In my first marriage, money was one of the biggest points of contention. We would fight about our spending habits and our lack of savings. I never really felt like I was invited to the table to talk about money, and so it became a topic of resentment.
When Brandon and I started talking about money, I didn’t want to repeat the past. I wanted us to be on the same page and to be able to talk about money without fighting.
From the beginning, Brandon and I have always prioritized approaching our finances as a team. This allows us to be proactive about our money talks, set financial goals together, and talk openly without fighting.
In this post, I’m sharing how to talk to your partner about money without fighting. These are all the tips that Brandon and I have implemented in our relationship to make finances an easy topic.
How to Talk to Your Partner About Money Without Fighting
Be proactive — Don’t wait for issues to arise
One of the reasons that money can be such a point of contention for couples is that they wait until there’s an issue to start talking about money.
Rather than waiting until there’s something to fight about, I recommend my clients have regular money dates with their partners. This allows couples to cover any potential areas of conflict before they get to that level.
You can use money dates to cover topics such as the monthly budget and progress on your financial goals.
Plus, money dates can actually be really fun! It’s a way to sit down together and dream about all the fun things you’ll do together with your money!
Make financial decisions together
One of the most important ways to reduce money conflict is to make sure you both have a seat at the table.
In any relationship, it’s natural that one partner will handle more of the day-to-day budgeting. It’s probably whichever of you gets excited about spreadsheets and budgeting apps.
I’m definitely the person in our relationship who gets more excited about budgeting, so I manage our finances throughout the month. That being said, we make all of our decisions together.
Each month we spend some time talking about our spending from last month, what we have coming up in the next month, and anything important that has come up.
When one person makes all of the financial decisions or controls the budget without feedback, it’s sure to lead to conflict.
Be honest, even when it’s hard
Statistics show that more than 40% of Americans have committed financial infidelity. In other words, they’ve hidden bank accounts, debt, or spending habits from their partner.
Lying to your partner about money isn’t just problematic for financial reasons. It can also be incredibly damaging to your relationship. It can destroy trust, and make it hard to get back on the same page financially.
Set shared financial goals
One of the biggest things that has helped Brandon and me to get on the same page with our finances is to set shared financial goals. It helps to take the drudgery out of money management and actually make it fun!
First, setting a financial goal gives us a common objective. While we were engaged and just married, our financial goal was to save for our RV to travel the country together. Not only did it make it genuinely fun to talk about money, but it also helped to give some direction to our budget.
Hold each other accountable without judgment
One of the great things about having a partner in your goals is that you have someone to hold you accountable. I’m not saying you should babysit one another or monitor each other’s spending. But when you’re working toward shared financial goals and the budget starts to get off track, you can remind each other what you’re working toward.
Just remember that as you’re holding each other accountable on your goals, do so without judgment. If you’re trying to save money for a new car and your partner splurges on an unplanned lunch with coworkers, try not to approach it with judgment or anger.
Remember you’re on the same team
I know how tempting it can be to lead with confrontation when you and your partner aren’t seeing eye to eye or when one of you hasn’t been sticking to the budget. But I also know how unproductive that can be.
When you talk to your spouse or partner about finances, always remember that you’re on the same team. You ultimately both want the same thing, which is a happy and successful relationship. Even if your spending habits or financial goals look a bit different, there’s still common ground there.
Talking to your partner about finance doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. For many couples, money can be a point of contention. But by being proactive and honest in these conversations, you can make it a lot easier on yourself. And hey, you might even have fun!