What’s Money Got To Do With It?
Day: the holiday designated for warm, romantic talks about cash.
not – but periodic personal finance discussions are one way
to keep love alive. Whether you’re freshly smitten or celebrating
a golden anniversary, money conflicts can lead to severe relationship
damage. In fact, financial differences are one of the top reasons
divorced couples cite for their breakups. Communication is critical.
Honest and respectful money talks bring many couples significantly
closer. Learning about each other’s issues before problems
arise can help avoid future arguments and make financial decisions
that satisfy both partners’ needs and values.
When: The best time
for a cash-chat is long before conflicts surface. If the discussion
is prompted by a problem (a bounced rent check, for example), cool
off first. And unless both of you are “night people,”
meet during daylight hours to prevent nodding off.
Find a comfortable, private place where you won’t be interrupted
by such distractions as the phone, chores, or the NBA finals. The
space should be available for a specific amount of time with little,
if any, foot traffic. No place meets these criteria at home? Try
a quiet café or restaurant.
How: Make a conscious effort to understand your partner’s
perspective, and be open to compromise. Have a set start and end
time. If the meeting gets heated, take a break. When important decisions
are made, jot them down – you may not remember them later.
Money is a complex subject comprised of an infinite number of subtopics.
Here are some key discussion points to get you started (don’t
try to cover all in one sitting!):
- How you were
raised to think about money
- Your financial
fears, goals, challenges, and successes
- What your
ideal spending and savings plan looks like
- Your salary
- Who pays
- Your individual
- When you
want to retire – and what your retirement looks like
- The amount
you can spend without the other’s knowledge or consent
- If you should
have separate or joint accounts
- What to do
about kids: college funding, single vs. dual income, allowances,
- How to treat
to eat: Chocolate. Okay, it has nothing to do with
money, but even conflict-free chats about these issues can be stressful.
A heart shaped box of bonbons can work wonders to soothe frayed nerves.
Happy Valentines Day!