How to Talk About Money: Tips for Couples
Many couples avoid the topic of money, particularly early in marriage. But doing that can lead to a greater amount of conflict down the road. How do you begin to discuss financial matters without damaging an already strong relationship? Here are a few tips:
1. Find a neutral time to talk about finances: It’s important to have a calm, relaxed discussion when it comes to money and not bring up the issue when a particular problem arises. Sit down with your spouse and discuss various money “scenarios” and how you would address them, such as an overdrawn checking account, credit card debt, or joint vs. separate accounts. If you’re concerned about your spouse’s spending habits or ability to manage money, those points should be brought up in a non-accusatory way for further discussion. It’s important to keep in mind that some people feel uncomfortable talking about money right away and patience (and persistence) is key.
2. Understand your spouse’s perspective: Men and women view money differently. Women may view it as a sense of security and stability and worry more when financial problems arise. Meanwhile, men may take more risks with money and view financial setbacks as a threat to their self-confidence. Couples should try to understand each other’s perspective as a way to compromise on money issues.
3. Set rules and limits. It’s important to work together to come up with general spending guidelines. Many couples like to keep a budget and track spending on a weekly or monthly basis. Others like to agree on an amount (ie $100 -$200) that each can spend without needing to consult one another. Again, discussing these options and coming to a clear understanding is vital.