Let’s be honest with ourselves.
Ignoring the financial stress you and your partner might be under is not going to make them go away.
But it’s hard to bring up money in a relationship, right?
We avoid talking about it and then instead of avoiding a conflict, it feels worse when it comes to a head because you’ve let it escalate.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
If you and your partner are prepared to work together, watching your nest egg flourish can be something you might even look forward to!
Like we talked about in our blog on building confidence, as a partnership you’re going to want to take the emotion out of these discussions as much as possible.
There’s no point playing a blame game so when it comes to tough decisions, being rational and supportive rather than argumentative will help the process go more smoothly.
Starting the conversation could be as simple as saying “I’d like to make a plan with you about where our finances are heading, and I value you input so I’m hoping we can do it together”. Before getting into the nitty gritty though, start general and come up with some ground rules you’re both comfortable with. They could be things like:
- We both commit to looking forward not backward
- We understand not everyone has the same approach to money, and we won’t judge the other
- We both commit to taking constructive criticism with grace, not hostility.
Work out what matters to you both in terms of communicating ahead of the discussion so you have a list of rules you can refer back to when you get frustrated or feel the conversation veering into potentially hostile area. If you’re on the same page beforehand, it’s easier not to get bogged down in those emotions.
You could also ask one another questions about your attitudes to money – did your parents make you budget, is having savings important to you, what was the financial situation like growing up?
Understanding your partner’s attitude to money can help dissolve some of the frustration involved with the situation because you can see their point of view a little more clearly.
Similarly, before you go through your finances together, work out what your goals are long-term and short-term.
It will give you a structure to work through so you can see where you’re going together. It will also give you an opportunity to set rewards together so you can celebrate when you achieve your shorter-term goals.
If a short-term goal is to pay off a credit card, come up with a treat together that you’ll indulge in when you achieve it. Talking to your partner about money definitely doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience, particularly if you’re building rewards into your planning.
You’re a couple – but when it comes to money, you need to think like a team.