Part 1 – Start Talking About Money
Every relationship is different. We both bring our past baggage, err… experiences, good and bad into the new couple we are forming. Whether it’s good or bad experiences, the past shapes us to who we are today. I for one, think this is a great thing. Personally, having gone through the rough stuff of relationships before meeting my wife, has made me appreciate the great things I have found in her. I’ve often said, if we didn’t have our pasts we could have never shaped this amazing present we have together. A good foundation to getting your couples finances in order relies on talking about money.
(Before we get into this I just want to remind you I’m just an average person, not a lawyer, psychologist, counsellor or anyone with credentials that should actually be advising a couple on their relationship. I’m just a friendly idiot sharing what has and hasn’t worked for us)
When to start talking about money
My wife and I started talking about money on the second date. Yikes! I know right?! Mr. Romantic coming to you straight from the calculator. But she still stuck around for a third date and everyone after that.
Single People Warning!!! if you are reading this I’m not saying this is the right way to start off a relationship. In fact it’s probably the wrong way.
But, when we met I was at a point where I didn’t want to waste time with someone who wasn’t going to be a good fit. I also didn’t want to waste her time either. Too many times you can go down the new relationship road and then realize, “Crap! This is just bad, bad, bad.” So…. since both of our time was already at a premium (new full time job, attending night school, etc…) I figured it was would be fair to start talking about it right away. In that approach we got a lot of things out in the open right off the start.
The more we talked the more we realized we had the same outlook on money. We both loved to travel, had similar life goals, similar upbringing, strong family values and as an added plus we both looked at money in the same way. This was a great fit.
Here’s why talking about it early is so important
It gets it out there in the open. I know people that, when it comes to their couples finances, there is no talking about it. Some have been together 10 years and still don’t talk about money. They don’t know how to talk about it.
This is usually because it was never spoken about in the home, their friends never spoke about it. They may yell about it, but really talking about it and getting things out into the open as a means of constructively getting somewhere just isn’t taught in any household. It’s learned by example.
Your couples finances and money situation can’t improve unless you start to….
Talk, Talk, Talk About It!!!!
This should be obvious, but it’s not. There are so many couples that do not talk about money and it’s always a concern. Resentment and anger are just the start when people don’t see eye to eye with money and don’t talk about it.
Don’t let this be you, get used to talking about money.
Just to be clear, talking about it does not mean getting angry at the person because they spent too much money on food last week, or beer, or makeup, or anything else you can think up.
Get used to talking about it in a cooperative way, you are making a lifetime partnership with someone and if you don’t start talking about money now it only gets harder.
How to Start Talking About Money
If you are new to talking about money with your significant other here are a few ideas/questions to get you started.
How did you spend money when you were younger?
Do you have any money memories that stick out?
What did you do with your first allowance?
Was money a source of pain or discomfort in your house?
Was couples finances something that was spoken about or kept quiet?
What’s the best thing you ever bought?
Who do we know that is really good with money?
What would life be like if we were to save more?
What is the biggest reason to get better at money?
Any of these are just designed to open a conversation about money. Use them to get the ball rolling.
Rules of the House With Couples Finances
When you are talking about your couples finances, it can get pretty charged and can go off the rails. Here’s the do’s and don’ts about having a money conversation with your significant other. I’ll be the first to admit, that I’ve broken a few of these from time to time.
Let the person talk openly and say what they need to say.
Keep talking about it. Little bits of information more often can be better than a big long convo about money.
Talk about the concerns you and other people have about money.
Talk about couples that have good money habits and how you can be more like them.
Talk about ideas of saving more, spending smarter.
Discuss the future and how to improve it.
Talk about how you see your lives at the end of work.
Talk about the mistakes you have made around money.
Mention your own problems and limitations.
What you think you have done right and where you think you can get better.
Bring up past sore points.
Blame, this is a sure way to stop a conversation.
Talk about how it would be so much better if the other person only did….
Blame the other person for things that are in the past.
Feel like you are being punished or punish the other person.
Talk about mistakes the other person has made.
Yell or stop listening.
Once you have started to talk about money you are ready for the next phase of you money relationship.
Discover each others money personality
I’ve covered these in an earlier post. You can find it here. There are 4 essential personalities, you will probably see yourself as a little bit of each and that’s ok. More than likely you belong to a few but there is one that is dominant. That is the one we are looking for:
This person loves to save their money, they see spending as evil and see every dollar that goes out as an extra dollar that could have helped them in the future or in retirement.
They live to shop, they get real pleasure out of spending their money and love getting the things that money can give them
This is a person who would rather fake an injury that start talking about money
This is a person who finds money to be beneath them and getting into a money conversation is going to be a challenge.
Once you have started to talk more about money you will need to come up with a system that works for you as a couple. We will cover this in Part 2. To make sure you get this sign up for our newsletter in the box below.
If you are looking to start becoming a better money couple I would recommend you check out our eGuide “A Couple Guide To Money”. It’s will walk you through the steps that you need to cover to be better with your finances as a couple.
Have I missed anything? Can you think of some other Do’s and Don’ts for talking about money? Let me know in the comments below.