Are you comfortable talking about money and finances with your partner? While it may feel intimidating, these conversations are a must.
By Bitsy McCann
The best relationships take work and thrive on direct communication and understanding. Yes, honesty about your feelings and beliefs is essential, but it is equally important to be honest about your finances. Here are some great conversation starters that will help you and your partner get on solid ground.
Discuss your money goals. Start with something a little more abstract. Do not get caught up in day-to-day spending yet. Ask each other, “What are your financial goals?” Think short-term goals and long-term goals. Get an idea of what your partner is envisioning, too. If your goals are not the same, that is okay! During your relationship, you can work together to conquer as many of them as possible.
Are you saving up for a new house or car? Do you have debt to pay off, or are you looking to contribute a certain amount to your savings each month? How much do you want to put into your retirement accounts each year? Is there a dream vacation you hope to take? Discuss all these questions and ask more. Write the answers down somewhere so you can refer to them in the future.
Discuss your money fears. If you know the things that give you anxiety, it can be easier to prevent them. Since financial issues cause many people to stress, it is best to open up about what worries you. Are you nervous about a lack of security or instability, or the inability to save what you need to make your goals happen? Are you worried about past financial mistakes taking over? Talk about these concerns with your partner. The more you understand each other’s fears, the better you can work together to make a solid financial plan.
Look at your money habits. Everyone has completely different money tendencies. When you are young and sometimes deep into adulthood, you generally spend how you were taught. That does not necessarily mean it is the best way to spend. Be respectful of each other’s backgrounds and collaborate on developing better money habits.
A great budget question is “Do you need it or do you want it?” Review your spending at the end of every month. Highlight your ‘wants’ in one color and your ‘needs’ in another. What ‘wants’ could you cut for the next month to help with some of your savings goals? Keep in mind that you do not have to cut everything you want, but you should adjust your spending so that you can focus more on your future financial goals.
Talk regularly. Whether you recap with a lengthy discussion at the end of the month or chat about money a little bit every day, make sure you consistently communicate with one another about spending and savings expectations. Bring up your goals regularly to see if you are on track.
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