Your spouse or significant other comes home from work. This is the evening you have set aside for reviewing the monthly budget. What fun! There are some things in life that you should dread: jury duty, going to the dentist, finding a parking spot at the mall during the holiday season. You know what you shouldn’t dread? Talking to your significant other about money. Money, for whatever reason, has a well-deserved reputation for being a touchy subject, How many times have arguments started from this. But when you’re discussing your future with the person you want to spend the future with, you respect, it shouldn’t be equivalent to going to the dentist.
First things first, you should probably already have an idea of how each of you spend. Are you a saver? An investor? A spender? A spur-of-the-moment indulger? It’s also a good time to figure out who you are, who your spouse is and what style of life you want to live, both now and in the future. What’s important in your day-to-day lives: eating out? The car you drive? Your living space? Vacations? Once you determine how you spend and how you live, you can work out the best way to accomplish that together. This may take compromise! Let’s say you’re a saver, but your partner is a spender, however, your partner really enjoys taking trips all over the world. Maybe you can find a middle ground. This can be used as an incentive to accomplish your future plans.
Listening and seeing your souses point of view can also make it seem more rewarding and less like a chore. Rather than just discussing numbers or costs, talk about what that money can mean in the greater sense of your life — whether that’s spending time exploring another country together or preparing for your future family. Not only does it give both of you something to work toward, it can also show how you see your future together.
In a similar vein, it’s important to not just focus on spending money.. No one likes to have someone looking over their shoulder, watching every move or every credit card swipe. After all, both adhering to a lifetime financial plan is tough. You also want to look for ways to reward yourselves.
It’s also better to be like the tortoise in these conversations. Slow and steady wins the relationship. Don’t go in with sensitive topics first. Start slow and work up to it. Be understanding. Start to where are you both trying to end up. Remember that these conversations can make people feel vulnerable. Approach them with sensitivity, care, and, of course, honesty. And at the end of your meeting, find something to acknowledge the other person for: I can see you really tried to lower spending with clothing. Acknowledging your partner can go a long way.
Talking about finances shouldn’t feel like a trip to the dentist, but rather (hopefully) a trip to the spa…with a somewhat uncomfortable deep tissue massage that is a little uncomfortable while happening but leaves you feeling better in the end. Remember to kiss and hug also.
For more tips on how to talk to your partner about finances, visit tswealth.com.