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How to Talk to Your Partner About Money

5 min read

If you’re in a relationship sooner or later you’re going to have to talk about money. Whether it’s about who pays for dinner on the first date or whose turn it is to buy groceries – it’s going to happen. 

Let’s not kid ourselves, talking about money and financial matters with your partner can turn awkward quickly. You might have very different ideas about what “splurging” might mean in terms of amount, or one of you might enjoy spending money on entertainment more than the other.

Whatever the reason, it’s best to come clean about your attitude and approach to money to your S.O. Don’t wait for a fight to break out over finances to begin the all-important conversation around it. 

We completely get that this prospect might not thrill you – who wants to talk about money, it’s a serious mood-killer! But it’s still important – vital even – to lay down some groundwork when it comes to your individual and collective spending habits so you both can be on the same page. 

Here are a few tips for cushioning the blow and having an honest discussion about money without any major blowouts from happening.

How to Talk To Your Partner About Money: 6 Tips to Ease the Awkwardness


1. Let the length determine the level

Ok, first things first – how long have you been together? If you’ve just started going out the moola talk is going to look very different compared to if you’ve been together for a while. Let the length of your relationship determine the level of financial honesty you’re going to have with each other. 

Think about it – how comfortable would you feel asking your partner about how much they have saved up in investments, or whether or not they’re in any debt if you’ve only known each other a short time? 

You’d more likely be discussing high-level money topics, like agreeing on what restaurant you want to go to or how much you can spend on a weekend away.

As time goes by and your relationship becomes more serious, you’ll probably both get more comfortable asking the bigger questions about debt, savings, expenses and lifestyle habits. 

Of course, there’s no hard rule saying you can’t ask these questions early in the relationship – it’s up to you. 


2. Don’t spring it – set a time

Conversations about money can make people uncomfortable. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve been put on the spot somehow about our spending or finances. It’s not fun – and it can make people feel attacked, causing them to get defensive. 

If you want to avoid angry retorts and things potentially getting emotional, the best thing to do is employ a heads up. Don’t spring the topic of money on your partner unannounced. Rather set a date and time to talk about things.

You could say “I’d love to spend a bit of time chatting about (insert money matter), particularly X/Y/Z. Could we do it tomorrow after work?” Your partner may initially be hesitant. If they are, reassure them that it’s just in the interest of being transparent and it’s not to finger-point or judge in any way. 

Giving them the time to mentally prepare will help them feel a little more at ease when you do talk. 


3. Talk values, not just numbers

Very often, we only talk about what we’re spending and how much – not the values driving our spending habits. There’s a good chance you might have been brought up in households that had different values and attitudes towards money, spending and saving. As a result, one of you might be more inclined to spend and the other to save.

For this reason, it’s important to talk about how you both approach money as a whole – what values dictate your spending habits and are they different from your partner’s? It’s especially important to have this conversation before making any big decisions in the relationship like moving in together or getting married.

Rather be honest and set expectations now instead of waiting to discover that you both have completely different world views and priorities when it comes to money. 


4. Always be honest

Speaking of being honest…

It’s a rule all couples should try their best to stick to – don’t ever lie about your financial situation. It will come up eventually and if your partner ends up hearing about it too late or from a friend or relative, they may just end the relationship for good. 

We know – it can be really difficult to be honest about your financial situation. We all have debts, student loans and a few bad spending habits, we’re only human – and so are you!

But withholding important information about debts or serious spending habits could cause major problems further down the road, problems that will become your partner’s if they decide to marry you. 

If your partner is not comfortable discussing something, don’t push them to. Rather put a pin in it and set another money talk date to give them some breathing space. The same goes for you – tell your partner you’d rather talk about it at a later date – but set that date. The sooner you tell them, the better. 


5. Agree to disagree sometimes

You’re not always going to see eye to eye with each other on every single money matter. You might consider organic food to be an important expense while your partner might consider it unnecessary. 

Meanwhile, they spend money tinkering on motorbikes as a hobby which you may think is completely pointless. It’s ok!

As long as you’re both honest with each other and are open to discussing personal financial habits, that’s half the battle won right there. 

At the end of the day, you’ll have different interests that will lead to different weekly or monthly expenses. Committing to working with each other on finding common ground for spending is more important than agreeing all the time. 

Give yourselves the room to disagree sometimes. It’s healthy, as long as it’s respectful and doesn’t strain your relationship.
 

6. Share adventures

Open an extra account on your Spot app, invite your partner and share living expenses together within the app. Unsure on how to create an extra account? Here’s how.


Conclusion 

Having that initial financial talk is the first and often hardest step. As soon as you’ve done it once, it should feel less uncomfortable the next time. This is important – make sure there’s a next time. 

Ongoing communication is the key to a healthy relationship after all. With a little practice and an open mind, you’ll be surprised at what you and your partner can achieve when you work together on finances.

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