Disclaimer: This is not financial advice.
Finances are a touchy subject. Shoot, a lot of us avoid our own personal finances right? How are we supposed to talk about it with others!? We’ve been conditioned to avoid mentioning our personal finances to our families, friends, spouses as if everyone is out to get you and steal all your money. We’ve been conditioned to think that it’s shameful to be in debt and to keep to yourself while you drown in your finances. This can led to denial, resentment and at worse cases, death. Other than yourself, if you have a significant other or spouse, it would be a good idea to talk about your finances with each other right? You guys share everything anyway lol. Now, this isn’t a post that is going to be about what’s yours is also mine and that you should share everything. This is about openly talking about finances with your partner and setting boundaries with them as your relationship goes on.
The bear and me have been together for over 7 years. We talk about everything and that includes finances. I come from a background of finance and I’ve become well versed in the topic while the bear comes from a background of science, which does not have much to do with numbers unless we’re talking about gravity! The bear understands a lot about money but hates numbers. Like seriously she tells me to stop when she feels like I’m going on a numbers tangent. I am such a numbers person I can go on for days! We have our differences when it comes to money and we talk about it when we can. We both are on the same page of our end goals in terms of savings, investments and spending, but our path’s are different. We both utilize spreadsheets/apps but she budgets and I don’t budget at all LOL. Don’t get me wrong, I have numbers in mind but my money moves around a lot and I just make sure I am tracking what I am spending and making sure I’m not over spending each month. Budgeting works for the bear, but not for me. And that’s okay because we both understand that we have our own processes to get where we need to get. We have separate bank accounts, but are authorized users with our credit cards. We split our spending evenly so we are both paying our fair share and we account for it in our own ways. Sometimes we just split different transactions with another to net out the money (though it can get messy so we are trying to divert away from that). We both have boundaries and we both shop freely (I try not to judge when the bear goes shopping and I don’t want her to feel bad but it comes out sometimes 😦 I’m sorry bear!!) We do not hide anything money wise with each other, I mean, I literally talk about money on the internet lol. Although I handle a lot of the credit cards because I love points, we do our best not to touch each others money or have an imbalance of payments so we don’t feel insecure about where our money is going. We’re not perfect, but we’re in this together.
I want to share some things that could help you and your significant other/spouse with talking about money! Now before I dive in, this may not work out for everything. I understand that some couples keep their money completely separate and that’s okay. I don’t use the bear’s money and she doesn’t use mine for our own leisure. This is merely about talking about how to get on the same page with money, while still having boundaries.
Have Money Dates/Sessions
Yup I said it, money dates! This is separate from your typically date nights. This is a time where you and your partner should sit down whether it be on the couch with some wine, dinner or in the car and talk about money. You talk about your spending, your financial goals, your financial fears, your financial aspirations. Let it all out. It can be a monthly date, quarterly date or a yearly date! As long as these dates happen. We don’t really do formal dates but I guess you can say the bear and me’s money dates come in the form of us randomly standing in the kitchen as we go over a variety of financial topics. I estimate these dates/sessions happen about once every month or every other month. Having this type of date is important in your relationship. It’s a different type of openness and bonding experience between the both of you. This shouldn’t be a time to argue, blame or spite each other. This is a time to understand what you both need and want out of your money. What you both want to fulfill your souls while not financially destroying your individual self and partnership. It’s a time to understand what you both love and how you can achieve what you both love without gutting your savings. Talk about the things you want, where you want to go and how you are going to get there. Without flat out saying that we need to do better with our money, you could openly express your want to travel overseas at some point or buy that nice home you both been dreaming for. This is the what, what you both want. The next thing is how, how you will get there? That where the topic of money comes in. Having an end goal gives you both as a couple motivation to get there. Both me and the bear want to travel, retire early and have the home of our dreams. That is enough motivation for us to talk about money in a way that isn’t insulting to each other. Make your dates fun! This isn’t an interrogation of each others spending habits! None of that toxicity over here, we’re tryna live our best lives and that means we have to be on the same page about money!
Set Money Boundaries
Money boundaries are important. While you have your dates you should talk about boundaries as well. How are bills going to be paid? Will we set up separate accounts and fund each account so we can pay our bills? Does one partner take a certain bill? Talk about it. What are you comfortable with? What is your partner comfortable with? Can you both find a compromise so that you both are comfortable? Do you want to have separate personal bank accounts? That is another important boundary. Again, both the bear and me have separate bank accounts and if and when we decide to get married, we still will have separate bank accounts. That is a boundary that we have an understanding on. We keep our earnings separate. Joint accounts in the future? Maybe so, we haven’t discussed that yet. But anyway, these are the type of things that have to be asked: What is your boundaries with money? If you want to have a fund to shop till you drop you do that! It’s your money! However, you have to account for the important stuff first. Your needs come before your wants. Again, have boundaries. Don’t agree to something because you feel bad, this will cause resentment in the future. Lay out your boundaries and work with your partner so that you are both comfortable about your money and finances.
Don’t Play The Blame Game
I thought I should still make this it’s own section because it’s so important. Again, talking about finances with your partner should not be a time to blame each other for ones mistakes. That’s toxic. It’s a time to put your pride/feelings aside and look at the bigger picture as a couple. Whatever your financial situation is and whatever your position is right now, it is time to look forward. If you and your partner are in debt, hold yourselves accountable and work together to figure out how to get out of debt. The time to blame each other for who got who into debt does not matter at all. It’s wasted energy. Why spend your energy blaming when you both can be planning a strategy to get out of it? Blaming each other will only cause hurt, it won’t make the debt go away. Debt will not go away because you want it to, if you choose to avoid it or if you choose to blame other people. Work as a team, sit down, talk, voice out your feelings, don’t blame your partner and work your way to come up with a plan to figure it all out.
*Bonus tip: Since money is such a touchy subject a lot of people value security in their finances when they get married. Do not turn the blind eye to prenuptial agreements or better known as “prenups”. Prenups have a negative reputation because some will argue that you don’t trust the person you love, but it’s for the security of both parties in case it doesn’t work out. And let’s be honest and realistic, not everything works out the way you intend. If you and your partnership have never talked about it, please do so. Prenups can help both parties and will do no harm.
Look, I’m not a relationship guru or expert. You may not agree with me with how you want to handle money in your relationship and that’s okay. However, if you both can openly talk about money and work together while still having your own boundaries with money, I believe you and your partner can conquer debt and pay it off, thrive as a couple and as individuals and live your best life. Your relationship is your relationship. I don’t have control over how you manage your lives nor do I want to have that power. What I do have is a suggestion on how this may help you and your partner. Talk to them. Talk about what you want out of life, how you will get there and what you both can do to support each other. Finances are really a touchy subject. However if you both can become comfortable and find a compromise, then you will do great.