Studies have shown the #1 source of tension and conflict in a relationship is financial problems. When resources are tight we all become edgy, and while money isn’t the most important thing in life, it does tend to reveal our attitudes, beliefs, and values in ways that may conflict with your partner’s.
The good news is, other studies have proven that open and honest communication about money between partners in a relationship can significantly reduce tensions and actually bring couples closer together. To help you approach this important subject, we’ve gathered together 4 of the best ways to successfully have the money talk with your partner.
What goals are you both working towards? What do you think it’s ok to spend money on? What do you value most in life? While these seem like simple questions with fairly obvious answers, we’re often so rooted in our own experiences and beliefs that we naturally assume everyone else thinks like us. But the truth is they often don’t, and could be making the same assumptions when it comes to your attitudes and beliefs.
Take vacationing, for example. Some people put a premium on traveling, so to them it’s worth the expense to take a great vacation. Other’s may prefer to put that money in savings, or simply don’t enjoy traveling and view it as a waste of money. The main point isn’t which opinion is right - the important part is that you both value each other’s opinion and share common priorities to avoid resentment or misunderstandings.
Passive aggressiveness is the shortest route to resentment and financial dysfunction. And while we unfortunately can’t control the behavior of the other person in a relationship, we can control ourselves. If you realize you’re being passive aggressive about money with your partner, make a concerted effort to stop and try discussing your concerns in a civil manner. Doing so will will often reduce their passive aggressive inclinations as they follow your lead to a positive talk about money.
When an emergency hits, you may not have the time or ability to talk to your partner about financial decisions before you have to pull the trigger on a solution. This is why it’s important to take time now and walk through various emergency situations with them so that you can both be on the same page when they inevitably strike.
How much money are they comfortable taking out of savings to cover an unexpected expense? Would they prefer using credit cards or an alternative cash source like car title loans? All these are important questions to have answers to ahead of time so you can move quickly and decisively when an emergency does hit.
If everything above works out then you’ll be able to have an honest conversation about money with your partner. Great. But don’t let it stop there. To keep things functioning smoothly, you need to keep this dialogue open, and the best way to do that is to set a date each month to sit down and talk about money with your partner. Don’t let all the good work you’ve done just fade into history and watch as old bad habits spring up all over again.