Tips on Discussing Finances With Your Loved One
Having The Talk About Finances Doesn't Have To Be Scary.
You and your spouse talk about everything from what you had for lunch at work today to your deepest, most personal secrets. For some reason, though, the subject of your finances seems to be the hardest one to tackle.
You're not alone - It's often uncomfortable to have "the money talk" with your partner. It can create tension and start arguments you don't want to have. To help navigate these conversations, follow these handy tips:
1. Make decisions together
One of the biggest problems in these conversations is that one partner has made a financial choice without consulting the other. It's important that you and your loved one sit down and come to decisions together, even if at first you completely disagree. As FamilyShare points out, these talks should "focus on 'we' rather than 'you.'" However, keep in mind that this doesn't mean you need to ask your partner for permission on all expenses. Consult your partner before any big financial decisions, but still be transparent about any other expenses. That’s where the next part comes in...
2. Discuss your spending
Though you don't need to discuss every purchase with your spouse beforehand, communicating as much as possible is key. Your partner might not understand your spending and see an expense on your credit card bill that seems unimportant, but to you it has value. As Money Under 30 explains, you and your spouse need to discuss why you made certain purchases to give your bank statements some perspective other than the number. Then, you can go over how these expenses impact your overall financial goals.
3. Take it slow
Remember that you and your partner are in this together. Understanding and compassion will go a long way in these talks, as it helps you to be patient with each other and listen as much as you talk. These practices will enable you to pace the conversation. Trying to rush through it will only complicate the process and possibly cause it to erupt into a fight. Your financial goals are important, and both of you will play an equal part in making them a reality. Take it slow, be calm and talk everything through.
4. Gather necessary information
It's difficult to make plans if you don't know the whole story. If you or your spouse withholds information, it will just make that much harder to set goals and stick to them. Additionally, not knowing things like your credit scores, financial statements, monthly budget, etc. will also hold you back. Be sure to gather these details before the talk so you're prepared for everything.
At Bethpage, we offer free, one-on-one financial counseling to our members. With this service, you and your partner can have productive conversations about such topics as building your credit, maintaining your checking account, saving for important costs or protecting yourself from identity theft - all with the help of a knowledgeable professional. Visit our site to sign up today!
Free Financial Counseling »