Step 4 of 10 Steps to Financial Wellness
Your spending and budget are on track and a debt-elimination plan is in place. So, what’s next?
It probably isn’t high on anyone’s list, but now’s the time to have a serious talk with your partner about money. If one of you is from Venus and the other from Mars (financially speaking), this conversation could be especially difficult. How can you possibly have an amicable discussion about money when your views and habits are so different?
For step 4 of your financial wellness journey, we’ve compiled six tips to help smooth things over for this crucial conversation.
- Plan the discussion in advance. As with any complicated conversation, you won’t want to spring the money talk on your partner without warning. Instead, propose a date and time, making sure it works for you both and there’s enough heads-up to prepare.
- Start with a vision. Instead of interrogating each other’s approach to money, focus on a shared vision. Maybe bring up how it would be great to start saving for a dream home. Or how about that trip to Europe that you’ve always talked about? A positive spin early can really set the tone for the rest of the conversation.
- Listen carefully. There’s no 100% correct way to manage finances. So, even if you don’t share your partner’s approach (perhaps especially if you have a different approach), it’s important to listen carefully to their ideas about money management. They might surprise you with insights that shed light on your own spending habits or tics.
- Talk openly about sharing expenses and savings. If one of you makes more money, is it wise to split expenses down the middle? In lieu of contributing equal income, can one of you be in charge of paying the bills or managing the budget? If you decide to share expenses and/or pool your savings, there will likely be these and other factors to consider.
- Consider a slush fund. Sometimes, you just want to splurge without having to consult a spreadsheet. A slush fund or “just for fun” spending account can help maintain a sense of independence and keep some purchases private.
- Keep the conversation going. Finances shouldn’t overwhelm your interactions, but it is healthy to chat about them on a regular basis. By openly discussing recent purchases, surprise bills that came up, upcoming expenses, etc., you’re more likely to avoid money arguments down the road.
Next up: Practice Mindful Spending