future.
Financial cheating is real. In fact, 52% of Australians financially cheat on their partner. Whether it be deceiving them about how you make or spend, a lie is a lie. Getting away with one lie opens the door to creating more. Before you know it, the whole relationship can be shrouded with dishonesty.
If you are going to be honest and create goals with one another, set limitations too. After all, isn’t that how you became a couple in the first place? One day you were swiping right on a few potential dates and the next you both decide to be exclusive. Becoming exclusive is a boundary. That means you won’t swipe right…left…or at all anymore.
Now, set those sorts of boundaries on spending. Agree that any purchase over a certain amount (for example $100), must be discussed. Your partner needs to understand that their financial decisions affects YOUR future.
However, they also need some financial autonomy. Nobody likes to feel like their spending is tracked meticulously. It just opens the gate for them to look for tracking systems under their car or hidden on their phone!
Be Okay With Disagreeing
Sometimes they really needed that rare action figure or that hideous picture frame from vacation. Little victories go a long way in a happy relationship. Just because you don’t agree with the frivolous purchase doesn’t mean you need to beat your partner over the head for it.
Take a step back and think long-term. Will this stop me from eating tomorrow or paying rent next month? Look at the big picture. As long as the necessities are taken care of, then let them spend that little extra. We all work too hard to not enjoy ourselves!
To help couples track their spending, we’ve introduced Finchsights from Finch , a free personal finance tool that helps you track, compare and get insights on your social spending. Download it today for free!