Yes bro, we’re taking it here. Household bills, kids’ tuition, individual spending habits, addictions, breadwinners, resentment, and our personal favourite, blame. The general consensus (in the UK) is that we hate discussing money so today we’re going to face our fears head-on. However, there is a time and a place to have the money talk to ensure you and your significant other feel better, not worse after the conversation has ended. Here are five ways to talk with your partner about money, without sleep on the sofa.
Talk about your goals first
By talking about your goals first you will start to understand where each other’s heads are at. Assessing this stage is an integral part the discussion, by understanding your partners wants and needs, together you can both start to plan how you aim to achieve those goals together with your relationship still in tack. It may be a good idea to get them down on paper, this way you will both have something physical to revisit should you start to stray off course.
Tell the truth
The hardest thing about discussing money is being honest. We understand that by airing your dirty laundry may leave you in an extremely vulnerable space. But what’s the worst that can happen? (We can think of a few things!) You and your partner are a team and if you’re married do you remember the whole, “for richer, for poorer” speech. Yes, that still stands. Tell the truth and feel the weight lift of all your shoulders. In the reverse, respect your partner for having the strength to come clean.
Discuss both earning and spending
Bringing the bacon home can sometimes be remarkably skewed. If that’s the case it needs to be discussed. What’s expected of each party? Is the money collated into one big monthly pot? The only real luxury is time. Poor spending habits can quickly bring the status of a money talk from a discussion to full-blown argument. Speak with empathy and understanding. Your heart must not be in a place of resentment if you and your partner are to come to a healthy place regarding money.
There may come a point where your partner is not happy regarding your financial habits and they are well within their rights to voice their frustration in a respectful way. This is your chance to show your maturity, take it on the chin, understand the reactions of your actions and apologise (if you’re sorry). A sincere apology is massive for closure and doing so will allow you both to move forward. The ear to mouth ratio is two to one for a reason, listen twice and much as you speak.
Know when to pause or postpone
We’re not here to paint pretty pictures, sometimes the above is just not going to work. Wrong time or place, maybe your partner had a rough day. Either way, both parties must want to mutually discuss money. If you have said something that has rubbed your partner up the wrong way it may be time to take a break or even revisit the topic at a later date. At the end of the money talk, understand that it was a separate conversation. Try not to let this interfere with your love for each other and your children.
Rome was not built in a day dad, it’s a journey. Enjoy it.