Feelings and finances: 8 dos and don’ts of talking to your partner about money

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Money can be a delicate topic in any relationship. When you first start dating, discussing your savings, debt or credit scores with each other over a candlelit dinner might seem pretty unromantic.

But when your partner’s finances begin to mix with yours, it’s worth putting strategies in place to start talking openly and honestly about money. That’s because your partner’s finances could impact your own.

Money can become a focal point at any point in a relationship – when you move in together, when you buy property together, when you get a pet, have kids, when you retire, and even if you decide to separate.

That’s why it’s important to discuss and resolve your financial issues. To make sure your discussions are productive and respectful, here are 8 essential dos and don'ts to keep in mind.

1. Do: Set a positive tone

Start money conversations with an open mind and a willingness to collaborate. Sharing your financial goals and aspirations can foster a sense of partnership.

For example, you could bring up your goal to travel, start a business or own a home, and come up with ways to save together.

2. Don't: Assign blame or let emotions dominate

While talking about money can bring up strong feelings, try to keep emotions in check. Avoid pointing fingers or blaming each other. This can create tension and hinder progress.

Instead, focus on solutions, like working together to create a budget that addresses both your needs and desires.

3. Do: Collaborate on financial goals

Set short-term and long-term financial goals together that align with both of your visions for the future. This might be building up an emergency fund, planning a dream holiday, saving for a house deposit or whatever else.

Sharing your money goals helps build a united approach to planning your finances.

4. Don't: Avoid difficult conversations

Ignoring money issues won't make them disappear. Procrastination can lead to more significant problems down the road.

When faced with challenges – be it an unexpected vet bill, an emergency repair or one partner losing their job – openly discuss how to adjust your budget and support each other during this tricky time.

5. Do: Set aside "money time"

Designate a regular time to discuss finances together without interruptions. This shows commitment and allows for focused, productive conversations.

Put a joint event in your calendars and stick to it every week or month. Use this time to go through your joint spending and check in on your goals. 

6. Don't: Hide financial secrets

Transparency is key in a healthy financial partnership. Hidden spending and/or debts can erode trust over time.

For example, if you've made an unplanned purchase that affects your partner, openly discuss it and think about ways to manage unexpected expenses in the future.

7. Do: Celebrate financial wins

Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements together, whether it's paying off a loan or reaching a savings milestone.

Recognising your progress boosts morale and encourages you to continue to work towards money goals together.

8. Don't: Compare your finances to others’

Everyone’s financial situation is unique, and comparisons can breed resentment. Whether you’re pitting your own finances against your partner’s or comparing your joint finances to another couple’s, it probably won’t benefit you.

Avoid phrases like "Why can't we be like them?" Instead, appreciate your progress, whether it's paying off debt or building an emergency fund.

The key to having successful conversations with your partner about money is a combination of respect, openness and a willingness to work together towards shared goals.

By following these dos and avoiding the don'ts, you can create a healthier financial partnership that contributes positively to your relationship's overall well-being.

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