When you are sharing so much of your life with a partner, it’s inevitable that your individual approaches toward money will sometimes clash. Here is the ultimate guide to discussing finances with your partner.
1. Dedicate a time
Let your partner know you would like to talk about money and, together, choose a time and place that works for both of you. Make it a time when you both can completely focus on the topic without distractions. Allow up to an hour for this discussion.
2. Prepare your thoughts
There is no need to rehearse what you want to say, but it is important to prepare a mental list of topics you would like to discuss. Include the basics, like budgeting, saving and sharing living expenses, along with any specific issues that are bothering you or that you would like to change.
3. Start with a vision
Don’t jumpstart the discussion with accusatory statements like: “Do you realize you bought seven pairs of shoes this month?” or even, “I think we should stop eating out so often.” Instead, start with a vision or a goal. Talking about future goals will set a positive tone for your conversation before you get into the details.
4. Attach monetary values to your goals
Now that you have shared your goals and dreams, you can start talking numbers. How much would it really cost to take a three-week vacation? How much would you need to save for a down payment on a new house?
5. Discuss money management
If you are not already sharing some expenses, now is the time to bring it up. There are no rules, as every couple has their own system. If you are living together, it makes sense to split some basic costs, like rent and food supplies. You may want to go 50/50 on this or make another arrangement that better suits your individual incomes.
6. Recognize your partner’s strengths
When dividing financial responsibilities, assign appropriate tasks that play to each partner’s strengths.
- Is your partner good at meeting deadlines? Have them assume responsibility for paying the bills on time.
- Do you love math? You might want to be in charge of managing your joint savings and investments.
- Is your partner a thrifty shopper? Let them do the grocery shopping while you split the costs.
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TIP: SeaComm’s partnership with GreenPath Financial Wellness can help you and your partner improve your financial outlook. GreenPath provides SeaComm members with access to free one-on-one financial counseling, student loan counseling, debt management services and more. To learn more about how SeaComm’s partnership with GreenPath can help you, click here or call (800) 550-1961.