Tip: Money is the number one culprit in marital misunderstandings. Talking frankly about financial matters before and during marriage helps forge a lasting union.
It isn't a secret that money can be a sensitive subject for couples to discuss. For this reason, many people try to avoid discussing financial issues in the initial stages of their relationship. In reality, it is important to develop a healthy communication pattern about money before entering marriage or a cohabitation situation.
Learning how to effectively discuss money and handle financial issues is a journey a couple should take together. Here are some things to keep in mind when starting to talk about money matters:
It's More Than Numbers.
Communicating about finances isn't just about exchanging numbers and calculating budgets. We all have personalities when it comes to money - our spending habits, our views on saving and fiscal planning, and sometimes even insecurities about our financial standing or history. Take this into account in your discussions about financial matters. A good offensive strategy to avoid conflicts with your money personalities is to spend some time talking about your experiences and philosophies on finances to get a better understanding of the place each person is coming from.
There is a Time and a Place...
Research has shown us that, for many couples, money is a big source of arguments and marital problems. It is important to acknowledge that finances can be tough to discuss so it is therefore necessary to try to avoid situations which will escalate the sensitivity of the subject. Make an effort to have discussions about your partnership's finances at a time and place that offers minimal distractions and where you and your partner can be most relaxed.
Rome Wasn't Built in a Day...
It often takes time to develop the skills and understanding to communicate effectively about your partnership's financial issues. Don't be surprised if there are some arguments along the way and it takes time for the debates to transition into discussions. If things get too heated, give yourself permission to pause the conversation and bring it up when you are both calm and better prepared to tackle the issue in an efficient and effective manner.
For more information on effective financial discussions, visit our article How to be Smart, Not Sentimental About Money Matters.
Now that you have some basic tips for talking about money, visit Important Money Matters to explore some of the important issues you need to discuss.
Don't forget to check our guidebook, The Commitment Conversation, which will lead you through a variety of discussions important to building and maintaining a strong, healthy partnership. In the "Discuss Finances" section we include questions like who will pay the bills, will paying bills be a shared responsibility, how often will you talk about your goals?