Money, Now + Beyond

Here’s how to talk finances with your partner – without freaking out

Don't be shy—just be honest.

I know that in polite society we aren’t supposed to talk about money.

It’s off the table, taboo. Verboten, if you will.

Asking how much someone makes is tantamount to asking someone to show you their undergarment drawer. For most, that sort of topic will get people riled up really quickly. But even while it’s true that talking about money is awkward, we still have to do it. Money makes the world go ’round, and if we ignore the power and influence it has on our lives, we are dooming ourselves to willful ignorance. We have to have an open dialogue – really good communication – regarding money.

Our lives improve if we do.

The first place you need to start talking about money is with your partner.

There are few things which can ruin a romantic relationship faster than fighting about money. And romantic relationships seem to be a breeding ground for opportunities to fight about it, unless you open up the topic for discussion sooner, rather than later. What if one person in the relationship makes more money than the other person? How would discretionary spending work when one person has more money than the other? What if you have a joint bank account?

These are the questions you need to be asking.

My partner and I have vastly different job prospects.

While I am finding work in a more creative field, they work as an engineer. Right now, even though we are both still at university, the job experience they have found have allowed them to continuously make money over the years, where I have not been quite as able.

But that is something we discuss.

They know that I can’t always pick up the tab if we go out to dinner. When I do, they never make it seem like a big deal. For both of us, it’s a “thank you!” and we move on.

It also helps that we are in a long-distance relationship. A lot of the expense of being in a relationship is mitigated when you only see each other once a month.

Communication is key in our case.

We are always willing to talk about how we are doing financially, or what the future could hold for us. We aren’t afraid to ask each other about how much we spend on things like food, gas, bills.

Knowing that helps.

We even guess what the bill is when we go out to dinner. I’m lucky to have someone who is ready to talk about money on my side. When it comes down to it, being transparent about how you spend and what you spend on helps build stronger relationships.

If you need a couple ideas of what not to say in a relationship to facilitate good communication about money, here is a video from The Financial Diet:

Don’t only complain that you’re broke to your friends – actually talk about money with them.

We’ve all struggled with money at some point.

Especially in the Millennial generation, we’re coming out of university and into one of the worst job markets ever, with an unemployment rate in the United States of around 10.7%, just for young people from ages 18-29. We’re all in this together, so we have to talk about it, not just bitch and moan.

It does sound trite, but knowledge is power.

Actually discussing money with your friends, pooling your information, can make taking on the world feel better. Also, when you talk to your friends and peers, have open communication with co-workers about raises and such, it makes it much easier to take advantage of opportunities.

If we don’t talk about money, we might not know that there are opportunities to be had.

We have to be the ones to break the taboo about talking about money.

The only way we are going to change the mentality surrounding it is if we are the ones who bring it up.

So let’s talk about money. Talk with your significant other. Tell them how much you spend on groceries or that you’re thinking of cutting back getting coffee every day. Make money talk a part of your everyday communication. Talk with your friends. Talk about the money that you’re making and the opportunities you are finding.

Collaborate!

We are all just trying to move forward and make the best of our lives in this world, and money talks.

So we should, too.