How To Talk Money With Your Honey

Originally posted on Hoboken Girl.

Talking about money can be scary. All the numbers, constantly changing stocks, and never-ending fear of having enough funds to get by is something that affects everyone. And trying to talk about money with your partner ON TOP of everything else can be even more daunting. Luckily, Ashley Feinstein {of The Fiscal Femme} is here to help explain the best ways to discuss finances with your S.O. Read on to find out how to talk money with your honey.

Being In The Dark About Finances

If you’re not talking about money, you’re not alone. Forty-four percent of Americans find personal finances as the most challenging topic to discuss with others – more so than religion, politics, and death, according to a survey by Wells Fargo. Unfortunately {and surprisingly}, it’s not any easier for us to breach the topic with our romantic partners.

According to a recent Experian survey, newlyweds are commonly in the dark about their partner’s finances. Before they tied the knot:

  • A quarter didn’t know their spouse’s annual income

  • One third said their spouse’s spending habits are different than what they expected

  • One third also didn’t know the amount of their spouse’s student loan debt

  • And 40% didn’t know their spouse’s credit score

This isn’t without consequence and it doesn’t necessarily get better after the wedding. Forty-one percent of Americans say financial stress impacts their relationship with their spouse, 39% said credit scores have already been a source of stress in their marriage, and one in five Americans said they have financial disagreements with their significant other at least once a month.

How To Talk About Money With Your Partner

Aiming to better understand your partner’s money habits and his or her financial situation now will make you happier and certainly make managing money together much easier in the future. According to TD Bank’s Love + Money Survey, 90% of happy couples discuss finances once a month.

This isn’t an easy conversation to have for many reasons, but it’s well worth it. Here’s how to ease into the money talk with your partner without the shame and embarrassment so many of us fear:

  1. Start with the fun part. Talk about what you want – your goals. The whole point of having money is to have and experience whatever you really want: traveling, owning a home, having children, going to graduate school, or buying nice clothes. Share your goals with your partner and listen to his or hers. Which goals are similar? Which are different? In later conversations, you can talk about how much those goals and dreams will cost and how you’ll start saving for them.

  2. Talk about where you came from. Our relationship with money and our habits begin forming in childhood. What we saw others around us do or heard growing up influences what we do. So, if your parents spent everything they earned and had nothing left over to save, you might default to that too or feel adamant that it won’t happen to you. Talk about your first money memories and what your family was like with money growing up.

  3. Set the tone. We all have different relationships with money and varying values. For money conversations to be effective, we have to practice compassion and acceptance of ourselves and our partners. Really listen, ask questions, and understand your partner’s experience with money.

  4. Create the time to continue the conversation. Schedule time to check in monthly and talk about your finances in a fun and safe space {like a money party}. Check in with your goals, cross off any financial to-dos, and see how the past month went as far as spending and earning. You can also bring up any concerns or parts of your plan you’d like to adjust. One of the best parts of a monthly money party is that you no longer have your financial to-do’s hanging over your head throughout the month and you know they will get done. They’re called parties for a reason – don’t forget to make them fun and reward yourself.