The talks every couple should be having about money right now
Our culture can be entirely concentrated on plutocrats, so it might feel strange how hard it's to actually have a productive discussion about it. That can be especially true in a romantic relationship which is not great, because they are likely the persons you need to talk about money with. Because arguing about money can be challenging and we all know that. It can even lead to divorce, as studies show.
Of course, you do not need an academic degree to know talking about this stuff can be challenging — everyone has their own particular relationship to money and how to spend, told by both practical constraints as your job, income, your daily needs and maybe you’re also influenced by unknown emotional causes like how your parents spent their money and managed their income.
While bringing together two or more people with different ideas about money and making them share their budgets is delicate, it doesn’t have to be impossible. Plus, there are some guiding questions that can help you start the conversation. Here we take a look at the key points, so keep reading!
Defining your goals
Perhaps the easiest conversation starter for a money and finance talk might be the goals you have set. So, you can start by asking your partner what they would like to spend their earnings on. Remember to keep things light because there’s no point in making a super serious conversation that includes exact numbers, budgets, or timelines. It is just a starter and its purpose is to get to know more about your partner’s preferences, needs and how they manage their savings or what are their financial goals. It’s also about finding more about their long term plans or dreams, as you might want to know if they are planning to study or pay off a loan, or maybe take a long trip. It’s about meeting them in the middle and deciding what you can and cannot do and where your boundaries are. Plus, even if it's a money talk, it doesn’t have to be awkward. Make it open and light and simply get to know each other better.
Agreeing on things (or not)
If one person in the couple is a super saver and the other one is not, there might be some tension. So you both need to find common ground, meaning the things you both agree that are essential to save for. For each couple these things can look different: some have kids, some want to spend vacations together. Once you establish a common ground through openness and calm conversations will get you the ideal framework to resolve harder conversations later on.
Combining your finances
Although it might be tempting to combine all of your finances, experts caution couples against doing it, suggesting that you should be careful when it comes to combining everything if you don’t have a legal framework and protections (like marriage). So it might be good to keep some money separate. Consider having separate savings accounts and a common bank account for bills and also for joint savings if you’re sharing vacations.
First, you need to agree upon how much money you want to put into the joint account. Some do it 50 - 50, others do it depending on their income which might be different. Because if one person earns twice as much, they can put twice as much in the savings account. So once you each decided on your part, it’s easier even to manage your own savings.
Now you can save time as well in organising your finances. When you already have the amounts set and decided everything, you can agree on a percentage of your paycheck to go to a shared account – and you can even ask your HR team at work to automatically pay that amount in a different account every month. So you won’t have to worry about splitting money at the end of the month.
Asking for professional help
Ultimately, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Not asking for financial advice from a professional can be a mistake when you want to do it all by yourself, even though you are not sure you have everything under control. But a financial advisor can help you with investments and also achieve long-term goals. They can point you in the right direction.
It’s also a good way to ensure you stay on top of your financial goals! After all, it’s normal to not know everything in all areas of your life.