How to Talk to Your Partner About Money

It’s always a good idea to talk about money with your partner, whether you’re getting married, moving in together, or just getting serious about money.

But how do you talk about money with your partner?

Many people find this scary or uncomfortable, but don’t worry.

In this piece, we’ll talk about:

  • When you should start to talk about money with your partner
  • The best ways to talk about money with your partner
  • Scripts to help start a conversation
  • Essential things you should ALWAYS talk about with your partner
  • How to find out what invisible scripts you and your partner have (& what to do about them) (+scripts to help start the conversation)
  • What you should NEVER say to your partner when talking about money
  • Answers to the most common questions about how to talk about money with your partner
  • When should you talk to your partner about money?
  • When you’re just getting to know someone, money talk probably isn’t a big part of your conversations, but that doesn’t mean it has to be that way. You can start a conversation about money by discussing who pays for dates, your salaries, or other money-related topics.

At this point, you probably don’t want to tell your partner everything about your income, debts, and mortgages. That might be a little too much…

When you and your partner are making an extensive life choice

You’ve been seeing each other for a while and are now in a serious relationship. Money is something that should be talked about profoundly. Now is not the time to brush it under the rug.

Before you move in together, you should discuss bills, rent, insurance, and how you’ll split costs.

Getting engaged is a fun time, but it’s also a time when you need to make some critical money choices. How will you tie the knot? How will the money be spent? Do you need to know about any deal-breakers BEFORE you get married? How will you split your property if you get a divorce? Not very romantic, but something to think about.

If you’re having a baby, you and your partner should talk about parental leave, how much money you’ll lose during that time, and how much you’ll need to spend on the new baby. Have those talks BEFORE any of these things happen that will change your life. You will be glad you did it in the future.

After you’ve tied the knot

It would help if you talked about money a lot by now. But it’s surprising that many people still don’t talk much about money after ten years of marriage.

This is often because one person is better with money and takes care of it, or because one person doesn’t work and the person who does takes care of everything.

No matter where you live or how much money you have, you should try to talk more openly about money. You can always start checking in with your partner to ensure you are on the same page.

Your goals and financial situation may change in the future, so start now to talk openly with your partner about money. It will make any changes much easier to deal with.

Want to know how to talk to your spouse about money? 

Get ready for a money talk.

  • Are you ready to get out of debt, save money, and start making real money? Get my Ultimate Guide to Personal Finances for FREE.
  • How to talk about money for the first time with your partner
  • How to get ready for your first talk about money
  • It might sound painful to talk about money with your partner, but I promise it doesn’t have to be awkward. Even though it sounds cheesy, it can bring you closer together.

Having the right mindset is the key to getting your first big money talk off on the right foot. Asking for their advice or thoughts is one way to bring up the subject, even if you don’t need it.

How to start a conversation about money

Take it slow at first if you’re nervous about bringing up the subject.

“Hey, I’ve been trying to learn more about money lately. What are your thoughts on investing vs. saving?”

If you don’t get a response, try being more clear:

“Okay, well, I have one more question. What do you think of how I spend my money? Do you think I should change anything?”

I’m sure they’ll have something to say about it, and even though you’re putting yourself out there, it will at least start a conversation.

Ask them again after a few days, “What do you think? Should I pay off my credit card or my student loans?”

Then, a few days later, tell them you’ve been doing more research. “I bought a book about money, which had some exciting things. What do you think about us talking together about our money?

When you sit down to talk, ask your partner’s opinion again: “I know you pay for everything with cash, but this guy says we should use credit cards to build our credit and keep track of how much we spend. How do you feel?”

The goal of these short meetings about money should be to agree that money is essential to both of you and that you should work together. All done!

If everything goes well, Blanket Mortgage ask your partner if they would be willing to sit with you again to discuss your money.

It’s never too late to start doing good things for you. Get started TODAY by getting my Ultimate Guide to Habits.

Essential points for couples to talk about money

Here are some things to think about and talk about before your big money talk:

  • Should you tell your partner about your money?
  • When you talk with your partner about money, being honest and open is essential. 
  • If you hide your money or lie about it, it could cause problems in your relationship. You can avoid this by just being honest. 
  • When it comes to money, it’s best to trust each other, especially in a close relationship.

