Money Matters—Here’s How to Talk About It With Your Partner

written by HAILEY BOUCHE
talking mouths with money"
talking mouths with money
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider

There are quite a few topics that make people uncomfortable talking about with a partner (think: sex, boundaries, conflict, etc.), but one of the most common is the topic of money—from salaries to savings and everything in between. Money is an extremely personal and sometimes sensitive topic, but the truth is that it is one of the most important topics you need to talk about with your partner. In fact, a common piece of new relationship advice is to learn how to talk about money with your partner. Since your finances can have a significant effect on your partner’s and vice versa, being able to have effective conversations around money together can make your relationship stronger, reduce individual stress, and also help you learn about each other’s short-term and long-term financial goals.

But even though money is a key part of self-care, it isn’t everyone’s favorite subject. There are couples who go years without ever talking about a single dollar, let alone what their salary is or how their retirement fund is doing, but the effect that has on a relationship is detrimental and it has a huge impact on your ability to build a future together. So whether you’re an absolute pro when it comes to managing your finances or you get stressed out every time you begin to even think about sticking to a budget, we’re sharing how to talk about money with your partner so you can navigate the conversation with ease.


How To Talk About Money With Your Partner


Start slowly

Money is personal and just like any other personal topic, you want to feel comfortable with someone before you offer details to them, so a question as forward as “So how much money do you have in your bank account right now?” is not an effective way to start talking about money with your partner for the first time. Instead, you could say something like “I got paid today, and I’m really excited to be saving for XYZ—are you saving for anything exciting?” to ease into the topic in a positive way. If the topic changes after this, let it, and if it keeps going and you both open up a bit more, that’s great progress. Starting slowly and not prying on each other’s financial situation can help you two become more comfortable talking about money each time it comes up.


Keep an open mind

Every single person manages and values their money in their own unique way, and any financial decision they make is a reflection of that. An important part of talking about money with your partner is recognizing that you might not always see eye-to-eye or agree with how the other handles finances, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that one of you is right and the other is wrong. Keep an open mind when you start to learn how to communicate with your partner about money, because no matter how much money someone makes, what long-term or short-term financial goals someone has, or what their credit card debt looks like, it doesn’t do any relationship any good to judge someone on their financial status or tell them what to do. What you can (and should) do though is be understanding and keep an open mind so you can support them and help them in the areas they need it.



Focus on each other’s strengths

As a gal who sometimes struggles with numbers, I am very thankful to have a partner that is the opposite. Because of this, my partner is in charge of deciding on the nitty-gritty details of our budget—he crunches all the numbers, sets financial goals, and more for all of our accounts. That leaves me in charge of setting up automatic payments, keeping track of charges, and more organization-heavy details, which I’m great at. By focusing our efforts on our own individual strengths, we are able to help one another out in the area the other needs support. You might do this in other areas of your relationship with your partner already (like who cooks versus who cleans depending on your strengths and weaknesses). Throughout conversations about money with your partner, think about how you can each help one another out for the benefit of your goals and financial intimacy.


Learn more about finances together

Learning together can strengthen your relationship no matter the topic, so get curious with your partner about how you can be more financially productive together. Talk about what areas of life each of you spends money most (living, traveling, shopping, etc.), what your short-term goals are, if you want to retire early, and more. Dive deep into each of these areas and do research on how you can be making the best financial decisions. Maybe this means you open a high-yield savings account, purchase an investment property, or get a credit card with travel points. Having these conversations will help you plan for the future, learn how you can support each other, and empower you both to meet your goals.


Schedule money-focused conversations

Setting time aside to talk about money with your partner on a consistent basis is always a good idea for a few reasons. First, if you’re still getting comfortable with the topic, these scheduled conversations will allow you to strengthen your money conversation skills and since they are on the calendar, you won’t be able to keep pushing them off. Alternatively, if you and your partner get so comfortable with talking about finances, scheduled money-focused conversations will make sure you don’t talk about money all the time. It’s a good habit to have, but you don’t want it to be all you talk about. We recommend scheduling a check-in with your partner weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or whatever works best for you and your individual and joint financial goals.