Remember back to your teenage years and those awkward, anxiety-provoking conversations you used to have with your parents?
Like the time you studied your butt off for the algebra test but still ended up bombing it…
…and when your mom asked you how your day at school was…you felt your palms get all sweaty and a lump swell up in your throat.
You knew you should just come clean and tell her, but facing her disappointment or a long lecture on how you should have tried harder was just too much to handle.
So, you smiled and said, “Goooood”, and crossed your fingers that she wouldn’t find out about the test.
Then, when she DID find out about it (moms always do), the situation was a million times worse, because not only did you get a lecture on failing the exam, but you got hammered for not be honest and forthcoming about failing the test.
Ugh. Those conversations always sucked. Right?
The funny thing is that you might experience those same awkward, anxiety-provoking situations when it comes to talking with your partner about finances.
Maybe you’re like a teenager again and don’t want your partner to find out you just spent a bunch of money in your business or on a luxury item for yourself…
…so you don’t mention the purchase and cross your fingers that they won’t find out about it…
…only to regret hiding the purchase when the truth comes out and the sh*t hits the fan.
Or maybe you’re like the mom in the situation and find out your partner made a big financial mistake but didn’t tell you about it…
…and you feel so totally disappointed and angry that they weren’t forthcoming with you.
Talking about money with your partner isn’t easy. Conversations can escalate quickly and financial stress can act like poison to your relationship.
Money Truth Bomb: You probably haven’t been taught how to have the dreaded money talk with your partner…and that can lead to avoidance, money shame, and financial fights.
Why, oh why, is money so hard to talk about???
Why do emotions run hot when it comes to this subject?…and why is money the #1 thing couples fight about?
I’ll tell you why:
- We often care more about the opinions of those closest to us and want them to be proud of us, respect us and admire us. Money matters can lead to disappointment and blame. Ouch!
- Out of fear, you feel the need to hide your money mistakes, decisions and “flaws” in order to spare your reputation and ensure that your partner will still view you positively. (Or your partner does this with you by keeping financial info from you.)
- Each of us carry a whole lot of money baggage into our relationships. It looks different for each person, but we’ve all got it and that makes money convos complicated.
- We all have complicated feelings when it comes to money and very few of us are taught early on how to have a healthy relationship with it. That applies to YOU and your PARTNER.
But the BIGGEST reason why money is often a touchy subject for couples is this:
You and your partner are NOT the same person…which means that you each have different BELIEFS, VALUES, EXPERIENCES and EXPECTATIONS related to money.
Working out those differences and working together on mutual financial goals can be dicey…
…and because money convos with your partner aren’t a leisurely walk in the park…
…most couples avoid talking about finances…until a fight ensues and they’re forced to deal with money matters.
But there’s a better way to go about this…a way that won’t make you dread money talk with your partner.
Simply do these 3 things:
1. Schedule MONEY MEETINGS.
You know how I’m always preaching about scheduling MONEY DATES and setting aside time to tend to your finances? Well, you need to schedule MONEY MEETINGS with your partner so you can both check in on your finances together and tend to them as a team.
2. Be PROACTIVE with money talk.
Instead of waiting for financial problems to pop up to talk about money with your partner, be proactive and discuss money matters even before issues arise. You can’t have a calm, productive conversation about money when you’re both pissed off about the problem at hand. Use your money meetings as an opportunity to talk about your financial dreams, goals, challenges, and plans…in a calm, respectful way.
3. Agree on FINANCIAL GROUND RULES.
Every couple has ground rules for the relationship (guidelines for what is acceptable and unacceptable in the relationship)…and many of them go unspoken. You and your partner probably have unspoken ground rules when it comes to finances too…but those need to be discussed and agreed upon.
Setting a ground rule that you’ll consult with each about EVERY purchase is a bit excessive…but maybe you’ll want to agree to consulting with each other before making a purchase over $100 (for example).
Again, money meetings offer a designated time and place to have these conversations and get on the same page about how money will be handled in your relationship.
Money talks with your partner don’t have to be awkward, anxiety-provoking, or tense.
They can be productive, meaningful, and even fun.
I recommend adding great take out, a bottle of wine, and after-money-talk-sex to each money meeting!
Homework: Schedule a MONEY MEETING with your partner this week.
Simply say something like, “Hey, I’d love to sit down with you for an hour to enjoy some great food and talk about what’s going on with our money. When would be a good time for us to do that?”
I hope this helps turn dreaded money talks into swoon worthy convos you look forward to!