Open up a channel of communication about money early on in a relationship. Talking directly about money will help you understand one another’s views, whatever these may be. Mutual understanding should be aimed at before trying to compromise. Try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and see their point of view, as well as explaining yours to them. Crucial issues to discuss are:
Relationship goals: Explore the differences and similarities between your hopes, dreams and fears. Express your goals and take the time to hear your partner’s to avoid unspoken assumptions causing future problems. What goals unite you and what compromises might be made where goals are different? If all of your goals are vastly different, sustaining a mutually fulfilling relationship might be difficult.
Attitudes to money: What did you learn about money growing up? What does money mean to you now? Are you a spender or a saver? Encourage your partner to ask themselves these questions too and share your views. Understanding one another’s attitudes to money will make money management more transparent. You will then be in a better position to create a balanced money plan that suits both of you.
Money management: It is important you both feel comfortable with how financial responsibility is divided between you. Look at how spending is managed and who is responsible for what. Try to combine your strengths in money management and make important financial decisions together. Take an interest and make sure you are both kept in the loop.
Effective Money Talk
Effective money talk should bring you closer together and help you feel more united rather than causing a blazing row. Conversations about money can be difficult, so take the time to create the right conditions and pause every so often to regroup and see how you are both feeling. They might seem obvious but these five points can help to ensure things run smoothly:
Timing: Agree on an appropriate time when you are both in the right mindset to talk about money - not after a few drinks, just before bedtime, or the instant your partner gets home from work. If there never seems to be an appropriate time, make time together by scheduling a money talk into your week.
Setting: Ensure there are no distractions or disruptions. Turn off the TV, computer and mobile phones. Attend to each other, not to the children, the washing up, or the dog. Sit together somewhere quiet with a pen and paper so you can make notes whilst listening to one another.
Money and relationships – for richer, for poorer, and how to make it work