Money can be an awkward topic to talk about for some people. Maybe you grew up in a household where your parents said it was rude to talk about money. Or perhaps your finances are a source of shame because you accumulated too much credit card debt or have trouble budgeting. However, when you and your significant other start getting serious, it’s important to have these discussions. Here’s our credit counseling advice for talking about money in a relationship.
When to Start Talking About Money in a Relationship
When exactly should you start talking about money in a relationship? The first date? When you get engaged? Every couple is different, so there’s no “right” answer to this question. As a general rule of thumb, it is probably a good idea to start talking about money in a relationship when you start getting serious with your partner. If you’re planning on moving in together and sharing expenses, it’s a good idea to have the money talk. How will you split the expenses? Will you each pay half of everything or will you pay for some bills and your partner pays others? Create a budget together so you are both aware of how much each of you is responsible for.
Make Financial Goals Together
As you start to build a life together, you should also talk about your financial goals. When do you want to buy a home? Do you plan on having children? Being on the same page financially is important as you plan for your future. It’s not enough to just have general goals. Use the SMART goals model to be as specific as possible. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Regularly Revisit Your Budget
Talking about money in a relationship isn’t just a one-time conversation. As you progress through life and your relationship, it’s important to revise your budget. When big life events happen or you have a change in your expenses, you should revisit your budget. Buying a home, changing jobs, having a baby, etc. are all life events that change your expenses and/or income.
Final Tips on Talking About Money in a Relationship
Finally, honesty is the best policy when discussing money in a relationship. It’s best to be upfront with your partner about any debt or other financial issues you have. It might be embarrassing or uncomfortable to talk about, but the sooner you discuss it, the sooner you can come up with a solution together. Possible ideas include speaking with a debt counselor or considering a debt management program. Hiding money problems is never a good idea in a relationship. Be open and honest with your partner about your finances.
If you struggle with debt, ACCC may be able to help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today!