By Kurt Smith
Learn more about Kurt on NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor
Disagreements are a part of every relationship — especially financial ones. In fact, discussions about money are among the most common communication struggles for couples, as they can easily unravel into money fights. Learning how to properly navigate these discussions is an important component of any healthy relationship.
Because money is such a divisive subject, you must remember first and foremost that you’re on the same team as your partner when approaching a money discussion. If you’re in a committed relationship, you shouldn’t think of money as “my money” and “your money,” but rather “our money.” View any disagreements with the partnership in mind.
Maintaining that team mentality when dealing with finances is crucial to successfully addressing challenges. Here are five more ways to help build teamwork and prevent a blowup when discussing finances with your partner.
1. Plan it
Set aside a day and time to discuss finances with your partner. Beforehand, you should both create and share a list of things you’d like to talk about. This will help both of you come to the meeting prepared and be productive. With an agenda decided in advance, no one will be caught off guard about a topic.
2. Recognize that you might not see eye to eye on money matters
We all view money differently based on how we were raised and saw our parents spend and save. Have an honest conversation with your partner about your experiences with saving, debt and credit cards. You will most likely need to find methods of handling money that meet somewhere in the middle and can be acceptable to both of you.
3. Be transparent and admit your faults
No one is perfect, so don’t pretend like you have it all together when it comes to money. It’s difficult to admit mistakes, but being in a relationship requires vulnerability. Talk about missteps you’ve made and what you’ll do differently going forward. If you’re honest with your partner, you’ll build trust and security in your relationship.
4. Think of money discussions as a chance to grow
Money matters don’t have to cause arguments. Your mindset plays a big part in the results. Think of your money discussion as a chance to get on the same page with your partner and start working together to reach common financial goals. Start generally by talking about your spending and saving habits and whether they’re satisfactory. If not, create a plan to change that.
5. Plan something fun afterward
Talking about money can be difficult and stressful. Plan to do something fun together when you’re finished with the discussion. This will help allow you both to relax and enjoy each other after dealing with a hard subject. It will also remind you of why you’re together and why being partners with your money is good for both of you.
Healthy and happy
In order to maintain healthy and happy relationships, we must learn how to have productive, respectful and healthy conversations about money. Honesty, transparency and vulnerability go a long way in determining the outcome of these financial discussions. If you have your partner’s and the relationship’s best interests at heart, you’ll have a solid base for talking about money without a blowup.