Money is often considered a taboo subject. And it’s been a taboo subject for far too long, especially in relationships.
Anthony and I married over 20 years ago. Our money personalities are completely different. I’m the spender and Anthony’s the saver. We’ve got it sorted now, but we did have some stumbling blocks early on in our relationship.
That’s made me become a huge advocate for having money discussions early on in a relationship. If they don’t happen, then managing money in a relationship will be more difficult. And stressful which, in turn, can cause some serious issues in any relationship.
So let’s look at how to have these discussions and what those discussions look like.
Have money chats regularly
I recommend having money discussions at least once a month. That way, you both can stay on top of any money issues that might arise.
The benefit of this is that you’re both aware of any issues and can problem-solve them together. Discussing them at least monthly can stop any issues from getting out of hand.
Create a budget
When you’re having your monthly chat, look at what’s coming in and what’s going out. If you’re both on salaries, it’ll be easier to track what’s coming in. But that’s not necessarily the case for casual workers and the self-employed.
Creating a budget isn’t me suggesting you save every single cent (I’m a spender, remember?) Nor am I suggesting you eat baked beans for the rest of your life.
It’s a matter of looking at the bigger picture and knowing where you want to be. And then working out what you’ve got to do to get there. But you should also allow for those little luxuries to reward yourself along the way.
We all have goals, whether it’s to buy a house, your dream car, go on a lengthy holiday, and the list goes on. And your goals may change over time.
It’s a great idea to include goal setting when talking money with your loved one. This helps you both plan for those goals, even if you both have different money personalities.
Goals can also motivate you to spend less, if you’re a spender. As Doug Ford’s doctrine goes, short term pain for long term gain. That’s not to say you can spend some money on little luxuries along the way, like I’ve mentioned above.
It’s about getting the right balance.
But how do we start having these money chats?
I get it. It’s hard to begin with.
When I first started having them with Anthony, I didn’t want to have them. It stressed me out to the stage where I was getting bad feelings in my gut.
So, you’re not alone in having those fearful feelings about financial discussions. You don’t want your loved one to judge you negatively. Your partner might be having the same feelings!
But it’s like starting anything new: you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone. Once you start doing it regularly, you get better at it. And you’ll see beneficial results.
Here are some tips to get started with those money chats
- There usually comes a point where you realise the relationship is getting serious. This is the best time to start having financial chats. Not only does it get that fear of having them out of your system, but it helps prevent money issues from happening
- Schedule the conversation. Locking in your ‘money dates’ can ensure they happen
- Keep your emotions out of it. This will help prevent arguments
- Resist having expectations. Everyone’s money habits stem from childhood as we’re influenced by what’s around us. Be mindful of that when having that money date
- Talk about values. You can do this by asking your partner how they view money. Does money cause stress to them? Is it a means to an end? Understanding each other’s values can help break financial barriers down.
- Don’t keep secrets. This is a tough one to open up about. But keep in mind that we all have a skeleton (or two) about money. This doesn’t necessarily blurting out everything at your first money date. But as you trust each other more, being open and transparent can make your relationship stronger.
I know how nerve-rackling it can be to build the courage up to have money chats. But starting them was the best thing Anthony and I did. It’s certainly helped us stay married for so long! And it’s also helped us introduce healthy money habits to our children.
Need help starting those money chats?
Feel free to book in a 15-minute chat and let us help you.
Important information: This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. Creo Wealth Pty Ltd ABN 96 605 894 415 is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 1236172) of ClearView Financial Advice Pty Limited ABN 89 133 593 012 AFS Licence No. 331367, GPO Box 4232, Sydney NSW 2001.
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