Talking about money with a partner is hard, even if things are going great everywhere else in your relationship. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean something’s wrong. Your families might have taught you differently growing up. Your personal money philosophies might not always be the same. Sometimes, you want to spend on something that your partner doesn’t understand. These are all valid reasons for not always agreeing with each other!
Remember that learning how to manage money as a team is a skill that takes practice. Here are five tips to keep money issues from becoming a constant source of friction as you learn how to manage money better together. P.S. Even if you’re not in a relationship right now, you can use these same tips to talk with an accountability partner, or practice having these as self-talk points. (Sometimes the hardest person to be honest with about money is yourself.)
Set aside a specific time to talk about money.
Give yourselves a start and stop time. Neither of you want to feel like it will never end. Pick the same time on a regular basis. Weekly is great, but if that feels like too much, even one meeting a month can go a long way in making progress. Make sure to pick a time that you both feel your best, not after a long day at work, or while other distractions are likely to come up.
Commit to transparency.
Couples at different stages need different levels of transparency. Getting married and buying a home together requires a lot more visibility into one another’s finances than just trying to figure out how to split the cost of your first vacation together. It’s OK to say “I’m not ready to talk about that,” but be prepared to explain why. Your partner will feel more open with you, if you are honest with how you feel.
Talk about goals and values, not just dollars and cents.
Coming into agreement about how to spend money together first requires mutual goals. The BrightDime dashboard can help you visualize your goals. Focusing on the goals you want to accomplish together in the future, rather than just looking at what you’ve spent in the past, will help you understand where your priorities align, and where they’re different.
Focus on action, not blame.
“I’d like to try to pay off our credit cards in full every month,” is easier to hear than “it drives me crazy that you keep a balance on the Visa card.”
Focus on the things you both are doing well, and celebrate wins together.
If you want to buy a house, how are you saving for a down payment? If you want to pay off debt, who is responsible for making the payment each month? Play to each person’s strengths.
Get unbiased help in putting together a plan.
Our BrightDime coaches are here be that objective point of view. Getting an outside perspective to get ideas or information can help you make financial decisions together if you find yourself at a standstill. Head to the dashboard and start a chat with us now.