Meaningful Money Conversations
In today’s society where money seems to be a driving force, it always surprises me to witness how taboo financial conversations can be even within committed relationships. I often hear couples share similar messages of “we have never discussed money” or “when we do talk about it, we always end up in an argument.” If this resonates with you, have no fear… financial conflict is one of the most common conflicts a couple may experience throughout their relationship. Let’s explore some meaningful money conversations you and your partner should be having throughout your relationship!
Joint or Separate Bank Accounts
This is often a decision many pre-marital couples are conflicted on. It’s worth considering, both individually and as a couple, “How comfortable am I sharing a bank account with my partner?” If one or both partners decide to have a separate bank account, how does the couple contribute to common bills, expenses, or savings? It is also a good idea to explore the pros and cons with your partner about what financial structure works best for your relationship. Whichever the two of you decide is the best for your relationship, just remember to continue conversations about boundaries, expectations, and shared financial goals throughout your relationship.
Boundaries are an important aspect in all relationships and situations, especially in terms of finances. Whether you have a joint, separate, or a combination of both accounts, it is still best practice to set boundaries together with your partner. What are you okay with? What are you not okay with? What is spending too much? What is saving too little? I always ask my clients to have honest conversations about setting limits. For example, what is a mutual limit that the two of you are okay with spending without having a conversation about it first? Additionally, what is the minimum amount that the two of you feel comfortable keeping your savings at, whereby anything that dips below this number is cause for concern?
Unfortunately, your partner cannot read your mind so it is important to share your expectations with one another to avoid any misunderstanding or conflict in the future. Are you expecting your partner to save a percentage of their income each month? Are you expecting the individual who has a higher income to pay more toward common bills? Are you expecting that your partner shares a similar meaning of money as you do?
Along with expectations, it is also really helpful to make sure that the two of you are on the same page in what you are working towards. What are your short-term or long-term financial goals? Do you want to be debt free as soon as possible? Would you like to retire early? Are you planning on buying a car or a home in the future? Whatever your financial goals are, setting and sharing them with your partner clarifies that the two of you are working towards the same things and not against each other.
Meaning of Money
In a relationship where two are becoming one unit, it is only natural to have different ideas and meanings, money being no exception. What does money mean to you? What does it mean to your partner? How has your meaning of money changed over time? What does money symbolize to you? All these questions are a good icebreaker into the conversations of money. How you define money influences how you view, spend, or save it. Sharing your own meaning of money with your partner helps them better understand you, your boundaries, expectations, and goals.
Discussing finances may be uncomfortable; however, financial conversations are extremely important to the well-being of your relationship with your partner. I strongly encourage anyone in a relationship to view these above questions – and finances as a whole – as a continuous conversation that occurs throughout the relationship.
For help navigating meaningful money conversations in your relationship, or to discuss any other matter in more detail, schedule an appointment with Brooke Skrivanek here.