Being in a relationship brings joy and happiness. Successful relationships require open communication and trust, but there are some conversations that are harder to have than others. And one of the most difficult ones is about money. There are numerous statistics and experts that say that the number cause of divorce are finances. Talking about money is serious and can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or scary.

The first step is planning the talk. Find a time where you both can talk without distractions: this means no phones, no TV, no kids, just each other. You could even make a date out of it by finding a place with wifi and getting out of the house to do it. It’s also not a bad idea to have these meetings monthly or at least quarterly to ensure you’re on track and on the same page.

At the meeting you should be prepared to discuss your budget and plans for savings and retirement. Like any meeting, it’s best to come prepared. Bring notes about how your family has handled money in the past and how you would follow or change those steps. It’s also important to decide the kind of account you want: joint or single bank accounts. Now is also the time talk about financial dreams and goals. It’s great to discuss those “pie in the sky” retirement dreams to see if you’re on the same page and to see how to make them come true.

It’s also important to discuss and think in “we” terms. It’s no longer just about you since you’re building your lives together. It should also be noted that empathy will help with these conversations. Try to understand where your partner is coming from, especially if you have different spending habits. It’s also important to listen to qualms your partner may have. Don’t immediately put money before your partner. If you want to save money by eating home more, listen to why your partner may disagree. They may enjoy eating out since it guarantees a date night.

Also remember that no one is perfect and both of you are going to make financial errors. Be forgiving and understanding. And then try to figure out ways to prevent it from happening again.

For more information on discussing finances with your partner, visit