Don’t forget that it’s best to start slowly and be honest.

How much does each of you earn?

An easy starting point for any conversation about money should begin with your income. If you both know how much money you make, you can decide how to spend it together. You could also talk about finding a new job or starting a side business to make more money.

How much debt do you have?

Another essential thing to talk about is how much debt each of you has. This is especially important if you’re getting married and want to combine your finances.

You don’t want either of you to find out anything new. You need to know if someone has eye-watering credit card debt now.

Other things to discuss include student loans, personal loans, car finance, and any mortgages either of you has. All these will affect your credit score, so you and your partner need to know everything about each other’s money.

Please take a look at all the debts you and your partner have and write them down. Write down the end dates, interest rates, and monthly payments.

This will help you figure out what to do next. You might be able to get a better rate by refinancing. Maybe you can use the snowball or avalanche method to clear off debt faster.

Some other great talking points include:

  1. Do you feel good about taking on debt like credit card debt?
  2. How will you spend your money together?
  3. What are the costs you pay together as a couple?
  4. What invisible scripts do you have about money?
  5. Truths that are so ingrained in our society that we don’t even notice them are called “invisible scripts.” They change our habits and actions without us even being aware of them.

“I need to go to college to be successful,” for example.

You’ve probably thought of invisible scripts like this at some point. Examples of personal finance ones could be:

“Debt from credit cards is bad.”

“You should buy the biggest home you can afford.”

“Budgeting means giving up things you like. So it can’t happen!”

Even though these may not be the exact scripts you have in your head and how to save money on bills, think about what they are. These invisible scripts can affect us in good or bad ways, so it’s essential to be aware of them and question them.

If you’re having trouble saving money because you think “budgeting means giving up fun things,” this is an invisible script holding you back. If your partner is good at budgeting, this could make things a little more complicated for you.

Don’t skip this step if you want to be on the same page as your partner. Spend some time evaluating your unconscious thoughts about money. If they are holding you back, talk about them, question them, and look for other options.

What are your short-term and long-term goals for your money?

Talking about your money goals with your partner is a great way to set the tone for the whole conversation. You not only need to know how to pay for the things you need every day, but you also need to plan for the future.

Having common money goals in mind is achievable only once you’ve done the groundwork and spoken openly about money.

Some money goals could be:

  • Putting away money for a home’s down payment
  • Putting money away for a wedding
  • Putting money into stocks
  • Making home renovations
  • Putting money away for a new car
  • Making plans for a trip
  • Saving for an emergency fund
  • Whatever it is, it all starts with an open conversation and a solid plan.

Knowing all your income and expenses frees you to decide how much money to put away for your goals. It helps to have solid numbers and a deadline to stay on track to reach your goals.

Plus, if you change your habits, you’ll be better able to handle your money and relationships. 

Check out my new Ultimate Guide to Habits.

  1. How not to talk about money with your partner
  2. Could you not make it feel like an ambush?
  3. Money is a touchy subject. Some people don’t like to talk about it, so you might want to be careful here. You don’t want people to give up.

We suggest going easy initially and broaching the topic with a few harmless questions.

This gives you an idea of how willing the other person is to talk about money. They won’t be surprised, which is never a good way to start a conversation.

Don’t impose or try to change your partner.

Where a lot of people go wrong is they try to “fix” their partner. Now, if they gamble too much and you’re about to lose your house, it might be time for an intervention.

But in general, everyone has their way of doing things. Please don’t come at your partner full force and demand that they change.

The problem with that approach is that you think your way is:

  • Right
  • This is the only
  • Which may or may not be accurate. Instead, be patient and discuss your money habits on the same level. Do it together if anyone needs to change or adapt their habits.

Please don’t put your partner down or blame them.

Don’t make your first real conversation about money terrible, no matter what. If someone overspends or gets into debt, don’t make your first talk about why they shouldn’t have done that.

It doesn’t change anything and brings tension and emotion into a conversation that should be open, friendly, and productive. This only works if you both want to be successful.

Money doesn’t have to be scary or hard to talk about with your partner. Plenty of people are open about discussing money, and that’s great. Not everyone is, so taking smaller steps and having short conversations along the way is the best way to ease into it.

Managing your money and relationships will be easier if you change your habits. Check out Ramit’s new Ultimate Guide to Habits.