How to Talk Money in a Relationship: Dos and Don’ts

Money consistently ranks as one of the top topics that couples fight about. But cash disagreements don’t need to be a third wheel in your relationship. By being honest and vulnerable together, you’ll be able to successfully navigate some of the most common financial stressors on relationships.

In this article, we’ll discuss the dos and don’ts of discussing money with your significant other. So, if you’ve been too scared to ask your partner whether they think debt consolidation is a good idea, these tips will help you facilitate open and direct conversations. 

Dos and don’ts of discussing money

Do: Start gradually

There’s no need to come out with financial guns a-blazing. Instead of asking about your significant other’s student debt, you can start by asking more general “would you rather” questions. For example, would you rather work 100/hours a week and make a ton of money, or 30/hours a week for a modest sum? Which sounds better to you and why?

Do: Watch and learn

Besides talking about money, it’s important to observe your partner’s spending preferences. Are they usually frugal or laissez-faire about unnecessary expenses? Do they frequently talk about spending and saving? Or do you get the sense that money makes them uncomfortable?

Do: Talk about who pays for what

Whether you’ve just started dating or are planning to move in together, you should discuss who is paying for what and in which circumstances. For example, does one of you typically pick up the check on dates? Or do you split the expenses at drinks or dinner? If you’ve moving in together, do you split the rent 50/50?

Do: Try to see their POV

Where we come from and how we’re raised has a big effect on how we view finances. If you and your partner come from different backgrounds, you might have completely different takes on money habits and preferences. Instead of viewing your way as right and your partner’s as wrong, try to step in their financial shoes.

Don’t: Just discuss your differences

Don’t just discuss how you treat money differently. You should also try and create some shared money goals together. For example, do you both want to own a home? Pay off student loans? Go on a honeymoon? How much money will you need to achieve these goals?

Don’t: Wait for a money talk to randomly happen

It’s relatively unlikely that a serious, productive money conversation will happen completely out of the blue. One of you will always be tired, there will be a new episode of The Bachelor on, etc. Schedule a financial sit-down where you can both clear your calendars (and heads) and focus on hashing out your money questions and differences.

Don’t: Avoid being vulnerable

Now is not the time to avoid feeling exposed. Offering up your personal feelings and fears about money can help your partner feel comfortable enough to do the same. These dos and don’ts can help you and your partner find a common financial ground. Don’t worry if you don’t see eye to eye on everything. Respect and a willingness to work together toward common money goals can help you live a financial happily ever after.