For a lot of couples, talking about finances is a conversation to dread. It’s easy to understand why: money is messy, and too easily becomes a flashpoint for arguments, finger pointing and resentment. Money problems are one of the leading causes of divorce, and can easily rip apart an otherwise stable relationship. This is especially true when money is scarce and financial discussions descend into a blame game of who spent what.
No matter how painful it is though, the only way you’ll ever have a stable relationship and a solid financial foundation is by communicating openly and honestly with your partner about money. How can you do that successfully? We’re glad you asked. Below we have a compiled a few steps on how to make sure you and your partner are on the same page financially without it feeling like you’re pulling teeth or having a knife fight.
This is the first and most important step towards having honest and productive financial discussions with your partner. Have you ever tried to talk with your partner about money or budgeting and found them defensive, irritable, monosyllabic, and unwilling to engage? There’s a reason for it. Try and put yourself in their shoes for a minute: when you ask them about their spending it can feel like an interrogation where all the blame is being put on them.
Next time you try and have the money talk with them, try this: don’t judge. Keep your tone and questions as neutral as possible, and emphasize that the two of you are in this together. Once you’ve put them at ease and coaxed them from their shell of defensiveness, then you can start having the honest conversations you need to be having about your finances. Speaking of which....
Instead of just talking about finances when there’s an emergency or when things have gone wrong, schedule a date each month to talk about money and go over your budget. Make sure when setting a budget that you and your partner have equal say in it, because the more you both feel like active participants in budgeting, the more likely you are to stick to it.
Take the opportunity at these meetings to talk about your long-term hopes and plans for the future, and then lay out a roadmap of how you can get there. Want to go to the south of France in the next five years? Budget for it a little each month. Want to retire with all the savings you’ll ever need? Research and then start diverting more of your paycheck each month towards retirement plans. Anything is possible with the right planning.
Another important thing to get worked out before they hit is how to handle emergencies. Under stressful situations, it’s important for you and your partner to already be comfortable knowing the priorities and concerns of the other.
For example, one common way of dealing with emergencies or is by taking out a payday loan. A payday loan is a short-term loan that’s used to help out with unexpected expenses. Knowing beforehand that your partner is comfortable with you taking one out can be invaluable in an emergency.
If you’re able to follow these steps you’ll be well on your way towards having a stronger and more financially stable, relationship with your partner. Relationships are work, and so long as you put in the effort you can keep yours healthy.