Wisdom//

How to Improve Your Money Relationship with Your Partner

Discussing finances early on can help you build greater trust.

Courtesy of fizkes / Shutterstock
Courtesy of fizkes / Shutterstock

Serious relationships get even more serious when money comes into the picture. Whether you’re talking about moving in together or just finding differences in your money habits, it’s important to be on the same page. Although talking about money may not be your ideal date night activity, discussing your financial situation and goals has a big impact on the direction of your relationship and your future together. Also, being open about spending and saving can also help you and your significant other avoid potential conflicts around money.

So how do you bring this up for the first time? Ease into the conversation with a “money talk.” These budget printables have conversation starters to help get you going with questions that ask about your lifestyle like “Is it more important to like your job or make money?” The printables also include a financial goal setting sheet that you and your partner can work through to set and achieve goals for the future. There’s even a budget template and a budget calendar that allows you to visually see all of your upcoming expenses and paychecks.

So, let’s start here

We found that 65% of millennials agree that talking about finances is necessary to a successful long-term relationship, however, more than half of them wait until marriage to discuss joint accounts. 

Having the “Money Talk” early on in your relationship (or when you feel comfortable) can help build trust. Knowing your partner’s situation and being open about your own will improve your communication and provide accountability to make more responsible choices. 

If you haven’t talked finances with your significant other or spouse, try not to put it off much longer. Use these conversation starters to help open up the discussion:

Questions about lifestyle choices

  • Do you want to buy a house? Ease into the conversation by talking about upcoming purchases. If you and your partner would like to buy a home in the future, discuss plans on saving.
  • Do you want kids? Hopefully, this one has come up before saying “I Do” but if not, establish whether you want kids in the future. This question also brings up thoughts on career paths, home location and saving for college.
  • Are you comfortable with your current salary? Everyone would appreciate a higher salary so talk about whether your current salary allows you to just get by or if you are living comfortably.
  • Is it more important to like your job or make money? At some point, you may face a career change that means making less income. Discuss what that could mean for your relationship.
  • What is an ideal emergency fund amount? The difference between saving a 3 month, 6 month or 12 month cushion can be huge. Talk through a savings plan that you both feel comfortable with and discuss how you would support each other.
  • What would you change about the way you live? Discover if your partner wishes they could do things differently. Save more? Spend less?

Questions about your finance history

  • How did your family manage money growing up? Discuss what your home life was like and how it’s shaped your current beliefs on saving and spending.
  • Do you have any debt? Although this could be a sore spot, student loans and credit card debt are too common now not to bring up.
  • Are you more of a spender or saver? Be honest with each other and talk about your money habits. Maybe you save conservatively but have issues with impulse buys. Let your partner know where you’re at.
  • What is something in your budget you refuse to give up? This answer may change as time goes on, but it’s important to know where your priorities are. Whether it’s a personal care item or an entertainment expense, let your partner know why it’s important.
  • What is your credit score? Run a credit score check and see where you’re both at. No pressure, but studies have shown that couples with similar credit scores tend to form long-term, committed relationships.
  • Do you have any other financial obligations? Put it all out there. Other financial obligations could be family related or include overdue bills.

Questions about the future

  • What is your next big purchase? Look ahead and plan to save for the next big ticket item. Whether it’s new furniture or a new car, talk about what’s just around the corner.
  • How much do you feel comfortable saving each paycheck? If your finances are more secure, try to bump up the percentage you save. You can always adjust as needed if things are too tight.
  • What income level would you like to achieve? Be realistic with each other and talk about rough career plans for the next 5–10 years.
  • What would we do with any unexpected income or bonuses? More money sounds like a good thing but if you and your partner aren’t on the same page about what to do with it, you may run into some tension.
  • What are your financial goals? Talk about short-term and long-term goals. From building credit to retiring early, discuss what you can work toward as a couple.
  • What would you like your retirement to look like? It seems far away, but the planning starts now. Discuss what age you’d like to retire, where you’d like to live, and the lifestyle you’d like to have.

For a full in depth breakdown of how to have the money talk, the easy way you can successfully plan for the future and tips on how to set smart financial goals plus more insightful information read this article.

This article was originally published on The Millennial Miss.

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