For some couples, talking about finances in a relationship can be tough. Often, these types of discussions are associated with opposing views, tense disagreements, and sometimes, full-blown arguments — but it’s important to have them anyway.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Social Sciences regarding couples and money found that couples who neglect to communicate with each other regarding finances are at risk of more stressful arguments. Thus, talking about money is vital to not only achieve financial wellness but to maintain a healthy relationship as well.
That said, we’ve outlined four money conversations you and your partner need to have to work better together and ensure your financial future is bright:
One of the most essential money conversations you must have with your partner is on how to handle your debts. Having a plan on how you’re going to go about paying your debts with your partner is necessary, as simply neglecting debt can put a halt on many future plans such as marriage, having kids, or buying a house.
In fact, researchers at the American Student Assistance Organization discovered that 21% put off marriage due to loans — not just their own loans, but those of their partner, as well. This also includes their potential spouse’s bad spending habits.
Therefore, it is important to have a talk with your partner about how you want to handle each other’s debt, your ideal time to finish paying it off, and whether or not you’re fine with other loan-inducing purchases such as mortgages or auto loans in the future.
Having children and your career
How family planning would affect your finances is another important money conversations to have with your spouse. Deciding to have children is a huge commitment — even more so than marriage. So, it only makes sense to talk about how you’ll handle the costs of taking care of a child.
There’s no escaping the fact that this can get expensive, as Marcus pointed out that the average cost of raising a child up to the age of 17 is approximately $233,610 — and this doesn’t even include college.
Along with this, it’s crucial to talk about each other’s careers. If you do decide to have a child, will one of you stay at home? What does that mean for your finances? Though necessary, having this talk can be emotional for couples, as many have their own strong beliefs when it comes to raising children, and their own personal careers.
When we say the financial future, we’re talking about the future. Our article on how to ‘Manage Finances in Your Marriage with These 9 Healthy Financial Habits’, emphasizes the importance of saving for retirement which shouldn’t be viewed as an option, but as a necessity.
Planning for your retirement with your partner should be a topic discussed as soon as now, and given that the purchasing power of our wages is the same as 40 years ago (even after inflation), building a larger nest is necessary.
Talk about when you want to retire, whether or not you want passive income to fuel your retirement (which is another conversation in itself), and what you want to do during retirement.
This discussion should happen on a regular basis, as things change all the time. It will also help you determine whether you’re on track to meet your goals as you go along.
Payments and accounts
Another conversation to be had is how you’ll handle bills and finances as a couple. While some couples have entirely joint accounts, some have a joint account to split the bills, and separate accounts for themselves.
Other couples may just forego joint accounts entirely, and just pay bills on a “who pays what” basis. Talking about what works best for you as a couple can help avoid a lot of misunderstandings and arguments about money, as this can be a sore point in relationships.
The bottom line
Talking about finances is scary, but necessary. You’ll likely have a lot of disagreements and make a lot of compromises along the way, but this is entirely normal. Be honest about where you’re coming from, and be prepared to listen empathetically.
Find new ways on how to talk about money & finances in a relationship and remember to take these conversations easy and be clear when you communicate — managing each other’s financial expectations will help you guarantee a successful, and stress-free relationship.