Even though you might find it hard to talk openly about money, it’s very important to discuss your goals, saving and spending habits with your partner.
Here are some tips on how to start the ‘money talk’:
Find a convenient time and place
Set aside plenty of time. You don’t want to be watching the clock or thinking about where you need to be next. This will allow you to have an in-depth conversation in a more relaxed frame of mind.
Establish some rules
Sometimes it can be awkward having an open conversation about money with your partner. It may be helpful to establish some rules to help the conversation flow smoothly. For example, try not to interrupt each other, and build in some time for questions.
Define your goals
Be clear on what you want to achieve from your money talk. It’s also important to share short, medium or long term goals either individually or as a couple. Is buying a home or an annual holiday more important? Being open and transparent will put you both on the same page and help you achieve your goals.
What is your current financial situation? Do you have any debts? What’s your income or credit rating? Collect the necessary documents beforehand, such as bank statements, budgets, tax returns and credit reports.
Sounds simple enough but it’s important that you’re both honest and transparent about spending habits, debts and savings. It may not be intentional, but leaving out important bits of financial information can make the conversation more difficult.
Who’s doing what?
Work out who will do what when it comes to the finances. Some people like to share the workload evenly while others prefer one person to focus on certain aspects of the finances. Work out what works best for both of you. Being clear about these responsibilities sets expectations so things don’t fall through the cracks.
Have regular catch-ups
You won’t solve all your financial matters in one conversation. Set up some time for regular catch-ups and this way, you can both be accountable and stay on track. Start with weekly catch-ups – maybe just for five or ten minutes till you get in the swing of it, then drop back to fortnightly or monthly once you’ve had some practice.
If you’ve had a few go’s but you’re still struggling to find common ground, you might need some professional help to get things moving. This could be a relationship counsellor or an accountant. A professional can help you get your priorities in order and explain the steps to take together to achieve your goals.
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