What happens when you and your partner have different approaches toward money? How do you bring up this loaded topic without it spiraling into a heated argument? The Financial Coaches at Heartland have a few tips:
1.) Dedicate a time
Let your partner know you’d like to talk about money and, together, pick a time and place that works for both of you. Choose a time when both of you can completely focus without distraction.
2.) Prepare your thoughts
Prepare a mental list of topics you’d like to discuss. Include the basics like budgeting, saving and sharing living expenses, along with any specific issues you’d like to change.
3.) Start with a vision
Don’t jumpstart the discussion with accusatory statements. Instead, start with a goal. Here are a few to get you thinking:
- Would you like to spend a month touring Europe?
- Wouldn’t it be amazing to move out of this apartment and buy a home of our own?
- I’d love to retire at 55 … would you?
4.) Create a saving plan
Now you can start talking numbers. How much would it cost to spend a month in Europe? How much would we need to save for a down payment?
Together, create a savings plan that will help you reach your shared goal. Work out exactly how much money you’d need to put away each month, and how long it would take you to reach your goal.
6.) Build a budget
Before you can start saving, you’ll both need to trim your spending. Without pointing fingers, discuss specific ways to cut back. Together, work out a monthly budget that accounts for all expenses and your new savings goal.
7.) Discuss money management
If you aren’t already sharing expenses, now’s the time to bring it up. There are no hard rules here; every couple has their own system. But, if you’re living together, it makes sense to split some basic costs. You may want to go 50/50 on this or make another arrangement that better suits your individual incomes.
You might consider linking one of your accounts or opening a shared account at Heartland.
Be sure to keep at least one credit card open in your own name. It’s important to establish and maintain your own credit history independent of your partner’s.
8.) Recognize your partner’s strength
When dividing financial responsibilities, assign appropriate tasks that play to each partner’s strengths. Is your partner a stickler for dates and deadlines? Have them assume responsibility for paying the bills on time. Are you a numbers freak? You might want to be in charge of managing your joint investments.
You’ve made it through the money talk. Now, go make those dreams happen!