Better Talks

How to fight/discuss money with a loved one

If you’re in a committed relationship and your finances have blended, there is a good chance that you will end up having a fight (or two) about money. That’s fairly normal, we’d say. Money can be a sensitive subject. Knowing that some disagreements are bound to bubble up, your best course of action is to have a game plan ahead of time to insure that the conversations that follow are constructive, not destructive.

Do It Now. If you’re going to fight about money, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later. In other words, don’t let your problems fester. That will only make things worse. Issues involving money won’t just disappear. They will likely only grow into bigger issues. That means if you’re engaged, don’t wait until after you get married. If you’re hitting your first anniversary, don’t wait until your second. Discuss your issues as they come up, so the precedent for an open-dialogue is set.

Focus on the Big Stuff. As US News reports, your relationship is in for one rocky road if you both are constantly nitpicking each other about the smallest money-related issues. Instead of obsessing over your partner’s day-to-day habits, focus on the big financial picture. As long as a partner’s habits aren’t ruining your finances, you’re probably better off just letting the small stuff go. If your longterm, big picture goals — like having kids, how you want to spend retirement — are still in perfect harmony, you’re likely going to be just fine.

Know the Back Story. Like a lot of things in life, your adult relationship with money got its start during childhood. That means it’s important to talk to your partner about their financial past. If you understand their relationship to spending/saving, budgeting, investing, etc., you’ll have an easier time navigating a disagreement when it inevitably arises.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea